Friday, November 25, 2011

A Homeschool Perk for which I am Thankful

Seeing how the holidays are times for families to get together, that also means an unexpected bonus -- grandparents who are willing and eager to babysit.  So my husband and I have had a rare gift of quiet time for just the two of us. While the kids dragged their grandparents off to a jumpy place, we spent some time having a few of those conversations that never seem to occur when children are present.  It is often difficult to discuss real world matters (or even household matters) while enduring the constant barrage of "Mommy, Mommy... Daddy, Daddy" followed by a need for assistance, arbitration or refereeing.    This was followed by a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant with white tablecloths and excellent service.  It is amazing the dining experience one can have when there is not a french fry or chicken nugget to be had on the menu... but alas that is a topic for another blog entry.

Now we are indulging in the luxury of relaxing in a quiet, local coffee shop. This may very well be bliss.  I understand that Black Friday to many means elbowing through the masses at unholy, early hours fighting for a great deal. Personally, I would rather have every strand of hair on my head pulled out one by one until I was bald.  There is nothing that I either wanted or needed so badly that would justify getting up at "O' Dark Early" and standing in a line waiting for a store to open.  Give me a laptop and an Amazon Lightning Deal any day, if I need to feel a part of the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

So while I am lounging on a comfy sofa, sipping a Salted Carmel Mocha Latte, I got a little contemplative.  Ahh, this is the life.  We have so very much to be thankful for and are truly blessed.  But those of you who have been following my blog, know better than to expect a list of true, actual blessings.  There has to be some sarcasm or something less "touchy-feely" somewhere, right?

Well, thanks for your indulgence.  I do have a "lesser" blessing which is a real perk of homeschooling to be thankful for this season.  One of the most spectacularly wonderful perks of homeschooling is not being intimately tied to an alarm clock.  Having most days begun by the horrendous screech of an alarm clock since I was about eleven years old, this is pretty revolutionary. We still have alarm clocks and I even use them (especially for early morning basketball games), but my life does not revolve around the alarm clock. Hallelujah!

If we are up late for a good reason, for no reason or for any reason at all, we simply start our school day when we wake up.  Georgia does not have a homeschool police that will haul you off to the local public school if you don't start your school work by 8:00 a.m..  You've gotta love that!

Tuesday, my daughter was taking a children's cooking class on pies and pastries at Whole Foods.  This did necessitate the use of an alarm clock to ensure that we were there by 9:15.  We passed by the kids' old private school on the way to Whole Foods.  We could see all the extra cars in the parking lot for Grandparents' Day.  While it is a lovely tradition, I always resented having to get the kids up at 6:30 to be at school for such a short day.  We were usually in the car on our way home by 10:00 a.m. from the early dismissal. It hardly seemed worth the gas and fighting Atlanta traffic to get there before 8:00.  Well, not this year!

Another euphoric moment surrounding not being tied to the alarm clock occurs every week at my seven year old's basketball practice.  His practice starts at 7:30.  After practice, we walk in the door just a little before 9:00 p.m. with a dirty, sweaty, little boy who is wound-up, hungry (again) and in need of a bath.  If he had to be up the next morning by 6:30, I would be a stressed, frantic mom, foaming at the mouth while screaming, "Get to bed!" about every twelve seconds.  Not this year!  I don't resent the program or coach, I don't complain to everyone within ear shot that this is simply too late for little kids on a school night.  My son gets to bed when he gets to bed -- clean and fed (yet again).  I just let him sleep until he wakes up the next morning.

This is a revolutionary lifestyle for me!  Homeschoolers, by the very nature of what they are doing are bucking "the system."  They are stepping outside the norm and doing things in a whole new way.  But little did I know that homeschooling was going to be such a radical change of the way we had always lived our lives up til now.  I am truly grateful to step away from the necessity of a daily alarm clock.

Be honest, how many of your children are grumpy and miserable when they have to be awoken by an alarm clock???  We made jokes all last year about how my daughter could appear on a new Nick show called "iSnarly" because she was so very grumpy in the mornings after the alarm when off.  Last year, she left for school grumpy and returned home exhausted.  It is a true perk to see my child at times when she is not tired and grumpy.

I am only sorry that my husband is still forced to begin the majority of his days with an alarm clock.  The good news is that it does go off later now than when we had to get the kids to school.  But sadly, he still has to use it.  I feel guilty when he is forced to get up and hop in the shower while I am still dozing or giving our dog the attention she constantly craves while I am still warm and snug under the covers.  I genuinely feel guilty, but not so guilty as to set my own alarm clock.  After all, having been raised Catholic, I can live with some guilt.

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