Homeschooling: The Dark Side
Episode II: The Homeschool Pajama Blunder, or
The Day the News Came Calling
Last week’s Episode I: No One Home on Stanford Day was a bit on the “heavy” side. So this week we’re going to lighten it up with a completely embarrassing though funny story on the homeschool wardrobe.
Ditching public or private school uniforms is sometimes listed among the many benefits of homeschooling. Makes sense. While we’re sharing the ways in which parents get to take back control of their children’s lives, wardrobe deserves to be mentioned. No more buying two sets of clothes. No more wasted instructional time as the assistant principal conducts random wardrobe checks or teacher writes up the kid wearing the wrong color socks.
Sometimes we homeschoolers can even get a little silly with our lists of things that make us happy. Wearing pajamas all day is often at the top of the “Fun Benefits of Homeschooling” page. Especially when we get to brag that parents can do it, too.
This is not the shocker it was decades ago when homeschooling was in its infancy. Social standards have relaxed… a lot. Even a short trip out of the house to the grocery store or pharmacy might mean a run-in with a whole family in pajamas. If you go to a certain discount store that starts with “W,” the pajama-clad patrons are probably among the more modestly clad folks on the premises.
Regardless, the image of an adult still in pajamas by mid morning is not a positive one. We assume we’ve encountered someone so lackadaisical about their appearance that they deliberately choose to not dress properly. The sight of adult pajamas brings to my mind the horror of a mom with the most unexpected of company standing on her front porch, all thanks to an incident from fourteen years ago.
During our first year of homeschooling, I was enjoying the benefits of not having to put on street clothes before the start of our “school day.” Mike and I were in his bedroom getting down to business with A-Beka History & Geography sometime between 9 and 10 AM. He had on a pair of shorts and t-shirt. I wore my purple Pooh-Bear pajamas. I expected no one, had no errands to run, and so figured the choice to remain very casually dressed would be just fine.
And then, we heard it… The knock at the door. I expected a door-to-door salesman we could easily ignore. Or could it be a neighbor — perhaps my cousin from across the street?
We peered out Mike’s bedroom window to see Fox10 News reporter Renee Dials and her cameraman standing on our front porch.
I was so stunned at the sight, I forgot what I was (or worse, wasn’t) wearing.
Me: “What in the world are they doing here?”
Mike: “Whatever it is, I did NOT do it.”
Me: “Don’t be silly. They aren’t here because you did anything.”
In that brief moment of wondering why a news reporter was on my front porch, I completely lost my bearings. First thought that came to my mind was that maybe — just maybe — I could make a good impression as a homeschool family in our community.
What on earth would Renee ask? Would the conversation present the opportunity early on to explain why my kids were home? What eloquent answers would roll off my tongue about the benefits of homeschooling?
Confident in myself and our choice to home educate, and very nosy as to the actual nature of the call, I strode to the wooden door and flung it open wide. Oh, yes, I did. Me and my purple Pooh-Bear pajamas.
As soon as I reached for the latch on the glass door, I could see the expression on Renee’s face. She looked me up and down, and down and up. Why was she looking at me like that?
My reflection cast back the whole sordid truth. I was about to represent homeschooling to a news anchor wearing my purple Pooh-Bear pajamas. Great day in the morning!
It was too late to do anything but face the music. Though I wanted to slam the wooden door and crawl under something large, I opened the glass door and spoke.
Me: “Can I help you?”
Renee: “Uhhhh…. we’re doing a story on Griggs Elementary School and want to speak to the parents of some of their students.”
Renee was referring to the public school at the end of our street. Mike popped out from behind me. Renee gave that, “Why isn’t your kid in school?” glance that veteran homeschoolers are so used to seeing.
Me [in the cheeriest voice I could muster]: “Oh! We homeschool! That’s actually what we were doing when you knocked on the door.”
Renee heaved a huge sigh of relief and backed away quickly: “Ok. Thank you anyway!”
You’d think I’d have let well enough alone, but that just wouldn’t do. I called out to her as she and her cameraman all but sprinted toward the street.
Me: “If you ever need to interview someone about homeschooling, please do call again!”
Funny thing… I’ve never heard from Renee or Fox10 News since that day.
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