Thursday, 3 June 2010

Triumph in my heart and despair in my soul

Here's a typical home educating day. In bringing about this alternative learning experience for Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, I am both a fantastic success and a miserable failure.

Because I am a success, I deserve a medal. Sometimes I think my medal should be in the size of a rocket launching pad, made of 43 different varieties of chocolate.

The rational, sensible, thinking side of me knows that is a stupid medal to want.

Sensibly, I should want my medal in the shape of a pair of new shoes. I want them in the exact shape and foot fitting size of Tod's loafers. Then I could wear my medal with pride. It would look a lot better than a fat mentally disturbed Grit rolling joyously naked around in 43 varieties of chocolate.

I tell myself home education success comes from having many qualities. Like commitment, resourcefulness, determination, fearlessness, the willingness to exploit opportunities around us, the energy to get out of bed. Then I have bite-proof knuckles, a bloody mind, a diary, a reckless spirit, a brass neck, and a car holding petrol.

Qualities like these lead to me depositing Shark on the lake for a two-day sailing course.

She is in a larger boat, and she has to use the tiller extension. Whatever that is.

Shark is worried about the tiller extension. I sympathise. She says it is a nightmare. I think maybe it is big and hairy and shaggy shapeless, growling with sharp yellow teeth. It looms out from behind shower curtains and roars.

But I am a successful home educating mother! I will tame the hairy growling tiller extension! I will kick its hairy ass! Whatever that is. This morning, at 8am, I calm Shark's fears. Then I deliver her, with new wet shoes, packed lunch, and sunscreen, to the right lake at 9.30am. That is success.

My motivation comes from a strong desire to see my daughter develop her individuality, her confidence, her abilities. I want to see her work alongside other children and adults, explore her interests, grow in her personhood. And I already paid for the course.


Then I succeed again in the evening. I deliver all my three children to a local wildlife club held in an ancient barn. There is a quiz, game, award, show, talk, tell and show. I want a lake of chocolate and a pair of Tod's.

But I fail. I am useless. Squirrel and Tiger fight each other all day long. They are wrapped up in a sibling rivalry struggle. I feel responsible for that, and I tell myself they fight because we chose to home educate. This puts the family close together every day.

Now I have thrown my children together in an intense childhood relationship that will doom and damn and curse them forever. I am the means by which they are psychologically damaged, can never be normal, will never master the 8 timestable, will live on the streets, take drugs, turn to prostitution, be homeless, die early. These are my nightmares. I hide them in cupboards and under the stairs. I cannot keep them in the shower because that is where the tiller extension goes.

I also have tickets for this afternoon to hear Jeremy Strong talk about his writing and his books. Shark, Squirrel and Tiger adore God Jeremy. They read My Mum's Going to Explode until the words faded on the page under constant eyeballing devotion. I want Shark, Squirrel and Tiger to write like that. I want to write like that. I tell myself that this afternoon will help develop their creative story writing.

I looked at the tickets, picked them up, counted them, put them down and, in the middle of the next sisterly fight, totally forget about them. We never go.

Total failure. Prepare the noose now. Maybe just give me the chocolate medal first?


Maire said...

How infuriatingly frustrating for you! It is bound to happen sometimes though with all you do! Be kind to yourself; and have some chocolate and maybe the shoes are on Ebay?

sharon said...

I think you deserve cake, beer, a big hug, the shoes and a bloody big medal made of the best quality chocolate!

Remind the girls that fighting etc is very distracting and can induce both a fugue state and severe forgetfulness in any adjacent adult! Also it's not even a particularly efficient way to resolve conflicts.

Clare said...

Sorry about the tickets :-(

It's probably no comfort, but I'm sure your three would still be fighting if you weren't home educating. Extreme sibling squabbles are not the preserve of HEers. I was evil to my brother when we were younger and we survived somehow :)

Tech said...

If it's any consolation we went to a Jeremy Strong talk several years ago when my twins were at a similar age to your 3 I reckon. He really wasn't all that good. Well, ok, he was quite good really, but, well, there will be other talks... and the girls can write a JS style story about it all to send to the man himself and thus gain fame, fortune and free tickets to his next gig ;)

Grit said...

hi maire. it does happen, doesn't it. my diary system catches most double bookings, forthcoming events, mustn't miss dates, but it is only as good as the brain that looks in it.

you are right sharon! they are getting better, a bit. in resolving conflicts better. maybe a bit. i think. i hope.

clare, you are right. when big bro and me fought, my mother used to put her head in her hands and cry 'blood is thicker than water. and don't let me ever find any of it on the walls.'

dash, tech! i knew he would be excellent. bumbumbum. but you are right. there will be other talks.

and maybe we could persuade him to come round to the local scout hut with the leaking roof. we could muster up a home ed audience of 12 kids, 7 parents, 3 grandmas and a pet rat.