It might be because we live out in the sticks.
It could be because Roman found the one pair of jeans in his dresser that are too short and decided to wear them with his "muscle shirt".
Maybe it's because my boys need haircuts but I haven't bothered to take them into town to get sheered.
It could be my 7 yr old boy
or the baby that doesn't quite match the rest of us,
or the 4 year old who also picked out his own clothes
but for some reason I think we scream "homeschoolers".
That realization dawned on me today as we wandered through town shopping, going to appointments, and running errands.
We may as well start wearing matching denim jumpers.
I thought we could take our kids out of school and somehow still be cool. I think I was mistaken. First of all we never were cool. Now it's just a hopeless cause.
When you spend most of your time at home where it doesn't matter if your t-shirts say "QuickSilver" or "Billabong"....or even if you are wearing a shirt at all...social standards are quick to slide. Trendy runners and the latest pre-teen fashions are traded for barefeet and and pajama pants. Carefully gelled hair is traded for bed head. That's just the way it is. Homeschooling is a slippery slope to freakishness.
It struck me today as I walked around town with my well behaved, mismatched, shaggy haired, wide eyed children....we are those homeschoolers that I thought we'd never be.
Of course, I did try to make it out of the house by 9 am with some imitation of normalcy. Most of their teeth were brushed, they all had shoes of some sort on their feet, they had combed hair, and were fully dressed. That seemed like a raving success to me.
We live near a town that doesn't see a whole lot of "different" anything. It's really no wonder that when school age kids are skipping along side my shopping cart at 10 am people stop and stare...and ask my children "Why aren't you in school?". It's not really a rude question..albeit a little nosey...but seriously my kids are sick of explaining to strangers why they aren't on lock down somewhere until 3.30. Maybe it's a good thing it's a small town. Eventually people will stop asking why my kids aren't in school and they can just say "there goes that home school family..oh..and look Roman finally got new jeans!".
I can't really blame the town folk. We are the ones bucking societal standards. Although, after being asked "My God! Those can't all be yours can they?" (I didn't think 4 quite put us on the same bus as the Duggars) I start to feel like I'm parading a circus through town.
I fully realize that my own insecurity and fear of being "weird" takes over at that point and I suddenly start to notice my child's mismatched socks and high water home-schooler jeans. It could be only a misguided assumption that we are being stared at because of those things, rather than because we are all just so stinking cute, but I suspect we are careening down the road to becoming full fledged freaks.
If we stay on this path our kids may never know what it's like to be ashamed of the Walmart clearance rack clothes they're wearing.
How can they ever learn to be the leader of a cool pack when they proudly prance around in second hand shoes? So NOT cool.
I may be scarring them for life or stunting them socially.
I mean, how will they ever learn their place in the social pecking order if they aren't mocked and ridiculed on a daily basis? How will they learn to climb their way up a social ladder by stepping on those below them?
They are destined to be bottom of the rung!
How will they ever learn to comply, and show respect to adults if they aren't institutionalized by the age of 3? Parents certainly can't demand the sort of respect a teacher can...can they?
How will they ever learn to sit in a classroom if they aren't sitting in a classroom? Isn't that what education is all about?...learning to conform?
It's enough to worry any parent.
I suppose, they may never completely fit into societal norms.
They may always be respectful to authority, confident in their individuality, inspired to follow their natural curiosity ...and I suspect home educating them may even be making that worse. Their closest friends may always be their siblings....such a pity it is.
I guess they'll likely never have a healthy social life now that they are destined to be freaks.
I suppose I have no choice at this point but to embrace "weird". It will make it that much easier when we get to town only to realize that Silas snuck into the car without his shoes on. I'll just shrug and say to those who scrutinize us with their stares ...."Hi, we're home-schoolers".