Usually it happens at the end of a long grocery line when someone notices I’m shopping with my children on a school day. Glaciers in the Arctic move faster than these lines.
But this time it happened while at a get together at a friend of a friend’s house.
Some person who thinks of herself as well meaning, (but in reality just wants to show off her childhood development degree) corners me and questions why I homeschool. She’s in her mid-twenties, wearing a blouse that hasn’t ever been used as a napkin, since she has no children.
My shirt is not so lucky. I’m mother to three.
This stranger’s carefully groomed eyebrows furrow together as she leans towards me and says in a fake conspiratorial voice, “But haven’t you considered the socialization aspect? By homeschooling, you’re denying your children common ground with their peer group.” This woman who doesn’t know me and hasn’t met my kids then states emphatically, “It’s going to affect them long term.”
I mentally consider my options.
I could sarcastically reply with something like, “Wow, with your magic crystal ball that sees the future, why don’t you give me some lottery numbers to play and tell me who Ted Mosby is finally going to marry.”
I could try to reason with her. Ask if she’s seen the latest research that shows homeschooled students in college are as socially adjusted and participate in as many extra-curricular activities as traditional students.
I could try to convince her that being socialized by a group of peers is what happened in The Lord of the Flies, then comically add, “And that didn’t turn out so well, did it?”
I could passionately defend myself by retorting that of course I considered socialization before I began homeschooling. What kind of a mother does she take me for?
I could debate with her on what the exact definition of socialization is and how best it is achieved.
But I do none of these things. No matter what I say, no matter what I do, I cannot change this obstinate woman’s mind. I am not the jackass whisperer.
So I smile and say quietly, “I’m confident in my decision.”
Then I make my way to the refreshments. I’ve earned them.