This is my seventh presidential election as a voter, but my first as a father. I have a newfound identification with the egomaniacs running for office, since I’ve realized that every candidate sounds like an expectant parent.
“I’ll create jobs.” “I’ll cut the debt without raising taxes.” “I’ll reduce our dependence on foreign oil.” They’re all said with absolute conviction, which is easy to do when nothing is ever tested. My wife and I were like that before Milo appeared. We had dreams. We talked big. “We’re not going to watch television around him.” “We’re going to read every day.” “We’re going to speak foreign languages, even though we’re fluent in none of them.”
And within six weeks, they all got left on the wish pile, along with our birth plan and weekly date nights. After 10 months, we’re just happy if we bathe him once a week with a squeeze bottle.
As for the election, I’m coming at it with selfish concerns about the future, chief among them the at-best cursorily mentioned college affordability. I believe that the latest projection puts tuition in 18 years at about $14 million per semester.
It’s just an estimate, and even if I’m off by a couple mil, I’ll be honest – I don’t have that kind of money.
So, instead of waiting for the government or universities to rein in costs, Jenny and I are taking action. We’re going to homecollege our kid.
Again, I’ll be honest. Aside from yoga and stand-up comedy, we have little teaching experience. On the plus side, we have 18 years to prepare. We’re still sketching out the details, but we’ll certainly cover the conventional basics of composition, public speaking and geography. I came in second on Jeopardy, so I’m excellent with the tallest mountains west of the Mississippi. We’ll try to hit math and science, but no guarantees, mostly due to our own limitations. More than anything, we view this as a chance to craft a more practical curriculum.
Our college will address the real-world issues of surviving in the workplace, interpersonal communications, and not being a tool. I realize this is stuff we can pass along before Milo’s college years. But kids don’t stop learning English in high school. We’ll provide advanced course work – “On-Your-Best-Behavior Moments: Her Friends Are Judging You,” and “Someone Has to Buy More Paper Towels and That Someone Can Be You” – which somehow are regularly overlooked by the elitist academia.
But it’s not all about the books. It’s a college experience that needs to be had, so we’ll provide ample euchre, free popcorn and Creedence, The Who and Sam Cooke on the iPod because the kid will know his history. It all sounds pretty good; we’ll begin accepting outside applications in 2038. A bit of advice: Your kid should be prepared to bring it hard during the air hockey portion of the interview.
Steve Calechman is a freelance writer, stand-up comedian and first-time dad. Email him at email@example.com.