Guy: Where did you go to high school?
Me: I was homeschooled.
I watched as the guy's face changed. Before he said a word, I could tell that he didn't approve of homeschooling. Uh oh, I thought, What's he gonna say? I know that there are stereotypes and misconceptions about homeschooling, and I considered offering an explanation before he had a chance to speak. I considered it, but decided to wait and see what he would say instead.
Guy: Accountability is important. Don't you think? *pause* The parents have got to have college degrees.You know, parents with college degrees are good, but really not necessary. At least, not here in Portland. There are so many opportunities for homeschoolers to expand their knowledge outside of what their parents are able to teach. Homeschoolers can form study groups, can sign up for community college classes, can join Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, can take part in certain school programs, can take classes at dance schools...the list of opportunities go on and on.
But one look at this guy told me that he wasn't going to listen. He'd made up his mind. So rather than defend homeschoolers as a whole, I decided to make it clear that at least some homeschoolers meet his expectations.
Me: My parents both have college degrees. My dad is a Ph.D, and used to be a professor at a university.
Guy: What did your dad teach?
Me: Um...well...he taught a variety of things. But that was before I was born. I do know that what he taught was related to his being an electrical engineer.
Guy: And your mom?
Me: She's an accountant.
Guy: Good. Your parents are well grounded in the maths and sciences.It was nice to know that I had his approval, but I couldn't help but be a little irritated at his apparent disregard for the arts. I wanted to say Yes, science and math is important, but don't you think that the arts are too? But the thing is, even though I can order my thoughts and put together an argument on paper (or online) and in my English classes, I'm not always so good at it "in real life."
Do you ever find yourself wanting or needing to defend something, and yet not be able to form a proper argument in the moment, when it counts?