Excuses, Excuses.

I was right. Ali’s new hair clearly makes her look older.

So much older, in fact, that we had a first on Tuesday.

Being that I remember it well from my own upbringing, I am positive that it was merely a foreshadowing of what the rest of my kid’s homeschooled life is going to consist of, however long that may be.

I drove up to the bank teller…

“Hi! Welcome to Regions!”

“Thank you!”

The teller craned her neck to gawk my backseat.

“Oh MY! We have a full car today, don’t we?”

I look in the backseat at my two children. Apparently she’s never telled for the Duggar’s. Or Vitafam.

“Yes, I have kids.”

She gets a worried, grandmotherly look.

“I hope everyone’s all right!”

“Um, what?”

“Well, you know, are they sick?”

“Nope, we’re all well.”

“Oh. Well, why aren’t they in school today?”

I paused, wondering if I should address each child individually, or just assume that she surely meant only Ali.

“Well, Doogie Howser in the car seat just finished his med school midterms earlier today. And the five year old, well, she’s more of the Ferris Bueller type, if you know what I mean.”

I decided to go with the “easy” answer.

I smiled sweetly and said, “We homeschool.”

She looked shocked, then tried to cover it up with an overly syrupy smile.

“Oh! How… nice!”

…and then quickly repasted on her overcompensatory fake smile.

As I drove away, I saw her frantically reaching under the counter for the Emergency Truancy Officer Button, as she wrote down my car tag and looked up my address, phone number, and social security number from my bank account.

She probably put a freeze on all of my accounts also, if her expressions were any indication of her opinion on my schooling choices.

Because I’m clearly a Radicalist.

So I need some new responses, because I have a feeling that she was simply the first pebble of the upcoming landslide, especially given my history with the Awkwardly Intense Busybody Club.

Maybe,

“What, these? These aren’t children! They’re just pale Oompa Loompas. They do all of my baking and cleaning and disposing of nosy people by turning them into blueberries for me. I highly recommend purchasing a few!”

Or perhaps,

“Much like Miss Texas, my kids are self-described over achievers. They both graduated last year! Ali starts college and is majoring in Counseling in the fall – perhaps you should go visit her to talk about your issue with busybodiness?”

Of course, being Southern and all, I can’t pull off cruel. So perhaps something simpler, like…

“Oh, Ali’s been diagnosed with a rare case of an extremely infectious disease. You know, the new one that everyone is freaking out about? I think it bursts all of the capillaries in your skin and makes you vomit the contents of your intestines if you don’t get treated right away. Anyway, we’re on our way to the CDC now for a total quarantine of our entire family for about 45 days. Oh! Excuse me! I think I might have just spit a little on you while I was talking!”

Yup, that one might work.

Beware of Truants

Any better explanations out there?

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. I would love some new answers too. We get the homeschooling question all the time! I especially love when, upon saying that you homeschool, the questioner asks your children what they’ve learned today. It’s quiz time for your children from a complete stranger!!

  2. Elizabeth Parsons says:

    You could just get a shirt for Ali & Noah that says “My mom doesn’t want your advice” :)

    • I DO like that shirt, I have to say. But then it would take half of my blogging material away. What would I do without the AIBC, after all?

  3. I was asked yesterday if I was sad that E is starting Kindergarten next year. When I said that I would be homeschooling and that he’d still be around, I got the full-blown, “YOU ARE A FREAKY, CRAZY PERSON” look. This was followed up with, “Oh! How nice!” I’m going to get this a lot, aren’t I?

  4. Just tell them it’s a special day because you’re on your way to pick up daddy from the state penitentiary, so you let them skip school *just this once*. ;) Or, the infectious disease (swine flu, anyone?) works well, too. *cough, cough*

  5. Hee. My van barely fits under the drive–thru at the bank. And then it’s so tall I can’t reach down to get the tube thingy without hanging half my body out the window. But thank heavens for tinted glass!

    • The tinted glass offers an air of mysteriousness that is wickedly attractive.

      …is she an FBI Drug agent?

      …does she have 54 dogs in the back?

      …Perhaps she’s the Queen of England’s American Chauffeur??

  6. You could always go with the “My kid got kicked out after shanking the kindergarten teacher.” answer. This is especially fun if you have a cute, little sweetheart of a princess like Ali. :) Of course you run the risk of her repeating it to her Sunday School teacher, but if Ali’s teacher is anything like my kids’, they could use a little entertainment.

  7. Good grief! I thought the “You’re homeschooling???!!!” police had died. :o)

  8. We’re really interested in Homeschooling- but I think we may go the Excelsior route. My plan is just saying “they don’t have school today” :)

    • I’ve heard great things about Excelsior! I’ve considered that option also, especially for later down the road. We can carpool!! :D

  9. I remember when I was homeschooled (elementary only), that my parents wouldn’t let us out of the house until after 3 p.m because they were afraid of truancy officers. I’m 35 so this would have been early to mid ’80s.
    I’m also amused at the “full car” comment seeing as I have 4 kids and people seem to think that is unbelievable.

    • I’m 30, and when my parents started homeschooling me, we “ducked” when police would drive by. Funny how much, yet how little changes, hm?

  10. As a Catholic in the South I can tell you that we are few, known to populate our own schools, and celebrate religious holidays that non Catholics long ago stopped being curious about and now accept as a matter of course. The next time someone asks why they aren’t in school just tell them you’re Catholic. They will assume that Mary did something important that day and leave you alone.

