How do you homeschool with a sense of humor?
How do you teach your crowd without getting down?
How do you keep an element of good humor?
An ice cream man? A joke book? A clown?
- Sung to the tune of Maria from The Sound of Music
The nun Maria in The Sound of Music loosened up an uptight dad and educated his seven kids with some mad guitar skills, a soothing voice, and, more importantly, a sense of humor. She even took some drab drapes and made fun active wear out of them. That Maria, always the life of the party.
Well, as a homeschool parent, you may not be as fun-loving or musical as Maria, but if you’re married to a Captain Von Trapp or your kids don’t think they need a governess, you’re going to need a sense of humor to be successful, and keep your sanity. Well, that is easier said than done, now isn’t it? After all, homeschooling is a little different from regular schooling – you have to live with these people 24/7. When public school teachers go home for the day, your kids are still hanging on your legs. When public school teachers go on summer break, your kids are eagerly anticipating your list of summertime activities. The only “teacher lounge” in the homeschool environment is the bathroom. And, in public school, there is only a slim chance that you will wash the students’ (or the principal’s) underwear. Needless to say, homeschoolers need some pointers on how to bring some humor into this kind of mess:
1. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. The big picture – the view that can only be found in the big picture window of a luxurious hotel a couple of states away from your kids. There is nothing better to help cultivate a sense of humor than a change of scenery. Things just seem funnier when they are a long distance away – nuclear war, plagues, pestilence, in-laws. In no time, you’ll be laughing about that failed math test. Make a visit to that big picture window on a regular basis.
2. Have a short-term memory. Do you remember when you were in school and you had that kid that was always driving you crazy? Well, now 20 years later, you can’t even remember their name. And so it will be with that annoying kid in your home that can’t diagram a sentence. 20 years from now, you won’t even know their name.
WIFE: Do you remember that kid that lived with us that couldn’t even diagram a sentence? Funny, I can’t even remember their name.
HUSBAND: What does diagram mean?
Time heals all wounds. Don’t hold onto the stuff that you won’t remember in a little while.
3. The element of surprise. “The secret to humor is surprise.” So said Aristotle, one of the world’s first professors and renowned practical joker. Perhaps his most famous practical joke was putting a frog in the bathtub of his fellow colleague, Archimedes. When Archimedes settled down for a soak, he felt the frog and jumped out of the tub, shouting “Eureka” as he ran down the street. But don’t worry that your lack of practical joke experience may hinder your homeschooling. Sometimes God himself will be the practical joker for you. Like Archimedes, I was seeking to take a shower one average morning. I pulled the shower curtain back and what should plop on the floor but a full-grown flying squirrel. Now, I don’t think I said “Eureka”, but what I did say woke up the entire house. Thankfully, my homeschooling house already had a well-developed sense of humor, so we were able to take what could have been a terrifying, chaotic moment and convert it into a funny, learning experience. Thanks to God’s blessing, an otherwise boring day of diagramming sentences, integers, and the 100 Years War went into a totally different direction. Some of the major things we learned that day:
2. Flying squirrels are not more scared of you than you are of them.
3. The amount of distance that you release the flying squirrel from your home is inversely proportional to the amount of time that you think it will take him to eat his way out of the container that he is in.
It may take a little time to develop a good sense of humor in your homeschooling environment. But don’t worry, as Aristotle said “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. You may want to practice with a few practical jokes first. One good one is to get yourself a good loud whistle and pretend that you are Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music. Before the family wakes to start the school day, start blowing your whistle in the living room and command that your family line up in order of age. Then, keep time with the whistle as they engage in a running march around the yard a few times. This is an old classic that you will be sure to jump-start the sense of humor in your house.
Write me, and let me know how it works out for you.
Check out the other great posts today from my fellow crewmates and make sure to check out these blogs below.
Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings
Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy
Tara @ This Sweet Life
Mary @ Winecup Christian Homeschool
Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos
Karen @ Tots and Me
Beth @ Weavings
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling
Karen @ My Harbor Lights