Friday, June 06, 2008

Back to the '70's

When we hear the dreaded "S-word," we homeschoolers inhale and unload our full list of social activities on our hapless interlocutor. You think "homeschool" means my kids are shut up in the house all day? Chess club drama class campfire kids programming lessons swim team park day playdates fencing salle German tutor oh and did I mention she's taking a math course at Big State U.? "Carschooling": when you're committed to so many socialization-promoting activites, classes, co-ops, and extracurriculars that you have to keep workbooks in the van so the kids can get some normal lesson time.

Well that's all changing now, judging by the conversations I've been hearing lately. Most of us are on one, or one-and-a-bit, income, and usually with more children than average, and the gas prices are hitting us hard. Suddenly choices must be made, and Scout meetings in McManorberry may not make the cut.

Here's the questions for my fellow homeschoolers: Are the rising gas prices affecting your homeschooling? What's got to give, and what are you still willing to drive for? We've given up a Park Day with wonderful women because of the thirty-minute drive. The city pool with the diving boards is being passed up for the smaller neighborhood pool a few blocks away.

And how about walking, biking, and public transportation instead of the reliable Soccer Mom Minivan? Where will you still go, just not by car? Today I walked over to the post office with Offspringen #1 and #2 in tow, and mailed a package to my niece in Red Countyville up north. The shipping cost was less than the gas would have been, I noticed. This afternoon, after biking home with Eudoxus, Offspring #1 took the city bus by herself up to the store to buy a birthday present for a friend. (I walked her to the bus stop, which she liked; waited with her, which she thought unnecessary; told the driver where she needed to get off, which caused eye-rolling; and then explained "It's her first time on the bus by herself!" to which the driver smiled and nodded and said "I'll take good care of her!" causing her to nearly slither under the seat in mortification. My maternal work was done, except for the next hour of fretting. But I digress.)

Want to know how your neighborhood rates in the brave new world of $4+/gallon gasoline? Find out at Walk Score. We rated a 77--"Very Walkable." The scoring isn't perfect; we did well for schools, not because of Big State U. two miles away (which is one of the reasons we moved into this neighborhood), but because the chiropractor's school around the corner somehow got counted three times. Still, a useful, if rough, indicator.


Blogger mrsdarwin said...

We didn't drive so much before, and now that dance lessons are finished for the school year we'd be at home most of the time anyway. We do walk to to the HOA pool instead of driving, but we'd walk anyway because it's so close.

We do drive once a week to an acting class I'm teaching for a friend's dance camps, but since I'm getting a stipend for that I guess you'd call it commuting instead of recreational driving.

Mine are probably too young to require that much shuttling around yet. We haven't started any of the rounds of classes or lessons that keep most parents behind the wheel.

I'm impressed with Offspringen #2 riding the bus by herself -- I don't know if I'd be brave enough to let mine go out by themselves.

2:31 PM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Whoops. That would be impressive for a 5-year-old, wouldn't it? Typo corrected.

6:51 PM  
Blogger mrsdarwin said...

Oh, man, that makes the whole story make a lot more sense! I was wondering why the 5-year-old would be mortified by the maternal presence. :)

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Dana said...

I'd love to walk, but nothing is in walking distance. Now we sort of jam everything into one or two days, but that leaves everyone tired and cranky so not so good.

My husband has a 120 mile drive to work, so we have a particularly unpleasant relationship with the pumps. But at the moment, the only real thing we have given up is my plans for the summer. I had wanted to make several short trips around the state with our Roadside History of Nebraska and read it together around the state.

It sounded like great fun. But I think it shall have to take place on a smaller scale than originally intended.

11:27 PM  

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