Yesterday I taught my first lecture of the year. While wandering around my department I chit-chatted with people, and one of them asked about the kids. Specifically, they asked if DD was going to preschool this year. I replied “no”, wishing to simply leave it at that. The conversation then proceeded as follows:
Her: Oh, so you’re going to wait until kindergarten?
Me: Uh no, we’re not sending our kids to school.
Her: Not at all?
Me: No, we’re homeschooling.
Her: Oh wow! You mean you are going to teach them yourself?
Me: Uh, well, sort of. I mean, I don’t need to be the teacher, there are lots of programs out there they can take if they are interested.
Her: Programs? What kind of programs?
Me: Oh lots of things. Arts classes, dance, science, etc.
Her: Oh that sounds nice. So instead of going to school they take classes……But what about academics?
By this point I am really tiring of this. It would take me far too long to explain, and when one is starting from such gross misconceptions about what homeschooling is, it would take a novel to explain it. So I try to cut the conversation short, but then she starts in with how patient and dedicated I am, and how she could never do it. Says she’d go crazy if her kids weren’t in school all day, and then how she isn’t smart enough to teach them stuff but of course I am because I have a PhD blah blah blah….
As I walked away from this I realized that this is only the beginning. As my kids get older, more and more people will ask if they are in school, or what grade they are in, etc. I’m not going to lie, but if I say “we homeschool” am I going to then have to educate every single person who asks? I mean, most of these people are just making polite conversation. The checkout girl at Capers asked DD if she started school this week, and DD just said no. But she’s young enough that it doesn’t elicit too much surprise. Wait until she is older and says “no, I don’t go to school”.
I really need to come up with some short and sweet answers that aren’t going to have me wasting my time trying to educate people who really don’t care and whose opinions of what we do don’t matter. I’m thinking something along the lines of “You know, it’s really not like that at all, but it would take me a long time to explain it. Suffice it to say we’re confident they’ll get an excellent education, which is why we decided to homeschool in the first place”. End of story.
I dunno, it needs work. 🙂