When the Schoolhouse Is Our HousenSomebody recently did a “study” purporting to discovernthat at-home mothers spend hardly any more time dailynwith their children than mothers who work full-time outsidenthe home. This is a neat trick on the part of the at-homenmoms surveyed, and I would like to know how they managenit. They must have superb child-avoidance strategies tonspend all day in the same house with their children and yetnleave the kids as isolated from motherly contact as if theynwere in day-care.nThe study, and its subsequent publicity, were intended tonmake the same point Gloria Steinem and her ilk have beenntrumpeting for these past 20 years; namely, that mothers atnhome are parasites on society who serve no useful functionnwhatsoever. Traditional women’s work has been gettingnterrible press. So it’s not surprising that otherwise-intelligentnadults, instead of giving such “studies” the horselaugh theyndeserve, might even beheve that mothers who stay home fornan extra nine hours per day with our offspring accomplishnnothing at all in this time.nIt’s just as well that these social scientists didn’t interviewnany homeschoolers. Otherwise they would have been forcednto conclude that mothers at home who homeschool spendnabout 16 hours a day with our children (about seven times asnmuch as the typical mother employed full-time outside thenhome). This would have thrown the entire study off!nConsider a typical day in my own life.nIt’s nine o’clock and the Pride household is swinging intonhigh gear. Joseph (age 7) is cleaning off the breakfast table.nTeddy (9) is vacuuming the living room, Sarah (5) is pickingnup her room, and Magdalene Joy (4) is, as usual, searchingnfor her orthopedic shoes while Franklin (2) follows hernMary Pride is the author of The New Big Book ofnHome Learning, The Next Book of Home Learning,nand Schoolproof, among others. She is the resource editornof Teaching Home magazine and lives in Fenton,nMissouri.nby Mary Pridenaround. I am playing “Little Piggies” with baby MercynGrace while my husband, Bill, installs a new softwarenpackage that just arrived via Federal Express.nA diaper-changing or two later I and the kids are settledndown to serious educational stuff. The three older childrennare reading the Bible to each other and narrating back whatnthey just heard. Magdalene Joy, otherwise known as Beanien(short for “Jumping Bean”), is settled in my lap playing withna felt board and math manipulatives.n”How many apples are on the tree. Beanie?”n’^1.2-3-4-5-6.”n”That’s good counting, but I think you counted onentwice. Let’s try that again slowly.”nThis time she counts the apples correctly. We experimentnwith counting up to ten apples, then try adding one applenand one apple, two apples and one apple, and so on.nFranklin watches all this with great interest, occasionallyncounting along.nThe older children are ready for their Bible memory worknnow. We are using the Bible A-B-C’s from Bible MemorynAssociation — a group of 26 verses, one for each letter of thenalphabet. They all know the verses up through the letter N,nbut the two younger ones have trouble rememberingnchapter and verse after letter F. Beanie hovers around fornour memory drill, joining in with the verses she knows,nwhile Franklin wanders off to play with Mercy in the cornernof the room.nTime for some geography. I write out the alphabet on ournkitchen chalkboard and set Beanie to copying it, firstnmarking off a section of the board for Franky to practice hisncircles and squiggles. I then get out the Where in the World?ngeography game. Today Sarah, Ted, and Joe will be focusingnon North and South American countries. I explain a little bitnabout each country while they are playing the game, e.g.,nthat Cuba is communist and that Argentina recently lost anbattle with Great Britain over possession of the FalklandnIslands. As a counterbalance to all this adult wisdom, I alsonnnOCTOBER 1989/13n