Okay, admit it. You laughed, then clicked because you weren’t sure what I meant. Let me paint a picture for you. First, let’s go back in time a little (or a lot in my case) and you’re once again ten years old. It’s finally recess. You feel like you’ve been counting the minutes. Then you go to stand and you can’t quite. There’s a cramp in your left knee, a pain in your lower back and you feel like your butt has been remolded to the shape of the hard-wood seat that is attached to your fifth grade desk. This is a flattering notion because the shape of your seat is a square with slightly rounded corners. You’re fairly certain that your butt shouldn’t be that shape and you’ve never felt quite this stiff before (and of course at ten, you have no idea that age will bring these creeks and cramps right back, but then that’s a whole other post). Anyway, just as the horrible thought strikes you that your butt might actually look like your chair, the girl who sits in front of you says something like, “I feel like I’m still sitting, even though I’m not.” Worse, you’ve only been a fifth grader for two days.
Some things have changed. Today’s hard desk seats are molded plastic. The handy hinged
top has been replaced by an open, underseat basket so everyone can see what you’re storing. And the wood against iron squeak on the turning seat is no more — the plastic models that do turn, (not like the one here) have a baring that makes for less noise, though it occasionally leaks graphite on clothes or stops turning altogether. What hasn’t changed is the sitting time, which grows exponentially as the children advance grades (or maybe it just feels that way). I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to hear that the worry of desk-butt is every bit pronounced today as it was in my fifth grade and then sixth grade years. For me, it got better a little in the seventh grade year. I went to junior high then, which operated pretty much like high school, meaning we moved classrooms each class, with a tiny break in between to visit lockers. Our school was so tiny that there wasn’t much point in calling it “junior” because it was the same building as the high school.
So my homeschool is even smaller than the public school I attended (something fifth grade me probably couldn’t have imagined). But it’s much more comfortable. We do some courses at the kitchen table, and, admittedly, the chairs there are pine. We also do some things on the couch or on the living room floor. Free reading can take place anywhere Pumpkin wants. Math drills are usually done on the trampoline or sometimes in the car. There are lots of breaks, including a snack break mid-morning, since Pumpkin needs to eat every 2 1/2 hours to stay in balance. He doesn’t have to get a bathroom pass to take a potty break. He might have to worry about some distractions from Ducky, who is determined to be a mini version of his brother, but otherwise it is much more cozy. He won’t have to squeeze belongings into a desk that always seems too small — he’s got the whole house. He will never have to feel his butt has molded to his seat because there’s lots of opportunity for moving around. There’s even dancing, sometimes — but that’s fodder for a different post.