We interrupt our regular broadcast for this special public announcement.
It’s that time of the school year, call it spring fever, winter blahs, I don’t know. I think all moms, whether you’re homeschooling or not, hit a brick wall right about now where you are just grasping for the dim hope of spring break as it mocks you far on the horizon.
I am in the process of registering one of my children for online classes for school next year. In order to protect the identity of the innocent I will call this child “Child.” As a prerequisite to Child’s admission to next year’s writing class, Child must take a grammar placement test.
I have taught Child English grammar ever since I started homeschooling Child 5 years ago. Child has studied grammar Every. Live. Long. School Day. Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives conjunctions, prepositions, predicate nominatives, predicate adjectives…I have taught them all to Child. We have diagrammed; we have underlined verbs twice, subjects once; we’ve drawn arrows from adjectives to the nouns they modify; we have done likewise from adverbs to adjectives, verbs and other adverbs. I have all but beat Child with a wet noodle to know and identify the parts of speech.
Yet when Child is faced with a @#$% grammar placement test, I am on the verge of coming unhinged. Because Child, depending on which day you catch Child, can tell me without blinking an eye and with all sincerity, that “the” is a noun or “cat” is a verb. AAAAAARGH!
And I know this. I know this all too well about Child. And I’m wondering as I look at Child. I’m wondering and thinking…”what kind of day are you having today, Child??? Are you having one of those “cat” is a verb days? Because if you flunk this grammar placement test then your potential teacher will think that I have done NOTHING, nothing to teach you grammar, which could not be further from the truth!!!! And I will deserve her contempt and that banner across my chest of “Bad Mom Who Never Taught Child Grammar.”
So I plunk the placement test nonchalantly in front of Child and say through gritted teeth, “you know all of this; just read the questions carefully and do your best.” <Smile>
As I watch Child begin the test, the thought occurs to me…
“At what point is this not my fault?”
As Child’s homeschool teacher, there isn’t anyone around to blame but me if Child doesn’t learn to read; write; add; subtract; multiply; divide; know that Nebraska is a state in the U.S. and not a foreign country (don’t laugh, it’s been a point needing clarification with said Child. Needless to say we are currently slogging our way through World Geography).
I know some of you are saying, “does it really matter?” Well, no, it isn’t a matter of life or death. I know this! But, when I look at the TIME and EFFORT I have spent with Child on this subject matter, I’m like, at what point is it YOUR fault and not mine that you don’t know this?”
I think moms in general are hardwired to feel condemnation for the failures of our children. But at what point do I get to say, “I did my part, but you didn’t do yours?” Where does “I could still do more” end and “I did everything short of cutting Child’s head open and dumping the information in” begin? When do I get to say, “my work is done here?” Is a mom’s work ever “done” as long as we have breath? Maybe not.
I have no answers. Just lamentations.
Oh and by the way, Child did pass the grammar placement test.
So there’s that.