Ever since beginning our homeschool journey, I've felt like I'm constantly running against the flow. I've ruffled many a feathers and we've been "kicked out" of places and let's just be honest, there have been countless awkward situations.
We walk into a room full of moms with toddlers...
"You homeschool all of them?"
"But isn't that hard?"
Then you get a blank stare when you tell them you plan on staying at the event full of moms with toddlers and yes, your older kids will be staying too...awkward.
I went to a biblestudy on base today. I thought it would be a great way to meet some friends and potentially have some buddies to hang out with while Ben is gone. I was told that there was childcare and *ahem* assumed my older kids could just hang out in there.
First lesson in homeschooling, ALWAYS have a backpack with you full of things for your kids to do. ALWAYS.
But today, my kids were too old for the childcare and I had to awkwardly ask the director where my outcast children could sit while I attempted to attend the study. I kinda wanted to shout "BY THE WAY, I'M THE CHAPLAIN'S WIFE" like it would give me some leeway.
Eventually, after much "hmmm's" and weird looks, they allowed my kids to sit in a room alone, down the hall, with no food...like, they brought the snack I left them back to me because how dare they think about eating in the 2 hours they were supposed to sit there alone...more awkward.
Then I get more questions.
"But don't you do a co-op?"
No we don't. Year round schooling does not jive with a co-op AND a co-op does not equal free babysitting. Plus it really boils my blood that somehow society has decided that homeschooling is acceptable IF you are in a co-op. Don't even get me started on the raised eyebrows I get when I tell them I don't even follow a boxed curriculum.
At the end of the morning, Alison said to me, "This is what I don't like about homeschooling." I couldn't really blame her because who wants to feel like the outcast? Not me. We often go to things like this hoping and praying there will be other homeschool families there, and our miracle hasn't happened yet. But I encouraged Alison yesterday that if we don't ever make the attempt, we might miss out on some great opportunities. Maybe we encourage other homeschool families when we put ourselves in awkward situations...perhaps they would be encouraged to come too if they see us paving the way.
If there was one thing I could pioneer, it would be to create a place for homeschool families. In a way, we are discriminated against; we are unwelcome at most places, given weird looks and asked inappropriate questions. Heaven forbid a homeschool mom would want to workout at a gym or attend a biblestudy or participate in a service project. Can I just put a big sign on me that says "There's more to life than homeschool...p.s. we're done in 3 hours and have our whole day to do other fun things"?