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Mommyof1

Already sick of the questions (rant)

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How old are you? Are you in Kindergarten? What school do you go to? Its annoying both me and my 5 yr old.

I know there isnt anything we can do to stop them. 

Edited by Mommyof1

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I'm 5.  Yes.  I'm homeschooled.

I guess I don't understand the problem.

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Honestly, this stuff doesn't bother me.

 

Wednesday was the first day of school for kids in our area.  We went out about 1-ish to run some errands.  We were checking out at Kroger.   The cashier asked the kids if they got out of school early.  DD9 said "we do mommy school, we are done for the day."  The cashier looked confused so I said "we homeschool" and the cashier said "OH.....do you like doing homeschool."

 

Of course, DD9 said "no, I hate school" but that just made the cashier laugh.  Because of course so many 4th graders hate school lol.  

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I am not bothered by those questions, they seem harmless. Your response to them will set an example of how your child will respond. If your child is feeling annoyed it might be that they are reading your apprehension to the questions. EKS had a great answer. ?

The only one that slightly bugs me is if we are out during the day we get "so no school today?" Question. My kids have learned to say "we are schooling right now" ?

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I know why it's annoying to handle the same questions over and over again, but these people are just trying to make conversation. They aren't thinking that you've heard it over and over again (no more than the customers who asked my pharmacist his height considered that he was tired of THAT question! He's 6'7", btw, and I know because he gave up and put it on his nametag), they just are running through their list of topics and picking what seems easiest.

Learning how to deal with annoying questions and boring conversations is a life skill. If your son isn't ready or comfortable answering himself, then you model it for him: "He's five, and we just started homeschool this year! We're doing kindy." and you try to act like you don't want to rip their tongues out.

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I get it. It is really annoying especially if you are used to having to be defensive about your stance on homeschooling because either family or the people in the area you live in in general always seem to disapprove. It will get easier to let it slide in time. Most people really are just trying to make small talk or are genuinely curious. It bugs me too though I despise small talk as a whole, not just small talk about where and when my kids go to school.

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Sorry. They'll do it less as the child gets older.

It's interesting--and, yes, annoying at times--to watch how people try to make conversation. Dear Niece always gets comments on how she's dressed (ordinary little girl dresses), DS on how tall he is (He's not even remarkably tall, just above average), etc. I remember being so, so tired of being visibly pregnant and not even being able to go buy a loaf of bread without the When are you due/Is it a boy or girl/Is this your first/etc.

If you decide you do want to convey a little surprise or annoyance, especially if it's an actual interruption, a polite "Why do you ask?" could be an option. But otherwise, yes, just answer. Again. ETA: Sometimes DS answers with the name of our homeschool. If it's a short interaction, that might be the end of it. (It would work even better if I'd used my last name, which is actually the name of a school around here, LOL.)

Edited by whitehawk

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OP, I totally get it!  I always cringed, because it usually wasn't just "idle chat" once I'd said the word 'homeschool'.  Sometimes I'd get a smile and told how wonderful that was, but usually I'd get a comment that was rude - whether it was intended that way or not.  I've been told stories about "weird homeschoolers" and told I wasn't being fair to my kids.  Or they'd get a sympathy look and asked if they had friends. I've had comments about how I'd need to put them in school one day because I wanted them to go to college, right?  The truth is, I know it comes simply because most people do not really understand homeschooling, but..the truth also is, I don't want to explain it to everyone I meet.  I just don't.  It did get easier as the kids got older, but we're back in to another phase now that our oldest is entering grade 9.  People thought we'd "come to our senses" and now feel the need to offer unsolicited advice and comments, because they feel like we've clearly made the wrong choice.  Yeah, it gets tiring.  

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If you don't want to mention homeschool, there are ways around it.  "It's half day today" (esp. if you are done for the day).  Or "We are coming from an appointment."  are normal reasons why even public school kids might not be in school.  Or "It's a small local school" can answer the "where" question.  I wouldn't necessarily do that sort of brush off to a neighbor or someone who we would see normally, but a random person that we will never see again?  They don't really want to know the answer - they are making "pleasantries" while you finish your transaction etc. 

