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5 things I learned about homeschooling from a puppy

things I learned about homeschooling from a puppy5 things I learned about homeschooling from a puppy ~
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

I’m just going to come out and say it: we got a dog. We didn’t even just get a dog—we got a puppy.

We’ve never had a pet before, unless you count a fish in a bowl on the bathroom counter. (Why the bathroom counter? I guess because it was already wet?)

“Is it like having a new baby?” one friend texted, after seeing the pictures.

Nope! No, it is not like having a new baby. Not so much.

Or more precisely, it’s like having all the laundry of a new baby (it turns out that potty trained before she came home is not quite the same as potty trained at my house), but none of the new baby smell. It’s not quite the same.

Plus the puppy is much fluffier than any baby I’ve ever known.

It’s not like having a new baby, but preparing for her was a lot like the first time we had a kindergartener: we did lots of overplanning, with possibly unrealistic expectations, were super freaked out about worst-case scenarios, had absolutely no ability to go with the flow, and felt pretty sure we needed to buy one of everything (for the kindergartener it was handwriting books and a lesson planner, for the puppy it’s crinkle toys and a crate bed).

I would like to say that we stopped ourselves right there and chilled the heck out, but no. We have no chill. We were still debating brands of poop bags a week later. (Some are compostable! Sort of!)

So instead I will offer you this:

5 things I learned about homeschooling from a puppy

things I learned about homeschooling from a puppy

1. Hold everything loosely.

It’s great to have a schedule and a plan and goals, but your real life will not match the tidy plan you imagined. (Or at least, mine never has.)

Working with the real thing always works better than trying to force live, actual beings to match up to an imaginary ideal plan.

2. No individual decision matters as much as you think.

Should we start the day with math, or reading? Should we take a nap, or take a walk? Just pick. Either it will work out, or you’ll learn something. Win-win.

things I learned about homeschooling from a puppy

3. You don’t need all the stuff.

You might not need any of the stuff. (Are we ordering another game/book/app/tool/kit because it meets a real need, or because we’re worried about missing out if we don’t? One of these reasons will work out better than the other.)

I’m just saying, you can buy all the chew toys and squeakers in the world, but inevitably someone will find an old pickleball in the backyard and spend all day chasing that around anyway.

4. Take a nap.

Alternatively, take many naps.

5. Lean in to the enthusiasm.

Give yourself permission to get excited about what you love, even if what you love is freeze-dried liver. (Or dinosaurs. Or showtunes.) Excitement is contagious, and following your interests will get you to interesting places. It’s a good lesson to learn, whether you’re a puppy or a person.

So tell me, what have you learned about homeschooling from a puppy? I’d love to hear!

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