My girls and I went out in public, during the day, twice this week. Why is that in any way noteworthy? All schools in our state have now started holding classes. Most of what you see at the grocery store at one in the afternoon is either the moms or caregivers with young children or the senior citizen crowd enjoying relative peace now that the droves have returned to school.
But we’re still out there. Feeling nervous that people are judging us, nervous that I should keep the girls at home during brick and mortar school hours. Just a little skittish. Caitlyn felt a little of that last year, but honestly, she was proud to be homeschooled. She and Sue decorated shirts that said as much for when we went out in public.
So, what happens when you take your kids out during the hours they are “supposed” to be in school? Mostly quizzical looks. And many people venturing to say, “oh, did you guys have a half day?” I just smile as I say, “we homeschool, it gives us a little more flexibility,” while I wonder if there will be more comments coming. There rarely is.
Today, the lady at the bank, who was getting to pass out free pens, good thing, without their freebies I would have none, was very friendly to people as they asked her where stuff was in the grocery store her branch is located in. I don’t know if she has learned the general locale of items intentionally or she just shops there, but she was able to point them to where they wanted to be. Then, she looked at us and said, “oh, do you have a half day?” The girls weren’t feeling very chatty, so I answered, “no, we homeschool it gives us great flexibility. We don’t have snow days or inservice days, so an hour here or there does not impact our studies. And we LOVE it!”
As normally happens, she looked at us and said, “that’s great! Enjoy your day.”
Yes, even today, I felt a little nervous going out and about with the girls. I don’t mind the people who ask why, I can explain to them, but there are those that just give us a sideways look. But really, who can blame them? Our lifestyle and schooling choice is not typical or mainstream.
A study completed in 2012, using data from the 2007 census found out of the 51,135,000 students in the US, 1,508,000 were homeschooled, with most of the homeschool children, 58% being boys and 60% were families with three or more children. A higher percentage of the parents who homeschooled had bachelor degrees, 50% compared to 43% of non-homeschooling parents.
I included several facts that I found of interest, but the one most pertinent to my reaction to people asking me about my kids not being in school is that there are only 1,508,000 (as of 2007) children being homeschooled in the US. With that kind of difference in numbers, I don’t find peoples questions odd at all. I know I wondered before we began our homeschooling journey. I don’t mind people asking and I love it when my kids are feeling like talking and they express how we do things with all of their excitement and honesty.
In truth, don’t we all wonder about how and why people do things when they are out of the norm? I know I do. I am often too much of a chicken to ask, but some aren’t. And to them, I say bravo and thank you for the overwhelmingly positive response our family has received. You all make my job easier.