School lunches around the world. H/t Maggie’s Farm.
What a neat idea.
It’s kind of funny- most of the USA versions include that ubiquitous waxed cardboard milk container. Once you’ve had that, the flavor of it ever leaves you. You may recall this post of two or three years back:
Many years ago when our two older girls were about 9 and 10, they also started to complain about wanting to go to school. The oldest had been to public school kindergarten, and this left her with the mistaken impression that public school was all about coloring, with brief interludes for playing on the monkey bars. When they weren’t complaining about wanting to go to public school, they were just complaining, mumbling, grumbling, and murmuring. They were dragging their feet at their schoolwork, whining about how much more fun public school would be, and just generally dragging down my own spirits.
In some cases this might happen because the expectations and workloads are too high, but I knew for a fact that my children were not being overworked. They just had unrealistic ideas of public school, caused in part by the fact that the oldest had been only to kindergarten, influenced by a bad companion, and fertilized by their own discontented attitudes which we had allowed to fester far too long.
So, my husband and I put our heads together and plotted, and what we did was have a public school day. I dragged our two school desks (used mainly for private art projects) into the dining room. I gathered every boring workbook and textbook I could find. I made a bathroom pass (huge) for them to carry down the hall to the bathroom. I called a friend and asked what the school lunch was for that day, and I made it (fortunately it was meatloaf, which they hated, and not
pizza;-D). I even had a bell to ring at set times. I bought milk in individual cartons and served peas.
We started the school day when Daddy got them up early enough to go to school, insisting that they dress as for school from head to toe (which meant my barefoot contessas had to go shod, which they hated), I fed them a quick breakfast, and then shooed them out the door to march around the block to ‘school’. In the snow. Uphill. Both ways. Daddy went with them to keep them safe and to make sure they didn’t dally along the way so they wouldn’t be late for ‘school.’
When they came back around the block to our door they came in and started school. They had to sit in their desks, raise their hands to speak to me, ask permission to use the bathroom, carry a bathroom pass when they did get permission (and sometimes they did not receive permission) eat their lunch at the public school’s lunch time, and eat typical school lunch fare. No treats in the mid-morning. NO snuggles on the couch. No sudden school breaks because Daddy came home and wanted to romp. No handwriting lessons in shaving cream. No playing with the baby (Daddy took the baby to another part of the house). They had to call me “Mrs. Heartkeeper” instead of mom.
We did this all day, keeping the same hours as the local public school.
Then we had an unexpected blessing- although I thought it would be a problem at the time. It turned out the public schools had been canceled because of snow, and all the p.s. kids were outside playing in the snow. I had seen them earlier, but didn’t say anything. My two Progeny noticed them after lunch, and when my children noticed, they indignantly complained.
“HEY! The public school kids have a snow day, so how come we’re playing ‘public school’ and we’re inside doing school while they are outside playing?! That’s not fair!”
I pointed out that they were usually done with homeschool ‘work’ by this time and were outside playing themselves, and they often played in view of the public school kids (we lived near the school). ‘You see,’ I pointed out, ‘this is what it’s like to be in public school. You would be sitting in the classroom watching homeschooled kids like you going outside to play after lunch, riding their bikes in the spring and sledding in winter. Because of the Snow Day, you are really getting the full impact of being public schooled, and you need to quit being distracted by watching those other kids out playing and complete your assignments. School is not out yet for us.’
They seemed to understand the point, and so I did not assign the planned homework.;-)
This ‘public school day’ had added benefits. The two eldest Progeny remember it so well and with such distaste that when their youngest siblings later began to grumble, they nipped it in the bud immediately, telling their little sisters that they didn’t know how good they had it, and they’d better be nice, or else Mom would serve them milk in a tiny cardboard carton, and that was disgusting. Yes, the school lunch is what made the single biggest impact on them.
To this day, I mention the Public School Day and they instantly taste cartoned milk and cooling peas, see visions of children tumbling in the snow while they are stuck doing pen and paper lessons, and remember getting up far too early and trudging around the block to go to school.
But mostly the nasty taste of milk in a cardboard carton.