I'm standing pool side at a crowded swim meet talking to a teammate's mother about homeschooling. Actually, we've only just begun to talk about home education after she asks where my children go to school. She is taken aback by my response. She reflexively looks at the 3 children at my side who are 6, 3 and 1-year old and blurts out, "But what about PROM?!"
This is one of those moments in life where one must create a reason to become occupied so as not to offend with uproarious laughter. "Oh dear, Button, what have you got on your shoe?" "Hmmm...Is your diaper full, baby?"
I just need a moment with that question. It almost always happens the same way; as a knee-jerk question born of honest incredulity. And it always makes me giggle shamefully as I wonder how on earth to satisfactorily answer such a question. I think the question has been asked of me at least a dozen times in the last 4 years by different moms.
I honestly don't remember what I've answered in the past. I hope I didn't say anything offensive or dumb. But really...
I went to prom. And I just can't reconcile my experience with the gravity of the posed question.
I planned it for months. Special ordered an expensive dress from a downtown boutique. Had a handsome and charming date. Details down to my handmade garter (yikes! Why on earth do they do garter dances at proms?) were all taken care of. My date went into debt to his parents for food, limo, tickets and what-not. We had a fine time. Life goes on.
I attended dozens of dance socials during high school and 6 formal dances prior to prom. Prom was the high school social dance experience on steroids and dad's credit card. A strong argument against homeschooling? I'm not seeing it.
But I do get the point. They really want to know why I would keep my children from the standard social lifestyle of "normal" teenagers. That's a much bigger question. If they really wanted to know how I felt about that can of worms I could tell them how I really feel about the modern prom scene.
We recently received our local newspaper which regularly highlights school happenings in our district. The main attraction this week was, of course, prom weekend. They showcased numerous photos of barely dressed young ladies with their starry-eyed dates and some silly quotes. One parent was quoted saying, "These kids are preparing for the best night of their lives!" My eyes flitted to a picture of a voluptuous young lady in one of those outrageous, but very popular, cut-out dresses (think bikini with a train) and to the young man at her side and I sarcastically thought: Yes, that young man is certainly hoping to have a delightful evening.
I can hardly help myself. I went to high school. Didn't you?
So, I'm a homeschooling fuddy duddy now, I guess, because I really, really don't care a whit about whether of not my kids attend a high school prom. Life is fertile soil for many beautiful and exciting experiences. Prom? eh. Been there. Done that. That's why I giggle. I can't believe I'm the only one who thought the hype was infinitely bigger than the actual beauty of the night. It is certainly not enough to keep me from giving this amazing experience of home-based education to my kids.