Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On being the outsider - the homeschool mom

Long-time blog readers know that my kids have been involved in the cross country program through our parish and CYO for the last eight years.  My shy and quiet Izzy has been it for the last six years and although she has made friends and the other girls are friendly, she has never quite fit in.
P1060021


Copy of cross country September 2009 025
Most of the other girls go to the day school, so their conversation is filled with happenings during the school day involving people that Izzy doesn't know, or home work and projects that Izzy doesn't have. Izzy holds her own and even tries to turn the conversation to something broader and more inclusive, but that only works for so long before the talk becomes school focused once again.  It's a good thing they have to spend most of their practice time running - at least they all have that in common.

P1060103


Izzy doesn't complain about it, but I know she feels a little bit lonely and I can certainly relate - because it isn't all that different among the adults.

Adult conversation centers on who is in what teacher's room, what projects are due, homework and a host of other topics that don't concern me at all. I stand there and smile, and nod my head, and interject a question if one should pop into my head.

Which is not to say the other parents are unfriendly, because they are not.  I think they simply don't know what else to discuss. Still I have had some interesting questions and remarks from other parents this year.

One mom asked me if I ever regretted not sending my kids to school.  I wanted to ask her if she ever regretted not homeschooling but thought the better of it.  Instead I talked about how my two adult sons are doing and how they managed to fit into society and hold down jobs.  That seemed to help.

Another mom said that I must be extremely organized. Truth be told, I'm NOT extremely organized. I know there are homeschoolers who have their curriculum planned for the next eight years and can tell you what they have planned for every minute of every day.  They have book baskets and organizing systems. That's not me.  I buy the books and my plan is if you get today's lesson done, turn the page and start the next one - oh and I want my high schoolers to meet the requirements for the State of Ohio for graduation. That's pretty much it.  We have clean clothes, nutritious meals and the health department wouldn't close me down so in that sense, I am comfortably organized.

But a dad had what was probably the winning comment.  The discussion today was about where these eighth grade girls would be going to high school.  Our area has a choice of four Catholic High Schools. While they were discussing their options it was pretty clear that none of them wanted to send their daughters to the all girl's school and that surprised me.

"What's wrong with the girl's school?" I inquired.

"Oh it's very small.  They have only 40 girls in each class.  They have bigger classes right now in elementary school!"  was the father's reply.

I pondered that for a moment and then asked, "Is that a bad thing?  It seems like they will have more personalized attendance with such a small class size."

"It just won't work," he said.  "How can my daughter expect to go to college or out in the world unless she gets used to being around a lot of people every day."

I know the moment he said it, he realized he was talking to "The homeschooler."  I knew that he knew it too.  But I was cool with it.

" I guess I never thought of that," I replied with the best non-smirking smile I could muster while stifling the impulse to share my view of what education really is.  And that's probably for the best.





Gooseberry Patch - Celebrating 20 Years of Homestyle Cookbooks
Add to Technorati Favorites
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...