November 24, 2010

Answering Questions: Patience and Lies


sensitive noise / obvious 2
photo credit: milos milosevic


As you know, I homeschool. That means in addition to mom I’m also teacher. I’m also the home violin teacher. I take my teaching very serious, much to the chagrin of BabyGirl sometimes. Who would much rather read all day. And not just one book. Right now, she’s at some stage of reading with eleven books. Yes, eleven! And that’s the ones I know about. Who knows if there are books hiding in the car or bathroom or around the house.  Actually, it’s not so much a car as it is a bookmobile really.  But I digress.

So, as a teacher you have to answer a lot of questions. And for me these often are not so different than the ones you have to answer as a mom.  Like, “Why does the sky turn gray when rain clouds cover the sun but it doesn’t when they’re just regular clouds?” Maybe you know the answer off the top of your head but I was obviously absent the day they taught that in high school.

I don’t mind answering BabyGirl’s questions. I’m used to answering questions. It’s a lawyer thing and I’ve done it for years. Only I usually know the legal answers. All these kid questions? Where do they come up with them? I sometimes think it’s a conspiracy to make parents (and homeschooling moms and dads) feel inept. Is it to make us appear human? Right, because I seem to be super-mom at every other moment. Leap building? Sure! Wash, iron, make dinner and create a diorama of 16th century Rome? You got it!

The thing is that as a homeschooler I feel compelled to answer every question fully and factually and often 25 times in the same week. I’m her teacher. Teachers are smart. They know stuff.  C’mon, play along with me now. Yes, teachers are all these things.

But sometimes, well, more often than I like to admit, I don’t know the answer. I hated when people would make up answers when I was a kid. It seemed that I always remembered the wrong answer much more easily than I could the other real information. And then I’d feel stupid and try to explain how I got that answer. But they didn’t care. I was wrong and I looked like a fool.

Now I’m responsible for the information BabyGirl gets. It’s a awesome responsibility. I often joked with my mom friends that we have such a huge task in teaching our kids so many very basic things that we could really screw up our child by teaching them the wrong things. I’m not talking quantum physics or color theory here, I’m talking basic things. Like telling your child that a lemon is an apple or that broccoli is called chocolate. WOW! That would be so wrong. But, oddly, it seems like it would be fun too.

When people ask questions I fell compelled to give them the most correct answer. But when they ask the same question 15 times, I lose my patience. Losing patience and homeschooling do not go together all that well. So sometimes I just want to lie. Just change things up and start giving different answers every time. Not to be mean. More like keeping ’em on their toes.

As parents it takes a lot of patience to answer all the questions. I once read that the average 4 year old asks over 400 questions a day. If your child goes to pre-school or day care then the majority of those questions are shouldered by those professionals. If you’re at home with this question machine, it gets tiring. Can’t we just have a little fun?

How do you handle all the questions? Do you think it’s OK to have a little fun?



{ 1 comment }

V Demetros November 24, 2010 at 12:05 pm

At first, I thought I had to have all the answers, too. It didn’t take long until I realized I didn’t have to. I would say, “I don’t know that for sure. Let’s find out.” It would turn into a quest sometimes. Other times, when I did know the answer, I know I turned it into much more of a lesson than the girls wanted. But being a HS mom, I felt I was teaching at all times. Sometimes the simple answer works just fine.

You’re a great mom and HS teacher and Babygirl is so lucky to have you teaching her and staying home to answer all her questions. But if I find out she thinks broccoli is chocolate, I’ll know why. Never lie about chocolate…you should know better than that!

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