What in the world is TGS?
Tele-Granny School! What is that? It is the name I gave to the school our grandchildren and I have been having for over a year via the phone. So far we have had one hundred, twenty-one tele-granny classes!
I am often asked if we do our schooling over ‘face-time’. No. Just over the phone. We live out in the country and face-time is not always reliable (the regular phone is bad enough at times). Besides that, the phone is also challenging enough. I expect we would get very little school done if we could see each other. The boys would be ‘showing’ me all sorts of things—like planes flying overhead, bugs on the porch, hawks sitting in the trees, or funny things their little brother is doing! We have enough distractions as it is.
“Hey, Granny, WAIT! I want to tell you something!”. I hear this often just as we are getting started in a lesson!
“Ok, what is it? Don’t forget we have to do our lesson!”
“Wellllllll, Daddy took us fishing yesterday, wanna know what I caught?”
“Granny! Dad took me turkey hunting yesterday. You just wouldn’t believe the turkeys we saw! Let me tell you about them!”
And so the narratives begin. They are sweet, fun-filled stories of the joy of spending time with their daddy (our son). I am happy to hear all about it, but must watch the clock, as usually we plan an hour for lessons, with each boy getting half-an-hour. This is plenty time for all of us.
How did this begin? Welllll….two of my riding students are teenagers. They talk all the time about their grandma, and the times they spend with her. They are devoted to her! These teenagers love her, and find her interesting and fun! Unlike much of what I have heard since becoming a grandmother myself.
“My grandkids don’t like coming to see Grandpa and me anymore. They think we are boring,” or “It’s too quiet for them around here.”
I have heard these remarks for a long time. So, I asked these young people what they liked so much about their grandma: She is fun! She listens! She is interested in us! She plays games with us! She stays up late with us when we spend our ‘Granny summer camp week’ with her, and she buys all chocolate milk we can drink!
Their mom told me that their Grandma talks everyday with her grandkids. By-the-way, this is a home schooling family.
“Everyday?”, I asked.
“Yes!”, was her happy reply, “They do school together over the phone!”
“What? What do you mean?” this was so interesting to me. So, she proceeded to tell me about their phone school, the subjects they go over everyday of the week. This Grandma stays closely connected to her dear grandchildren via the phone. It is quite obvious how much they care for one another, and this school-over-the-phone has kept their relationship vibrant and strong. She lives hours away from them, in fact, in another state. So this is their means of staying tied together.
Our grandchildren do not live as far away. However, they live far enough away where going to see them everyday (and even once-a-week) can be difficult to manage. As it takes over an hour just to get to their house, this setup is a great solution to the ‘time’ problem.
When I approached my home-schooling daughter-in-law, she was more than happy to get started. What home schooling mom isn’t happy for help? I asked her how I could help her, she asked me what I would like to do, we came up with a plan and began the following week! She sends me her spelling lists for the boys. We pick the books out together, and make sure we have the exact same copies. This makes it easier when discussing them over the phone.
What subjects do I teach? My favorites! Bible, reading, memorization, poetry (they often write their own), and spelling. Every so often I do make a visit to their house, and the fun and laughter we have together is priceless. For we know one another and are friends.
Keeping on task can be a challenge sometimes, and some classes become more than an hour. I figure those are the bonding times between us, and I enjoy their wanting me to be a part of their lives! We have our classes two to three times a week. Everyday is not possible.
When listening to our grandchildren recite The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and to the Bible, or read out loud from the books we are reading I close my eyes and listen to those dear sweet voices, and thank God for this wonderful time.