This is a Derfwad Manor replay...back when only Mrs. G's family and twelve other kind women read her blog...hi twelve women, thanks for sticking around!
Monday night Mrs. G. was watching Project Runway something educational on PBS when she bumped the remote and accidentally switched the channel to Wife Swap. One of the wives being swapped was a homeschooler who, once again, confirmed most Americans' misconceptions about those of us who choose to ejukate educate our kids outside of a traditional school setting: that we are banjo strumming, scripture quoting, manifesto writing misfits who sit our thirteen children at the kitchen table and teach them that dinosaurs didn't exist...not that there's anything wrong with that. Wife Swap's homeschooling mom lives with her first cousin husband and two children on a farm in Iowa. They make every effort to run a self sustaining farm not because they choose a life of volunteer simplicity or wish to leave a softer carbon footprint, but because, like so many of us, they are preparing for the Apocalypse. This family, admirably, raises their own livestock and vegetables and subsists solely on a raw food diet...in other words, they eat only raw food...including their MEAT. Mrs. G. is not talking about sushi, carpaccio or lightly seared tuna. These people eat chopped up chunks of raw chicken. They gnaw on raw turkey legs. On special occasions, they indulge in what they call "high meat" which is simply chunks of animal flesh that have been rotting aging in a jar for at least four days. They aren't worried about E coli or salmonella because they insist God wouldn't put any bacteria on this earth that was harmful to them. Mrs. G. is tolerant by nature, but this type of nutjob homeschooler is the bane of her existence. It makes her life more difficult in the following ways:
1) The Little League moms sit far away from Mrs. G. during baseball games because they don't want her to hear them talking about boozing it up over the weekend or their child's science project on evolution. And this is sad for Mrs. G., because she is a big fan of alcohol and monkeys.
2) Mrs. G's relatives feel the need to quiz her children on major holidays with scintillating questions like hey, pass the cranberry sauce, and can you tell me how many quarters there are in a dollar?
3) The women at Mrs. G's book club, which consists primarily of public school teachers, have a few glasses of wine and say stuff like have you ever noticed how homeschooling boys have such an unhealthy attachment to their mothers or I have this homeschooler in my 7th grade class and she reads at a 3rd grade level and wears a denim jumper and bedroom slippers every single day...and then they remember Mrs. G is a homeschooler and change the subject fast.
4) The cashier at Safeway, eying Mrs. G's children helping her bag groceries during the middle of a school day, assumes Mrs. G. is a fundamentalist and a Republican and while scanning Mrs. G's groceries, shares her interpretation of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes and Ronald Reagan.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are between 900,000 and 2,000,000 homeschoolers, and the number is growing at a brisk pace. Mrs. G. finds it exhausting to drop all the necessary conversational hints to prevent others from think she is a suburban hillbilly who makes her own kefir and eats raw meat. So, readers, here's the 411 on homeschooling mama, Mrs. G:
- Her children are of average intelligence and don't play any musical instruments.
- She is a card carrying feminist...the old school kind who is hung up on that tired old doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women.
- Her children watch television, play video games and eat large quantities of processed food.
- When she is not spinning her own wool and milling her own flour...not that there's anything wrong with that, she enjoys gardening, gin and historical documentaries The Sopranos
- She and her husband chose to homeschool for very personal reasons that had nothing to do with religion, politics or any kind of aversion to public school. Mrs. G. has been teaching in one for several years.
- She doesn't jump on bandwagons and is turned off by zealots of all stripes. Mrs. G. is absolutely sure about nothing.
And she prefers her salad raw and her meat cooked.