This past week my son went to basketball camp. It was about thirty miles away and I thought I knew the area since my father and stepmother had lived there while I was a teen. About two weeks before camp we happened to be in the area and I drove where I thought the camp should be~~and I was totally wrong. I never got lost but I never found the complex I was looking for either. That meant I had some homework to do: I called my stepmother who gave me some landmarks, I went to the complex’s website and took advantage of their directions. While MapQuest said to allow 40 minutes to arrive, we left an hour before the start of camp in case we got lost and to account for rush hour traffic. The 40 minutes was accurate and we had time to spare.
Why do I share all this? Because apparently at some point during that day it came out the my son was homeschooled. The next morning when I dropped off Schnickelfritz (still slightly early, but not like the previous day) the coach came up to me. He asked if we really were homeschoolers because he’d never met any that actually arrived on time, let alone early. “Most of them wander in a good 15 to 20 minutes late.”
Now there are a lot of stereotypes associated with homeschooling that I’m happy to acknowledge—I think we tend to be more religious, conservative, and tend to believe in a young Earth vs. millions of years. But this lack of punctuality really bugs me. Our homeschool 4-H club never could start a meeting on time…homeschool gym starts at 11:00 but most families don’t arrive until 11:15 (granted this is open gym time so you can arrive whenever you want). I don’t know if it’s because a lot of homeschooling families are larger and toting along babies which tends to slow things down? I know the largest homeschooling family on TV is so well known for tardiness that they’ve laughingly dubbed it “Duggar Time.”
It disturbs me that we homeschoolers can get so much right and yet this one area gets a pass. It not only makes us look unorganized, but the folks waiting for us may feel we don’t appreciate their time and effort. Be honest….when you’ve been sitting in the doctor’s office for 20 minutes past your appointment time don’t you ask yourself why that so and so thinks his time is more valuable than your own?
I’ll go even further~~sometimes homeschoolers don’t show up at all! There are several museums in the are that are reluctant to work with our homeschool co-op because they’ve been burned before. We even do it to our own. I can still remember a homeschooling mother of 10 who had organized a day for us to make apple butter in big copper kettles over and open fire. She needed to can dozens and dozens of jars to sell at a German heritage festival so over 20 families had signed up to peel apples, tend fires, and fill jars. During the down times she’d organized apple themed games and crafts. My son and I were the only people to show up! Now granted she had 10 of her own kids, most in their teens, to get the work done but her disappointment in the group that should have had her back was immense. To my knowledge she has never volunteered to organize another event in the six years since.
So while your busy thinking about next year’s math and science courses and how to teach your kids to keep their b’s and d’s straight, maybe think about including a lesson on organizing and scheduling and keeping commitments.