My Offer to Home College My Grandson
(Warning: Satire, not to be taken literally)
Marion D. Aldridge
My grandson, a junior in high school, recently began the formidable task of looking at colleges. He’s smart and makes good grades, and he’s also an all-area football kicker. Academics and Athletics: the Big Two in South Carolina—so he has a fine resume.
The elephant in the room is a price tag that can be as high as $60,000 per year. Sticker shock! Yikes! A quarter of a million dollars for four years.
So I made the offer to Home College my grandson. Why not? He would enjoy the ultimate small school. I’d sit him at my kitchen table every day for two percent of the fee. What a deal! I think I’ll recruit him. Bargain tuition of $1199.98 per year.
Here are excerpts of the curriculum I envision.
Physical Fitness: For starters, my grandson can sweep, mop, and vacuum inside the house, and plant a garden outside, weeding it weekly. This will also provide lessons in nutrition, especially if he prepares the meals.
Responsibility: After his morning chores, he can wake me from my morning nap for lunch.
Literature. My one promise is he will never be asked to read James Joyce’s Ulysses. He would, of course, read Chaucer, Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, and Maya Angelou. After those, I’m flexible.
Science. We’d take field trips to the Galapagos Islands, the Chattooga River, and NASA. He could hire out to intern at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and I could go along and chaperone. We could take in a Cubs or White Sox game and study velocity of pitches, the arc and distance of home runs.
History. The Revolutionary War happened in South Carolina. That’s simple enough. Trips to Camden, Cowpens, and Ninety Six. We could try to find and excavate one of Francis Marion’s camps among the Tupelo trees on Snow Island.
Ethics: I’d stick with the Golden Rule. (Bonus information: The Seven Deadly Sins do not specifically mention blueberry muffins.)
Math. He could tutor his grandmother since he is already way beyond her ability to tutor him. He went beyond my skills years ago, too. His aunt could teach him statistics. Baseball games at Fenway Park would be the place for geometric and statistical calculations.
Music: With a playlist of songs from the 1960s, the Beatles, Ray Charles, the Mamas and the Papas, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, Buddy Holly, Etta James, and James Brown, his music education would be complete. Class dismissed.
Theology. I figure we could go to a cemetery and sit a spell. Walk around some. He could think about life and death. How many college kids take advantage of this opportunity?
Law. We could visit courtrooms for a few days. He would begin to wonder if these people were crazy or just mean. The criminals, not the lawyers.
Politics: I taught him everything I know about government before he was twelve. Government should benefit the governed, not the governors. That’s a hard lesson for politicians to learn.
Psychology: I will teach my grandson all the psychobabble I know, because I think most of it’s true. Life is a journey. One event or one decision will not make or break you. This too shall pass. One day at a time. Keep on keeping on. Hang in there. Every day is classwork, not the final exam. Mind your own business. The goal is progress, not perfection.
That’s my offer.
By the way, the kitchen table seats four. Do the math: four times $1199.98 equals $4,799.92. That’s enough to buy us all ice cream at the ball game. My treat.