Monday, October 5, 2009

Home-school arithmetic lesson

My wife is the cafeteria lady at the academy, which explains why she's been forced to entrust me as substitute teacher at The McCain School while she's at work. This isn't how we planned it, but necessity is a mother, IYKWIMAITYD.

So, immediately after I'd assigned Emerson to supervise Reagan's kindergarten spelling lesson -- "bring," "better," and "about" are her Words of the Day -- the phone rang and my wife started telling me that she'd paid the past-due car payment and was planning to go pay the electric, for which we had a shut-off notice. (Hit the tip jar, but fret not. We are past masters at the financial genius of strategic delinquency. and don't plan to be living under a freeway overpass any time soon.)

Just as my wife was burdening me with this discussion of the creditors who'd been neglected while I was in Kentucky, I looked out the window to see the mail truck pull up to the box.

"Hey, the mail's here," I said. "I'm walking out in my pajamas to get it."

This embarrasses Mrs. Other McCain, who's still on the phone when I get to the box to find good news.

"Hey, the Spectator check's here," I say.

"Good," she says. "Oh, I forgot to tell you, there's two other checks for you on top of the piano."

"Two other checks?"

"Yeah, your Google Ads check and your Amazon check came last week."

"Well, now you tell me."

Anyway, I go back in the house, open all three checks, separate them from the stubs, and hand them to Emerson.

"Get out your notebook and add 'em up," I say.

Emerson just brought me his notebook and showed me his work. Of course, his work was perfect. (The sum was more impressive to my 8-year-old than to me, since I earned an equivalent amount in salary during a single day less than two years ago.) The value of this lesson, however, was not about the simple arithmetic. Rather, it was intended to teach him how capitalism works:
  • Dad writes 16 hours a day like a crazy fool.
  • People send Dad checks.
  • Everybody gets to ride to the bank with Dad and stop by Sheetz for slushies on the way home.
So, what did your kid learn in school today? Hit the tip jar. Lessons this valuable are worth it.

P.S.: Necessity is a mother. One of the things we've neglected lately is to purchase printer paper, so I've been recycling by printing on the back of any old stuff laying around my desk (of which there is an awful lot).

Anyway, I grabbed some scrap paper to print out the preview of this post -- let 10-year-old redheaded Jefferson read it aloud to his siblings on the way to the bank -- and happened to notice it was from a draft manuscript I'd read a few months ago: "Hunter Biden raked in the MBNA consulting payments . . ." Best. Book. Evah!

Remember to check Page 291. I Write For Money, and there are five A's in raaaaacist.


  1. Don't know how I missed it, but I did not know you home schooled your children. I like you better now. Didn't think I could, but I do.

  2. Ahem. (Again.)

    Your papers were not "laying around" on your desk. They were "lying around" on your desk.

    Do you home-school your kids with that set of casual grammatical sensibilities?

  3. Wow, this is nuts. We homeschooled our daughter and it was a struggle with no end. Doing the same to SIX of the little troublemakers would have driven me into cemetery. Keep it up!