How to Teach at Home
by Leslie Fobbs
No long post today, just wanted to share a funny experience. This week we went to see a ballet in our local area. Can I just stop right here and say how grateful I am for homeschooling co-ops? Just for the simple fact that I wouldn’t know about some of these things going on, and probably wouldn’t go if it wasn’t for them. I thoroughly enjoyed the talent that was on display (and I think Dee did too, even though he complained about the absence of dialogue), but what really got my attention was what was going on around me with the groups of school children that were also attending.
As soon as I pointed out the school buses and mentioned that there would be lots of other groups attending from brick & mortar schools Dee groaned and rolled his eyes. It’s amuses me how he’s so engrained into the homeschooling life now, that he couldn’t be bothered with doing some of the things that go on in classrooms and hallways. He’s so above it (sarcastically speaking) even though it hasn’t been that long ago that he was there too, lol.
When we got into the theater he said he hated going on field trips when there’s a large group like that. I asked why and he responded, “Because it gets so loud!” He wasn’t exaggerating. There was this unmistakeable hum of chatter as the kids excitedly talked to each other. I told him that they don’t get to talk to each other a lot in class, and not even at lunch in some places. So they take full advantage of it when they get somewhere they can let loose. I remember those days myself. Field trip days were the most exciting thing for the whole month.
Then I saw a teacher clap her hands (it was the same digitized clap beat you might hear at a basketball game over the loud speaker) and the students repeated it in a call-and-response way. I turned to Darin to tease him and asked, "Remember when you had to play those silly little games?" He glowered at me with squinty eyes and said a low yes which sent me into a fit of giggles. In a more serious tone I asked if he ever had to do that particular call-and-response. To my surprise he said yes and then added, “I hated doing that. Some times I just didn’t feel like clapping,” and that really sent me into a good belly laugh.
It's not funny though when you really think about how our children are trained in school to respond in the strangest ways. You'd think you would forget that later in life, but I saw some adults do it at my husband's Christmas party last year. It was loud and we were trying to start the Dirty Santa game, so someone raised their hand and put their finger to their lips. Some people did it back in response!
As we continued to wait for the show to start I looked all around the room taking in the scene of kids jumping in and out of seats, chatting with their close-by friends, running in the aisles, and teachers reprimanding those getting out of hand with a wagging finger. What I also noticed was the group of homeschooling students around me. They were completely quiet and patiently waiting for the curtains to rise. What a surprise, right? I thought homeschooled kids aren’t well socialized and don’t behave because they haven’t been taught to sit still. Hmm… that may be the case for some, but my experience that day was quite the contrary!