Introducing our newest monthly column, “Renaissance Dad,” written by Southwest Washington husband, father, chef, nonprofit founder, published author, and all-around entertainer, Perry P. Perkins.
When my wife and I first discussed the option of home-schooling our daughter (AKA the Pickle), I was all for it. No more 6 a.m. alarms. No more carpools or drop-off lines. No more having to remember to put actual food in her lunch-box, and no more trying to think up new excuses for why she was late. (My car had “broken down” so many times that the teachers had all chipped in and bought us a AAA membership.)
I already worked at home, so I grasped, immediately, the advantages of being a home school teacher. Namely that I can wear the same sweatpants for a week and spray squeezy-cheese directly from the can into my mouth and nobody was around to judge me.
What more could a dad ask for?
I figured that some of the curriculum would require a bit of study on my part, but I have a pretty good imagination, and it has served me well over the years in spackling over the various gaping holes in my own education.
An hour in a McDonald’s Play Place? That’s “Gym Class”, baby! “The Godfather II” is clearly an important lesson in American History, and there’s a lot of science in baking a pan of brownies.
(I’m joking, of course. We watched “The Godfather” first, or “The Godfather II” wouldn’t have made any sense. Timelines are important!)
To be honest, in the back of my mind, I kinda thought there would be some kind of vetting process. That, at some point, someone from the board of education would do a background check and realize that they were about to trust the education of a brand new human person to someone who was (true story) told by his high school principle that in 40 years in education, he had never had a student graduate who had skipped as many school days as I had.
So, I assumed, as any rational human being with a brain larger than a goldfish would, that when the home school people saw my application they’d laugh, I’d laugh, my request would be politely denied, and then someone would show up in the middle of the night to take our child away for her own safety.
But, no . . . to my surprise (and profound disappointment in the American education system) a couple of weeks later I came home to find a refrigerator box filled with approximately seven-thousand text books, a pile of DVDs. and a three-page instruction manual, on my porch.