In a comment to the Worlds Collide post below, a reader reminded me that I had forgotten one of the other rites of passage from the “normal” world to the homeschool world: the intermittent quizzes popped on your children to make sure they are learning as much as their peers. This, of course, guards against the natural tendencies of homeschool parents to watch Oprah and Montel while drowning away the sorrows of their tedious existences with heavy doses of tequila.
Needless to say, I welcome these rather charming and facile attempts to pin my wife as an incompetent educator. The children always do her justice.
At times though, the inquisitors of seculardom get more than they can handle.
I remember one time when the subject came up during a business lunch with three lawyer-types of what the children were learning in homeschool. I told them I was really impressed with their Latin work (picture vacant stares– you mean Spanish?).
Our whole family had just gone to see Julius Caesar at the Shakespeare in the Park festival, and the children enjoyed it. But what impressed me was a little impromptu quiz I threw at them during the play. In one scene, some Roman centurions entered carrying banners that said SPQR. I thought I would try to enrich the experience for the kiddies (see, that’s what homeschoolers tend to do). So, I mischievously asked my 11 year old daughter, “Do you know what SPQR means?”
Without missing a beat, and before I launched into my planned mini-lecture on the Roman empire, she casually said, “Senatus Populusque Romanus.” Oh.
Picking up my jaw and feeling inferior, I wheeled on my 8 year old son. “Do you know what that means?”
Even more casually than his sister, he flipped, “The senate and the people of Rome.” He didn’t add, though I distinctly heard it in my head, “Duh.”
When I finished my story to my colleagues, I looked around waiting for the impressed and congratulatory words of awe and praise.
Continuing my streak of lifelong disappointments, however, I got this. “Maybe your kids can spend a week or so with us. We’ll take them to Six Flags or something. That’s weird.”
And now, let us draw the curtain on this scene. I’m nearly out of tequila.