It was one of those days.
Our homeschool co-op started up again for our winter/spring semester. I’m teaching two classes this semester: Wild Kratts Academy (based on the PBS show about animals) for 4-6 year olds and also Junior Journalists (writing course and they’ll be publishing their work later to our homeschool blog) for 12-15 year olds.
The day before co-op, an email was sent out saying:
My theory is that even though a day of school with ET is fun and we love it, it is not worth the risk of someone with kiddos to get stuck in a ditch or in an accident. It doesn’t take much snow to make us cancel.
In my mind, this meant as long as we got snow before classes the next day then they’ll cancel class. In anticipation of a snow day, I didn’t finish preparing my lessons. (Which is out of the ordinary for me because I tend to plan for stuff just in case but read why I didn’t this time below.) Before I went to bed, I saw that it was snowing and figured it was cancelled.
I’ve had a little rule for myself for the past 11 years, that if it is icy or fresh snow is on the ground, then I stay home with my kids. There was one time when I decided to push through a snow storm from Lexington to Northern Kentucky with Niki, before any of the boys were even on the radar. Less than a mile from home, my car got stuck on the off ramp of the highway because the city was not able to keep up with the falling snow. There was at least 8+ inches on the ground. Les was out of town on a trip and I had to rely on the kindness of strangers to push me out of the snow.
We went from 1 to 6 kids pretty quickly and Les was out of town more than people realize flying. Realistically, what am I supposed to do if I get stuck in the snow and Les is out of town? If we go off the side of the road or my car won’t start when I have 6 kids??? Yes, I have AAA but the tow truck only has two spots inside his cab to drop us off somewhere. That’s not enough room for 5-7 of us (depending on the time period of how many kids we had). So I’m left with walking in the freezing cold with little kids or hoping I have a friend who has a mini van and can come pick us up instantly. Thus, I’m just not risking it…so I stay home. My winter, bad weather rule for myself when Les is out of town. I’ve done it for 11 years now and it’s my comfort zone if Les is not in the car with me in winter storms regardless of how mild.
So, when I got up and searched for the cancellation email and didn’t find it, I inquired about whether or not classes were still going to happen since there was, in fact, snow on the ground. (Granted, it wasn’t a huge amount.) Yep, classes were on. Ug.
If I wasn’t teaching, I would have skipped…but I could see that my street had been plowed and I needed to go…but, while I had my outlines done for my class, I did not prepare my materials because the weather radar clearly showed we’d get snow and the note in the email made me think it was going to be cancelled.
I had 2 hours to get the boys fed, dressed, prepare my materials, and get out the door to make it in time. I sent Zach and Chris outside to shovel the sidewalk and driveway and also clean off the van while I worked inside. I arrived at co-op on time and far more flustered than I ever wanted…with only about 95% of my lessons prepared.
So not me on several levels. Sigh.
Wild Kratts was ok but a bit on the hectic side. 19 kids (ages 4-6) with crafts that were not fully cut out and ready for them is never a good idea. Plus, Symeon kept grabbing all the kiddos’ scissors and glue sticks from the table.
It. is. not. how. I. like. to. teach. – unprepared and chaotic.
I was embarrassed. I know better. I’m not an organized person by nature, but…having 5 boys (twice) forces you to be organized or you’d have constant chaos and nothing would ever get done!
Anyway, I decided I’d try putting Gabriel and Symeon in the toddler room for my 2nd class. I realized very quickly that I had way more stuff and children than I could carry to the next room on the opposite side of the building though and my big boys were not available to help me. Two backpacks (one diaper bag, one class materials), three winter coats, one purse, posters for the writing class, and two little guys. Yeah…I’m going to have to find a solution for that one.
I brought the little boys over to the toddler room to play and they went right in – because they remembered it from last semester. I went on to my writing class to teach the big kids and started settling in. Shortly thereafter, I hear Symeon screaming down the hall. He figured out I had left. I knew he wouldn’t settle down and I could hold him the whole time in this teaching situation where I didn’t need to cut anything, so I left my teacher assistant with our kids and went to grab him really quick. Symeon was standing in the room crying his little heart out and not a single mom was holding him or even acknowledging his existence. Yeah…no. He’s coming with me.
I look around the room to check on Gabriel, but I don’t see him. I look a second time as mom’s do when you realize you probably just overlooked your child. Then I scanned a third time as panic started to set in.
Where. is. my. son?!
Then I hear a faint call for me which I instantly recognize as Gabriel, “Mom.”…”Mom.”…”Mom.”…but I still can’t see him. So I start looking under things. I found him crouched under a child’s school table in the corner where he had a tear on his cheek and he had pee covering both of his pant legs. He had realized I was not there too and he didn’t know where I had gone.
I know better.
I tell the mom that is mildly paying attention to us that I’m taking my two kids and leave to go clean up Gabriel really quick before going back to my class again.
I should have just brought them with me to begin with because they were fine in there the whole time. I had an iPad and snacks.
After settling in at home afterwards, I was looking on Amazon for a wagon, or something, that I could use to help me transport stuff and children between classes for next week. I found a collapsable one that would fold up and store easily in the back of the van that I think would work nicely…I just need to work on trying to get one.
More than anything, I feel humbled. Kids and teaching…I know they are my strong points. I took it for granted though, and it bit me. I’m looking forward to a do over next week. Maybe it was my version of a check ride – testing me and making me use the skills I’ve acquired. Les has never crashed in a check ride (which is the aviation world’s version of recurrent training). This is not something that the majority of pilots can claim. Sim instructors are notorious for testing you to your limits, making sure you are ready for anything that might happen in an emergency situation in flight. I often tell Les that I’m happy his sim instructors go all out on him – they’ll give him multiple failures and emergencies after his test is done (for “fun”) that would make most pilots crash the plane…and he always lands the plane where everyone on board would have survived the landing. Maybe I got complacent and needed a little check ride rattling myself. My day was anything but pretty but the lessons were complete, everyone was safe and on time, and most people probably didn’t even notice a thing…but I did.