Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Feeling Out of Place

One of the neighbors had a little get-together before we took the kids trick-or-treating. One family in attendance had just moved to the neighborhood in the last 2 weeks, and we were meeting them for the first time. I have a feeling these parents think we're "that weird homeschooling family" and I want to talk about why I think so.

The conversation started off fine,
"Who's parents are you?"
-"...Josh's and this guy here. You?"

"That little guy over there"
-"Ah. Gotcha. Where do you guys live?"

"The house over there. You guys?"
-"Four houses down that way"

Then came the dividing question-
"What grade is Josh in?"
-"Well, he would be in second, but we homeschool."

And then came the look. It was quick, maybe even subconscious, but it was there. That look that says "you're being judged, not by your words or your actions, but by my preconceived ideas of what kind of person you must be because you homeschool."

I have now been on both the giving and receiving end of that look. Being on the latter sucks.

We don't go out to judge or convert school going families, we go out to have a good time. But its really hard to have a good time when people aren't involving you in the conversation, which is what happened after that. Again, maybe subconsciously, or maybe not. Papa Bear and I tried our best to get involved, but it kept coming back to school. Teachers, politics, drama, extra curricular activities.

In a last ditch effort, I made mention of how much we loved the area, especially compared to where we used to live.
"Oh, that's funny that you moved from a place with horrible schools to here, with great schools, and NOW you're homeschooling," said the mom who gave us "the look".

Aaaaaand we're back to schooling again. And again with the assumption and judgment of where Josh used to go to school or why we chose to homeschool. At that point we just gave up trying. We kept to ourselves, waited for an opportunity to say goodbye, and left. No point wasting our time not having fun.

Maybe we seemed weird or rude, not talking much and leaving early. The old me would have thought so. In all this long-winded story I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand where the other parents are coming from because I've been there. And now I understand what its like on the other side, because I'm there now.

Maybe I'm sharing this because my feelings are hurt, or because I feel guilty for my past judgments, or maybe because I'm hoping to lend some insight, I'm not sure yet. I hope you find something useful, nonetheless. :)

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