Because we are a homeschooling family, I often get asked about socialization. Do your kids have chances to be out in the world learning how to be a person, they wonder. My husband and I often joke that because our kids are homeschooled, they are not seen out in public much.
Honestly, the opposite is true. We have a hard time not doing all the things. My kids go rollerskating with other homeschool families on a regular basis; we are part of Classical Conversations, a weekly homeschool community; my son is in Cub Scouts; our daughters are in plays at Davenport Junior Theater; our oldest daughter takes orchestra at the junior high; all four of the older kids took lacrosse camp last summer; we take art and STEM classes with our local Home School Assistance Program.
As wonderful as all these opportunities are, the extracurriculars I really want to have available just don’t seem to exist. I want classes that will do the jobs I just can’t seem to manage, and teach the skills I apparently am incapable of teaching. Some examples of my dream tutorials are included in the following imaginary course catalog.
That’s the Floor, Not the Trash
In this class, children would be exposed to several different types of flooring and garbage receptacles. They would experience opening various mail packages and snacks, while standing, sitting, and lying down. The instructors would demonstrate knowledge of the difference between the floor and the trash, how not to stuff candy wrappers in the couch cushions, as well as showing the students how to put old papers in the trash, not behind a chair.
Take OFF Your Muddy Boots
During this class, which is also combined with “Shut the Door! You’re Letting Flies/The Cold In!”, students would be taught how to stop when coming in from the muddy yard, bend over, remove their boots, and place them on the boot rack which is RIGHT BESIDE the door. They will be shown different types of mud, dirt, and wet grass on the boots and how all of it needs to stay outside. Special addition for farm kids would include demonstrating how there is often manure on the boots as well. Notable extensions would include showing how to close the door every time, how to make sure it latches, how fast flies, barn cats, and even chickens come in through an unlatched door, and how fast the temperature drops, depending on the season, and how to clean muddy boot prints off of carpet, just in case.
So THAT’S What the Laundry Basket is For!
This tutorial will teach students the basics of putting their dirty clothes in the laundry and the clean ones in their drawers. Advanced students who pass several different sniff tests and color exams will be allowed to sort laundry by color and use, start loads of laundry, learn what to dry and what to hang up, and fold clothes into laundry baskets. If aptitude is proven, they will even be given a trial to ascertain if they can actually put the socks in the sock drawer, the shirts in the shirt drawer etc. instead of just stuffing all the clothes into any old space. Cats and puppies who enjoy lying on clean clothes, as well as toddlers who are fond of clothes tossing, will be visiting the class in order to give participants the full experience of laundry.
How to Go to Bed (In Your Own Bed) (and Stay There)
Due to the complicated nature of this class, it will be ongoing for most of the students’ childhoods. This class will attempt to demonstrate the difference between Mama’s bed and their own bed, why their own bed is a perfectly acceptable and wonderful place to sleep, and how to sleep all night there. It will touch on the fact that Mama and Dada really don’t want a toddler between them all the time, and guarantee them no little brothers or sisters if they will let them have alone time and break that toddler enforced dry spell. This class will also show how “Brush your teeth” is not code for “Sit there and play for another 20 minutes” and how “Go to bed now” doesn’t actually mean “Ask Mama all the random questions you can think of”. It will teach children that going to bed is the best time of day and they should just DO IT ALREADY!
How to Just NOT Be a Jerk
This class will be all encompassing. Students will, among many other objectives, learn the basics of being a kind and loving human. They will learn how to not snatch away something their sibling has in his/her hands, to not throw phones and toys and food when they’re mad, to not intentionally fill the cat/dog/bird food to overflowing, how to just be normal and not antagonize people as entertainment, to not pee in the toy kitchen sink, to not take things which don’t belong to them, to keep their hands to themselves, to not put money in the trash, and to not taunt their siblings, especially if the sibling already upset. This class is taught by a bonafide mutant wizard with super powers because no normal human being could possibly accomplish this.
And, because this is my fantasy curriculum, an exceptional class for moms.
How to Survive Parenting With Your Sanity Intact
The main idea of this class is to show you how you can surround yourself with the support you need. It will deal briefly on self care, adjusting to parenting as a couple, how to use sarcasm to your advantage, and how to keep the eyerolling at the preposterousness of it all on the inside. This tutorial will help you find your mom friends by having you attend the Quad City Moms Blog Speed Dating Event, and teach you how to make time to actually SEE your mom friends. You will also learn how to get through the day on only one pot of coffee, how to use laughter as a defense mechanism, and the television as bribery. It will broach many different topics, but mostly, this class will help you know you’re not alone, and that we all are part of this wild and crazy thing called Motherhood.
What classes would you add to the catalog?