Hello, my name is Suzanne and I am a control freak. Now this may be news to some of you, but my husband and children have known this dark secret for many years now. They have collectively sought help, but to no avail. They are doomed to live with a choleric perfectionist, till death do us part, or till legal age, in the case of my minor children. I tried to develop a twelve step program for the condition, but it was too organized and micromanaged to counteract my controlling tendencies. And now I see the same traits in a couple of my children. They are schedule makers and list checkers, with clean rooms and bossy attitudes. It is difficult for a born organizer to comprehend how the free spirited bohemians of the world cope. I’ve witnessed my own flesh and blood sleep through buzzing alarms without a care in the world, amongst a pile of dirty laundry and dessert bowls. They can rise at the crack of noon, sniff a shirt to see if it can be worn a third time, then dig through a heap to find the match to a favorite shoe – all without a tinge of anxiety. How do they manage? I will never know. No, I am destined to make the bed as soon as I rise, smooth all of the wrinkles out and arrange the pillows just so, before moving on to the next room to analyze it, organize it, and Mr. Clean it to the max. An orderly house and an orderly schedule make for an orderly mind! The thought of beginning a school day at a table decorated with soggy Cheerios, toast crumbs, and yesterday’s funny pages, sends chills down my spine. Just can’t do it. So we begin each day with a thirty minute cleanup. At least with 7 children and 1 adult divvying up the tasks, it should only take thirty minutes to spic and span the place. It works in theory much better than in reality.
In a typical homeschooling household, dear children grace our presence 24/7. The sink is never empty and Oprah will just have to wait (till the end of time-- when her New Age Philosophies meet The Way, The Truth and The Life). There are pressing matters at hand. We make the time to pray together, clean together, eat together, clean together, learn together, clean together, play together, oh yes and did I mention clean together?
We clean our bedroom and the living room, the kitchen and bath.
We clean the laundry and the baby, and in between we do our math.
We clean the table before science, and clean again so we can eat.
There never seems to be an end to this neurotic cleaning feat.
We have our checklists and our zones, each person responsible for his share.
And there are checklists for our grammar, for brushing teeth, and even hair.
We check off history, Lit and Latin, then we take time out for spelling.
And Mom checks her spiritual program to do it without yelling.
All done in perfect charity, at least that is the goal,
And when its not, we pause it all, for a lecture on self-control.
Check the clock before dinner, because Dad is coming home.
Time for each to pick up books and then tidy up his zone,
So when he waltzes through the door he finds us neat and calm and shining
- Ok, maybe not, sometimes we’re tired, and loud and whining.
Though it isn’t always obvious, the seeds that we are sowing
Are those that bear good fruit, as our future saints are growing