Every once in a while, I get a question about Ryan. He is short for his age, so I suspect that if he were average, or tall, then I'd get this question even more frequently. This question is:
Where does he go to school? (If it's 10 in the morning, the question is sometimes, "Why aren't you in school?")
If he answers, it's usually "Oh, we do our school at home."
By this response, Ryan means: "I pursue my interests and ask my mom zillions of questions and she reads me books and I play with friends and organize armies of knights and dig in the sandbox and chase my sister and help with the cabin business and build things with LEGO. My mom also makes me do things like put away my clean clothes and help pick up toys and put my dishes in the dishwasher. Sometimes, I help my dad spackle or change light bulbs."
I imagine that the questioner interprets Ryan's response to mean: "I sit at my kitchen table and fill out worksheets for 4 hours a day. I will soon be completing the manuscript of my Bildungsroman novel." The questioner seems sometimes faintly surprised by Ryan's "school-at-home" response, but usually appears satisfied by his/her mental image of our academic achievements. The questioner often seems impressed by Ryan's eloquence or knowledge about a certain subject (unless Ryan is acting like an ADHD monkey that has consumed about a dozen espressos, which is his normal mode these days).
When I answer the question, I'll say "We are homeschooling." I will inevitably get this next question: Which grade is he in? "This is his kindergarten year." Are you sending him to school next year? "Nope." Ever? "Hopefully not." Pitying/disgusted/surprised looks and then we all move on with our lives (these types of conversations often happen with random strangers at the grocery store).
Why oh why am I not going to register him for the government school down the road? I urge you to read this mom's experience with sending her daughter to government K and 1st grade. Get a load of the classroom management/discipline techniques used by the first grade teacher! Wow. As she said herself, her daughter's experience (and hers, too, necessarily) are not unique and many times the experience is worse.
They have since put the little girl in a very nice, relaxed-sounding private school. So check out her post--I also like her ranty writing style.