Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting off the Sofa

I find the hardest part about Homeschooling my dogs is getting off the sofa.

I don’t mean getting my dogs off the sofa. That’s easy. Even if they didn’t know the word “off” (which they do) or understand what it means when I point (which they do) the telltale rattling of the treat jar would bring them running. The telltale rattle of their leashes also brings them running. In fact, the telltale rattling of just about anything brings them running.

( Well, anything but the glass jar I keep the almonds in. Having decided almonds are not a food item, the almond container – and any sounds that emanate from it – is of no interest to them whatsoever. )

Where was I?  Oh yes, lounging on the sofa.

The sofa isn’t a problem when you have to go to a class. For one thing, there’s the embarrassment factor. If you don’t practice during the week then the following week everybody is going to know. Oh sure, they’re going to pretend they don’t see. They’re going to act like they are too busy keeping Spike from peeing on somthing or Killer from attacking other dogs to notice, but you know they know and of course the instructor is certainly going to know. 

Then there is the financial aspect. Having spent $100+ on a six week class (compare to $26/unit at the local JC or $78 for a typical 3 unit class) I feel some at least some sense of obligation to do my homework.

There is also a lot less responsibility when you are in a class. There is nothing to plan for or schedule, no notes or thoughts to organize. In fact, as far as I can tell, a sofa is of no use whatsoever when you are enrolled in someone else’s class.

That isn’t true when you are in charge of your own dog’s education. In fact, not that long ago I was snuggled on the sofa moving my Middle School curriculum into PowerPoint (it looks so much prettier there.) And just before that, I was tweaking my strategy (again) for preparing for the Canine Good Citizen Test. I spent one whole evening constructing that beauty. I bet you can't guess where.

You see, the wonderful thing about being on the sofa is that everything I create there holds such promise. It’s like springtime when you buy those little potted plants and stuff them in the ground. The future may contain drought, or snails, or puppy dog tails, but for one, brief shining moment, that portion of the yard is beautiful.

The same is true for plans made on the sofa. In fact, as long as I stay on the sofa, I can imagine a world where fronts are always straight, stays are never broken, and I am finally more interesting than dirt.

Once I get off the sofa and put my plans into action, I know things will invariably begin to crumble. Skills I had counted on will have somehow evaporated, bad habits (usually mine) will make things harder than they should be, and unrealistic expectations will become apparent.

Meanwhile, as I contemplate whether it’s better to have taught and failed then to never have taught at all, my dogs lie about awaiting education, no doubt wondering what it takes to get me off the sofa.


Wendy Krehbiel said...

It's amazing what you can train while you sit on the sofa! Use it to your advantage :) "go to bed", "go around" (the cofee table), close the door (keeps me from having to get off the sofa to close it after the dogs come back in after a potty break), bring me each of your toys (still haven't figured out a purpose for having a pile of toys on the couch), "slippers" - which in our house is find me a matching pair of shoes, "pajamas" involves sending the dog to the bedroom to get me my pjs (at the moment still needs the help of the hubby, but we're getting there). It's all about being lazy!

BZ Dogs said...

If all the toys are on the sofa then you can't trip over them? Do your boys actually find the "matching" shoe? You hold up a slipper, you get slipper???