As far as neighbors go, if you are pleasant, upbeat and confident (even if you don't feel like it), people are less likely to push.  I had one lady at the park say, "Oh, you're the HOMESCHOOL lady" as if she were announcing that I was a scorpion.  My answer was a bright cheery, "That's right!"  But then I took away the mystique by showing that I too could do the small talk thing and asked her how old her child was, and where she went to school.  I know enough about our local schools to say a few nice things like "Isn't the school garden looking great this year?" etc. so that people don't feel scared to talk to me because I can't interact like everyone else in the neighborhood can.  I have a few quick answers to the homeschool questions "yes, it is a lot of work, but it works for our family" but I don't try to explain everything when most of the time people aren't really interested in in-depth answers.  And I find that a smile and a change of subject works for most hostile people and if that doesn't work, I can always walk away. 

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I agree with others - these are innocent, normal questions that most people ask.  I prefer people who like to engage in a little friendly talk - as opposed to homeschoolers who don't even want to talk to you when you meet them.

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12 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

 They aren't thinking that you've heard it over and over again (no more than the customers who asked my pharmacist his height considered that he was tired of THAT question! He's 6'7", btw, and I know because he gave up and put it on his nametag), they just are running through their list of topics and picking what seems easiest.

 

Strangers (parents) ask about my DS13’s height when they know his age and he is only 5’11” (181cm) so not really that tall. DS13 was mistaken for a kindergartner when he was three, and then as a 2nd grader when he entered kindergarten. He got used to the age and height question only last year.

OP,

School started back last week for my school district and the neighboring school districts. Many people asked because it is back to school season. The questions stop after the first two weeks because friends who want to know have asked and strangers who tend to ask have settled into school in full swing mode. 

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The more strangers ask my kids weird/offensive/off-the-wall questions, the more I appreciate normal, easily answered, small-talk questions.

Last fall, a woman at the library asked my 6 year old why he was wearing a devil worshiper (aka Halloween) shirt.

Once an older man tried to lecture my boys about how it was their job to keep their little sister in line and make sure she always knew her place.

Yesterday, a woman at the grocery store saw that my toddler was wearing a swim school t-shirt and asked if she liked to swim.  Audrey said yes, and I thought the interaction was over, but then the woman started quizzing her on if she could "really swim".  She actually said to my 2 year old, "Can you really swim?  Not with help or a life jacket, that isn't really swimming!  Can you really swim or are you just pretending?"  

So, yeah, I much prefer dealing with benign questions about ages and school grades and homeschooling (even when they are asked incessantly), rather than some of the other crap people periodically spew.

Wendy

 

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2 hours ago, greenfields said:

I agree with others - these are innocent, normal questions that most people ask.  I prefer people who like to engage in a little friendly talk - as opposed to homeschoolers who don't even want to talk to you when you meet them.

This has been my experience with 90% of other homeschoolers we’ve met. What’s up with that?

OP, we tend to get those questions around this time of year. The other day our server asked if the kids started school yet and if they’d met their teacher yet. My kids snickered and answered yes to both questions. 

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8 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

The more strangers ask my kids weird/offensive/off-the-wall questions, the more I appreciate normal, easily answered, small-talk questions.

Last fall, a woman at the library asked my 6 year old why he was wearing a devil worshiper (aka Halloween) shirt.

Once an older man tried to lecture my boys about how it was their job to keep their little sister in line and make sure she always knew her place.

Yesterday, a woman at the grocery store saw that my toddler was wearing a swim school t-shirt and asked if she liked to swim.  Audrey said yes, and I thought the interaction was over, but then the woman started quizzing her on if she could "really swim".  She actually said to my 2 year old, "Can you really swim?  Not with help or a life jacket, that isn't really swimming!  Can you really swim or are you just pretending?"  

So, yeah, I much prefer dealing with benign questions about ages and school grades and homeschooling (even when they are asked incessantly), rather than some of the other crap people periodically spew.

