Spitting Mad Mama Llama

It is 4 am in the morning on Wednesday. Yes, I write these posts in advance. Deal with it.

Now Christine, that wasn’t very nice. Stop being so grum-…

Shut up, you!

This is what happens when I wake up at 2am from a dream, convinced I heard the doorbell (I didn’t, the dogs would have pitched a fit if it had) and then I’m unable to get back to sleep.

The situation worsens when I decide that now, yes, now is the time to enter my info for the upcoming November through January homeschool co-op. At 4am in the morning.

And did I mention I’m PMSing?

Oh yeah, it’s on – kind of like llama spit.

I belong to two different homeschool groups here in Kansas City. They are both secular homeschool groups, one is geared towards the older crowd and has a central location – we meet once a week for classes. The other is geared for the younger and just-getting-started crowd and has more of a focus on field trips and one-time classes.

Now the latter group requires that you teach a class in order to be allowed to participate in the co-op. I participated one semester, sat out two, and I was hoping to get back on track for the upcoming November through January semester (I believe there are four throughout the year).

The process, though, seems less than straightforward. First, you fill out a form stating that you intend to participate in the co-op for the upcoming semester. Then you are granted access to the Google calendar – and I thought that meant more than just viewing it, that you could also POST on it.

Maybe a little toggle has not been thrown, maybe I’m supposed to use the calendar on the homeschool group website, I…don’t…know.

And at 4am, and Day 20 of my cycle, I’m losing patience and feeling…llama-like. I sent the following email to the poor, unsuspecting co-leader of the group:

I’m so frustrated I could spit. If I were a llama, it would be so…messy round here.

I can SEE the Google calendar, but cannot post to it. Why?

Should I be submitting the event through the Homeschool calendar on the Homeschool website?

WHY does this have to be such a frickin’ nightmare?

Now, granted, it’s 4am in the morning and I’m cranky because I woke up at 2am CONVINCED someone was ringing the doorbell. The dogs didn’t make a peep so it must have been a dream and then I could NOT get back to sleep, but, honestly, this whole co-op system sucks ASS. I’m sure I’ll see you this morning and you’ll give me the stink eye for sending such a bitchy email and I won’t really blame you but please help me figure this damn system out before I do turn into a spitting mad llama mama.

I dunno, she’ll probably spit at me or laugh. I’m hoping for the latter.

On a serious note, if you are considering organizing a homeschool group, keep in mind both sides of things. It takes an enormous amount of time to coordinate these kind of co-ops (yes CH, I am on your side, I really am!) especially because you have to make it easy for the parents to want to participate and to actually, you know, participate.

Perhaps this goes back to my herding cats post, but it is also a reminder, again, to homeschoolers to:

  • Consider all the needs of a co-op and streamline the process as best as possible
  • Be dependable, friendly, and ready to lend a helping hand
  • Keep an open mind and go the extra mile

I’m betting that CH will laugh with me later and then, hopefully, flip that mysterious toggle or walk me through the process, so that I can post my contributions to the co-op this semester.

I fear too, that a great deal of people who could contribute something fantastic are getting frustrated by this same process and, instead of asking for help, they are walking away angry, frustrated and…well…alone. We need others to bounce ideas off of, commiserate with at times, and talk us down from the edge at those moments when we doubt ourselves.

So…it’s 4:30 am and I’m calmer now. I guess I can step down from the edge of becoming a spitting mad mama llama.

Friday update: I’ve successfully added two classes to the schedule in December – “So…You Want a Chicken?” and “Sweet Creme Brulee” – check them out. Feeding chickens? Playing with a blowtorch? What’s not to like?

And if all this makes you think, as it did me, of Llama Llama, Red Pajama well then, go out and get the book. It really is quite a sweet story.


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One Response to Spitting Mad Mama Llama

  1. Lara Hampton says:

    Wow. Just wow. I’m sure you feel like you are coming across as delightfully funny (albeit at others’ expense) but as one of the behind the scenes targets, I find this pompous, rude and judgmental. Did you even read the very detailed instructions about how to add a class to your calendar?

    An excerpt:
    2. When you have been invited to see KCHS’s calendar, you are ready to add your class. You pick the day and time of your class. Read our few rules linked above to understand what constitutes a “class.” You can have a one time class or field trip, a recurring class or multiple unrelated classes. It’s up to you. Open the google calendar that you magically have now that you have a google account and pick your class day and time.

    3. Add the class directly to your calendar. You should be able to see KC Homeschool’s calendar on yours so you can avoid conflicts with other classes if possible.

    VERY IMPORTANT ** Check the box to make your event public (this isn’t public to the whole world… just public to those invited to see your calendar) and add kchomeschool@gmail.com as a guest. If you do not add kchomeschool@gmail.com as a guest, we will not receive your submission.

    4. Please give guests the ability to modify the event, invite others and see the guest list. These features will only be used by KC Homeschool co-op administrators.

    I followed these instructions the first time I made a submission and had no trouble.

    We are not paid employees, we are busy moms with multiple children, outside employment and very hectic stressful lives that try to bring people together for co-op activities with the few free moments we scrounge up. Are there occasional glitches? Of course. Are some of them because we get distracted by life? Yes. Have we designed the co-op sign ups in such a way that it takes a few less hours for us to manage? Yes. If you would like to take a stab at editing our instructions to make the google calendar more user friendly, have at it. If you would rather just sit back and make judgmental comments from the sidelines I understand that as well.

    Christine, I have been to your house and had an absolutely delightful time with my daughter in one of your co-op classes. This post really shocked me and totally made me rethink my image of you. A co-op is just that—a co-op—which would be a group of people with equal responsibility in making things work well. That we take on a bit of EXTRA responsibility to organize should not open us to public ridicule.

    I wish you and your lovely daughter well.