Teaching the Children

Homeschooling for another day.
I try to help. They say, “No way!”
Instead they’d rather run away.

The start of yet another
productive morning

A morning meeting. Please sit still.
It’s important. Can’t you chill?
They leave the room. Run down the stairs.
They don’t sit still. They won’t. They can’t.
I’m just glad they’re wearing pants.

The door’s wide open. Of course it is.
It’s cold. Who cares? Not my kids.
I give a chase. Run down the flight.
I’m pouring something strong tonight.
Maybe bourbon. Maybe scotch.
I don’t know. It’s not yet lunch.

This may be needed tonight…

There are meetings. Log on Zoom,
Then get my kids back to their rooms
And sit them down. Now, pay attention.
It’s important. Did I mention
That what is being said, you’ll need
To finish your assignment, see?
Now, be good children and learn how.
It’s too early to think scotch right now.
Sit right down. There’s nothing to it.
You must anyway. Just sit and do it.

… or this.

“But, Dad,” they say. “It’s way too hard.
“I’m bored. Where’s my Pok√©mon cards?”

I don’t know and I don’t care.
I can’t hear ’bout life’s unfair.
You need to do your work today.
Get it done, then you can play.

They settle down. They read and write.
Then run like that word I can’t type.
I know we’re all adults right here,
But what if a little one sneaks near?
Mom! Dad! What does that say?
Nothing, Dear. Now go and play.

Their work is done. Lord, what a chore.
They flee from academic bores.
Again, forget to close the door.

Another day is done, at last.
The evening will pass by so fast.
I put the books and pens away.
I think of what comes the next day.
More of the same. More protesting.
More resistance and more jesting.
But I will help them, yet again.
I’ll help them see it to the end.
Reading, writing, Uncle Sam.
Daddy sure could use a dram.

Decisions, decisions

Child on the Go

“You know I can’t stand still.” – AC/DC

The chair is only in the room for decoration.

One of the complaints about baseball is that it takes too long to play. In Major League Baseball, steps have been taken to help speed things along. There were some people who didn’t like the batter stepping out of the box after each pitch. The pitcher would walk around the mound, blow on his hands, wipe sweat off his forehead, grab the resin bag, motion for the hot dog vendor to bring him something to eat, run to the bullpen to see if anyone wanted something. There were little things that were taking time away from the game itself.

I think of this as I tell you about my son, The Boy, who can take the simplest task and turn it into a union project that makes the Big Dig look like a quick run through a fast-food drive-thru. For my friends who do not live in Massachusetts, look up The Big Dig.

We’re still not sure what it is exactly that ails The Boy. It could be Ants in the Pants, hyperactivity, boredom. Pick something. We’re open to suggestions so we can identify it and treat it.

One of the Gaggle first noticed it about the boy. When the family sits down to dinner, it will be a matter of seconds before he is out of his seat, running around the table, playing with the cat. It has now reached the point where The Gaggle will watch the clock and let everyone know how long he was able to sit still.

This constant need for movement and inability to stay in one place is not just limited to the dinner table. One of the underlying issues of The Homework Wars involves Boy Genius’ stroll around the bedroom after writing one word. After two words, he needs a snack. Three merits a bathroom break. Four? He’s tired and he needs to lie down on his bed.

Math involves the same. He does one problem and he needs the bathroom. Wait. I haven’t dressed yet. I need breakfast. (I made it for him two hours ago.) He wants to check on Kitty. He wants to see if Doggie is okay. He just needs to lie down on the floor because David had five apples and gave two to Omar. The mental stress of that calculation may have wiped him out. He needs a nap and maybe a snack. Maybe he just needs to use the bathroom. His room is upstairs. He needs the bathroom in the basement, of course.

As I patiently await him to complete the four-word sentence he merely needs to copy, he laments over his unfair lot in life. He throws himself on the bed and wails to anyone in the house who will hear. He slaves everyday on his work. He works so hard but his father doesn’t know it. He wishes he had a nice dad. Other dads don’t make their sons do this. I remind him every kid in his class has the same assignment as him. Of course, that doesn’t matter. His classmates have nice parents.

Time for another nap. Not in his bed, though. This time, he needs to go downstairs and lay down on the couch. One of the Gaggle, done with their work, is watching TV. The Boy thinks he’s no one will notice him under a blanket. He is found and he runs back upstairs. Hopefully is hiding in his room… At his table… in front of his work with a pencil in his hand. We all have our dreams.