Wendy

 

I don’t know why, but this made me laugh because I can relate so well. My kids wear Halloween and Christmas shirts year round. I can totally picture the woman asking your son about his shirt. How did he react?

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1 minute ago, extendedforecast said:

I don’t know why, but this made me laugh because I can relate so well. My kids wear Halloween and Christmas shirts year round. I can totally picture the woman asking your son about his shirt. How did he react?

My son had no idea what a devil worshiper was.  We are not religious, so I think even the concept of "devil" was pretty fuzzy in his mind...his first thought was probably Tasmanian Devil.  He look a bit flummoxed, and then innocently replied that he liked that the skeletons on his shirt glowed in the dark.  The woman looked absolutely disgusted and stormed away.

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46 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

My son had no idea what a devil worshiper was.  We are not religious, so I think even the concept of "devil" was pretty fuzzy in his mind...his first thought was probably Tasmanian Devil.  He look a bit flummoxed, and then innocently replied that he liked that the skeletons on his shirt glowed in the dark.  The woman looked absolutely disgusted and stormed away.

 

???

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2 hours ago, wendyroo said:

My son had no idea what a devil worshiper was.  We are not religious, so I think even the concept of "devil" was pretty fuzzy in his mind...his first thought was probably Tasmanian Devil.  He look a bit flummoxed, and then innocently replied that he liked that the skeletons on his shirt glowed in the dark.  The woman looked absolutely disgusted and stormed away.

Oh my word! That is crazy town. I hear these things some times and it sounds like another planet. I must be super sheltered in my neck or the woods ?

A few years ago though I was at Target and one of my kids was using the restroom. It was October so they had Halloween costume signs up. My DD was chatting about what she wanted to be. A little boy about 9 or 10 was also waiting outside the bathroom and he said very matter of fact "if you trick or treat you will go to hell. Is that what you want?" My DD didn't seem to notice at all as she kept happily chatting away. He had an accent so I think DD was young enough at the time that she just did not understand. That was the one and only time I had encountered that. 

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I just answer the question politely if I am in a hurry. If I feel like waiting, then I look at my children and prompt the little one to answer politely. Most people do not have an agenda and they are genuinely just making small talk. I don't even think they really care about the answer. It's the kid equivalent of talking about the weather. There really isn't much in the way of casual conversation that you can make with a child in a 2 minute interaction besides "How old are you?" and " What grade are you in?". I've never gotten any kind of rude response when I or one of my children replied that we homeschool. This is where I model how to interact out in the real world. No need to make it anything more than it is since we got the same questions when he was in school too.

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It's just smalltalk, and your dc is going to get asked it every year for the next 10-12 years. Just have an answer and move on. I told my ds to tell 'em he's in college, so that's what he says! That gets a few eyebrows. :biggrin: 

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Or maybe your dc will do as my dd used to love to do..."I don't go to school." Adults caught on pretty quickly, but she loved it when kids thought she really got away with not going to school!

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I found short answers are generally best......  Sometimes I got really lucky and would just get a response about how someone in their family home educates also. ?

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Thank you all for responding.

Some of the problem is my little one would keep saying, " I dont go to real school or I dont go to school". No matter how many times i explained it to her. She doesnt believe it wad real school. She was convinced that school was one big playfest. I kept telling her it isnt.

Some of the people that ask are aquaintances and we have had this discussion several times.

I do have family members that dont approve of us homeschooling. One kept asking what are the laws about it. They have zero interest in HS. I explained in our state compulsory law is 7 yrs old. I explained what legal requirements are. They know I have been educating her all her life and she is more advanced then theirs who is the same age. 

Recently her cousin started PS Kindergarten. I explained to her what her cousin has to do verses what she gets to do and how long her cousin has to be at school (full day) and she was done with school today by 8:30 am. Then off to a field trip, Great Grandma's, the pool and the park. Its starting to sink in.

Daddy and I started drilling her on how to answer politely and correctly. That she is in kindergarten and when asked about what school she says our homeschool name and that its a new private school, if asked.

Strangely, we were out all day and nobody said anything about it.

