Did you ever wonder what part the Papa plays in our homeschool? Here’s the inside scoop.
After writing our “first-day-of-school post”:/news/2013/bathroom-math-and-other-tales-from-our-first-day-of-homeschool-2013/ last week, I realized that I didn’t include much about Jon’s role in our homeschool. True, Jon is away from home for the main portion of the day, when we get the lion’s share of our school work done. But as Executive Director of the Boyd Homeschool, he integral part of the process and can offer a sterling example to others who wish to participate in the leadership of a flourishing educational institution. So, in honor of his birthday, let me dedicate this post to Jon Boyd and all of the delightful ways we enjoy his capable presence in our school. Happy 47th birthday, my dear! You are a prime number!
h3. Major funding source.
“Why do you have to go to work, Daddy?” Let’s just be clear: it would be difficult to have the means to homeschool without the Sugar Daddy. We’re especially grateful that Jon loves his job at “InterVarsity Press”:http://www.ivpress.com/ and does it so well. And we’re extra-delighted every time he walks in the door at the end of the day!
h3. Teacher support.
I already “mentioned a bit”:/news/2013/bathroom-math-and-other-tales-from-our-first-day-of-homeschool-2013/ about Jon’s excellent skills in talking me down from the ledge when my homeschool anxieties start getting the best of me. We have some very helpful habits established in our school which really help the instructors to flourish. I find that I benefit most from the frequent teacher-support meetings: opportunities to discuss our students and their progress (most effective when held in a candlelit environment and accompanied by a glass of wine and a few choice morsels). We truly value investing in our teachers at the Boyd homeschool, so we prioritize these meetings and schedule them regularly.
“Daddy, Daddy, listen to me!” Every little girl needs an audience, and Papa is our favorite kind. I love puttering away in the kitchen at dinnertime while Lucy or Rosie snuggle up with Jon to demonstrate their growing ability to read. Other opportunities in which you might find Jon listening with rapt attention include piano recitals, original stories, and descriptions of artwork. And don’t even get us started on watching gymnastics tricks.
h3. Chief Safety Officer.
“Mama, do you think I’m old enough to cross the street by myself?” I could probably make some kind of a judgment on this question, but why bother when we live an expert? Trained in Boy Scout safety and armed with sound judgment, we often defer to Papa on tricky questions of physical safety and skill-readiness. Jon also provides hands-on training for skills such as lighting candles, toasting food items in the toaster, and falling from bikes with minimal injury.
h3. General Consultant.
“Mama, do you think we can get a puppy?” Difficult questions require some time and discernment, and this is where Papa comes in. His first role is played in absentia: “Hmm, that is an interesting idea. We’ll have to talk with Papa about it.” Later, when (or if!) the question is remembered, Jon’s presence lends a sense of order and formality to our discussion as we ponder the virtues and challenges of pet-ownership. This process proves to be much more satisfying than Mama’s instinctive response of, “No! I’m not going to be the one to clean up the poop!” Not that I have anything against puppies, but who knows what my reaction might be when the question is posed during a crucial cookie-baking moment?
_Even the Bounce House doesn’t scare off the Papa Lion._
“Pick me up, Daddy!” Although the girls are growing at an alarming rate, they have not yet passed Papa’s weight-bearing threshold, which means they long to climb on him every chance they get. Their favorite positions: climbing on Papa’s shoulders, sitting on Papa’s feet to prevent his walking, reclining on Papa’s lap, and hanging from Papa’s massive biceps. We often liken our children to little lion cubs, especially when Papa Lion has to growl and toss them around. But — watch out! Too much climbing can transform the Papa Lion into… The Tickle Monster!
h3. Musical curator.
Lucy said the other day, “We know lots of Bobs. There are the Bob Books, and Mr. Bob at church, and, of course, Bob Dylan!” Jon takes great pride in exposing our daughters to the finest rock and roll, jazz, disco, bluegrass, and barbershop quartet music available. Jon’s eclectic musical tastes give us all an education as we listen to selections that range from the Grateful Dead to the Go-Go’s to Glenn Gould. We’re lucky that the girls get to hear the best of the best, and in the comfort of their own home.
h3. Politeness Trainer.
It is a little-known fact that Jon Boyd possesses the ability to belch with the volume, tone-quality, and duration only found in a true master. The girls hoot with laughter and egg him on as they watch their sweet Papa open his mouth and release a majestic eructation. They’re bad impressed. But, as only the most conscientious father would, he always ends his performance with a polite “Excuse me.”
_Jon has successfully made a sushi-lover out of Lucy. Here they are, eagerly awaiting her order of masago, tobiko, and ikura (smelt, flying fish, and salmon roe). Lucy balances chopsticks on her head to pass the time._
Not only does the Papa take pleasure in educating his little ones about the joys of music, he also jumps at the opportunity to acquaint our daughters with other valuable cultural events. Circus shows inspired our enthusiasm about gymnastics, while the “recent performance”:http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,94,9 of Shakespeare’s _Comedy of Errors_ resulted in Rosie’s first memorized Shakespeare quotation: “There is a fat friend at your master’s house/That kitchen’d me for you today at dinner.”. Jon has also introduced the children to a variety of food genres (see photo above and entry below), taken them to rock concerts, and schooled them in the art of the road trip.
h3. Fast Food Connoisseur.
Not that I have anything against fast food, but I have a policy about only eating food that I believe is worth eating. Luckily, Jon Boyd doesn’t hold by my standards, and this is how our children are able to grow up experiencing the occasional box of Chicken McNuggets and the accompanying ( and, admittedly, worthwhile) french fries. They love it, and I love staying home and enjoying my sautéed kale (and, later, some chocolate) while reading a novel.
_Jon is reading_ The Jungle Books _to our little monkeys._
Every evening, Mama reads a few picture books to the girls, and then Papa enters the scene for novel-reading time. Jon, Lucy, and Rosie have read some fantastic books together: _A Bear Called Paddington_, _The Great Brain_, _The Wind in the Willows_, _The Rutabega Stories_, and so many more. Currently, they’re enjoying Kipling’s _The Jungle Books_ together. I love puttering around in the kitchen, listening with half an ear to Mowgli’s adventures, and occasionally peeking in to see Lucy combing her mermaid doll’s hair and Rosie doing headstands while Jon reads contentedly.
h3. Tech Support.
The girls (and, to be honest, I) are certainly unaware of the constant tweaks Jon makes on the network of computers in our home. From getting me hooked on “Trello”:http://trello.com to managing our music library, we all benefit daily from the excellent and well-functioning technology in our house. We even sometimes wake up to colorful e-notes on the iPad in our kitchen — our favorite kind of reading practice!
h3. And even more…
Jon’s influence in our homeschool ventures far beyond what can be covered in this post, into the fabric of every part of our family life. I’m so grateful that Lucy and Rosie are so well-loved by their generous, sensitive, and gracious father. And I must say, I’m so glad I picked him! Happy birthday, Jon Boyd!