Maybe it’s because I’m around homeschoolers all of the time, or maybe it’s because of my philosophy of life that families and communities were meant to be together and help one another rather than separate and segregate from each other—but when I’m around parents of “schooled” kids, I get rather uncomfortable.
I have a few friends, mind you, with public schooled kids that I get along very well with; my best friend is one of them. But for the most part, we just don’t click. Wednesday night we went to a school cafeteria for a Girl Scouts meeting, and there was a mom across from me wearing a bra with a tiny tank top over it so you could see right through it and around it! I was a bit dumbstruck, but whatever; I’m certainly not the fashion police.
Then the leaders asked us to sit and have a meeting while our kids were taken out of the cafeteria for an “activity.” Everyone was just fine with these strangers taking our kids off to do something! I guess they’re used to handing their kids to strangers every year. What if they were going to sing some religious song? What if they didn’t watch our kids and one wandered off somewhere? I know I’m embodying the crazy, worried, overprotective mom that many think we homeschoolers are, but it’s a valid concern. My kid’s quite capable and I was okay, but it was still weird.
Then the parents were all chatting about how Girl Scouts is a good time to spend quality time with your daughter since many of us don’t get to in our “busy lives.” Seriously? If your quality time with your child is limited to once or twice a month, maybe you shouldn’t be having children. I’m not here to judge people, but I keep hearing parents tell me, “Oh, I would love to homeschool; I just don’t think I could be around my own child all day.”
They act like homeschooling is the weird thing to do and school is the norm, when it is the exact opposite. As Wendy Priesnitz, editor of Life Learning Magazine, says,
“Home-based education is not an experiment. It’s how people learned to function in the world for centuries. And there is no reason to think people today can’t do the same thing. School is the experiment, not the lack of it. And I think that experiment is in trouble.”
We are mammals; we are meant to learn from our families and small, close-knit communities. And our lives are where learning occurs—not just in some building from some book chosen by some politician.
Before I begin to sound like a conspiracy theorist—and I suppose I am a bit of one—then there were parents complaining about being a leader for a troop. One mom said that she would, but she wouldn’t be able to stick with it—and she had a son, so that made her too busy.
Again…really? About half of the homeschool moms that I know work either part or full time, care for a home and children and pets like everybody else—plus volunteer with our groups and teach co-op classes, homeschool their kids, and partake in other activities. I just have to wonder at what “busy” means to different people. Not that “busy” is a good word—I think Americans are way too busy for our own good, and if this mom was expressing that she was just partaking in self-care, I am on board!—but I do wonder, all the same.
Leaving the building, I saw a sign that said, “Mrs. R’s Robots.” Every child’s name was on a robot. I get that this was supposed to be a fun way to highlight students, but it gave me a bit of a shudder all the same. Robots, indeed.