 

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There is a lovely little book called This Is My Home, This Is My School.  It's a great way to introduce homeschooling to a K'er.

But, um.....I would think deeply about using language that pits one choice against another, and in truth, pits the children against each other.  "has to" "gets to" are not fair - particularly when neither child is having a choice in the situation.  It also sets you all up for a tense situation if home turns out not to be the right learning environment for her at any age.  You can address the pros and cons of homeschooling without making comparisons to a public or private school.  And it would be a good lesson for her in the long run.

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Homeagain,

Mostly the comparison was to help her understand that K at B&M is NOT all play, all the time. 

The big plus for her is time with Dad which she wouldnt have if she was in B&M school.

 

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9 hours ago, Mommyof1 said:

 

The big plus for her is time with Dad which she wouldnt have if she was in B&M school.

 

That’s an easy explanation for random people and I used it.  I would say something like my husband would never see the kids on weekdays if we weren’t homeschooling......Simple.

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When they are little, if the questioner seems more hostile than simple polite chitchat, I will intervene and answer for them. I don't expect a 5 yr old to field hostile adult questions. 5 yr olds questioning 5 yr olds.....that I'd let them figure out on their own.

For the most part, we have rarely received hostile questions out in public. My brothers have been the most obnoxious people about our decision to homeschool. They are extremely hostile toward homeschooling and believe it should be against the law. This has been going on for almost 25 yrs. I don't waste a second caring about what they think. My kids have blossomed, have been extremely successful academically, and our family is close. That is what I care about. Their opinions are nothing more than that. They have zero impact on what I do or think.

My recommendation is to develop rhino hide. Focus on your family and let outsiders' comment bounce off.  Don't engage. Politely deflect. If someone won't stop, respond that this is your family's decision. Politely point out that they can determine the choices for their own family, but you have complete right and authority to determine the choices for your own.  And then don't engage any more beyond that. Just let it drop. Don't seek their approval bc they may never give it regardless of the outcomes.

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Personally I think the questions are harmless. As the kids get older, you will see it’s a great way to educate the public and your kids will develop an attitude that is matter of fact and doesn’t really lead way into hostility or questioning. We think it’s fun. My son most of the time says he doesn’t go to school and the girls jump in and tell everyone all about it! 

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12 hours ago, Mommyof1 said:

Thank you all for responding.

Some of the problem is my little one would keep saying, " I dont go to real school or I dont go to school". No matter how many times i explained it to her. She doesnt believe it wad real school. She was convinced that school was one big playfest. I kept telling her it isnt.

Some of the people that ask are aquaintances and we have had this discussion several times.

I do have family members that dont approve of us homeschooling. One kept asking what are the laws about it. They have zero interest in HS. I explained in our state compulsory law is 7 yrs old. I explained what legal requirements are. They know I have been educating her all her life and she is more advanced then theirs who is the same age. 

Recently her cousin started PS Kindergarten. I explained to her what her cousin has to do verses what she gets to do and how long her cousin has to be at school (full day) and she was done with school today by 8:30 am. Then off to a field trip, Great Grandma's, the pool and the park. Its starting to sink in.

Daddy and I started drilling her on how to answer politely and correctly. That she is in kindergarten and when asked about what school she says our homeschool name and that its a new private school, if asked.

Strangely, we were out all day and nobody said anything about it.

 

My kids tended to think of B & M as "real school" too when they were little.  I don't know if I'd worry about strictly correcting what is an age thing.  As tough as it sometimes was when people were rude, we wanted our kids to be proud and confident about homeschooling. We let them answer, when appropriate, and even when I was annoyed by rude comments, I did my best to respond honestly and openly.  After the interaction we'd discuss any rude comments and how we might respond in the future.  Now the kids (and I) let things roll off of our backs.  They are quick to reply and correct people when they make wrong assumptions.  They love homeschooling and now answer confidently.  Yes, sometimes it's just exhausting, and maybe tempting to avoid the topic, but the more times you answer directly and confidently in front of your child, the more she will learn to do the same.  I do feel like saying she's in a "new private school" makes it seem like homeschooling is something she should hide.  I'd reconsider this, honestly.  

