It’s one of those things that is a fact of life: we are different. Not in that way that each of us is a unique and beautiful snowflake; that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about when you go to the grocery store, people stare at you kind of different. I’ve grown to ignore most of it. In fact, I’m pretty convinced that if we lived somewhere else, we wouldn’t be that weird at all. We are simply different in this place and time because of the culture immediately around us.
During the school year, we are often spotted at the grocery store in the morning during… gasp… school time! I wonder if people think my kids are on quarantine, home sick, and I’m dragging them through the fresh produce aisle contaminating the strawberries they’d hoped to buy. Either that, or I’m some sort of horrible mother who doesn’t care if her children obtain an education.
Neither of those things are true, of course. We school throughout the day, so we may have run out of milk for a baking project, or I needed some fresh fruit to add to lunch. Whatever the case is, just because we are not hidden away, sitting at a desk, doesn’t mean my kids aren’t learning anything today.
Now, it is summer time. We are weird in the summer for a different reason: we are still in school. It’s not as obvious from a distance, as you still may find us out and about during the morning hours (after all, who wants to go anywhere once it hits 116 degrees?), but when we get home we’re still plugging away at math, reading, science, and history. Store clerks will ask my kids how their break is, and my kids look puzzled, or the kids down the street want to know why my kids have handwriting to do before they can play… yup, we are back to being weird.
If we lived somewhere that year-round school was an option, we wouldn’t be that weird. If we lived in a community with lots of home schooling families that were out during “regular” school hours, we wouldn’t be that weird. It’s a matter of time and place. It’s a good thing, really. For our family, home schooling was really the only option that made sense. It’s not perfect for everyone, but it is perfect for us. If being weird means that we are raising our children in the best way we can, I’ll take it.
So, I hope that you don’t jump to conclusions the next time you see a mom out and about during the day and her kids are actually with her. You never know, they could be on their way to an awesome field trip to the zoo, or heading back home to work on math facts with lunch in tow.
If you home school, do you deliberately stay home during “school” hours? If so, why? I’d love to hear from you!
**This post originally appeared on BlogHer.com June 2015.**