We went to class at Johnny Gyro Karate. Braeden and Shane are both still white belts, but they are dedicated, and so, when we are in town, we go almost every day. On Wednesday, the teacher asked the students how they were performing in school. Braeden answered, “Good. But I don’t…” Then, out of embarrassment, it seemed, he stopped talking.
Mr. Gyro said, “Well, Braeden, at least you’re honest!” laughing to himself, and the other parents, who also thought it was funny.
What they didn’t’ realize was that Braeden had simply stopped himself from saying that he was home-schooled. I had told the kids that it was not appropriate to tell just everyone they met that they were home-schooled, as they were wont to do! I mean, everyone, regardless of if they had even started a conversation yet. Shane might just approach someone in Michael’s and say, “I am in the first grade, but I don’t go to school. I’m home-schooled, like my brother. He’s nine.” Et cetera.
I knew I needed to put a stop to that. Ventura County is quite receptive to home schooling, but LA County, not so much. We live in Ventura, right on the border of LA. For this reason, I often put off doing errands with the kids until the afternoon, when it can easily be assumed that they have been released from school. With one child, it might not be such a big deal, but with three, well, suffice it to say we don’t often fly under the radar. We are noticeable, and though for many this may seem odd, there are people who report truancy, which is a crime (of the parent, who is responsible to get their children aged six and older to school.) Not that my kids are truant; quite the contrary, of course. But I don’t need the aggravation of an investigation.
Since our school happens between nine and usually one- or two-thirty, afternoon errands are a natural. For this reason, it seldom would be necessary to discuss home schooling with others. It shouldn’t even come up, except for me being the motor mouth that I am, and unable to control my excitement about it. Still, that’s reserved for specific, reasonable occasions, not strangers in a crafts store.
I sat the kids down and said I needed their attention to an important matter. I said, “Now, I do not want you to lie. But I also don’t want you to blab. Some people are less receptive to the idea of home schooling, so from now on, you will simply tell the truth, which is that you are enrolled in a private school. Can you say that? Say it: I go to a private school.” They did.
“What if they ask us the name of our school, Mommy?” Braeden asked.
“Then you can answer them, “Reveille Academy.” That’s the name of our school.”
“That’s a crappy name. I don’t like it.” Braeden has a quick, critical mind, to put it nicely. “Let’s call it Buttfart Academy. That has a better ring to it.” Oh the joy of these little, unencumbered minds! Shane burst into laughter, and Tavia’s giggles were contagious.
After I calmed down, I said, “Well, I’m sorry you feel that way. If you’d prefer, you can pronounce it ‘rev-uh-lay’ Academy. But that’s the name of our school.” I was so matter-of-fact, I invited no argument.
It worked. “Oh. Okay, I like the first way better. Reveille. Shane, can you say Reveille?” Braeden is very into being the big, knowledgeable older brother.
They all said “Reveille.”
Then I explained to them that the name means to awaken, but can also be interpreted, phonetically, at least, as “to dream.” My sister, their aunt, gave the suggestion for this name. The French word reveille gave us not only the name for the military trumpet call, it is also distantly related to reveal, which is particularly meaningful for a school. So many games to play with this word! I love it!
Now that my kids know the name of their school (it hadn’t occurred to me to really share that with them before!) they seem to feel more invested in it. While they still are not overly shy about telling people that they are home-schooled, at least now they have a subtle understanding about privacy, their own, and they are more careful to protect it.
Now, that’s a revelation!