Off-the-Cuff Homeschooling

Off-the-Cuff Homeschooling. This is what happens when you get a right-brained mama who needs to problem solve with children of various ages...

The current problem that needs attention has to do with toilet flushing. For some reason, the many young people in my life don't do it. They leave it. (This is the nitty gritty of homeschooling, folks.) I flush potties all day long for other people and no amount of cajoling or admonishing seems to convince them to do it themselves. I'm pretty sure it stems from a time in our family history when flushing a toilet brought a 50% chance of flooding the bathroom; however, our plumbing problems are a thing of the past. It's time to move on.

Today, I called the children into the living room and calmly and cheerfully gave them an impromptu assignment: Write me a letter that includes the following:

1. An admission of non-flushing.
2. The reasons for the non-flushing.
3. An apology for the non-flushing.
4. A promise to pursue flushing excellence from this point on.

I left the room for the following half hour and tried to ignore the chuckling and finger-pointing that commenced upon my departure.

For your reading pleasure (and my memories), I share with you some excerpts below. Do not be deceived by the gross exaggerations of my wrathfulness. If I were as frighteningly angry as they paint me to be, they would not have been leaving bowls for me to flush nor would they have engaged in the hysterics they did while writing. Now...

Jellybean - age 5 (dictated)

Dear Mommy,

I haven't been flushing the toilet. I'm sorry. I have forgotten. All I can do is just forget. Only one time I have been flushing the toilet. I haven't wanted to flush the toilet and I'm sorry for that. I'll flush the toilet every time. All that I can do is just flush the toilet. I'll do it. But when it has been a long time, I forget. You never know. I know.

Jellybean's drawing of a potty


Button - age 7

Dear Mommy,

I have not bin flushing the toilet. But Mommy I will try not to forget. The reason I do not is that I just feel like I'm lasy.
I am sorry that I don't. I will try to do it mor and I have a reason for wanting to do it. For wun I want to be a mommy and mommys have to teach ther children to flush the toilet and if I am not good at it then I can't teach my children. That is why.


P.S. Sins we have been good children can we have ice crem?
Crash - age 10

Dear Mommy,

Last week (or two weeks ago) I did not flush the toilet. Why? I was hafe asleep but as that is no way to get away from you my angered mother I am deeply sorry and I hope that I am not hafe asleep next time. One more thing, I need new shorts as I have a hard time pulling them up and down.

I hope I am still your son,

P.S. When is it time for some ice cream?

Cookie - age 12


... My reason, my dear Mama: In the time of the great darkness, I have no wish to awaken the scary monsters of your wrath for rousing your darling infant/baby/toddler. In the hours of the broad brightness, you usually scream for me , and in my haste and confusion, I forget.

I beg you to accept my deepest apologies and ask and plead with you to forgive me with your deepest forgiveness.

I most sincerely promise to always forget to pull the little knob on the thingy that we all do you-know-what on in the one room.

Sincerely yours,

P.S. I am not asking for ice cream. I am just saying that I like it.

Professor - age 14


Esteemed Mother,

It is with great regret that I take to my pen to inform you of this which I will presently inform you. I do it only because if I do not, you will heap coals of your wrath upon your worthy son's head. If my epistle grows lengthy, do not drop into restful slumber before its conclusion, but understand that my enjoyment has carried me too far.

Enough. I forget to flush. But, as you will see presently, once I have gotten around to it, there are extenuating circumstances which are quite plausible if you will examine the with care. Beginning at the beginning, as all good lists do, we come to the fact that I was nearly asleep. Continuing further, we find that fact that the little infant was in repose, it being the middle of the night....

... upon closer examination, we find that being half asleep, I did not have all my wits about me and therefore, was not aware of much; all I could think of was sleep (quite natural, I think, for the situation).
As touches the second point, I have gotten into hot water for waking the baby by making loud noises in the lavatory. This fact is incontrovertible. Therefore, I did not wish to provoke the tremendous anger of my patriarch and matriarch yet again.

I have now finished my twofold statement of defense and I beg your pardon for, almost unwittingly, committing an offense.

And here, in the presence of men and angels, I do solemnly promise that utmost care will be from now on observed in the potty room, by myself and all others who dwell in this residence.

Until next time, cordially yours,

Postscriptum: Since the kids have been so good (I cry you mercy for this request), please grant them to have some mint chocolate chip ice cream.

The letter writing concluded with a public reading (by me) of the letters and general hilarity, including one child writhing on the floor with a tearful purple face, such was the degree of his laughter. Next, was a brief spelling lesson (using the misspellings from their letters) after which I tore out the letters from their notebooks to cherish always and use for blog material. No ice cream was served but permission to go outside and rollerblade was readily and cheerfully granted.

Posted on October 3, 2012 and filed under "family life", "home education", "homeschooling".