Saturday, 13 December 2008

Serious stuff

It's not all rollicking laughter here you know. Some days there is home education to be done.

I would like home education to stop messing about and mean order. That would be safe and secure. I might do home ed by nailing Shark's clothes to the kitchen chairs and shoving spelling worksheets under her nose. This would feel like control. I would like this feeling. It would be good.

Unfortunately, things do not work like that on most days. OK then, no day I have ever lived with these three small creatures blasted from planet GB2735637 and deposited in my body by evil aliens, no day has ever felt safe, secure, and in control.

Today home education is like every day of home education. It means knowing life and everything in it is way out of control. So let's find some way of making the tiniest bit of sense of all that crazy, scary, disempowering and intimidating chaos.

I have no inner resources, no inherent streak of discipline, no ability to cohere a single strand of educational thought and keep it there. So I immediately look outside to this messed up world I live in, and I grab onto a happening bit of it, and I try and make some sort of order from that for Shark, Squirrel and Tiger. Some might say we have a useful expression for that. It is clutching at straws.

Today there is a lantern festival in Smalltown. This is the day when all the dysfunctional families, weirdos, crazies, sad hippies, delinquents, misfits and recovering Jehovah's witnesses take to the town streets after dark, bang drums, and wave lanterns made with tissue paper. See? You thought your town was strange. Try this local back and beyond of England.

Now in this home educating world of ours, I think surely, the ideal thing to do would be to find out about festivals of light all around the world, then help the children each make their lantern and let them lead us to the market square in the dark and plunging temperatures to join in the annual procession round Smalltown.

Of course it doesn't go to plan. I cannot find the festival of bloody light book so sod that. Then there is a big fight over some Copydex glue, three sheets of tissue paper and a picture of a turtle. After three hours, with one offspring in tears, one sick, and one screaming choice obscenities involving bottoms, I feel that despair, or hanging myself from the hallway banisters might be a good solution.

But I'm not giving up. Because this is one of my mottoes. Never give up. Along with Let not great ambition overshadow small success. I don't mind admitting that I found this one in a fortune cookie.

So I keep going. I can shout, reason, complain, use logic, argue, throw myself on the ground weeping Pity poor mama! but eventually I get right through to the bitter end, which is two and a half lanterns, two children on a walk with daddy headed to the start of the lantern parade, and Shark screaming her face off in the schoolroom because the turtle's got no light on its head.

And at this point I finally feel some authority. Some control. Because I march right up to Shark's tissue paper turtle, grab a torch, a six foot beanpole from the garden and a metre of masking tape and I sort out the ruddy turtle-light problem. Now or never. I hand the lantern to Shark and say The parade of town weirdos starts in five minutes. Are we joining daddy and your sisters and all the other dysfunctions, or are we staying here in the schoolroom to cry?

I am so proud of that moment of authority and control. Because out of this chaos and mess and disorder comes three little girls, each with a lantern made out of tissue paper, glue, beanpole and torchlight, walking proudly, side by side, with all the crazies in town.


mamacrow said...

yay! i bow to your superior authority! and merry christmas!

Grit said...

mamacrow! what are you doing in front of the computer on boxing day?! you wouldn't be escaping the family now would you? ;o)

and merry christmas too!

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I don't know how you do it woman. I bow my head before thee.

Mr Farty said...

I'm so proud of you.

Merry Christmas!

sharon said...

Well done you!