How we’re spending our early, and extended, summer vacation

Hello, Blogosphere. It’s been a while. The last time we talked, the world was kind of almost normal. That seems like years ago.

I’ve been keeping busy over the past four months, or ten years, or however long it’s been since the good ol’ days. I am fortunate to have been fully employed. Keeping three boys academically engaged has been a challenge, one upon which my wife and I hope never to be judged.

Fortunately, our 7th grader has been more than willing to coach our 3rd grader and our 1st grader. Consequently, they are now all playing Fortnite at grade level.

Big Brother has been honing his basketball skills in the driveway. He can almost dunk on an 8.5-foot rim. The standard basketball rim is 10 feet high, so once he gains a foot and half of lift, he’ll be able to show the world how he can almost dunk.

I don’t know if the boy will ever get beyond almost dunking. I’m afraid he inherited my farmer’s legs. If you don’t know about farmer’s legs, try to imagine the last time you heard a sportscaster mention Old McDonald’s amazing elevation on his vertical leap. That’s all you need to know.

Buster and Big Man have been reading with me every day. Never have pride and pain worked hand in hand as they do on me when I listen to the boys read. Did you know a kid can read a word perfectly four times in a row and then be completely baffled by it the fifth time his eyes meet it? Did you know his slightly old brother can tackle a serious of four-syllable words with aplomb before being defeated by a single-syllable word with no phonic irregularities?

The reading is easy compared to the paperwork the school sent. It’s not particularly difficult work; it’s just hard to find motivation to do schoolwork when the TV is so close, especially when you’re sure there is at least one channel showing Sponge Bob, regardless of the time of day.

When you are distracted by the thought of missed cartoons, you make mistakes. When my children make mistakes on their papers, it is sorely aggravating to me. It’s not that they made a mistake, or even that they made it from carelessness; what drives me up the wall is the way in which little boys erase their pencil marks.


What number is this? Whatever number answers the problem.

I have three boys, and not one of them can erase a pencil mark worth a damn. They take two half-hearted swipes at the paper with the eraser and then write the new answer overtop the mangled result.  After the first attempt, I must assume they found the correct answer, because something in the tangled carnage of pencil scratches is bound to be right, at least approximately.

The big takeaway from the current situation is I should not be the one charged with educating my children. They don’t respect my credentials, and I’m not as engaging as Sponge Bob. That last part stings.


20 comments on “How we’re spending our early, and extended, summer vacation

  1. churchmousie says:

    I homeschooled my two sons eons ago, and still had the same sorrows (missing words they should have triumphed, and bad erasures). Glad you’ve been able to keep working, though!

  2. The eraser… I usually used it so hard that I could tear a hole in the page.
    Whenever erasing would leave a mark, my parents would tear out the page and have me rewrite it all. So, what you should do is, erase it properly, then white it out for good measure, make a copy and then give it to the kid to be filled out again. C’mon. What else do you have to do?

  3. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Good for you for insisting your boys continue to learn, Scott! I dread to even think what teachers will be up against when kids finally do return to school after this nightmare we still seem so stuck in. And I am so relieve for you and your family that you have been able to work …. so many, too many, are out of work or have lost their businesses. Oh we who are fortunate in unfortunate times, have so much to be thankful for!!

  4. CrankyPants says:

    Well welcome back stranger! Good to know you’re apparently in school more so then the boys. LOL I wish you all the luck in the world. The kids are going back to school come Sept. way up here in Northern Alberta. I think I’ve heard parents celebrating from afar!

  5. Just Joan says:

    This pretty much answered all my questions about how distance learning is going. All up to grade level on Fortnite and SpongeBob, LOL. As with reading, it’s always the little things that trip you up. Boys and girls must differ in the erasure department–I often wore the one on the end of the pencil down to nothing and replaced it with a “cap” eraser. I also kept a full-sized Pink Pearl in my pencil box for big mistakes, like the work you showed on math problems when the train of thought really jumped the tracks. I can’t tell what number that is either, and wonder how teachers grade papers. They must take the same hieroglyphics class nurses do to make sense of doctor’s handwriting. Nice work on Phys Ed. Big Brother will be almost making the B-ball team in no time. “Farmer legs” tend to be more suited to sports like hockey. 🙂

    • Long distance learning was pretty much a mess in the spring. I’m not sure how it is supposed to be better in the fall. My kids hated the online class meetings, and having had far too many online meetings myself in the last four months, I understand their loathing completely. Even though I will secretly continue to be annoyed by their erasing habits, I don’t think I will get on their cases about it. They can take some 100 level erasing courses when they get to college.

  6. markbialczak says:

    So good to see that you and the boys are safe and well, Scott! Home educating three boys. Lucky you! I can imagine how much smarter you are now after conquering their modern day school plans, and think they caught on far more than they let you know.
    The library has us on a work-in-the-building one week, work-from-home the next week plan to keep the staff as safe as possible, phasing everything in.
    What a year.
    Keep those Old McDonald Mohawk Valley-bred legs away from the virus, my friend.

    • My farmer’s legs were once pretty good at running away from bulls, but they never had to outrun a virus before. I don’t think the school thinks I’m very bright, Mark. Can you believe they felt the need to send me an answer key for the Kindergarten and 2nd grade assignments? Well, now were doing 1st and 3rd grade, so I’ll really be out of my depth. Glad to hear you’re library is doing right by you. Hope you and yours are safe and healthy.

  7. PursuitofPerfect says:

    Great to see your blog in my inbox. We babysit our grandkids (ages three and six) once a week. They are so entirely different from each other we think the gypsies must have left one at the wrong door! The struggle to do something other than screen time is real…. You and the family take care and be safe.

    • Yes. One of the problems with online learning is now kids are forced to be on screens for school, and then when they want to relax, what do they want to do? Yup. More screen time. If only these video games were a tad more educational, we could dump the online learning altogether. Health and happiness to you!

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