Homeschool by Ear: A Sound Study

This post was inspired by Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Blogging from The Daily Post.

If I’m lucky, it’s silent when I get out of bed except for the chirps and tweets of the birds through the open window and, a little later, the running water from the tap as I rinse the greens for my morning smoothie.

The next sound I hear is the door to the bedroom opening, the pad of little bare feet on the hardwood floor, and then the slam as the bedroom door is closed again. Moments later, my three-year-old appears at the kitchen doorway.

Then comes the sound of a toddler making sometimes contradictory breakfast requests, yelling at the cat to stop eating his cereal, screaming and crying because I won’t make him a third breakfast that we’ll just toss in the garbage/relinquish to the cat.

In the middle of this, another voice appears, this one older but still youthful, female, rusty with sleep. “Mommy, may I have some milk please? Mommy, I’d like scrambled eggs. With no brown and kind of slimy. Remember, Mommy. No brown. Mommy, how many babies do you think a bassett hound has?”

The sound of Kelsey Grammer reading The Cat in the Hat tells me that my son has successfully scaled the step stool and put his Dr. Seuss audiobook in the kitchen CD player.

The blender motor, like a small airplane taking off in our kitchen drowns out the cries of my children, red-faced as they yell. I see their lips form the words: Turn it off, Mommy! Turn it OFF!

Eggs crack then sizzle, the CD skips. “Mommy! It’s got scratches! Mommy, fix it! It’s got scratches!”

Water runs, accompanied by the hollow clank of dishes in the stainless-steel sink and instructions from me to get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair.

Finally at the table, finally done with breakfast, homeschooling is mostly quiet. My son gives voices to his toy elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers or pours beads from a plastic bowl onto a metal cookie sheet. My daughter and I do math (“4…8…12…16…”) or grammar (“am [clap], is [clap], are-was-were [clap]…”) or writing (“What was Arrietty’s bedroom built out of? What did the Borrowers call the people who lived upstairs?”) or science (“No, Mommy, not Calisto. The seas of Europa were where scientists thought they might find life…”).

Then the vocal sounds of our flutes intertwining through tone studies and scales, Dvořák and Bach, Mozart and Gluck, Minuets and Gershwin show tunes.

There are other sounds intermingled with these.

My son: “Mommy, read me this book. Read me this book, Mommy. No, right now!”

My daughter: “I KNOW it’s a D! Don’t tell me! I was just going to play that!”

My son: “A, B, C, D, E, F, G…”

My daughter: “UGH! Stop it! Mommy, he’s trying to tackle me!”

My son: “Look, Mommy! Sister and me are huggling!”

My daughter: “Look, Mommy! He’s giving me a huggle! Take a picture of us!”


Lunch follows, and a walk around the neighborhood, and reading aloud in my daughter’s bedroom. I deflect my son’s requests for a Super Why! video and promise that the next book will be one of his picture books rather than one about the solar system or ancient Persia that I’m reading to his sister. In the afternoon the sounds become less structured as organized schoolwork gives way to puzzles and reading and trips to the garden to see how the cantaloupes are growing and to fill with ripe tomatoes the pockets we’ve made in our shirts by holding up the hems.

3 Replies to “Homeschool by Ear: A Sound Study”

    1. I must write well if even the screaming sounds blissful. 😉 (or perhaps that’s a sign of writing poorly…)

      At any rate, thanks for the comment!


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