So Aron got a special little bonus for traveling so much and told the kids we could eat out anywhere they wanted. They LOVE popcorn shrimp, so they chose Red Lobster (a personal favorite of mine, as well).
Toward the end of the meal, a couple of older people told us how well we are raising our children because they were behaving so great. I tried to tell them it was only because I wore their little butts out at the park for 2 hours before dinner, but they insisted I was Mother of the Year, so I basked in that.
Until the woman from the next table over (what is it about a large family that brings people out of the woodwork with opinions and questions?) chimes in with, “They ARE doing very well.” I thanked her, trying to return my focus to my family dinner and chocolatey dessert.
Then I hear, “I’ll bet you homeschool them, too.” Where the hell did THAT come from? I said, “Actually, we do. How could you tell? I’m not even wearing a denim jumper.” She said she was just guessing but wasn’t surprised. O-kay.
Again I try to focus on my wriggling baby and DESSERT, and the kids whose behavior is starting to deteriorate.
Then She asks me if I do it for religious reasons. I said, “Well, yes. I do it because Catholic school is too damn expensive!!!” She looked at me funny, so I explained my usual deal: I started it to keep them close, it made sense, it was cheaper, takes less time, allows us all kinds of freedom of education, field trips, spontaneous play and learning, lots of time with grandparents and other family members, we can cater to their individual needs, and because Aron travels and we get to go with him sometimes, which helps to keep our family a cohesive unit.
AGAIN with the dessert, which I am now cramming into a to-go box next to my garlicky shrimp pasta.
The she says, “My husband wants to know if you were a teacher before?” I said, “Nope. Only 2 years of community college, too. We use a packaged curriculum, but you don’t really even need to do THAT.”
“Are you in the homeschool association?” Well, there’s not really one, so I tell her I’m in about 4 homeschool groups and that the kids are practically OVER-socialized.
“I’ll bet they go to bed late.” I said, “Yeah, they do. Like 10 p.m. And then I wake them up at 4 a.m. with a bugle and make them do push-ups and jumping jacks.”
Then we beat it out of there before she could get our license plate number and report us to The State. My friend Leigh always tells me I’m too honest, especially with people I don’t know. But I don’t like to blow smoke up people’s butts, ya know? I could’ve played Suzy Homeschooler and lied about bedtimes and such, but why? I’m not doing anything wrong.
And if you could meet my kids you’d see I’m doing a lot of things RIGHT. Jeez, call The State on me if I’m smoking crack in bed til 3 p.m. every day or leaving my kids at home alone. But HOMESCHOOLING? I’m not doing it because I’m too lazy to drive my kids to school or oversee their homework.