Mouth absolutely agape, eyes wide in some kind of shock.
She stared at me for nearly a full minute.
And just because I said "Ellie and Harri are homeschooled".
We were at the local library (loooove the library!!!) and had met a nice little girl and her mother. The children were happily playing, and we mothers had gravitated towards each other in the hopes of some adult conversation.
We began by raving about how much we liked the library, how much we liked Hervey Bay (sigh....love Hervey Bay), how much we like our children, how much she loves it when her daughter is at school so she can do her own thing......
And that's when it happened. "Where do your two go to school?" she asked.
And that's pretty much when she started to see me as some crazy, nutter woman. Seriously. The eyebrows came down into a sort of frown, and she could not get away from me quick enough.
Luckily for her, she found something riveting over the other side of the library that needed her immediate attention, and occasionally threw me those cautious, "don't talk to me anymore" looks from behind a book.
I wonder at the thoughts going through her head, what was it that she was actually thinking about me.
People's comments to me on homeschooling have varied greatly. They range from supportive and encouraging, mild enthusiasm, laughter (nervous and shocked), flat-out "you must be mad" to disapproval and even mild anger.
And these responses always surprise me. I guess I just take it for granted that this is what we do, and is really no different than any other parents' decisions on their children's education.
I think I understand some of the reactions and the reasons behind them.
Some people are shocked that I would try to teach - after all I'm not a qualified teacher of any kind. How can I bring my children a proper education?
The only thing I am actually qualified to do is mother my children. I know both of them intimately. I know how they tick, how they work and learn, play and socialise. I know when they are having a good day, and when they are having a bad day, and how best to deal with them while they have that bad day.
I know how to show them how special they are, and show them that what they do with their lives will affect the world around them - and that they can make it a better place. I know how to encourage them to keep on trying to do their best, and help them discover their passions and interests and encourage them to go after them.
With the help of some fabulous curriculum, I can also help them to read, write, add and subtract, divide and multiply, make sense of difficult instructions, creatively write about our world's rich history, experiment with different materials/substances and write about the outcomes etc. etc.
Other people are amazed to think that I would actually want to spend so much time with my kids.
I actually quite like my kids. There are days when I would probably sell them for 50c, but on the whole they are not bad. The more time I spend with them, the more I like them, so that works out pretty well.
Of course there are days when I am desperate for some time out and some serious adult conversation, but I can generally count on Nev for that. And then of course there's always the phone, emails and blogger (thankyou blogger for restoring my sanity on sooooo many occasions!)
As parents we are always wanting to give our children the best we possibly can.
For some people this includes expensive private schools, horse riding/piano/"what fork to eat a salad with" lessons.
For others it may be sending their children to a good state school and getting up at 4am to take them to swimming training.
For me, it is keeping my children home with me, building in them a love of learning, and helping them take steps in becoming the independent people thay are meant to be.
We are all so different.
And that's what makes this world so interesting.