Well, that is what the man that decided to spark up a conversation with me on Sunday thinks anyways.
The discussion began rather polite, but quickly escalated into a 15 minute battle of wits, with each of our voices gaining more and more tension. He was determined to be “right” and I continued to fire back with invisible flames burning hot from my head as all I really wanted to do was get up and smack the man.
So, What do you do for a Living?
That is how the conversation began and it was an innocent enough question that quickly went wrong.
“Well, I stay home with my three children and home school. I freelance write and blog in my free time, but most of my time is spent on my kids.”
Here we met with a long pause as he readjusted in his seat, crossed his arms and his eyebrows began to scrunch.
“Now let me ask you something,” he said. “Don’t you think ALL kids NEED to go to school?”
Here we Go Again!
Now, I’ve had my fair share of home school discussions with random people and family and friends alike that don’t really understand the process, question what I am doing and then happily go on their way after I’ve answered a few questions.
I could tell this time would be different though and all I could initially reply with was a quick and stern, “NO.”
Of course, he was quick to reply with “Well, I think they do!” “Kid need to be around other kids and they need to learn.”
My Kids are Socialized Thank You
I knew it was coming, most people who are not supportive of homeschooling jump on the socialization bandwagon straight out of the gate but I was quick to respond.
“My kids are around other kids and get socialization.” “That is why there are sports teams, Co-op’s, trips to the museum, theater and so much more.” “Besides, were you aware that many homeschooled children actually develop better social skills due to the fact that they spend time with people of a variety of ages and learn how to interact in the real world?”
His face grew sterner as he wasn’t sure how to respond and then he quickly said, “Well, my sister teaches her kids at home and I just do not agree with it!” “Kids need to learn, they need to be in school where they can be kids!”
I’m Raising Cyborgs
Now at this point, it became apparent that either the man’s sister is one of the rare few home educators who is abusing the right to teach her children at home and is in fact not teaching them, or despite the fact that he had a family member doing so, the man was completely ignorant in regards to homeschooling.
I responded again, still trying to hold the calmness in my voice “I wasn’t aware that a kid sitting at a desk or in a school room for 8 hours a day was what being a kid is all about!”
Actually huffing a little now, he responded back with “Well, what do you teach them, only about an HOUR a day, they CAN’T be LEARNING ANYTHING!”
“No, actually, we school anywhere from 4 to 5 hours a day for a second grader and kindergartner and that does not count the time spent outdoors each day where they learn so much more on their own.”
The Akward Silence
At this point he began to mutter some wells and butts, but nothing rather significant as he realized either how very wrong he was, or that you should not attempt a debate a mother about her children when that mother has vocabulary five times stronger than your own and impeccable debate skills.
It was then that we sat in an awkward silence for the next 15 minutes as he decided it was time to leave our local FOE.
I let out a big breath of relief as he walked out the door, for though none of us should have to put up with the ignorant accusations repeatedly thrown at us and outlandish statements such as “All children NEED to go to school,” we do and I managed to survive the ordeal yet again.