How Else Would They Learn to Stand in Line at the DMV?

As our kids dove under tables, climbed on stools and chased each other around, a mom turned to me and said, “Really, on days like this I really wish I could send him (her eldest son) to kindergarten so that they could force him to stand in line. I know it breaks their spirit, but he really could use a little spirit-breaking! After all, how else is he going to learn to stand in line at the DMV?”

Maybe it was an off-day for her…maybe she wasn’t thinking before she spoke…or maybe some of those many years spent in the system, first as a student and then as a certified teacher, were rubbing off.

And I, who am normally rather polite and politically correct in mixed company (i.e. not when I’m blogging) couldn’t help but say, “Somehow, I think that I would have figured it out…without having to be forced into a line in kindergarten.” (Which, by the way, I was not. And yes, I have figured out how to stand in line at the DMV.)

Yes, she is a homeschool mom. And no, she isn’t what I would call typical. Health issues have dictated her current course of action, but I’m getting the feeling she really misses the rigor and conformity of public schools.

It was disconcerting, however, to hear such a statement from another homeschool mom. It made me realize how far I have evolved in the past six or more years that a statement of that nature could now bother me so much.

Later, after I was alone in my own house, all of the sarcasm came out…

How will they learn to stand in line at the DMV?

Gee, I dunno, maybe they learned to read somewhere along the way? After all, what does the sign say…”Line Begins Here.” Maybe homeschooling is about parents believing their kids aren’t complete idiots who can’t learn unless factoids are shoveled down their throats until they vomit.

Okay…I’m turning the civility and kindness meters back on and slowly backing away from my soapbox.

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2 Responses to How Else Would They Learn to Stand in Line at the DMV?

  1. Havik says:

    What I don’t understand about people who make comments like this is, why can’t she make him sit and be still or what ever her reason is for making a statement like this is. I know all kids are different and you can’t always make kids do exactley what you would like them to (thus comes the parenting, hello?). But what happened to parents telling their children..I dunno ..what to do? I am baffled on many occasions on parents saying my kids won’t do this or they won’t do that. And my simple response is they don’t have a choice. I think alot of people want other people (ie school officials) to make their kids a certain way so they aren’t “the bad guy”. In this case you get what you pay for or you get what youre not paying for which is not paying the time or attention. But hey maybe thats me…Im what most people call old school..

    • Christine says:

      I hear what you are saying. Personal accountability, right?! I find that a good part of ‘what is wrong with our society today’ is the move away from parents teaching personal accountability and responsibility. “Oh, did Billy hurt your feelings and that’s why you screamed in his face and hit him? You poor baby!” In most cases, it takes two to tango, folks.

      And perhaps part of it is learning when it is okay for them to be wild and crazy and when it isn’t. Personally, I think the kids were well within their rights to be running about and playing at the moment, it just wasn’t a focus on the ‘approved activity’ that of bowling. I found her son to be easily ‘controllable’ in that he would hear me say, “It’s your turn!” and stop playing and go bowl. She was coming from her background of, ‘everyone needs to pay attention to the activity of the moment’, very public school, but also silly at this moment. They were having fun. She couldn’t imagine a situation in which just letting them buzz around was okay because it would never be okay in the halls of the schools or the classrooms in which she used to teach.

      I too tend to be ‘old school’ in the sense that I expect Emily to listen to me and obey me. That said, I’ve taken a lot of time and effort to establish good communication with her in those moments alone, prepping her for events or social situations, and explaining my reasons for my expectations. It has then become an issue of mutual respect – she behaves, I sit back and don’t try to control her every move, and everyone (hopefully) has a good time.

      More on this in “You Are Being Bossy” – an upcoming post.