by Leslie Fobbs
Yes, this is going to be another I-love-homeschooling post. When I say 'Y'all' though, I'm not talking about you, the reader. I'm talking about non-homeschoolers who are determined to keep everyone in the traditional box. As annoying as they can be sometimes, I'm always grateful for these little reminders of why I homeschool.
Yesterday, I took Dee to see a local production of Mary Poppins Jr. with our homeschooling group. There were about forty of us, and it was a great show. Anytime, Dee says he likes a play it must have been good because he usually doesn’t like going to these type of things. Afterward, some of us stopped at an Italian restaurant around the corner to have lunch. It was the perfect day to sit outside eating authentic Italian food while the kids talked at their table and us moms laughed through planning for the upcoming fall classes. I remember thinking about how free I felt.
The whole time we were sitting there I never thought about what time it was or even considered that we must have drawn questions about why our group of kids was out of school that day. I’m totally past worrying about that now. I once read that if you don’t focus on people questioning you, then it won’t happen. It’s so true! But anyway, I didn’t sit down to write about that.
Back to our leisurely lunch on a beautiful, sunny day. Towards the end of our time sitting there I noticed, from the corner of my eye, a woman in a yellow caution vest with a hand-held stop sign manning her post one street over. There wasn’t a school on that street where we had just come from for the play, so it took me awhile to realize that she was directing traffic for a car rider's, parent line. Haven’t seen one of those in awhile. Someone mentioned there was a school not far away in the opposite direction though, so that kinda made sense.
We finally got up to leave and walked towards the street with the traffic lady to get to our parked cars. Half of us stepped into the street to cross and before we could reach the other side another lady who stood at the end of the car line - directing the whole thing, I guess - started flailing her arms and shouting hysterically. We turned to see the other half of our group still on the sidewalk attempting to cross. The lady was yelling at them and the car on her opposite side with her palm raised in the stop position. She clarified to the driver though that it was not them but our group that was causing the problem. What?! Last I checked, there was no sign saying not to cross. When we first stepped out into the street, there was no car approaching. We wouldn’t have endangered ourselves if there were. And it’s a public, side street, so we weren’t jaywalking or trespassing a private area. There was nothing to indicate that it was not ok to proceed.
We were utterly baffled as to what the commotion was all about and why this was happening. After the fact, I saw that there was a line of kids being led one at a time to the car line. The woman must have flipped out when she saw a group of kids, outside of her precious line, about to cross the street without her permission; with adults might I add. She had directed the car to go and it stopped (as it should have) because the driver was being cautious toward the other half of our group about to cross. She was shouting at all of us as if to say, "I’m in charge, how dare you step outside of my control and mess up my perfectly, efficient system of lines."
Now I can agree that order and efficiency are important and useful in a lot of situations, but it did not apply to us at the time. From our perspective, her reaction was overboard and ridiculous. But, then I have to remind myself that, in her world, she was the queen (I assume she was the principal or something) and all her subjects - kids and adult employees - must comply and obey. We had stepped into her world unbeknownst to us and received the full fury of her wrath when we didn’t follow directions that we didn’t even know existed. If she's yelling at us adults like that, I can only imagine how she must handle her students.
Every time something like this happens I think about how grateful I am to be homeschooling. This particular time I thought back to when my family member was pressuring me about “transitioning” Dee back into school so he wouldn’t have a hard time with socialization. The pressure only solidified my schooling choice even more. I struggled then to respond out of stunned disbelief that the conversation was even happening (it was my first time receiving unsolicited advice about schooling).
But, if they had brought it up yesterday after our encounter with the crazy lady, I would have asked: “Why in the world would I give up this freedom we enjoy to send both of us back to meaningless rules, forced obedience, and never-ending lines?” We have way too much fun to ever want to go back at this point. That could change, of course, but right now, at this moment, I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. Not even if someone offered me a six-figure, salaried job with yearly bonuses, stock options, and box seats to both the Saints and Pelican games. No thank you! It’s not worth it to me. #ilovehomeschooling