How Homeschooling Is Like
the Frog in the Toilet
By Linda Dobson
I was home alone, and it was time to get ready for bed. As I approached the bathroom, only dimly lit by soft lamp light outside the room, I saw the outline of something in the sink. Curious because I knew I hadn’t left anything in there, I drew closer, stopping in my tracks when I realized that instead of resting down by the drain in its normal position, the drain stopper was standing straight up just as far as it could possibly go.
I didn’t want to go into the bathroom. My mind immediately turned to a plumbing problem – a major plumbing disaster according to the feat I was witnessing – and it was late, I was tired, and I know plumbers aren’t cheap. At least I could shut off the water and grab toothpaste and brush to use elsewhere if they hadn’t been swept off in a flood.
Flipping on the light revealed nothing out of the ordinary, so I pushed the drain stopper down into its normal position. It dropped down to the sink, unable to stay in an open position. Not only had it popped all the way up; clearly, it was broken. I grabbed toothpaste, brush, and eye drops, turned to leave, and noticed that the stopper was sitting open a tad higher than normal height. I looked closer. That’s when I saw it.
One closed eye.
I grabbed my supplies, turned out the light, and slammed the door shut behind me. Now what do I do? A giant frog was destroying my bathroom!
Figuring he couldn’t do much more damage, I decided to wait until morning to deal with him, assuming I’d get one of those middle-of-the-night terrific ideas. No ideas came; heck, even sleep was elusive when, based on the size of one closed eye I lay there imagining just how big that frog was, the one I had to deal with in the morning.
After the first cup of coffee, I grabbed an empty mayonnaise jar from the recycling bin. I would catch him. Nope. The mouth of that jar just wasn’t big enough. I decided, instead, to go on frog safari with a plastic flower pot, using another pot’s saucer to cover the top after capture. That should be big enough.
Cracking open the bathroom door ever so slightly, I looked up, down, all around. Good; he must still be sleeping. Nope. No eye in the drain. He was gone of his own accord! I returned the flower pot and saucer to the garage. When it was time to use the bathroom, habit took me into that one. I raised the toilet lid. The giant frog apparently needed to stretch – or swim – or both, because there he was. I let the lid slam back of its own accord.
Guess it’s about time I made a connection between the giant frog and homeschooling, huh? Okay.
How Homeschooling Is Like the Frog in the Toilet
Homeschooling is like the frog in the toilet because it puts education into a less-than-common context. You know how to handle a child’s education (I use the term “education” loosely here to not get off point) in the school context because that’s a more common experience. I know how to handle the presence of a frog out in the yard because that’s a more common experience. Start tearing humans out of “what they know” and throw them “outside of the known comfort zone,” and we can pretty easily grow frightened, worried, stressed, suffer insomnia, and see our challenges as giants to slay. Now, back to my frog, shall we?
By this time my fiancé called to say good morning. I relayed the unfolding horror story to him. “Flush the toilet,” said he. (How can men be so practical when you’re supposed to be panicked?) I didn’t want to, but I did. The frog disappeared. A few minutes later I went back to check just to make sure. The frog was back.
“I think I can get him,” I said into the phone. Peeking once again under the seat cover I added, feeling quite silly, “because it seems that somehow he shrunk. He’ll easily fit into the mayonnaise jar.” My fiancé, sweetheart that he is, waited until after I captured the frog in the jar and set him free outside before explaining that any frog that could fit into the drain could never have been classified a “giant” of the froggy world.
Calm Down and Enjoy Homeschooling…and Frogs
Another perspective, a much calmer, level-headed one, shrunk an ordeal with a giant into an easily managed task. The same exact thing happens when you turn to a homeschooling support group, more experienced homeschooling parents, or trusted authors when you have a “homeschooling giant frog.” All can calm you, provide level-headed advice, allay your fears, and encourage you to feel perfectly capable of the task at hand. No, not freeing a frog, homeschooling your kids.
It was a tad embarrassing to realize I’d made a giant out of a cute little frog, but someone who cared about me and understood the realities of the situation helped without judging. Your homeschooling friends will do that for you, too.
And that, dear readers, is how homeschooling is like the frog in the toilet.