Thursday, June 2, 2011

Perplexed

I have to admit, I'm perplexed. When out and about with the boys Kal-El has been asked no fewer than six times "why aren't you in school today." He is five. He has a December birthday. He doesn't meet the age requirements for K5 until this upcoming fall. When exactly did it become so unusual to see a child of barely five in the company of his own mother that it became worthy of comment? And sometimes dirty looks?

We bought a cooked lobster at the grocery store today. Kal-El doesn't want to eat it (we will though) he declared that it was to be "a school thing" and he wants to learn the names of all its parts and dissect it. At the checkout he excitedly mentioned to the bagger that the lobster is "for my school." The bagger (logically) inquired "for show and tell?" In order to prevent a long confusing conversation between Kal-El and the bagger about what "show and tell" is (Kal-El was opening his mouth to ask) I mumbled somewhat apologetically "No, he's homeschooled. He means he wants to dissect it." The cashier literally rolled her eyes.

The number one "break the ice" conversation every doctor, nurse, dentist, or any other member of the medical profession has with Kal-El (and there have been many this year) is as follows:

Doctor: "So...did you go to Kindergarten this year."
Kal-EL: "No."
Doctor: "So next year then? Are you excited to go away to school?"

Kal-El used to say "I have a school at my house." He is already so sick of the conversation he now just says "yes" when they ask about next year. In between was a short period of time when he thought they meant that he HAD to go away for school next year and he was terrified that I was going to take away the school in our house.

I am not irritated with the doctors and nurses of course. They are simply trying to break the ice with a nervous kid by discussing a life experience that most kids they see share. Totally understandable. The premature "why aren't you in school," eye rolls, and dirty looks I could do without.

This is only the beginning. We will have to develop some thicker skin around here. This fall will be our first year filling out our "intent to homeschool" forms for the state. I have had to make a couple of phone calls to the city we moved away from six months ago because they keep sending us stern letters about not attending kindergarten registration. While they have not apparently realized we don't live in their school district, our current school district hasn't figured out we exist yet so it all evens out. It just seems silly that Kal-El and I had to role play "I have a school at my house" conversations shortly after his fourth birthday.

14 comments:

  1. Oh girl, it's all about the attitude... *smile*... when I get the blank appalled look, I throw in "we are having a great time homeschooling!"
    I admit it is a bit young to assume your child is in school anyways.
    Keep on keeping on, homeschooling is a beautiful thing!
    ~Sheri

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  2. I also have a five year old who would not be able to attend PS K until this fall, and I have an eight year old. He is obviously school aged so he gets questioned the most. It can get a little irritating but we have also had several people that have wanted to know more once they found out we homeschool. My kids don't seem to mind to much, my 8 yr old says it's better than going to school and getting beat up (the reason we started homeschooling almost 2 yrs ago).

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  3. I totally understand. Bunny gets it alot too. She just tells people she is homeschooled. :) I am used to it becuase I was homeschooled, so I dont worry too much about it. But it does still make for that little awkward moment where they dont know what to say! :) However, if you do have problems with the school system then you may want to check out the homeschool legal defence assosiation. They help out people who have political or legal issues regaurding homeschooling. There website is http://www.hslda.org/
    Dont worry, before you know it you'll have a pre written speech to tell people! :)

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  4. The best thing I have loved is when they asked what kind of grades they have made or if they make 'A's! My kids still do not understand what is to test or what are grades and since they are in Montessori schools again, it will be a long time before they take a test!

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  5. My little guy isn't even four (though a very tall four at that). In Australia children attend kindergarten at four and sometimes three and a half and we have this conversation already. Why isn't he going to kindergarten? Where are we sending him to school? And that started when he was two! The other day Lamb replied, "I won't go to school until maybe seven or eight because Mummy gives me school at home". I was very proud of him. Thank you for letting us all have a rant!

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  6. I'm so glad you brought this up because we've been struggling with it too! It's hard when you think homeschooling is so right, beautiful and even superior in many ways. I know people are simply making small talk and yet it's hard not to take it personally. The choice to homeschool challenges the norm and people react to it on many levels. Our daughter used to probably say,"I'm homeschooled." but has stopped saying anything and defers to me now. I think it's confusing for her which lets me know that I probably need to have a better talk with her about our choices. She already feels different for having food allergies so I'm been protecting her. But it's probably not a good idea with so many people question why she is not in school.

    On the flip side, it is the schools' job to call or write letters to keep track of kids. I remember there was a situation where a young child was abused and murdered and people blamed the school for not keeping track of the child when the child was transfered from one school to another. When family support system falls apart, schools, churches and other social/government takes over to provide a net.

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  7. As ever much love for your blog I have posted a link to it from my new blog http://allplayonsunday.blogspot.com/

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  8. I've found it frustrating that these questions create an us v them effect. "I'm home school and they are less than I because they go to public school." I realize that it is a defense mechanism in the children to counter the adult's words and attitude. It is unfortunate. But it is reality.

    My favorite moment was when AV looked at someone and declared that he wasn't in school because he was an "autodidactic learner." The lady just smiled at that point. We moved on.

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  9. Reading your insightful and resourceful blog gives me a great pleasure therefore I decided to give you the "Tu blog me encanta" award. You can find it here:
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    Hugs from Poland
    Ewa

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  10. Beeper's birthday is in December too, but we have had the opposite experience. Before when people asked if he was in kindergarten, I would say, "Not until next year," or, "He only just turned five." Now he jumps in when they ask and says, "No, I'm a homeschooler!" He was even singing a song at the park a few weeks ago about how he doesn't have to go to school.

    Most people just say, "Oh, that's cool." I'm guessing it's a regional difference? We also still have half-day kindergarten here too, so it's not unusual to run into other five-year-olds at the park.

    I still feel awkward about it, but I am glad he doesn't.

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  11. oh this must be annoing. my daughter is 2 and some people're already asking me if she'll go to school in september (she'll be exactly 2and half). but "school for little" in france it starts at 3anyway...so why people are so in a "hurry" to "socialize" kids? argh!!!!(and i don"t believe school helps "socializing", anyway)
    and i still don't know if she'll go...i didn't went myself. and we managed well at home with a small montessori class. so we'll see...but i already feel the pressure !!!


    btw thank u for your blog, it gives me stenght to believe in my "beliefs" (oh sorry for my english). i read you very often but i never took the time to write a comment.

    (so nice to meet u^^)

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  12. You are undoubtedly doing a wonderful job indeed........just keep it up.........

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  13. I have to admit I get much more of an attitude from homeschoolers about my child going to public school. I have had looks that has reduced me to tears. It's as if I am totally abusing my children by sending them to public school. Some of us don't have the opportunity to stay home and school, we are out working and providing for our families. I think that whatever way the family schools the children is just right for that family. There is no need to criticize or judge each other.

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  14. This is very 'after the fact' but so appropriate for us right now. My daughter is only 4.5 and we have been fielding questions about schooling for over a year now! We get asked all the time if she's in preschool. For a while I said that no, she's to young for school. Now I just say that we homeschool.

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