Thank God Daddy’s Home School is Over
By Tim Cerantola
My admiration for the teaching profession has increased lately. Not surprisingly, this new-found appreciation of teachers coincided with a teachers strike.
For two weeks my kids were home. So that they wouldn’t be bored, my wife recommended I try to keep their studies up. And so Daddy’s Home School was born.
My daughter Elaine began, “Let’s start by singing the national anthem like we do at school. And, please, this time no dancing, Emma.” So we (my two daughters and I) stood and sang the national anthem.
Well, I hummed it. (Believe me, it’s more patriotic that way.) And then we began our first of 10 days of Daddy’s Home School.
“Daddy, our principal, Mr. Huxley, always has announcements after the anthem. [)a you have any anouncements?”
“Like what?” I asked.
“Well, Mr. Huxley always reminds-us when there’s a pizza day, a soup and sandwich day, or if there is a bake sale at school.”
“So during his announcements he basically just talks about food?”
“No! He tells us about lots of other stuff, too, but I only remember the part about the food.”
So trying my best to imitate Mr. Huxley, I made my morning announcements: “Good morning, students.
Welcome to Daddy’s Home School. I’ll dispense with all that tedious education stuff and get right to the important stuff. For lunch we will be having bagels with cream cheese, carrot sticks and yogurt. And for dessert, apple slices and oatmeal cookies.”
With breakfast a fading memory, the girls got into a debate, quarreling over bagels for lunch. Two minutes. Two kids. Total chaos. I had already lost control of my class. I was forced into using that age-old debating trick…. yelling.
“QUIET! Will you two listen up for a minute? You’re giving me a headache.”
I wondered to myself how long it would be before my daughters would discover they knew more than I did.
“Now where should we start?” I inquired. “How does Mrs. Dubois teach you?”
Elaine thought about it for a moment and responded, “First of all, Daddy, Mrs. Dubois never yells at us. So you’ve already blown it there.”
“And,” Emma added, “she never tells us that she’s developing; a headache, either.”
Glancing down at their math text, I soon realized that grade three mathematics was going to be more challenging than I cared to admit. Soon, it became apparent that I could only teach them a lot of stuff they didn’t need to know, such as what the “T” in James T. Kirk stands for (Tiberius).
Do you see what I mean? No one needs to know that, sadly, I’m just full of that kind of knowledge.
Heck, I was hoping to have an edge in intelligence on them, at least until they turned 9. But not so. Now they correct my grammar and, if I pause or stutter, they’ll insert a word of their choosing.
Really, they’re worse than editors.
Our cat, Gloria, was one subject my girls wanted to discuss in home school. But when they asked “What is Gloria thinking?” I realized they over-estimated my parental and psychic abilities. I wondered whether they took this .’paranormal” stuff they’ve seen on TV a little too seriously.
So, while Gloria purred away on my lap, I gave them an introductory course of “Don’t believe everything you hear, read and/or see on TV.”
As for mind-reading the cat… that, like Gloria herself, was a no-brainer. With a little bit of drama, I held her fuzzy little head and stared into her eyes. “Gloria is thinking… when is this guy going to feed me again? Let’s test my mind-reading abilities.
Give Gloria some of her cat mush and see if she eats it.” My girls were (not even remotely) amazed as, sure enough, that delightful blend of fish, beef, pork, poultry products (?) and monosodium glutamate disappeared in a flash into our pet stomach on furry legs. To Gloria, it’s all just pate without the crackers.
Fortunately, my daughters knew more than I, and for two weeks the three of us learned together.
When my favorite subject, creative writing, came up, I was curious to see what two extremely flexible minds could produce.
“What should I write about, Daddy? My cat, the strike, the school, how much I love my teacher?”
My advice was, write what you know.
“Daddy, how do you spell nervous breakdown?” “Why?” I inquired.
“Well, I just want to get it right for my story about the teachers strike, about you and our home school.”