In May of 2011, I dismissed class for the last time and began a new chapter in my life, full-time dad. I taught middle school for seven years, but with two kids and a third on the way, I wasn't able to give as much time to teaching as it required, plus I wanted to spend more time with my own kids, instead of someone else's.
My wife and I have been married for nine years. She spends her days (and some nights and weekends) as an OB/GYN, or as my kids like to call it, “catching babies.”
We have three kids. First Born is eight years old, but likes to pretend she’s in college. Our son, Middle Man is five, but we’re convinced by the way he talks about things like “beautiful sunsets” that he’s an old soul, and our youngest, the Blonde Bomber is only three, but already has the attitude of a teenager.
Our kids provide us with an endless amount of stories. Writing and retelling these stories for Indy’s Child has been my part-time job for the past three years.
You can contact me on Facebook at True Confessions of a Stay at Home Dad or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 09, 2014 | 04:07 PM
We can't get to school. My kids have been home with me for 21 days. These kids NEED school, they NEED structure. If I can't get them to school, I'll bring school to them.
Today I decided we would have school at our house.
Here's today's Lesson Plan
1. Get ready for school (This was my way of tricking my son into FINALLY taking a bath)
2. Days of the Week song
3. Story Time
4. Snack- Movie time
5. Field Trip
6. Snowman craft
8. Nap (my oldest modified it to say Nap/Quiet time)
9. Free Play (until everyone is awake)
10. Dance Party
12. Kid Yoga DVD
We made it through step one fairly easily. My son (Henry-age 4) finally took his bath. It had been so long since I had seen him clean, wearing pants without an elastic waistband, and a shirt without a cape attached to it, that I hardly recognized him. Everyone else changed out of their jammies without argument. Since I would be teaching, I even considered wearing a tie today, but remembered I rarely wore a tie when I actually taught school so why would I wear one during pretend school.
Singing the Days of the Week song.
My son was plugging his ears because he was tired of hearing the song they sang at preschool all last year, my seven-year-old (Eloise) was shouting the lyrics as painfully loud as she could, and my youngest (Maggie- age 2) snuggled up on my lap and immediately pooped in her diaper. We were not off to the best start.
All four of us nestled into our "book nook" to listen to Eloise read us a story. She did a great job acting out all the parts, but it wasn't quite enough to entertain Maggie. She was much happier turning on and off the light switch during the story. We made it through about 2/3 of a book before it was agreed upon by all that we would move along to the next item on the agenda, snacks.
After convincing Henry that not everyone wanted to watch him play his Wii Lego Batman game but would rather watch a cartoon instead, snack time was a success. We ate two large bowls of popcorn and watched old episodes of Garfield on Netflix.
Our field trip for the day was a trip to the grocery store. We played a game at the store, guess how many items were in the cart and guess how much all of it cost. The idea of a competition was enough to motivate my second grader, but the other two could not care less. They were both sitting in the plastic car piece that's attached to the front of the shopping cart fighting over the steering wheels. We survived the inside of the store, mainly by eating a box of Rice Krispie Treats. As far as the competition, Eloise's guess was only off my one item. No one came close to guessing how much $ we'd spent. Just like with grown ups they guessed much lower than the actual amount. The most difficult part of the grocery store trip was pushing the stretch limo style shopping cart through six inches of slush to my van.
I told the kids to pick out things they could find around the house that had circles they could trace to draw and color snowman while I unloaded groceries and made lunch. They ended up needing waaay more help than I imagined so I bailed on the idea of actually cooking something for lunch and gave them PBJs and carrots and hummus for lunch, again. Apparently even a $130.00 trip to the grocery store can't stop me from feeding my kids the same old lunch.
After everyone woke up from nap, we had our dance party. Each person chose their favorite songs and we danced to all of them. Unfortunately my taste in music differs a bit from theirs. My two-year-old just wanted to hear the song, "Let it Go" (which she calls Ready, Go) from the Disney movie Frozen, my son chose Gangnam Style and his big sister, picked the worst songs of all, The Chipmunks versions of All the Single Ladies and What does the Fox Say. The kids considered the dance party a success, I disagreed.
My daughter wanted to use her school rule if it's above 20 degrees we go outside, so she checked the thermometer that read 30 degrees, and the plan was to go out. We spent the next 30 minutes trying to get bundled up for outside recess. Our entire house looked like a winter clothing accessory rack had exploded all over it. There were snow pants, boots, coats, hats and mittens everywhere. We collected everything into piles and somehow the four of us, and the dog, managed to get outside. We were out there less than five minutes total.
After drying off, it was time for the last part of our school day, kid yoga. After ten minutes of three kids fighting over two yoga mats, we got started. My son lasted about two minutes, then he was off playing a drum machine. Not quite a relaxing yoga experience, but it wasn't too bad. The rest of us made it about 30 minutes, before we called it quits. It was a decent way to kill a little time and get the kids to calm down, a very tiny little bit.
Finally it was time for dismissal. This was something my daughter added to the list. I wasn't exactly sure what we were going to do at dismissal, so we each said our favorite parts of the day, made a fake bell ringing sound, and went our separate ways (well, as much as you can go your separate ways when you all live under the same roof).
Hopefully, tomorrow the kids will be back at their actual school. If not, I guess I'll be writing another lesson plan for yet another snow day.