I have no idea what I do that makes people think they should stop me and question me at every turn. My Mama says I have a controversial aura, Honeybear says I'm just an easy target. I don't know nor do I care. But for the thousandth time I was stopped by someone in Wal-Mart to "get a talking to".
It all started out innocent, (Okay I really need to quit saying that) we were at Wal-Mart getting some dog food and this and that. Well the heathens had been on their very best behavior so I went to get them some gum. We (as in Me and the kids) were in pretty good moods, so we were being silly and making up a story as we walked along.
Suddenly Ella waves hi to the same woman for the fourth time. I look at her and smile figuring she must just have a similar shopping list. Apparently I was wrong, she was following us. And I guess she was trying to gain courage to approach me. She looked at me and glanced away again, then squared her shoulders and looked back at me. In a determined voice she asked "Shouldn't they be at school?" Now we often get that question during "school hours" but there was quite the edge in this woman's voice.
Seeing she was spoiling for a fight, I ignored her and pushed on. Unfortanetly Degan and Martin are so proud of themselves they announce "We don't go to school. We're-" They were interrupted by "What do you mean you don't go to school." Said much more demanding then questioning. Sighing I turned rebuking the boys first for talking to a stranger, then turning my attention to her. Seeing her standing there with a phone she starts asking my children their name. That is it I am now the one ready to fight. I answer "It's none of your business, but they are homeschooled."
She doesn't seem to be appeased. "You don't look like your a religious sect. They should be at school." Ummm excuse me? When did religion become a requisite to homeschool your children? (Don't get me wrong we are Missionary Baptist and proud of it. But this statement is so ignorant it's beyond...well you get it.)I really don't care what this woman's issue is, but she obviously needs some homeschooling herself. "You don't have to be anything to homeschool,"I reply," these children happen to be more intelligent than main stream schools allow. Not that I need to tell you anything, but obviously you are ignorant of good education requirements."
She interrupts me to tell me she was a school teacher for fifteen yrs before she was laid off. Now I know all about the budget cutbacks and the down sizing of school districts, but I'm thinking she was just a teacher no one cared to save. (I know I know don't judge but hey she's acting like I'm abusing my children by giving them a great start in life.) I take this fact that she sees has her right to question my parenting. If I wanted some one judging my children and questioning my parenting they'd still be in public school.
"I don't care what your credentials are. These are MY children! If you are a so called teacher you should know the laws on homeschooling. Now either you leave us alone or we are going to have a problem."
Okay now I realize I have stooped slightly to her level, but in my defense the one thing you don't mess with is my children. Seeing as how if this woman said one more thing I might have had to claw her eyes out, it's a good thing an associate of
Wal-Mart came by she looked at us then turned to me "Everything okay Sheena?" The woman seemed taken aback I had friends there, but then sneered at me "So you have friends here?" I looked at Penny and she looked at me, then we turned to this woman.
"No not friends-family. Now she can go get JD, the manager, or you can leave me alone. But I promise you if you push this further you're the one that is going to be embarrassed."
She sniffed and looked down her nose in disdain, but she turned and walked away. I looked at Penny and she looked at me. Her eyes were wide and she asked "what was that about?" I laughed and said believe it or not-homeschooling.
Now I know this is far off topic from my usual entries, but I think everyone out there needs to know about homeschooling rights. No we are not zealots or cults. We are ordinary people trying to give our kids the best in life. We live in a state that gives us the freedom to do what we believe is best. The only thing we must do is document one thousand hours of education, six hundred must be core knowledge. Core knowledge is reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. And we must keep examples of work completed for each child. No we do not turn into the state these records, they are ours. Very rarely are they asked for by anyone. Nor do you have to give them to just anyone who asks.
My children excede all expectations for children their age. I live by one simple statement, "You are your child's first teacher." I just hope that I'm not their last, life is all about learning.