Once upon a time, there lived a homeschooling family who had it all together. Everyday was beautifully wonderful. The mother woke up to a clean house, easily jumped out of bed to the sounds of birds chirping, the sun rising and her children giggling in lilting tones of joy. They quickly dressed themselves in stylish clothing appropriate to the weather outside after folding their pajamas and placing them in their drawers. The oldest two offer to help as she makes breakfast from scratch and the younger two sit quietly at the table, engaged in polite conversations. Her hair has been blow dried and curled, make up perfectly applied and outfit trendy yet comfortable and fitting her perfectly in all the right places.
Over breakfast they have deep and meaningful conversations about classic literature, scientific theory, and philosophy which everyone enjoys. The children happily put away their dirty dishes, wipe down the table and begin begging for rigorous and complex school work.
They brainstorm quickly before deciding on a painting project, science experiment and research paper for her 7 year old, and a sculpture, reading through a chapter in Alice and Wonderland, and a paragraph of copy work from the same book for her 5 year old. While the younger two quietly listen to the discussion. Everyone is excited and they rush to work happily.
The preschooler and toddler quietly play with blocks, creating cityscapes together with absolute cooperation on all sides.
She is able to sit quietly on the couch with a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee, a wrinkled copy of Hobbes “Leviathan” and a note pad. Each person eagerly digging into their lesson, independently and joyfully. Each living and learning happily ever after.
Wait, no. That’s not how the story goes. I have NEVER had a day or even a morning like that! NEVER!
It looks more like this:
The Tale of the Cursed Unschoolers
The children wake up before her. They are like dwarves (a la Tolkien), angry, hairy, and loud. They eat as often as Hobbits, requiring second breakfast and second lunch regularly. They can be joyful and happy but it is often wrought with disagreements and quarrels.
Most days they awaken as their father is leaving for work. He has been careful not to wake the sleeping Dragon as he readies himself for his day.
She is not a morning person. She dislikes, greatly, waking before the sun. She often doesn’t fall asleep until the witching hour, usually lost in world building or wordplay. Her inspiration and creativity are strongest under the light of the moon.
The party, however, enters the dragons lair boisterously. They climb up the precipice daringly. Leap with no regards. They holler and shout in anticipation of the task at hand. Demanding vitals.
The Dragon is less Smaug and more Puff. Not feared at all, but loved greatly although sometimes ignored. The dwarves are now vicious Cornish Pixies, searching for an opening with which to play their pranks. As the dragon arises the pixies hang on and swing. She sends them on a quest, allowing part of her treasure to be plundered by the adorable cherubs. They raid the icy cave in search for yogurt, apples and hard boiled eggs.
They eat on the run, their adventures are only now beginning and no room will be left undiscovered. Every toy will be scattered, every item of clothing spread out. Invisible thieves will be blamed for the loss of a precious relic (and not the mess that must be cleaned). Learning is an ongoing occurrence that happens without warning.
Calls for books will be sometimes be headed, but only if the adventurers are also scholars today. Some days the urge to build great towers will be necessary to capture the ancient evils high above a moat. Other days the bards tales are too interesting to forget and must be written and stored for future generations. Some days the call of the stars is too great and plans must be made to visit them.
The mighty dragon is wise but the heroes prefer moving stories and outdoor explorations. The dragon may offer twenty different learning opportunities within a fortnight, only to have two or three chosen as real possibilities.
Occasionally, the dragon is transformed into a nagging hag. Unable to shower before noon, achingly trying to catch up on laundry and dishes. The sink has been cursed by a powerful evil, if cleaned, no less than 3 dirty dishes appear. The laundry basket too has been cursed, it is never empty, no matter how many loads are washed in a week. It may even be said that the whole house has been visited by an ancient evil. Toys appear where little ones claim to have cleaned up. Books disappear only to be found under bed cloths.
The curse has effected everyone, making everything unstable and unpredictable. The adventurers may appear as curious children in one moment and angry trolls in others. The Dragon can easily switch between the nagging hag and the Beautiful Queen, who kindly welcomes inquiry and exploration.
The curse, is not a curse at all. It is something far worse.
Reality dashes my expectations and forces me to deal with the real situations at hand. Her harshness allows for growth and learning in ways that are highly unpredictable. I have learned to embrace her wholly… Although in my dreams I imagine an alternate universe, a land of perfection, curiosity, and beauty. I create these fantasies in my head and then wonder why reality seems so bad.
Perhaps this reality is another’s dimensions fairy tale.
Perhaps, I am living the dream. Am I living in someone else’s dream?
Perhaps, this IS happily every after, but I complain too much to notice.
Perhaps, I am not cursed at all…or rather I am cursed but I don’t realize that I have cursed myself because I’m only looking at the negative.
Perhaps… It’s how I view my world that is flawed…gasp! Perish the thought. How could I, the beautiful queen, be the one whose wrong? There is no way that I, the wise Dragon, could be the one who is flawed?
No…Never…that’s ridiculous. I must still be dreaming.