Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Dangers of Homeschooling

Our youngest kid, Screamapilar, spends days at a time in his pajamas. Often he will get dressed twice in a week: Mondays at 3:15 for his online science group sponsored by our library, and Wednesdays at 3:15 for the library's online art group. Some Wednesdays he can't immediately change back into pajamas because he has a Zoom call Primary Activity at 6:30. Those days are trying for him.

One of the unfortunate side effects of allowing him to dress every day like it's Saturday is that he's come to believe it actually IS Saturday on days when it is not. Or whatever day of the week he wants. A few weeks ago he woke up on a Thursday and declared it was Friday. We could not convince him otherwise. Since it was "Friday," he refused to do his Thursday school courses. I told him, "Mom finishes work at 1 on Thursdays and at 2 on Fridays, so when Mom walks in at 1:30, you'll know it's Thursday." But then my wife made some stops on her way home and didn't get here until after 2, which he declared proof that he was right all along. He said, "I know it's Friday because when I woke up I said to myself, 'Tomorrow is Saturday.'"

Today there was a minor disturbance in the dining room. Crazy Jane kicked open my door, carrying a hysterical Screamapilar. She dumped him on my bed and said, "He won't do school because he thinks it's Saturday." Now, just yesterday I had read a Twitter thread from a guy who advocated betting against his children. (I'd link to that but searching Twitter is a fool's errand. If you didn't note the tweet's URL at the moment you saw it, you'll never find it again.) Anyway, the guy's point was that he was using wagering to teach his daughter about knowledge and certainty. So I said to Screamapilar, "I will bet you that it's Thursday, and if I win you owe me a dollar, but--"

"I don't have a dollar!" he said.

"How much do you have?"

"Fourteen cents."

"Fine. If I win you owe me 14 cents, and if you win, I owe you $1,000."

"No, because then I won't have any money."

"So you acknowledge that you will lose this bet?"

"No."

"If you are correct and I am wrong, you should turn your specialized knowledge into money. You will be performing a service by educating me of the error of my ways."

"I don't even know if you have a thousand dollars."

"What, I've got to login to my banking app and show you the balance? Fine." I got my phone and showed him my current bank account balance. "So now you'll take the bet?"

"No."

"Listen, [Screamapilar], you need to do one of two things right now: either take my bet, or stop saying it's Saturday."

He burried his head in some pillows and made angry noises for a while. But when he came out from under the pillows, he stopped saying it was Saturday, and now he's doing school.

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