My first post was more of a "yep, I feel you" but I wanted to reply again and just let you know that it did improve and I think that owning our homeschool journey is what made all the difference.  As I mentioned, entering highschool has loosened the lips of naysayers in our life, but...my daughter is also very quick to speak up and say she does NOT want to go to a b & m school and that she's doing much better at home.  Nothing quiets the wagging tongues quicker than the happy child. ?

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14 hours ago, Mommyof1 said:

Daddy and I started drilling her on how to answer politely and correctly. That she is in kindergarten and when asked about what school she says our homeschool name and that its a new private school, if asked.

Unless your state is one where you can actually register your homeschool as a private school, I would not tell her to say this.  A simple “I’m homeschooled” from her should be the end of her input on the subject.  If people want more, you should step in and say something neutral like “It just works for us.”  It should not be up to your 5 year old to lie about your choices or defend them to others.

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26 minutes ago, EKS said:

Unless your state is one where you can actually register your homeschool as a private school, I would not tell her to say this.  A simple “I’m homeschooled” from her should be the end of her input on the subject.  If people want more, you should step in and say something neutral like “It just works for us.”  It should not be up to your 5 year old to lie about your choices or defend them to others.

Our state does consider us an non accredited private school.

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Welcome to the education journey! My dd went to kindergarten for a couple months, and would answer, "I'm finished school!" when we started homeschooling. That took some people by surprise, and my dh and I had some fun laughs over it. ?   Sometimes answering to seemingly simple questions can be interesting. 

Hope you and your family have a wonderful time homeschooling! 

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On 8/19/2018 at 3:30 PM, nixpix5 said:

Oh my word! That is crazy town. I hear these things some times and it sounds like another planet. I must be super sheltered in my neck or the woods ?

A few years ago though I was at Target and one of my kids was using the restroom. It was October so they had Halloween costume signs up. My DD was chatting about what she wanted to be. A little boy about 9 or 10 was also waiting outside the bathroom and he said very matter of fact "if you trick or treat you will go to hell. Is that what you want?" My DD didn't seem to notice at all as she kept happily chatting away. He had an accent so I think DD was young enough at the time that she just did not understand. That was the one and only time I had encountered that. 

Oh I had my kids threatened with hell for a variety of infractions.

DD came home from preschool one day very confused because she had been told she'd go to hell for wearing pants. I explained that there is a passage in the bible hat a woman shall not wear men's clothing. DD looked down her flower decorated jeans and responded "but mom, these are clearly girl pants!"

DS was once bullied by a church youth group at the playground and threatened with the devil since he didn't share their religious beliefs. His response was "I don't believe in the devil either".

Give me questions about ages and grades any time.

Edited by regentrude
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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

DS was once bullied by a church youth group at the playground and threatened with the devil since he didn't share their religious beliefs. His response was "I don't believe in the devil either".

 

LOL, I think your son handled that beautifully for what it's worth.

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18 hours ago, mumto2 said:

I found short answers are generally best......  Sometimes I got really lucky and would just get a response about how someone in their family home educates also. ?

When I homeschooled my older kids, this was rarely the case. But with my younger ones, I would say that 75% say they have or know someone who has homeschooled. Most of the rest appear to have a favorable opinion. 

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2 hours ago, EKS said:

Unless your state is one where you can actually register your homeschool as a private school, I would not tell her to say this.  A simple “I’m homeschooled” from her should be the end of her input on the subject.  If people want more, you should step in and say something neutral like “It just works for us.”  It should not be up to your 5 year old to lie about your choices or defend them to others.

In Texas, all homeschools are considered private schools. I’m not sure where the OP lives, but her state could have similar laws. 

Edited by extendedforecast

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8 hours ago, extendedforecast said:

In Texas, all homeschools are considered private schools. I’m not sure where the OP lives, but her state could have similar laws. 

I know--that's why I said "Unless your state is one where you can actually register your homeschool as a private school..."

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Don’t present homeschool as “better than” the other option. Just say “ In the school your cousin goes to they do x, y, and z all day. They have fun and they work. We have fun and we work too. It’s just different versions of the same thing.”

