After a day of wanting to eat her young, an observant homeschool dad will take his twitchy wife out on a date.
He’ll have recognized the ‘crazy eyes’ and the frustration and despondency and also notice that his children take about eight billion times longer to write a report than is logically necessary, seem to retain any and all knowledge of math facts for about as long as guacamole stays green, and have a strange knack for using their school supplies as forts or weapons or anything other than what they’re meant for.
This is when he offers up the suggestion of a Date Night. Now while some couples religiously observe these, the rest of us forget to for about … oh, a decade or two, before we smack one another upside the heads and dig the Subway coupons out.
What follows is a typical date night for a homeschooling couple who have three offspring who are there every time they turn around, and whose names rhyme with Ike and Clarissa.
Ok. Maybe it’s just us.
But this is how it goes for us, when we try to date and homeschool at the same time.
The following is a true story from several years ago, when the children were two preteens and one toddler, and we had recently relocated to a strange* town.
*I’m not sure if it was strange before we arrived, but it was definitely strange after.
Homeschool Date Night: A True Story
Wifey is looking a little haggard. A little aged. A little like her face might open up to reveal a fire breathing shrew at any moment. Better take Wifey out without the company of little angels. Better do it right now. Better not even take the time to put on shoes.
For the love of God, man, HURRY!
It will most likely be raining in southern Oregon, and it will also be dark.
Turn the wrong direction. Wifey doesn’t miss a beat and points it out, which is always a great way to start a romantic evening. Head to a dollar store to buy a day planner with which to plan our schedule. Can’t find a dollar store. Finally find a dollar store a half hour later. Doesn’t have any day planners. Wife begins to snarl, like a wolverine with a toothache.
Well, Walmart has everything, right? Let’s go to Walmart. Because nothing says love and affection and dating like a night at the Walmart.
Can’t find the school supplies/office section. Circle the entire store five times, while Hubby groans something about the word shopping, uttered in a lifeless, hopeless mutter. Wonders if he has been suckered. Was this all a plan of Wifey’s? An evil genius plan to get Hubby to, gulp, shop? Was the bra section next? The cosmetics aisle? God forbid, the feminine products section?
Hubby tries to slink away out an emergency exit, but is yanked back by his tie by Wifey, who is very, very good at wrangling humans, due to all the practice she gets at home when the math books make an appearance. Dude, she rolls her eyes and shakes her head, you underestimate my powers.
Many muttered expletives later (homeschool parents suffer from a rare form of Tourette’s Syndrome, caused by never not being in the presence of impressionable children, thus having to swallow back any and all objectionable language), they find the office supplies. They were right where they should have been and where they had passed it three times, one time standing right next to as they complained loudly about the lack of its existence.
(At some point, Wifey had sat on a stack of notebooks to soothe her aching feet, all while hissing about how could Walmart not carry notebooks?)
The couple picks out a $5 day planner and a pack of forty #2 pencils (which will be misplaced in less than the time it takes to sharpen them).
Pick out a checkout line. Picked out the wrong line. Oh so wrong. So very, very wrong.
As Christmas came and went and our intrepid couple aged approximately 12 years, they slowly edged up in line. Of course the other lines moved along smoothly but every time they considered switching something (was it hope? optimism?) pulled them back in. Finally, and I do mean finally, it was their turn and they pay and head back with their walkers and canes to the parking lot, which by this time is empty of everything but one lone minivan with Wyoming plates and a tumble weed.
Now, they think, comes the fun part! The part where they head to a coffee shop and plan out the future of their tiny scholars.
Turn the wrong direction. Get stuck in a parking lot trying to turn around but everywhere they turn they find curbs and one-way streets going, of course, the wrong way.
Wifey snits (that’s what you do when you’re in a snit) and Hubby wishes he remembered his blood pressure medication. Eventually find coffee shop.
Head back to tiny scholars with no new flawless plan to forward their education. Hope they don’t mind. Hope it won’t all come out on a shrink’s couch someday that their parents spent minuscule amounts of time teaching them improper fractions and lots of time watching Lost and drinking.
Of Date Nights.