Mom calls before bed and doesn’t sound that tired. She asks me all about Safer’s family. When I tell her Safer doesn’t go to school, she says they sound like really nice bohemians. When I tell her that Safer plans to teach me the secret of truly excellent scrambled eggs, she says they sound like really smart bohemians. Dad calls them progressive. Nobody wants to say they’re weird.
Having spent more than a decade following alternative pathways to K-12 educations for my boys, I loved this fabulous bit when the main character, *Georges, tells his parents that his new friend doesn’t go to school. Georges proceeds to list the things Safer does while Georges is at school:
What Safer Does All Day While I’m at School
Learns math from a website.
Helps “prep” dinner.
Plays online Scrabble with his dad between driving lessons.
Walks the dogs in the courtyard.
Has coffee with Mr. Gervais on the fifth floor. They read the French newspaper together, Safer says. Sort of.
Watches baseball-card auctions on eBay.
Plays chess with Candy. Candy is frighteningly good at chess, according to Safer.
Learns chemistry and Photoshop from his mom.
Watches the lobby cam.
Watches the parrots.
I read Liar & Spy to my boys in 2013 and I remember resonating with this particular passage back then, when we were still early in our own unschooling, homeschooling adventures, trying to find our way. Liar & Spy is not a story about schooling! but the unschooled/homeschooled characters in it were written with respect. And I felt seen. Reading the story again now, these many years later, I loved this passage all over again. Nice, smart, weird bohemians. so good.
*Georges as in Georges Saurat and this theme written throughout the plot >> Like Mom says, life is a million different dots making one gigantic picture. And maybe the big picture is nice, maybe its amazing, but if you’re standing with your face pressed up against a bunch of black dots, it’s really hard to tell.