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On 8/18/2018 at 9:56 PM, Tanaqui said:

(no more than the customers who asked my pharmacist his height considered that he was tired of THAT question! He's 6'7", btw, and I know because he gave up and put it on his nametag) 

 

 

that's hilarious! 

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Mine used to respond with a blank look and say he doesn't go to school. Over time I learned to just go with it. Sometimes (especially at 5yo) it doesn't really matter what he tells the stranger who is asking what grade he is in.

If you're concerned, then when he says "I don't go to school" you can let the questioner know he's homeschooled. (if it's an adult. if it's a kid, I'll just leave it)

 

I just asked my 9yo what school he goes to. He said "home." And that is probably exactly what he would tell someone if they asked him what school he goes to. home. one word. ? If anyone asks him that, they're going to be sure I just keep him locked up at home all day.

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20 hours ago, EKS said:

I know--that's why I said "Unless your state is one where you can actually register your homeschool as a private school..."

 

Yes, but our state (Texas) doesn’t require us to register our homeschool. 

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3 hours ago, extendedforecast said:

Yes, but our state (Texas) doesn’t require us to register our homeschool. 

Register...not register...it's so confusing!

Edited by EKS

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On 8/18/2018 at 4:38 PM, Mommyof1 said:

How old are you? Are you in Kindergarten? What school do you go to? Its annoying both me and my 5 yr old.

I know there isnt anything we can do to stop them. 

This phase, in which 95% of acquaintance small talk with kids revolves around age and school, lasts until they hit puberty.

Come up with some fun responses or learn to grit your teeth.

"I'm as old as my mom says I am!"

"I'm in a kinderpot. We homeschool so it's not a whole garden, just me."

"The universe is my school and my mom is my teacher."

Etc.

If it makes you feel better, people ask me where I am from and why I speak such good English. This has gone on my whole life, since I could talk up to 2010 or so. (My family is from the Southwest and we  have been here for centuries and more, to answer their question.) I think someone famous must have explained why it is a rude question, or I got less interesting looking, because it stopped around 2010 for the most part. Maybe I just perfected my RBF.

People just have to say SOMETHING. It's irritating so it is good to have a script.

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We live in an area with many homeschoolers.  The homeschoolers are the winners of the spelling bees, math bees, etc.  Homeschooling is generally pretty popular and positive.  I did encounter an older lady that was a tourist a couple years ago that after asking my daughter about her school and my daughter replying that she homeschooled, seemed quite annoyed and asked what was wrong with the schools around here.  I laughed and said, "Educational quality," and she seemed more annoyed. I then gave some answer about it being very prevalent because of so many rural families.  I said it all with a smile.  I'm sure she was a retired public school employee.  It was the only bad encounter I've had, and it was entertaining for me.  I think my in-laws may think it's strange (they live in another state), but never say anything negative, and they are impressed that my children can "actually carry on a conversation with adults."  I would only get bothered with the question when my kids were younger because my kids would sometimes forget what grade they were in.  I am confident that I can teach my children and don't care what anyone thinks.  I relish the opportunity to extol the virtues of homeschooling to the unenlightened!

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It will get easier, I promise. When you have kids off in grad school, the questions about "how will they go to college"" stop. ? Though I did get one from a clueless woman the other day. I pointed out that I had one finishing her doctorate, with 2 master's degrees, another with a master's, and 2 who have finished undergrad, so thanks, I think we covered academics, thank you very much. 

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I am wondering what would be better questions to ask a random child you know nothing about.  ?

Well, one of my kids around age 9 had a long conversation about horse riding with a total stranger.  I don't know how it came up.  Perhaps it started with age / grade and moved on to "so do you have any hobbies / interests / sports?"  Or maybe the adult was extra smart about conversation and asked, "did you do anything interesting today before you came to this party?"

I don't remember too many interesting conversations between my kids and strange adults at age 5.  Could just be my bad memory though.

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Ds9 has stopped cheerfully telling people he was expelled and now just says he is homeschooled.

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