Wednesday, October 26, 2005

School Marm

My least favorite thing about homeschooling is having this conversation:

person: So are you working, or do you stay home?
me: I stay home, I homeschool my children.
person: (eybrows raised) Oh you homeschool?
me: Yes
person: Wow, I could never do that. I mean I love my kids and all, but I could never teach them. They wouldn't listen to me.
me: hmmm (thinking: you've taught them plenty already just being their parent), well it isn't easy, it's a lot of work, but I'm glad that I am doing it. It is really important to me.
person: I really respect people who can do that, but I never could. I would just go crazy.
me: (wondering how to change the subject without being too obvious) Well, even though I live in the "best" public school district in my county, I don't trust the government to educate my children the way I believe they should be educated. And my kids really like it too, so that helps make it easier. (trying to soften my reasons. now please talk about something else!)

Whenever I have this conversation (or one like it) with someone new, it makes me really uncomfortable, I don't want my new friend or acquaintance to think I'm a kook or some crazy right-wing fanatic...I also don't want them to feel like I am judging them, that I am looking down my nose at them for not homeschooling. It is very difficult to feel strongly about something and talk about it without rubbing someone the wrong way. I guess I just need to get over it. I think what really gets to some of these people is how I am homeschooling as a single-mom. I think that perhaps they feel threatened by this. They have already decided they can't homeschool, so how can I without a husband helping me at home? I'll tell you. It is a decision I made, and I just do it. Yes, my house looks less than perfect most of the time, I have dustbunnies, and dirty dishes and piles of laundry, but that stuff is really not all that important. I've learned that the people who judge me based on these outward things aren't really friends anyway. Those who know me and my children, my real friends, can attest to the fact that, whatever it is I'm doing, it's working.