Sunday, August 23, 2009


I've always found it entertaining to shop during this time of year. Entertaining, yet frustrating, too. Example from my own life:
run out of milk, cringe, remember my local corner store carries our brand, hop on over to said store, enter front door of store, immediately regret my decision to live in suburbia and not own my own goat/cow/sheep/camel/whatever on 100 rolling acres. Trying to navigate past the swarming hordes of mom/child teams fighting over the last of the school supplies, I run into someone I recognize, who is ensuing in said melee.

"Oh hi! Are you getting school supplies, too?" The inevitable question. Innocent enough.
"No-just getting milk!" I reply.
"You're one of the smart ones-I bet you got your shopping done early, huh?"

Unforgivable. (Not really, she's a sweet gal, I just overreact when I'm in a hurry.)

At this point I realize that I will have to come out of the closet and admit to this casual acquaintance that I keep my daughter at home to learn. In years past, when Olivia and I would go to the grocery store on a 'school day' and we were asked if she had a day off or teacher institute day by complete strangers, I'd smile, nod my head sweetly and exit quickly in nervous frustration.

These days, my reaction tends to be more natural and relaxed, and I usually end up in discussion with the checkout person. We talk about how they know someone who homeschools, the pros of homeschooling, how much time Olivia and I get to spend together, etc. One young mama tending the register at our local bargain store even asked for advice on how to start learning at home with her child. In other words, these days I try to connect.

Which is exactly what I end up doing with the acquaintance in the corner store, amid the flying color-coded folders and endless lists of required objects public school families must purchase. (However did the pioneers manage? Oh, sorry, that's another rant for another day...)

While still eyeing the milk shelf, (gotta keep on target!) I calmly tell my new friend about how our choice to keep Olivia at home to learn has worked out really great- how we have the freedom to chase whatever 'lesson' we're on till she's satisfied, how we can spend entire days just reading, how much fun it is getting together with other homeschool families in the middle of the afternoon.

However, on some days, I just don't have the energy or desire to be that friendly. I have thought about answering the inquiring minds out there with snarky or comical statements such as:

"Oh, she's graduated already."
"What's school?" add shocked, surprised look, like I forgot to do something of extreme importance. Dropped jaw and keys helps.
"She doesn't go to school anymore-she's just a really short adult."
"We homeschool, and this is a field trip. Can I get a tour of the dairy aisle?"
"My homeschooling kung fu is stronger than your public school kung fu! MWA HA HA HA!"
(Okay, that might be a little much.)
"Perhaps you've misunderstood me with someone who really cares to justify herself to you?"

If you have any other suggestions to this end, please jot them down and send them to me-I'm always looking to beef up my repertoire.

1 comment:

  1. The second one's my favorite ("What's school?") Can't offer any to add to the list. Only now starting not to feel defensive when I get asked about homeschooling (well, unschooling, really). I always feel put on the spot.