Public School as Baby-Sitter


Surprisingly enough, this is not a rant about children being bused off to public schools every day. This is a rant about a homeschooling mom who’s using her local public elementary school as a baby-sitter for her six-year-old, twice a week.

The woman posted that announcement, without apology or embarrassment, merely ISO info about “the laws reagarding education in the state of MAryland.” (Is it just me or is there something about a home educator who doesn’t use Spell Check…)

And apparently, on whatever planet she had been living, this part-time public school option had been her modus operandi, as she explains: “If there is an activity going on like before when I homeschooled her she just went without a problem.” [Turns out there is a “dual enrollment” option in Virginia. But I thought that was for high schoolers to attend college, not for six-year-olds to stay home.]

Now, I’ve got to cling to the belief that out there among the almost-400 other members of this homeschool group reading her post, most of them were screaming at their computer screens, too. I admit I can be impatient and intolerant with any parenting more irresponsible than my own. But I have NEVER in my ten-plus years of home educating heard of any homeschooler who in her wildest fucking dreams thought that she could send her kid to public school whenever she needed a babysitter.

A few people did respond, rather graciously, including the Moderator of the group who explained that sorry, no-can-do-dual in Maryland. But did suggest searching for a babysitter instead, especially after the mother had asked if, in terms of public school attendance: “IS there a minimum numbers of days? OR does she have to go regardless every day the school is open. I am so confused.”

Darling, you’re confused?

Soon after that thread ended, the woman posted again. This time, she was ISO a babysitter for the aforementioned six-year-old AND a two-year-old. So now I’m confused. What’s she doing with her toddler while her older child is in public school?

Give Me a Union Man

hoffa_001A union man understands responsibility. Even if he’s not Mr. Dependable at home; at work, he knows that’s what it’s all about. Like the Hokey-Pokey. You learn it early or not at all.

So I took great comfort in tonight’s visit from my former theatre union’s Business Agent. He brought some money, more freelance work and alotta laughs. Bruce and I were sworn into the local together and we reminisce about our apprentice years with great humor. We were told to “Be on time, have your tools and keep your mouth shut.” And I kept my promise to the head carpenter at the Mechanic that he’d never see tears from me (the first/only female member in Local 19 during the 80s.)

Throughout our meeting, Bruce’s cell phone kept ringing with calls from members and shop stewards. Some wanna work. Some can’t work. And one didn’t show up for work. That’s a major no-no. The steward called, the guy’s 20 minutes late. “Replace him,” says Bruce. Next. Even if he shows up, he can just turn around and go home. No argument. No excuses.

How do you think those rules would work with a homeschool group? Twenty minutes late is par for the course with some Moms. Others are no shows without acknowledgement or apologies. And the excuse of a sick kid or dead dog, even if you’d run over it trying to get to the co-op on time, would be of no consequence.

Tools? A #2 pencil perhaps? Don’t count on it. In the IA, nobody liked to lend his tools. You had what you needed on your tool belt. You didn’t bring extra to share. No roadie wants to hear “Wait!” to take up a pipe while you and another guy share a wrench.

Keep your mouth shut? Who are you kidding? Men are the chatty sex, but at least they pay attention while they’re bullshitting. And no matter how angry one might get with another, even coming to blows (off the clock), they’d still work shoulder-to-shoulder as brothers, when “Let’s go to work,” rang out.

No tears? No homeschool activity is complete without at least one hissy fit or meltdown. And it’s not always a kid’s.

If Home Educators had a union, I’d file a grievance and some Moms would have their cards pulled.

The Island of Helpless Women

islandAny other time, that prospect would be a definite turn-on. But when faced with what could be over a decade (PreK-12th grade) on this uncharted desert isle, the XXX novelty wears off pretty fast. Believe me, when you’re trying to get something accomplished, you need Mary Anns, not Gingers.

My current homeschool head shaking results from a recent thread regarding registration for some upcoming Spring co-ops. Most leaders, myself included, have already scheduled their class locations, usually at public libraries—take it or leave it. But a few co-ops have yet to post their meeting details; so one mother asked about the proposed site(s) for an art co-op.

Before that co-op leader could respond with her preferences, there was a flurry over which library branch would be too far for which family and why. Now, in all fairness, if these women had been discussing the requirement to drive to another state three times a week for two years, I could dig it. However, the locations in questions were no-way, no-how more than an additional half-hour drive in any direction. And the co-op will only meet once-a-fucking-month for five months.

So, I ask you, is five times five times too many for these mothers to push themselves “too far” to benefit their children’s creativity? And what makes somewhere “too far,” anyway? The cost of gas, wear and tear on the minivan, fear of unfamiliar roadways, toddlers’ potty-breaks? Or is it because their breathing tubes won’t reach that far?

Idiot Worms

_3206359I quit yet another homeschool group. Actually, I decided to step down from the Steering Committee to become “just” a member who does as much or as little as she wants and to show up or not at events.

My problem is I expect everybody to be responsible and participate. Today. I don’t have years to wait for people to learn to sit upright by themselves. The steering committee wants to let people to do what they want if/when they want to do it. (Of course, this is the unschoolers’ mindset.) Yeah, nice work if you can get it.

Helplessness Example: Someone posts an event at a local public library. Ten minutes later, somebody else asks, “Where’s that?” Now, why would that woman not take the initiative to simply Google its location? Instead she waits and sure enough, a Mary Poppins posts directions.

What I want to know is, if nobody had responded with the info, would the family not attend the event? And from that experience, would she learn to find her own directions or just be hurt nobody GAVE her what she asked for?

Who dresses these women in the morning? Aren’t they supposed to be adult home educators? What are they teaching their own kids when they’re too unsure of themselves to even run a fucking playdate? If a woman needs that much hand-holding, she shouldn’t be homeschooling. And their neediness will suck you dry. I know.

Of course the flip side, to which I can totally relate, is the neediness of the strong, supportive women to gain satisfaction, justification and a sense of superiority by pushing these women’s chests in and out. It’s a total validation/co-dependency issue. So I guess it’s a win-win situation in a sick sorta way. I know all about that one, too.

Shit, if I wanted to deal with idiot worms, I’d put M back into public school, join the PTA and run Basket BINGOs.