Friday, August 15, 2008

Reactions to homeschooling

On the Unschooling Catholics email list, someone shared her older daughter's experience of being homeschooled and of the reactions of others to her no school life or childhood. Apparently, there has been some negativity.

She asked - what have been the experiences of others in this regard?

Today was a positive experience for us, in selling the idea of homeschooling.

Selling? Yes, simply because when we go on any homeschool outing we become walking examples, talking advertisements for our educational choice. At least that is the way it seems. Sometimes.

Today I had organised an excursion to the Olympic Park Walking Trail, visiting the venues of the Sydney Olympics of 2000. The tour guide was a very interesting, amusing, witty man, a very real boost for our tour. We loved his little asides, his snippets of information, of conversation, of an inside look at the Olympics.

He in turn, was fascinated by the idea of homeschooling. Asked the kids for their reflections. Asked if it was legal ( I said no, we are all breaking the law today. He laughed and got the joke, thankfully). Asked about career aspirations, finding oneself and one's talents, university, the spiritual aspect.

He was a really funny guy and guide. Our tour, scheduled for one hour, took over one hour and a half as John kept showing and sharing extra snippets.

He asked for my email address, so we can keep in touch. He discovered that Alexander is studying Italian at Open University and asked if they could email, so he can keep up his Italian and Alexander can practise.

He played a prank on two latecomers to our group - two teens arrived late. He asked who they were, had they paid, what right did they have to join the group? The teens were flabbergasted. Flabbergasted until they saw our faces. We were cracking up with laughter. They got the idea.

John, our very entertaining tour guide, had us run through water fountains and run the Cathy Freeman race. Well, I was the only mum who joined in with the teens and although it made me cough more, it was fun, I enjoyed the activities and they were well worth the cough.

John was also very complimentary and, as you know, a little bit of flattery will get you anywhere! He kept shaking his head in disbelief that I was the mother of seven sons (Yes, we got the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers comment. As usual. ). And when I was running the race, he asked Anthony what number son he was. Then proceeded to continue his disbelief - no way could you have a 28 year old son, he said. Wasn't he nice?

He continued his flattery by being very positive towards homeschooling, our thinking outside the box of conventional education and of our whole group of kids. And about my age. Can you tell I liked him? lol!

So, all in all, a very interesting day. The tour was interesting, I learned a lot. Did you know that the old brickworks at Olympic Park is where they filmed Mad Max 3, with Tina Turner? I didn't.

Meeting John and swapping email addys was fun.

Talking about homeschooling and getting a very strong positive response was great.

And the compliments helped too!

We closed the outing with a picnic at the Olympic Park, near the fountain and the Olympic Cauldron. And John persuaded us to play a prank on his co-workers. He wanted us to pretend that the tour was a failure and to complain. He went back first, complained to his colleagues that we were a terrible group, went over time because we asked too many questions, were very rude and demanding. Then I and a couple of teens approached the counter.

I said, with all seriousness, that I was pleased they had allowed our group to attend but that it was a waste of money. That the tour guide was boring and just continually name dropped. That he was rude to two latecomers. The poor girl was shocked. She and the other guides looked amazed and then went to the phone to organise a refund. John interrupted and pretended to be angry, grabbed an umbrella and said he'd meet me outside. The other guides were asking him to be restrained. Oh my gosh, it was so funny - I had to let them know it was a joke. A trick. A prank. Planned by John.

They all died laughing .

A perfect end to our homeschool tour - everyone left on a high note, with laughter and a supportive view of homeschooling!
[P. S. Went to the doctor's afterward and found I have bronchitis. Have meds and antibiotics to take, hoping it will clear before I go to New Zealand and the Kumon Vision Conference in two weeks... ]


Greg said...

What a cool day! Wish I'd been there. Partic for the joke at the end.
And John was right; you don't notice when you're living with people but you're looking v trim and fit in the photo!

Leonie said...

It was a hoot! And you are a flatterer, Greg! lol!

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

Sounds like an awesome time!

Beate said...

ROFL Leonie - wish we could have seen those faces ;-) esp when the umbrella was brandished =D

I'd have to agree with John, you don't seem old enough to have a 28yo!

Leonie said...

It ws SO funny - you two would have been great, hamming it up with the rest of us!

Cay said...

What a wonderful, rewarding day.
My prayers are with you, Leonie...I hope you get better in time for that trip and for your safety during the trip.

Susan <>< said...

Acckkk! This day sounded like so much fun!!!!! I'm jealous, although really happy for you. What a ball!

And even though I hate to admit you are right- we are walking advertisements for homeschooling. I didn't mind that so much in the early days but it grew wearisome after awhile. I'm too busy living life to worry that we're presenting a positive image, y'know? But in reality, that in itself will present a true reflection of home based, I'll stop now before I confuse myself, lol.

Glad you had a great day!


Leonie said...

Thanks, Cay. Susan, it would have ben fun if you were there - and IKWYM re it being tiring to feel on show. But just living means we end up sharing our homeschooling, doesn't it?