Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy…
Our first year of homeschooling has come to an end. I think that the year was a success, but who am I? I am just the dad. The real judge is some lady from the County. We, and by we, I mean Cheryl, are required to make a presentation to the County detailing the year's progress. Kind of a daunting task but Cheryl was determined to make it the best presentation the world has ever seen.
Cheryl worked day and night to get this project completed. She had taken photos of everything they did this year, downloaded them into their own little files, made little notes and footnotes explaining the photos and printed them all out. She documented the books and materials she used, catalogued all of their work, and printed it all out into one master binder, including their best work samples. It was truly amazing.
The problem with the best presentation that the world has ever seen is that it takes time to complete. Time, that quite frankly, Cheryl did not have. I mean she really didn't have anything to do for herself, but she did have stuff she had to do for me. In the twenty years since we've been married, we have developed a routine: I get home and she is there to do whatever it is that we are going to do… together.
For the better part of twenty years, Cheryl has not worked outside of the house. When we first got married, she worked at the Department of Labor. She had the greatest boss in the world. On one occasion, in the middle of the day, I called her work and her boss picked up the phone and whispered, hello. I asked why he was whispering and he told me that Cheryl is asleep in the office next door, and I don't want to wake her.
Eventually, we decided that she would scale back her hours every time that I got a raise so, believe it or not, she ended up quitting that job. Who quits a job where you can sleep all day? The obvious reason for this arrangement was to have Cheryl home to raise the kids. At the time, we never contemplated her homeschooling. But even while homeschooling, she was home and ready to play when I came home from work.
But that all changed a few weeks ago when she started her little semester project. I would come home, and she would be sitting on the same couch in the same position, tapping away on the same computer. I would ask what was for dinner, and she would say Gracie threw in a pizza.
But I hate boxed pizza.
Well, I am busy, followed by the eight words that will ring in my ears for months to come… I meet with the County on the 20th!
Wednesday, June 20th, was D-Day.
At first, I thought that her determination would last a day or two. Cheryl has a tendency to zig zag. You know, start a project and then another project and then still another without finishing any of them. I figured she would be back to normal in a few days. Then days turned into a week, and then a week turned into a month. Admittedly, I got a bit antsy and tempted her with offers of fun ranging from dinners to games and shows. She was not biting!
She accused me of not being supportive, but it had nothing to do with being supportive and everything to do with… uh… with… er… uh... with having her available to me whenever I want her! There, I said it. She is mine and she has always been mine, and this "little project" was messing everything up. That sounds bad, doesn't it? Well, I don't care.
She told me that if you had a big trial and spent weeks getting ready, I would not be tempting you and trying to get you to stop working.
Let me say this about that… I have represented people that could go to jail for twenty five years and haven't spent anywhere near the time preparing for those trials as Cheryl did putting together this presentation. That sounds bad too, doesn't it? Again, I don't care.
I was not the only one to be shunned during this time period. About ten days into the project, Cheryl's sister, who also homeschools, called the house excited to tell Cheryl that she had chosen a new curriculum for next year. Cheryl is always ready to blow off whatever she is doing to talk to her sisters. I mean, the house could be on fire and Cheryl would take that call.
I was shocked to hear Cheryl tell her, Look, I'd really love to hear about this, but I am meeting with the County on the 20th! Gotta go! I'm not sure, but I even think that she hung up on her right then and there. This was getting out of hand.
When I was a kid, and had just started playing sports, my three brothers and I had to get physicals before we could try out for whatever sport we were playing. I remember being so anxious about those exams. On the day of the exam, my dad would trek us all down to our doctor in Washington DC; and the doctor would walk in the room, weigh us, measure us, pinch our stomachs and write down that we were healthy. I think the whole exam cost my dad $10 and took three minutes each.
I tell that story because I was pretty sure that the lady from the County was going to pinch Cheryl in the stomach and tell her she was doing great. This whole preparation thing was just so unnecessary.
Well, the big day came, and Cheryl was up early getting all of her ducks in a row. Apparently, the previous five weeks had not been quite enough time to finish. Her meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m.
I asked Cheryl if this were going to go all day. She advised that each kid was allotted twenty minutes. TWENTY MINUTES, THAT'S IT! You spent all that time for twenty minutes each! Oh yeah, she was going to get her stomach pinched for sure.
Cheryl called me when it was all over. Surprise, surprise, the lady from the County told Cheryl that it was the best presentation the world has ever seen.
I am very proud of Cheryl and the kids. Homeschooling presented them with a host of challenges, and they conquered them all with great success, including doing the grocery shopping, playing the theme from Swan Lake on the piano, identifying shark fossils, conjugating the verb "to be," dissecting an earthworm, showing why lava doesn't dissolve in water, preparing nutritious meals, and whittling soap into a fish, just to name a few.
Having said that, do you know what the best thing about the first year of homeschooling is?
It's over, and I have my wife back for the summer!