Mimi Rothschild Shares “School At Home? A Day in the Life”

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School At Home? A Day in the Life
by Angela Allen

When people ask me what I do for a living I reply, “I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I home school my ten year old son.” Some people look at me as if I’m from another planet, some people say, “That’s great, but what do you do all day?”

“At times I question the wisdom of my chosen path, and ask “What is my purpose?” And I am reminded through quite poignant moments, such as when my son gives me a big hug and says, “ I love you mom,” and my purpose is made clear when we have days such as in the following description.

It’s 8:00 Monday morning. I am awakened by the pathetic moans of our eleven month old Jack Russell Terrier, “T-Bone.” Yes, he looks just like Wishbone off of the TV series. I try to ignore him but he is adamant about being taken out right now!

I drag myself out of bed, bundle up quickly, and slosh out with my dog into the snow-covered terrain at a whopping 7 degrees. With sleep in my eyes, hair mussed, and quickly turning into an ice cube, I long for that warm, cozy place that I had to vacate so promptly.

T-Bone finishes his doggie business, and we trek back inside, without the much needed aid of snow-shoes, to begin the day. I am pleasantly surprised when Billy hands me a home-made card made out of construction paper, consisting of a poem likening my eyes to the stars, and my being to that of an angel.

My eyes well up with tears as I smile and give him a bear-hug, my heart soaring to that same sky that holds those stars. He then asks if we can make pancakes, and if he can flip them over.

Of course, while we are performing this seemingly mundane task, little does he suspect that he is “doing school.” As he does the measuring he’s learning (math concepts). He mentions how all the ingredients mixed together make a different substance. (Chemistry)?

We discuss how people might have made pancakes in the “olden days,” which would be (History) in my book.

There is the whole process of cooking, eating, and cleaning, which I consider (Home-economics and life skills), such as manners and table etiquette. After that, we proceed to our daily hygiene ritual, and have a discussion about cavities. An impromptu lesson on (Dental health) I would say.

After I finish my shower, and I’m ready to “seize the day,” I walk into his room to announce math drill time, only to find him sprawled across the floor, drawing pirates from an art book, and happily tapping his foot to the beat of a Mozart Symphony in his CD player. He asks me if we can read our book first, “please?”

Looking into those big brown pleading eyes, what am I to do? So I throw my carefully planned agenda to the side as we curl up by the fireplace to take an adventure with Robert Louis Stevenson to “Treasure Island.”

Two hours later, I glance at the clock, and realize it is lunch time. While Billy takes T-Bone out, I warm up some home-made veggie soup which my husband has made the previous afternoon.

While eating, we discuss the finer points of piracy, which leads us to the closet afterwards, to change ourselves into said pirates. Long John Silver, and One-Eyed Pete no less. (Art, drama, history)? We make a ship out of an empty storage box and dub it the “Hispaniola,” complete with an old white sheet for the sail and a skull and cross bones drawn on with a black magic marker.

With our weathered map marked with an X , and singed around the edges, we sail the high seas in search of the hidden treasure.
We are fast set upon by hungry sharks. Ahoy, mate! (Vocabulary).

We row over to the nearest Island, where we find, to our delight, a set of old encyclopedias. We quickly search for an article about sharks and how to escape without incident. (Reading, vocabulary, dictionary skills, science).

“But look in the telescope mom, I mean Pete, there’s a ship on the horizon and it’s headed this way. It’s a British Man O’ War!” We quickly board the Hispaniola and escape unscathed.
We finally make it to the X on the map, and what do we discover? A treasure chest filled with chocolate covered doubloons and a 1950 edition of the movie “Treasure Island.”

We sail over to the closest home theatre, set anchor, and plunk ourselves down on the nearest sandbar. After a while, we hear a noise.

“It’s coming from the east.” I say, and point toward the back door, (Geography). Billy jumps up, one hand full of chocolate coins and the other with a plastic cutlass, yelling “Dad, you scurvy land lubber!” as he drags him off to see the Hispaniola, recounting the exploits of Long John and Pete.

“Shiver me Timbers!” My husband exclaims, looking over his shoulder at me, sitting replete in my white ruffled shirt and newspaper pirate hat. He smiles, but not in the least bit surprised to come home to one of our daily (school at home) adventures.

Do I have doubts and misgivings? Yes. Do I fear failure sometimes? Yes. Will my son remember that, or his adventures through time? Time will only tell, and I wouldn’t trade this adventure for anything in the world.

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