School On The Road Sucks!

Me and My Boys, San Francisco, April 2015
Me and My Boys, San Francisco, April 2015

We are not famous! We are not rock stars! My sons are not the Jonas Brothers, and thank God neither one of them is a Bieber!  I often wish they did, but alas, my boys do not have private tutors, those tutors that often seem provided to children of rock stars, rock star children, and famous people!  We are the Adams Family. And my children are the sons of high tech entrepreneurs. Gah!

Today’s point is pretty straightforward:

Doing Homework on the road sucks!

More specifically, trying to accomplish any kind of schoolwork, appointment making, or responsible adult behavior during a transition (rock-star-living [wink wink]/move/extended travel/homelessness) is complicated, at best.

Let me expound, or better, clarify. Because I mentioned the limbo-ness of our limbo in my last post, some of you may already know that we are in limbo. Yes, we are also in limbo and yes, limbo also sucks, and our current limbo also requires us to do homework on the road.  Additionally, doing homework on the road has given us the opportunity to learn (at a cellular level) how much our internet-home-school literally (ok, not literally), is crushing our soul!  And it does, in this crazy, everyday-bi-polar-roller-coaster-of-emotions – crush our souls, that is.

High fives to every homeschooler and homeschooling parent out there! Really! My hat is sincerely off to you! The boys do not like online school (an understatement)! And I am not a fan.

The Boys Making Paper Airplanes
The Boys Making Paper Airplanes From Our Current Hotel Room

Every single online-school-day is met with a litany of “why I cannot do my homework today” soliloquies (really, dramatic monologues).  “No, Eli! We do not have a dog! And he did not eat your homework!”

“Start what, Kyle?”

“MY HOMEWORK! Mom. Seriously! Your breathing is so loud! M’AH’OM, STOP breathing! [insert Kyle’s own exasperated breathing and eye roll here] Fine! [slams laptop closed] Now I am going to have to start all over again!”

“[insert my own deep breath here] Kyle, I appreciate your need to get yourself  [air quotes] in the perfect space [end air quotes].  I hear you.  Consequently, I acknowledge that the indisputable fact that I am alive and breathing most definitely interrupts, better ruins, your perfect homework space. That being said, all is not lost. Rest assured, my firstborn son! You can still do your homework. Kyle, count to ten and breathe. Here is a snack and some nose plugs. Put on your headphones and start your homework NOW, damn it (and yes, I probably said, damn it at least once or twice)!”

Thankfully Kyle finds his happy place almost every time, and begins.

Once he’s settled, I put on my headphones, turn the music up loud and race to open my laptop. I have homework to do as well.  I login to my class and find the day’s assignment. As I begin to read I hear a shrieking,

“Eli. Eli! Stop. Give me my phone back! Eli! My phone!”

As if our hotel room has now become a boxing ring, I command, “Boys. Boys. Back to your places!” Completely ignoring me now the punches fly, the shrieks are now shrill, and are coming from Eli,

“K Y L E, I think you broke my neck! Mom! Mom! I cannot do my homework! I think Kyle broke my neck. Look. You don’t want to look. I know you don’t want to look. I am going to bed!”

Eli stomps off. I take my headphones off, breathe in, and in my head I repeatedly quote the Biblical phrase, “there is a time and a season…” I tell myself, “Beth, this is the time to help your boys. They need you. Your school will wait.”

I let go and breathe. I think about personal growth and imagine the most awesome TED Talk I could give after all of this. Ha ha!

Another day passes. Ultimately, the week’s homework is crammed in on a Sunday evening.

And today, a Monday, I ask my boys how they like online school. “Do you want the truth?”

“Yes.” I say.

They both respond with an emphatic, “No, we do not like online school.”

Moments later and as he throws paper airplanes made out of hotel stationary, Kyle responds and I quote,“ I will deal with the [online school] homework because of our situation and I love our family.”

Kyle leaves the room to take a shower, clear his head, and relocate his perfect space.

Eli asks, “Mom, Mom. Can I take my break now? It has been forty-five minutes to an hour since I asked last time.”

“Yes and you took a lot of breaks during that time.” I respond.

“Oh. Ok, do you want me to work a little longer?”


Then Eli walks over and gives me a hug and goes back to work.

Every single day this is our routine.

Today. Waiting in the Lobby While Our Hotel Room Is Cleaned
Today. Waiting in the Lobby While Our Hotel Room Is Cleaned

Our school is good. It is an online charter school. The boys have a different teacher for each class. They can take honors classes and are knocking off crappy high school requirements, which they would equally hate taking at a traditional school.

Recently (since January 31, 2015, to be specific), limbo means that our family lives in a hotel.  And the hotel has been in some very cool places like Rome, Barcelona, Collioure, Carcassonne, and Toulouse, France, Emeryville, CA, Murray, UT and in a few days, Moab.

We did not simply end up here in four months. See, way back when Dave took this San Francisco-based job (nearly three years ago), we assumed we would simply pick up and move to San Francisco.  Because of the fluidity and unpredictability of start-ups our San Francisco move did not immediately happen and is still up in the air. At first, we continued living in Park City. Dave continued commuting to San Francisco during the week. The boys continued attending school in Salt Lake City (a half hour drive from Park City). And I continued driving them there each day.  A little over a year into Dave’s new job, I decided it was high time to finish my last semester of college. I enrolled in school, which started this crazy daily commute. Once I dropped the boys off in Salt Lake City, I drove myself to Provo, and then sat in classes with lovely college kids much younger than myself. After class I raced back to Salt Lake City, pick up Eli just as his school was ending, then race over to Kyle’s school, and we would head back to Park City. It was much easier when we moved and the commute was Salt Lake City to Provo for classes.

Kyle's Journal Assignment For Art Class
Kyle’s Journal Assignment For Art Class

As far as online school goes, however, soul-crushing is not an over exaggeration. And here is the soul-crushing online school I am referring to.   I completed four other college classes already.  I have two classes left. My senior seminar class is already done. It was a class about Critical Theory of the Memoir. It was a most awesome perfectly suited Beth class. I’ve learned about poetry, how to write critical literary theory, and how to rock a survey British Literature class, and was scheduled to graduate on April 24, 2015, which also happens to be my birthday.  How cool would it have been for me to finally graduate and for me to also graduate on my birthday? Insert every kitschy-cliché here, because, yes, a super awesome gift graduating on my birthday would have been! Consequently, I do not feel special. I feel weird. I have these two classes left hanging over my head.

Because we are all limbo-like, I opted to finish these last two classes online. I have not started them. April 24 is ten days away. I will not graduate on my birthday, and yes, I am having a hard time holding my head high. I think of holding my head high and it keeps trying to fall. I think about my boys. They are my world. I think about how hard this transition is for them. I am proud that they are suffering through all of this online school business. And it warms my cold dark heart when Kyle offers a, “I do it because I love my family.”  I get misty every time Eli walks over and says, “I think you need a hug.” Just like Kyle, I love my family. I want to graduate and am sorry that I let one semester of college hang over my head for so long. I have repaired a lot of damage by going back to school. Just the act of cleaning up my bad grades, getting myself readmitted to school and completing four other classes has healed big parts of who I am. I went back to school because I want to show my boys that yes, even old ladies can finish what they start. As they watched me drive from Park City to Salt Lake City then down to Provo and back before we moved, maybe some of my tenacity rubbed off. Maybe facing my own past will help them face online school now. I hope so. I know our unpredictable life is not so common. I also know that I would not have it any other way. Limbo life is weird.


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