When it comes to doling out the relaxation, I think I am more owed than owing. See how my laundry room looks?
I put a gallon of paint on the wall. Unfortunately, I need another gallon to deal with the other half of the room, so my photos all resolutely face the one direction.
This room is also my 'school room' and though some people on this earth have lovely school rooms with lots of coordinated colours and tasteful wicker baskets in cubbies, I am stuck in the wretched teal laundry room, with some kind of weird rubber floor and no practical (or beautiful) storage options.
When I started homeschooling (FOUR years ago, good grief) I resisted all pretense to formality. I didn't like the preoccupation that other HS mothers had with their schoolrooms. It felt like playing, to me - like they were more interested in lining up pretty glass jars with paintbrushes in, than they were in facilitating their children's natural tendency towards discovery.
It was a 'baby' and 'bathwater' thing.
Now, with Charlotte starting Grade Four, I've noticed a few things. Firstly, the higher the grade, the more organisation you need. The simple fact is, there is more to cover. The time commitment is greater, the content is more demanding, the child is more inquisitive and both deserves and can handle more detailed information. A kindergartner can be given an important lesson just by handing them scissors and coloured paper, and reading them "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish". It doesn't keep a nine year-old nearly as busy.
Secondly, the dark, cold, chaotic laundry room just doesn't have the right vibe. The feng shui of the place practically pushes you out of the door physically. It's like a WalMart - the second you walk in, your hips start to hurt, your feet cramp, the fluorescents make your eyelids twitch and you get an irritable headache. That's not good enough for my kids.
Lastly, we keep thinking of it as the 'laundry room'. That is just plain bad prioritising. It can't be 'the laundry room where school happens', it has to be 'the schoolroom where laundry happens'.
So I'm making a schoolroom. It has a map of the world, it has an art line. It has a dictionary and a thesaurus, and a guinea pig. It will have a globe, soon, and a magnetic calendar. It has a weather chart, a planisphere, several compasses and a protractor.
And it will have math, and spelling tests, and hand cramps from writing, and it will have lying-on-the-carpet (when we get one), and listening-to-audiobooks-while-painting, and playing-with-the-guinea-pig, and lying-around-knitting.
So it won't be a place of constriction, or a monument to the mainstream, and it doesn't make me a martinet, or my children droids.
I think I can handle it.