There I was minding my own business, all curled up with my nose in a book, enjoying the cool mountain air, when my husband’s 2nd cousin (who’s probably in his 60’s) smacks me with a question. You know the one! “Are you homeschooling them kids?’ It’s said with such a disdain that it left a bitter taste in my mouth. I felt my southern roots kick in and I had to resist the temptation to smack him upside the back of his fool head! But as a southern lady I just replied with a smile on my face, “Yes, I am.” Make sure you say it with a southern drawl, Ha ha! Then he looks at me, “All three of em, still?” “Yes, all three of em, ” I reply. Then with a snooty voice he sits further back in his chair and asks me what time I finish them with school for the day and how long are we at each day and I am gob-smacked.
Now please don’t get me wrong. I love talking about my homeschool. I love answering questions for those that are curious, new to homeschooling or anything else. But when there is condescension in the air, it just ruffles my feathers. I just looked at my sister-in-law sitting across from me, whose been playing on the laptop listening to our conversation, and we both looked shocked. Now to answer his question I just simply said “However long it takes us.” I figured that was the truth and I wasn’t going to exaggerate it. My wonderful sister-in-law, who is an assistant teacher replied, “They do it till I get home from school.” Whew! Done, or so I thought.
Then he looks at me and draws a deep breath and as snarky as can be said, “Then what? You let em run around the rest of the time?” Ewwwww! I’m boiling at this point, but I suppress it as best as I can and just tell him, “No! My children have practices and game to go to, church and a million other activities. Then if they have the time, maybe they get to run around.” Done! Conversation over.
Why did he get under my skin so bad? I’ve been doing this for 13 years now. I know better than to let someone get to me like that! Especially people who are uneducated about homeschool or just trying to get a rise out of me. But man did he ever drive me crazy and my sister-in-law, too. I guess it’s like this. No matter how long you’ve been at this or anything for that matter, there are times when we still feel attacked about the fact that we made a decision to go against the norm.
People don’t like it when someone does something that’s different from most of the population. We don’t like it when we feel like we’re cornered or that we’re doing something wrong, because we’re not. I think for me, heading into my oldest daughter’s senior year is putting me on shaky ground again. You know, that feeling you had when you started? Apparently it comes back around if you homeschool long enough. I just have to remind myself that all is well, with me, my family and our school and who cares what someone else thinks, right? Easier said than done, I know. But we just have to put our trust and faith in God who put us on this path to begin with and remember this gentleman who was so critical probably woke up this morning and doesn’t even remember our conversation and hasn’t even given it a second thought. So why should I?
I just hung up after a phone conversation with my adult daughter and updated my facebook to ask “Why in the world would someone call you long distance just to push your buttons?” So, your title caught my eye.
You came up on Tag Surfer by blogging about homeschooling…
From my now private blog (From December 2006):
“I am only in my second year of homeschooling so I am am naïve to the responses I should expect whenever people learn that I homeschool. I was surprised recently when I went to a family birthday party. The adults were sitting in a big circle in a partially finished bonus room and the conversation turned to school. Complaints were raised. I sat quietly taking it all in. What could I add? Why don’t you all homeschool? It would make your life so much easier. No, I just listened and was again thankful that God had called me to homeschool my daughter.
The table turned. I wasn’t to get off so easy. One lady asked, “Is your school district like that too?” I thought for a moment that I should just say yes, instead I honestly stated, “Oh, I am sure it is, but we homeschool.” The whole room grew silent. The woman asking the question dropped her gaze and refused to make eye contact. I was just sad. For a little while, I had been confused with a normal person. My secret was out. I couldn’t pass for normal anymore.
Some people are just nosy, social gadflies who have to get in other people’s business! 😉
I love your comment and what you wrote! I agree with you 100%, some people just want to be nosey. I’ve been reading “The Help”, (hopefully I’ll get to see the movie) and I was reminded how much some people just love to be in other people’s business. I will say for the most part, the longer I’ve homeschooled the better it gets, but this past weekend was a reminder that we’re different and I am soooo glad. I hope you have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by! 🙂
kelli - AdventurezinChildRearing says
Laughing all the way through- cause I’m from the south so I can “hear” it perfectly. I have had little or NO support from family & have pretty much had to start over making friends- (which is ok but not easy) I have one sister in-law who works in the public school system and somewhere along the way I have “completely” put her “off” – it’s sad- I love her!
It can be difficult not to stoop to their level and get “snarky” – like- “yes I do- and they are WAy ahead of the curve & actually REMEMBER what they learn instead of just being trained to pass the FCAT! (that is exactly what is going on in our local schools)
Wow- thanks for letting me get that off my chest! lol
I totally understand ya! My husband’s parents were so against us in the beginning. They asked for years when we were going to quit playing school and put them in a real school. It all stopped when my nephews started not doing so great in their school and my kids were out-testing them. After that, they’ve been sooooo proud of their homeschooled grandkids and even brag about it to their friends/family. It tooks years, but wow! What a change! You post to me anytime to clear your chest, I’m here for ya!
I was homeschooled for a few years when I was younger and loved it. My mom never reported to our district because she believed it was her right as a parent to teach her children w/o anyone else having a say.
Now, with two young children of my own, I hope to homeschool. My sister-in-law homeschools her brood of six boys (most of them, anyway), and my mother-in-law was an elementary teacher and did some work out of her home, so I should have a lot of support, right?
There will *always* be someone who locks horns with you, be it a family member, friend, or complete stranger. Even those of us who are on the homeschooling page have differing ideas of how it should be done. And when talking to my mother-in-law recently about my hopes to homeschool my daughter (I’ll be starting preschool wit her this month), she was like, “well, not every child should be homeschooled…” and went on to talk about its damaging effects. Well, guess that goes to show what she feels about my abilities!
My husband says, “Opinions are like a**holes – everyone has one!” And no, we don’t normally use that language, but it’s a fitting expression.
Amen sister! I love your comment! Sounds like something my husband would say! hahaaha! We typically don’t use that kind of expression either, but if the shoe fits! Thanks for giving for me a laugh today. 🙂
Great article! I have been homeschooling for 15 years and still get upset when I feel someone is just asking to proof their point or to start an argument! My youngest who is going into 5th grade this year wanted to go to public school. I didn’t have a peace about the situation I gave her my decesion today which was one more year of homeschooling and if she wants to go next year or cyber school I will sign her up. I saw you have an article on the same issue on my way to read it now!