Tales from the Last School Year

When I first started homeschooling, Magne was a little fellow. I wrote about our first day then (and you’ll find that below). This year began with Dawn and Pearl navigating the adventure of dual enrollment. Online dual enrollment requires a serious learning curve. We spent the first day in a panic attack, a meltdown, and a crying binge. Just this past week we were finally beginning to feel the satisfaction of getting into a comfortable rhythm when a call came from my son that he was experiencing hot and cold flashes and had a bad headache. Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was not going through menopause, I advised him to get a COVID19 test… which came back positive.

As per the protocol of his school, he came home to isolate himself until the virus runs its course. Realm and Magne must have great minds because, without talking to each other, they both drew the same lines of demarcation and have not crossed them. None of the family is to be exposed! Magne sequestered himself in his room like a hermit, or a leper in this case. His room is out in the garage with its own air and ventilation system, so we’re not even sharing the same air.

Oddly, this makes me sad. Except for video calls, I’ve seen his face only once through the window in the backdoor as he carried his dinner in from the TV tray outside his room. At least I know it’s really my son in the room. I was beginning to wonder.

He seems to be doing fine. He’s keeping up with his studies online and feeling well enough to game with friends late into the night. He’s designated one door his through which he goes out to exercise and get sunshine. (This I insist on.) We don’t use that door, so we don’t even cross paths. So, this Labor Day weekend of our last school year we are spending together in the same house. That’s something.

The First Day of School (c. 2007)

I know I was fretful about how our first day of homeschooling would go this year, but never fear; it was worse. The morning did not begin as other mornings, so we’ll have to forgo that opening. My parent’s A/C had quit working, and they were spending the night, along with my sister and their charge, a girl of four. We will call her Goldilocks. This leaves my three as the bears.  But on this particular day only the twin toddlers were being bears. The eldest was my rock who greatly held his mother together—poor child, taking care of his mother at the grand ol’ age of five.

Goldilocks was loath to be parted from the bears on Wednesday morning, the first of August, and I was of the impression that to have her stay might tame the wild, unruly creatures. So, I put Goldilocks into the playroom with Bear One and Bear Two and turned on a Dora movie so I could work with my son on his schoolwork in the dining room. We were in the midst of a sentence-building activity when heightened screaming commenced. Bear One was in a desperate situation, even my son knew this.  He said, “I think that’s bad.”

I rushed into the room, expecting a tussle had resulted in a minor injury. Bear One was on the floor before me in her birthday suit sitting in something white. Behind her were Bear Two and Goldilocks, equally lacking garb, with their hands in the white substance which was spread upon the floor in large quantities. I searched the room for some clue as to what the substance might be and espied an empty box of my laundry detergent.

Yes, Goldilocks and the two bears were covered in laundry detergent, and Bear One had discovered Gain was a cause of irritation to her little, “powdered” bottom. Into the tub went the bears (Goldilocks’ turn was next), and my knight in shining armor came to the rescue by saying, “Don’t worry, Momma, I’ll make sure the girls stay in the tub while you go clean up.”  He proceeded to set up two camp chairs, where he and Goldilocks presided at the door of the bathroom like fans at a tailgating party.

I vacuumed and vacuumed and scrubbed and vacuumed.  For anyone who has not tried playing beach with laundry detergent, you might not know the sticky tendencies of this cleaning agent.  It also makes a bathtub and its inhabitants extremely slimy.

My mother and sister returned and tried to help me put the house back into some semblance of order. I fear the carpet in the playroom will always feel sticky; and I admit, I think I will never have a pleasant thought for the merits of powdered laundry detergent again.

Some of you may be wondering, “How did they get to the detergent in the first place?” This is how the tale goes:

Bear Two saw the box sitting on the dryer (the laundry closet is in the playroom). Bear Two pulled open the dryer door, stepped up on the lip of the dryer opening, grabbed the box, and the rest is evident.  Hence, I could blame myself for having kept the laundry detergent on top of the dryer, where I have kept it for the year and a half we have lived here, but I prefer to blame Bear Two. She knew better.

I asked Goldilocks, who is older, why she had participated in the free-for-all instead of coming to tell me. She replied, “I wanted to play in it, too.”

And that was the first day of school.

Author: Rilla Z

I'm a scribbler. I'm genuine. My topics of interest are: this world, the worlds inside my head, and the world to come. Oh, and cups of tea. Yes, I write about my cups of tea.

5 thoughts on “Tales from the Last School Year”

  1. Good luck with the dual enrollment; online college is not for the feint of heart. Especially at the beginning of the term when you are taking your first look at what seems to be a huge mountain of work and your required textbooks are either backordered or out-of-print altogether. Or the professor has indicated the wrong book in the bookstore system. (Ask me how I know, heh.) Fun times. But, once you get everything squared away and you’re settled into a weekly rhythm it will not be so bad.

    P.S., I hope Magne gets to feeling better. Will pray for him.

    P.P.S., Keep your eye on that Bear Two; she is a troublemaker. But the problem-solving skills she showed as a mischievous toddler will serve her well now in college. Hopefully. Maybe I should pray for her too haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you know the anxiety of beginning online classes! The wrong book and assignment to the wrong class happened as well. We’re finding peer review to be a struggle now. If peers don’t send you their work, should you be docked for not completing that assignment? Stuff like that just complicates what doesn’t need to be complicated.

      Thanks for the prayers!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For any assignment that has to be done with peers, assuming you can choose whom to partner with, it’s good to find someone super-diligent and stick with them for all such assignments (if allowed). You can usually tell who is diligent by their “introduction” forum post, which most online classes require. People who got that done very early and wrote an unnecessarily long intro to themselves are the people you want on your team for partner projects. Also, your fellow homeschooled dual enrollees tend to be very diligent in my experience, so it might be good to seek them out too. (Probably as much as a third of your first-year online class cohort will be dual enrollees.) But– and this is key– whether you choose partners or are assigned partners, don’t wait for the other people to initiate contact with you. Take the initiative and contact partners or potential partners as early as possible. You have to be a self-starter to succeed at online college.

        Cultivating good online friendships with solid people will help in other ways as well, since you (well, maybe not you, but Bears One and Two) might also be able to talk with them about assignments that are not technically peer assignments. (I don’t mean cheating of course, but coming to an understanding of what the professor is requiring.) Or just to be generally supportive or whatever. I’m in a Skype group chat with most of my “cohort” of people in the same program taking the same classes. We are super supportive and helpful to each other, communicate with each other regularly with questions and such, and this arrangement makes doing group or partner projects very simple.

        If you can’t get in contact with your peer partner for whatever reason, you’ll need to email the professor, I would say about a day before the due date (late enough that you can say you gave them ample opportunity, but long enough before the due date that it doesn’t make you look like a slacker). It is important to keep in mind, for that or any other issue (including the bookstore having the wrong book), that you are expected to email the professor before the due date of an assignment if you are having issues.

        Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for the advice. They had an intros forum for one class. That was very helpful. The peer reviews have all been assigned up to now. I’m in agreement that communicating with the teacher about assignment questions and issues is important. I think that’s one area I’ve stressed to my kids—and I don’t do this for them—talk to the person in charge.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember the laundry detergent episode but not the timing of it. How time flies! So glad Magne is doing well in his recovery and studies. He is a fine young man and has been all his life!

    Liked by 1 person

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