Monday, May 11, 2009

Not the Last Time

We just returned from running a few errands. We stopped into Best Buy briefly, because I lost my mind I just discovered that a children's animated history series, called Liberty's Kids, is finally out on DVD. The complete series, I mean: there have been DVDs with select episodes out for a while. I've been holding out for the whole shebang. Brendan and I watched it when Ryan was a baby and I remember just loving it. It's about two kids who live in Colonial times and have adventures in and around the American Revolution, meeting and helping key players like Ben Franklin and George Washington. I'll let you know if it's as good as we remember. Sadly, Best Buy doesn't carry it in the store, so I'll have order it online.

Anyway, as we were wandering the aisles at BB, enjoying the fact that for once the place was not jampacked with people and loud as a jet engine (must be a weekday thing), two strange things happened. First, a BB peopleguy came up and asked us if we needed help. Very shocking, as of course you're aware, getting peopleguys to assist you at BB is usually impossible. Again, must be a weekday thing.

The second strange thing was the question the guy asked the children: "Hey, shouldn't you be in school?"

This is the first time anyone has asked us about school since Ryan has been "officially" homeschooling.

I was a little surprised for a second, because I couldn't figure out why someone would ask us that. And then I recalled that it's Monday, Ryan is obviously school-aged (and many people would assume Morgan ought to be in school), and here we were, wandering down the movie aisles at Best Buy.

"Oh, we homeschool." I said.

Eyebrows. "Oh! Well, that's nice."

So then I asked him about Liberty's Kids, understanding that one ought to take advantage of the presence and attention of any Best Buy peopleguy--for they often disappear and never return--and he said, "Oh, that's educational, right?" As if suddenly he "understood" why we were there--then, big smile and super helpfulness. Because it's okay for us to be in Best Buy if we're looking for educational movies, isn't it?

All of this happened within 30 seconds. As he wandered off in search of his inventory computer, I had a moment to feel a bit...I don't know...slightly miffed, I guess. Not really irritated, because I understand that children-not-at-school-in-the-daylight-hours is still a new idea for most people. But a little bit irked that I would have to explain to anyone why my kids aren't in school. What if they had had doctor's appointments or some other perfectly excusable reason to be out of school? Why do grownups need to question children as to their present school status?

It was a little weird. And I know it's not the last time--I can only imagine we'll be getting more of these kinds of questions, particularly as Ryan gets taller!

10 comments:

Kristi said...

And welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling! You've now been initiated and can now claim that you are "official". :P Just teasing you! Can't answer why people need to ask the question, but they just seem to need to know.

Monica said...

Interesting story.

Thanks for the heads up about that series. That is definitely something we will be looking into. We canceled our cable and now rely solely on movies and DVDs of TV series (rented or bought). Thanks!

Nowheymama said...

He was going to call the truant officer. (KIDDING.)

Monica said...

Just FYI I just found these disks on Netflix. Looking forward to it!

You have the exact opposite problem I have at Best Buy. Maybe it is geographically dependent, but... every time I go into BB, they salespeople drive me nuts with overhelpfulness. It was so bad I actually complained to the manager about it once. I think that day I was asked at least five times whether I could be helped... within a span of about a half hour.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I remember getting the same question--and I still do because the Boychick's small school is not part of any district and has an unusual schedule. I know they're just asking to be polite (or maybe to find out if they have the H1N1 virus), but I always had that tiny bit of miffed feeling.

Principled Parent said...

I remember watching that series on PBS. My memories of it are good. Thanks for mentioning it--it's now on request from the library.

I'm always amazed by the inappropriate and intrusive things people say/ask in regards to other people's kids. At least those moments make for good stories :-)

Such Lovely Freckles said...

Yes, we get the question almost every time we go to the store, if it's in the morning. It gets boring after a while.

Guy Adamson said...

I'll be sure to check out the DVDs! Thanks for the tip.

The private elementary school I attended was on a different vacation and teacher workday schedule than the public schools. So, when I was out of school, running errands with my Mom, I would act sick so people wouldn't ask why I wasn't in school (which they did constantly). Sad, I know.

People would jokingly say I was playing hooky or that they would call the truant officer, which only added to my fear. If only some adults would consider the context and audience before making comment.

But, people are also honestly curious, too.

Monica, I think blondes get more sales "help"--seriously. I'm ignored in stores but we are constantly checked on when my wife (blonde) and I shop together. Or maybe she looks like a shoplifter...

Anthony said...

"As he wandered off in search of his inventory computer, I had a moment to feel a bit...I don't know...slightly miffed, I guess. Not really irritated, because I understand that children-not-at-school-in-the-daylight-hours is still a new idea for most people. But a little bit irked that I would have to explain to anyone why my kids aren't in school."

You didn't *have* to explain anything to anyone, though. You'd have been perfectly within your rights to tell the guy it was none of his business. (I'm not sure why you would do so, but it was within your rights to do so.)

I think that's something we often forget, and I think it's a lesson we ought to teach our kids. Just because someone asks a question doesn't mean we have to answer it.

In this case I'd have answered the question - but there are other cases where I wouldn't. One prominent case of this was, coincidentally, at Best Buy. While leaving the store an employee at the exit asked if he could see my receipt. I replied "no thanks" and continued on my way, and no one did anything to stop me. There's nothing wrong with asking a question. And there's nothing wrong with declining to answer.

brendan said...

I think the answer to the question "Shouldn't you be in school?" is very simple:

"No."

:-)