  11. Qoumidan says:

    I shall have to ask what my mother told people. I know she got a lot of flak for keeping us home. We went to the beach one day during the school year, (back when good handle the cold or the Oregon coast) and the four of us kids were having a blast out there when a cop came up to find out what we were doing. I don’t know what he said to Mom. (A reporter was also out that day and he took a picture of us in the waves and it ended up in the local paper, so that was kinda neat). I don’t remember ever going back to that beach.
    And yeah, the car isn’t full until you can’t all fit together in the minivan.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Hee, hee! :). We’ve been homeschooling for 5 years now and we have 4 kids, 3 of them school age. Our state is pretty homeschool friendly but I get a lot of people who ask questions. (BTW, when did having 4 kids make you a very large family?). People usually ask the older kids 10, 8, and 5 why they don’t have school. They usually reply (in all innocence). “We don’t do school!”. That gets some looks! I used to explain that we do homeschool, etc. But know I just sweetly smile, pack up my groceries, and listen to the kids telling the cashier how the belt works, why the scanner knows the price, etc.,etc.,

  13. The older we got, the question morphed into “WHERE do you go to school?” Our response was SMICA. :) They pretty much accepted that…. lol
    LOVED your other responses though… ;)

  14. It’d be so easy to lie: Dr.’s appt, no school, etc. but you probably don’t want your kids to hear that. It’s sad that homeschooling still has such a bad wrap when it is actually really popular these days, and in many cases the only way your kid is going to get a good education! I know TONS of people who homeschool and only two families fit the stero-type. Maybe we should make up some “homeschool is cool” shirts or something. :)

  15. I think if your kids see you giving a truthful answer when it would be easier to duck the uncomfortable-ness of people’s judgement it will make them stronger about standing up for their own beliefs regardless of the crowd they find themselves in. Also, the more un-stereotypically strange home school families are out of the closet and proud of it the quicker society will change. It is a shame it hasn’t happened sooner. But it is fun to dream up whoppers for the busybodies to choke on. Especially exceedingly detailed, long-winded sagas about the misfortunes the family is encountering at the moment preventing the poor children from being in school, wasting so much of the inquirer’s time that they have a near panic attack at the mere thought of asking that question of another family ever again.

  16. i love this post. noah is only a kindergardener and i am very familiar with the knowing “oooooooh” response. have you seen RV? perfect. i also get “aren’t you worried about socialization?” to which my husband, and tim hawkins, says you should respond that yes you are concerned and that’s why you’re homeschooling.

  17. Ha ha, as a home-schooled child of the 80’s, I definitely remember the questions and the looks. Of course, sometimes my best friend and I were walking around downtown tiny-town where we’re from @ 9 AM, going to the library and the “soda shop,” etc., by ourselves when we were 8 because we’d woken up at 5 AM and gotten our stuff done by 7AM, checked by our moms, and we were free for the day.

    It didn’t always work out that way, of course, but I loved the days it did, and we did zero ducking (though maybe we should have done more from the sound of it) and pretty much just politely rolled our eyes at the super-cranky librarians who were clearly quite disgruntled at having to deal with children before the appointed time of day.

    I love how oblivious we are as children. If I’d had an adult mindset, I would have been mortified and sneaky seeming.

    Instead, I held my head high and proudly displayed my geekiness for all the world to see!

  18. Ha ha, as a home-schooled child of the 80’s, I definitely remember the questions and the looks. Of course, sometimes my best friend and I were walking around downtown tiny-town where we’re from @ 9 AM, going to the library and the “soda shop,” etc., by ourselves when we were 8 because we’d woken up at 5 AM and gotten our stuff done by 7AM, checked by our moms, and we were free for the day.

    It didn’t always work out that way, of course, but I loved the days it did, and we did zero ducking (though maybe we should have done more from the sound of it) and pretty much just politely rolled our eyes at the super-cranky librarians who were clearly quite disgruntled at having to deal with children before the appointed time of day.

    I love how oblivious we are as children. If I’d had an adult mindset, I would have been mortified and sneaky seeming.

    Instead, I held my head high and proudly displayed my geekiness for all the world (or at least the librarians) to see!

  19. Yeesh! Why can’t people mind their own business? How about, “Kids? What kids? Oh, them. Yeah, they just happened to be in the back seat when I stole this car this morning.”

  20. Love the catholic holiday response :) Although around here you’d find yourself explaining the holiday.

    Alternatively:
    “The kids gave up school for Lent”

    But deep down I have to say that I agree with the comments that the best way to respond isn’t to lie or duck the question. We are getting a lot of comments these days about “when Elizabeth starts school”. We haven’t yet decided but are leaning towards homeschooling, but often I don’t want to get into it. (If we don’t homeschool, she’ll go to a French school, a decision that’s likely to be unpopular because my family thinks kids do better when they only have one language to learn at once). So we’ve done a lot of just not answering the question. But clearly tgat’s not something I want my daughter to emulate. Hmm

    • Of course. It’s all in fun – I’m not going to really lie, it’s just fun to fantasize about what my answers COULD be… :)

  21. Turn, look in the backseat, turn back to the teller, and with as straight a face as you can muster, say:

    “What children? Are you messing with me?”

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