What I Learned From "Public School"

There's been a lot of whining and complaining at the school table the past... few years. I especially noticed it has been getting worse of late. I was adamantly administering the well known empty threat of a homeschool mom, asking "do you want me to send you to public school so you know what it's like to have something to complain about?" 

Of course, we never would,
and I'm sure you knew it. 

So onward with the whining, and grumbling, and arguing... and next came bossing, bullying, and disrespecting me - your mom and teacher. 

On a cold morning, after having to flex the schedule a bit to hit the grocery store before starting school, I had heard about all the ungrateful complaining I could take as you stuffed your spoiled face with a Long John donut I was regretting. It was at that time you shouted up to me in exasperation that your mom-drawn chariot was just "WAY TOO WARM" for you. 

It was at that time I honestly considered pulling the car over on the country side road and dropping you off (not before stealing your sprinkled frosted donut for my own cozy quiet ride home). I thought better and pulled myself together, promising to make a change. 
Something had to give!

I spoke with your Dad (who, by the way, advocated sending you to public school for a couple of weeks) and this is what we decided upon: to simulate a public school environment as best we could at home for one week-minus, obviously, the masses.
We began this week, and we were all surprised at the results. 

You were expected to wake up every morning in time to "make the bus". 

You dressed, ate, brushed your teeth and hair, and got your homework and bag lunch packed up to go. You put on your shoes and jacket (and even umbrella one day), kissed your mom good-bye, and walked to the end of the driveway to wait a timed 5 minutes for your pretend bus to arrive. Then you came into the house to sit in our leather chair for another timed 10 minutes on your way to school (I call this lenient).

Once at school you had a designated locker for all of your things. You were given a schedule indicating the time and order of each class, including a recess, lunch and study hall. 

In classes you were asked to sit in a normal seat at the table and mind as you listen to me teach and instruct you on each lesson. You were given 10 to 15 minutes to begin working on the assignment for the next day, and then you had 5 minutes between classes to put away and gather your things for the next period. 

I thought this would really show you.

I thought you would see how much less fun it is to get up on time, to wear jeans and be responsible for so many things. 

I thought you would hate sitting down and listening to lectures and lessons at the chalkboard. 

I thought you would really pout about having to eat a sack lunch or what ever the "school" gives you. 

I thought you would beg back your cushy little life of privilege and pajamas.  

But the opposite happened. 

You actually love school this way. 

You love the structure, the schedule, the expectations, the higher standard, the responsibility, the lessons, and accomplishments... 

You love that we have handed all of this to you with sure confidence that you could achieve it, and you are well aware that you are excelling even more so under these circumstances that you were on cruise control with a demanding lip. 

You have certainly risen to the occasion, and I am truly humbled by what I have seen and learned. 

You were doing very well before, but you were sassing and smarting off and wearing a pair of pants too big for your own size. And not just during school.

All along I thought it was just you, when in fact it wasn't you at all. It was me. It was how I was doing things; just you and me, fun and family, snug around the dinning room table, laughing in our sweat suits and tangled bed heads. 

It was fun. It really was. And I don't regret one second of it.

But in hindsight I can see how we got where we did.

And looking to the future, there may not be pretend busses or bag lunches after this week, but not too much else will be changing around here - and the funny thing is, none of us are sorry about it.

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