Saturday, January 23, 2010
Over the past few weeks I’ve been collecting a sort of ridiculous list of homeschooling comments that seriously make me contemplate saying, ”Oh yeah, school, my kids go to school…love it. We’re TOTALLY into public schooling” and then try to conceal my obvious gagging on my own words.
I hosted a party not so long ago. Its normally like a neighborhood event where you know most of the people, some better than others, and its all talk about sports and weather. Good times. Good non-confrontational times. But this year I really wanted to invite some of the homeschooling families in our group because I enjoy them. I should have seen the writing on the wall that sports and weather would not be the main topics of conversation.
Some of the neighbors assumed this party was neighborhood exclusive—I really don’t understand why but anyway, when they (God forbid) didn’t recognize some of my guests they had to ask, “How do you know Jen?” The common answer was “From homeschooling”. As this crept from my friends lips, you could hear the worms slithering on the floor as the open can lay there. There were some in my neighborhood who didn’t know I homeschooled. Ok—who isn’t being “socialized” now? I practically wear a banner on my chest declaring I’m a homeschooling mama. Then there were those neighbors who somehow were ok with our homeschooling since, after all, I was a TEACHER. That somehow makes it all ok. So my homeschooling friends were grilled the usual questions as they slowly side-stepped towards the open bar. “Were YOU a teacher? How do YOU know what to teach? What will YOU do when your child learns more than you know?” Needless to say, the wine flowed heavily that night as I shot apologetic looks to my friends.
The latter of those questions got asked to me and I took a l-o-n-g sip of my wine while I carefully crafted my response since my initial knee-jerk response was to ask this man if he thought I were some kind of idiot or something. His question was how will I teach my children once they are in like 6th grade. So am I to presume that this man-a guest in my home, drinking my wine and eating my food thinks my education is limited to topics under the 6th grade? Trust me it was a really long sip of wine.
Then there was the gentleman who said how I was depriving my kids of great events like (wait for it) SNOW DAYS. He said my kids would not know the joy of waking up to find out that they do not have to go to school because the weather is so bad. He’s right, my kids will never know that joy because they have never been forced to attend school in the first place. And while his kid is whopping it up on that rare January day when its so cold outside; my kids are reveling in the parks when its sunny and warm outside on a weekday in the middle of Spring all day long. How sad for my kids. And by the way--what about kids in Florida or Arizona? They too are deprived of snow days. Maybe we should lobby for their rights.....
Then there was the person who asked me HOW my kids ended up getting sick. I stood there totally puzzled thinking I needed to give a lesson on how germs get passed on from one person to the other and she completed her thought with “I mean since you guys are homeschooled you don’t come into contact with other people.” Wow. I had no idea we lived in some kind of germ-free isolation bubble. I wonder if that would bring down our health insurance premiums? A discount maybe?
A few days after the party I was commenting to someone about what time the party actually ended—which was around mid-night. She asked who stayed that long listing a bunch of possible choices. I told her it had been the majority of the homeschooling friends I had invited and I went on about what a great time we had. Her response: “That’s so weird that the homeschoolers stayed late. Maybe its because they don’t get out much so they were excited.” Umm, they are homeschoolers, not social-leapers thank-you-very-much.
Then there is the random comments that all end with “ because they are homeschooled.”
Your son is good at karate… because they are homeschooled.
Your child is so sensitive….. because they are homeschooled
Your children are_________ (insert ANY adjective here) because they are homeschooled.
Who will your child invite to a birthday party? They must have no friends because they are homeschooled.
Or another one of my favorites is the whole “WOW I could NEVER do that” (the word “never” comes along with feverish head shaking and hand waving) OK—sorry you are apparently incapable of parenting your child for more than a few hours a day. But I’ll have to take your word on it.
And lastly, If I misspell something on Facebook—it is not an opportunity to ask how I will teach my child spelling. It is the result of a stupid tiny phone keyboard not an evaluation of my education. And this is doubly true if it is the middle of the day on a weekday—I know why I’m home but shouldn’t YOU be working NOT Facebooking??
If you are a homeschooler- you know ONLY too well. If you aren’t a homeschooler but somehow come face-to-face with one in a (gasp) social setting, please realize that it is an educational choice almost akin to that of going to a private school. It does not make us freaks, or shut ins, or cult-living people.