What To Watch After a Long Day of Homeschooling

Reviewer Adam Petty shares what's getting his family through with a sense of adventure and humour.

Phineas and Ferb are two brothers on summer vacation. Finding themselves with copious amounts of time on their hands, they spend it by creating elaborate inventions, thwarting the machinations of the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz, and annoying their sister Candace. My kids may not be creating elaborate, James Bondian contraptions, but they sure do have a lot of time on their hands now, and this show that celebrates imagination and open-ended, unstructured play is the perfect inspiration for them. For me, too – once we’re done with “home-learning” (heavy sigh) in the morning, there’s an awful lot of daylight left until bedtime. If a silly cartoon inspires my kids to construct a catapult out of egg cartons, so much the better!

Also, folks, I’m going to be honest with you. When it comes to preparing meals right now, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel. Literally: we got an industrial-size vat of cheese balls from Costco, and my orange-crusted fingers reach the bottom of it when I get my kids a snack for the seventh time this hour. Thus, it brings me immense comfort to watch The Worst Cooks in America, where cooks whose instincts in the kitchen are even worse than mine attempt to make chicken parmesan and have the results look more like a crime scene. As I struggle through teaching my kids and slapping together PB&J sandwiches, watching hapless cooks flounder before ultimately improving is a balm to my weary soul. Perhaps, one day, I too shall cook a flawless steak frites.

Read more of our writers’ recommendations:

These are atypical times, and we thought it fitting to publish an atypical review section in this issue. Instead of our normal format, we’ve gathered some reflections from regular contributors on what’s helping them through social distancing, social upheaval, and, well, just the strange state of affairs in which we find ourselves. Music, books, TV, and film are such great helps in trying times. They help us escape to new worlds and far-off places, while also offering wisdom and insight to help us understand this sad and beautiful world. All that and more. Maybe you’ll find something here that’ll help you, too! – Brian Bork, Reviews Editor

  • Adam’s work has appeared in many venues, including the Paris Review Daily, Electric Literature and Real Life. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and two daughters.

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