A bit of advice: Even on the bad days, never hesitate when asked if you like homeschooling. My suggested response is, “Oh yes! It’s great!” Then smile and flutter your eyes like Mary Poppins and lovingly ruffle your closest child’s hair.
This loving touch is partly a defensive momma bear reflex and mostly a silent warning to my child. He will become pencil shavings if he so much as utters a word about how I threatened to drop them all off at the local elementary school last week after they destroyed my kitchen doing chemical experiments with cooking spices and condiments while I colored my hair in the bathroom. Which, now that I think about it, hair coloring is an excellent idea for a science lab when my roots grow out next month. Two birds with one stone, that’s the mark of a seasoned homeschool mom.
When asked, “How do you like homeschooling?,” a sigh or a pause is enough to fuel a gossip fest about how your hair is falling out, your youngest can’t spell his own name, your marriage is on the rocks, and rumor has it CPS has been contacted by the family pet that no one remembers to feed.
My simple curt reply will usually send the disinterested questioner smiling and carting on down the grocery aisle. And I’m left to wonder if they believe me or not, or were they just smiling out of pity for my own hard-headed pride?
But the more conniving busybody will ignore my brush-off answer and greedily turn to my kids and repeat the question. And so I stop breathing and brace for the random brilliant answers to follow. And by random I mean, who knows what is about to hit me in the face; a glowing review, or a spitball of unflattering honesty.
Some of the varying responses from my husband’s children:
1.“Well, ya?” (looks at me with eyebrows raised and then remembers who’s team he’s on and that he likes to play video games) “I mean, Yes! The food is better. You don’t have to drink skim milk, and the hotdogs don’t taste like wood cleaner. Wait. We don’t have hotdogs much do we? Why don’t you cook hotdogs, mom? Oh, but we did get ice cream for free every Friday at my old school!”
And so I have to point out that the legendary ice cream of the gods he refers to as “free” was paid for by his loving parents via a recharged lunch card. And that our fridge currently contains three differing delectable flavors of Blue Bell ice cream (i.e. the best ice cream in the country), which is a thousand times better than the knock off Blue Bunny bestowed upon him for “free”. And might I also mention that I provide real spoons that don’t leave splinters in your tongue. You’re welcome. Now put back the box of Kellogg’s Fruit Loops Cereal you added to the cart and grab that store brand bag of Fruity-nuff Hoops. You can have a bowl for free on Fridays.
2. “Homeschool is awesome! You get to wear pajamas and sleep late. And we’re done by lunch most days. Except when we do stupid grammar. I hate grammar. “
Well, why didn’t you just tell them we done ain’t learned nothing last day and we ain’t about to start neither!
This response no doubt has the busybody convinced that this child fears being forced to kneel before a crucifix in a pile of uncooked southern grits to increase the pain, in case he gets to wordy.
4. “Sure, I like it. We can pray and say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays.”
And we sew, and plow wheat by day, and we copy from the bible by candlelight each night.
5. “Ya, homeschool is good. We can talk about the presidential election and the government taking all our money and giving it to lazy people.” ( We occasionally everyday watch Fox News at lunch, so we’re fair and balanced.)
6. “I like it. We don’t have to pretend that junk about ‘watch me whip or nae nae’ is real music. Kids these days don’t know what real music sounds like. (Preach it, Gramps!) It’s like not eating carrots at lunch because the rest of the kids will think that you’re weird. But I like carrots. At my old school, they used to all give me their carrots so they could watch me eat them, while they gagged and said eww.”
Rebels of the radio and the lunch room. For some reason it always comes back to the cafeteria for the twins. Who, incidently, love fruits and vegetables. This is not a result of homeschooling. They’re just weird like that, which is the new awesome.
Homeschoolers are a curious life form to many. I still think so too. And all inquisitive approachers are highly suspect of devious intentions. Such as asking my kid to recite Chaucer’s 4th tale and then proclaiming him illiterate when he recites the 3rd instead. pfff. (I may be exaggerating slightly here.)
I don’t care if we braided each other’s hair in third grade, or you sang in the church choir with my mom. You might be plottin’ on me! And any stranger who asks me about homeschooling is a Nazi spy until proven otherwise.
I suppose you could just be asking to keep up conversation, because we’re stuck in a line somewhere and have already exhausted the small talk. “How’s your mom doing?” “Where’d you get your Michael Kors-not bag?” Yadda yadda yeehaw.
But I’m naturally untrusting and presume you are looking for smut to prove that I’m unfit to teach, since you might of just witnessed my youngest gut punch his brother and call him a Democrat. Or that I’m unstable and insane and shouldn’t be allowed to influence young minds because my youngest just used the word “Democrat” as an insult.
Regardless, we “love” homeschooling.
Except when we have to do stupid grammar. But especially at lunch in our pajamas.
Inquiring minds want to know we are not alone. Tell us about it in the comments below!