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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Emergency Homeschool Curriculum for the Everlasting Snow Day

Look. They're walking to school.
Photo by Boston Public Library

School has been closed for over a week. We are now approaching a fortnight of public school-lessness due to snow.
The natives are restless. Cabin fever settled in like Uncle Eddie’s RV four days ago. Fighting has escalated to the brink of bone damage, scalping, and bloodshed.
It’s time to homeschool.
Starting tomorrow the Wasting My Education household will begin the Emergent Interdisciplinary Snow Studies Program, Phase I.
Primary Level:
Count the number of times Mother’s left eye twitches. Add the number of times she screams, “I swear, if I have to come up there!” Add the number of times one sibling bellows the name of another sibling. Multiply by how many cups of Amaretto-Latte and/or glasses of wine and/or shots of liquor Mother has consumed in the last 24 hours. Take the resulting number and spend this many minutes sitting in silence in your bedroom thinking about what a saint your mother is for not having dropped you all off in kennels at the animal shelter.
Intermediate Level:
Take a ruler and a one-cup measuring cup outside. With the ruler, make lines in the snow to divide the front yard into a grid of 25 equal sections, five sections wide by five sections long. Using the measuring cup, scoop all of the snow out of one section of the yard, keeping track of how many cups filled that section. Multiply by 25. Use the product of this calculation to determine the total amount of snowfall, in cups, that has descended on our yard. If there is still daylight left when you have finished this problem, go repeat the calculation in our neighbor’s yard. Then request to sleep at their house.
Secondary Level:
Using your knowledge of geometry, trigonometry, and the physics of sound, calculate the maximum number of decibels Mother can hear from the master bedroom’s bathtub when the sound originates from the furthest perimeters of the property line. Subtract one decibel from this number and establish this as the upper limit baseline for each of your sibling’s voices. Station yourself and your siblings at equidistant points around the established perimeter. If any voice ranges higher than the upper limit, the siblings nearest the offender may leave their posts and bury the noisemaker buck-naked in a snow bank.
Primary Level:
Using a magnifying glass, go outside and disprove the theory that no two snowflakes are alike. When you find two matching flakes, you may come back inside. If one or both of the flakes melt before you submit your proof to your mother/teacher, go back outside and begin again.
Intermediate Level:
Using the result of the snow-volume calculation you did in math, hypothesize which will dissolve that amount of snow most quickly: chemical Ice Melt, the sun, or a hairdryer. Re-divide the yard into thirds and perform a double-blind experiment to prove or disprove your theory. If the sun has not completed work on its segment of the experiment before it sets, make sure to lock all aspects of the experiment in place so no further melting or re-freezing occurs before sunrise. Don’t ask me how! This is part of the scientific method and it’s your job to figure it out. Geez. Kids these days.
Secondary Level:
Invent a new type of road construction material which will dissipate snow and ice on contact. It must be sturdy enough to withstand traffic, and cost-effective enough to replace current materials such as asphalt and concrete. Extra credit if you get the city to purchase it from you before the next snowfall.
Primary Level:
Read “Kitten’s First Snow”. Read “Kitten’s First Snow” backwards. Take a sheet of composition paper and number 1-30 down the left side of the page. Take “Kitten’s First Snow” and your numbered paper to the neighbor’s house. Tell them you must read “Kitten’s First Snow” to thirty different people or your classroom teacher will fail you in reading and make you repeat your grade. Get signatures. When you have finished reading “Kitten’s First Snow” to each person in our neighborhood come home and get “Puppy’s First Snow”. Repeat the process.
Intermediate Level:
Get a thesaurus and write down on a sheet of paper every adjective you can find which describes snow, ice, and/or winter. Get a second sheet of paper and consult the thesaurus to create a list of every adjective you can find which describes chicken-shoot public officials who close the schools anytime a weather forecaster whispers the word “snow”. On a third sheet of paper create sentences utilizing every possible combination of these two lists of adjectives, such as “On shivery cold days in Canada, schools can still remain open, because up north there are no cowardly, litigation-averse policymakers who never learned that it’s still possible to walk in and drive over and continue to be alive around a few fluffy little snowflakes!”
Secondary Level:
Write a scholarly, persuasive paper addressed to the superintendent, school board, and county/city board. Dispute the specious reasons cited for canceling school three days after the snow has begun to melt, and the roads are adequately plowed, and public transportation is running at full capacity, and cite the many negatives of extended and unexpected school breaks, drawing from disciplines such as education, pediatrics, psychology, neurology, and sociology. You may include photographs to document the despair and carnage evidenced in your own household. Support your arguments with quotes from such educational giants as Socrates, Plato, and Hobbes (of Calvin & Hobbes). Either MLA or APA format is acceptable for citations. Copy and deliver your treatise to its addressees by hand.
* * *
You know, I never got on board with homeschooling before now.
But I think I may be onto something here.
Oh, children…


  1. Replies
    1. Sounds like you've verging on hysteria. Just dress them warmly, lock them outside until it's time for lunch. Go upstairs so you can't hear their screams and pleas. Let them pee their pants or worse, then while they're eating lunch, you can wash the mess, dress them back up and shove them outside until dinner. Make sense?

    2. Thanks, Mom! That's kind of what I remember from my youth...

  2. Just a reminder! Monday is teacher work day.Four more DAYs till school start again 😣

  3. Girllll, you are funny! Do your children know what a funny mom you are? Of course they don't, but they will someday :-) XO

    1. Right now they don't find me very funny at all. At. all. But I'm happy someone does! Thanks so much!