We homeschooled when my three sons were growing up. When we started this adventure my oldest son was in 6th grade, the middle one was in 1st grade and the youngest was in kindergarten. Some people worry about what kids might miss out on if they are not in public school. What about all the things they won’t be exposed to? Like what, I wondered? Drugs? Ha. Not where we lived.
My sons’ drug education began when one of us found a crack pipe on the ground across the street from our house. It was made with a baby food jar and an ink pen that someone took the innards out of. Since I had to tell them what it was I decided it was a good time for a field trip. We went to the police station and took a tour of their museum so my sons could see the pipes and such that had been confiscated. (I think they were really more interested in the counterfeit money.)
I had to explain to my oldest when he was 12 or 13 that the young man who lived on the corner didn’t really want to be his friend. This guy had come to our house a time or two when he saw my son outside. He was about 20 years old. Sorry, son. He’s not looking for a friend; he’s looking for a customer. (And no, my sons weren’t deprived of friends. We had to scale back on outside activities just to get all the school work done.)
Another bit of education happened at a park. We found a metal pot scrubbing pad that had a “tail” and was burned a bit. I know this is nuts, but I brought the thing home. I remember putting it on a piano in the den. I don’t know why I did that. I think I had thrown it away? – or was it still there? – when something crazy happened and we had to call cops. Probably someone shooting a gun in the woods behind our house. (We had moved by this time. Still in the exciting area of town though.) Anyway, a cop was in our back yard and for some reason he walked through our house to get to the front. If that stupid thing was still on the piano he didn’t see it. I just remember being extremely relieved – so it was either there and he didn’t see it, or I had just recently tossed it in the garbage. Either way, it was a very narrow miss!
We also saw another one of those pads along with some spilled baking soda on the parking lot of the convenience store on the corner. Since I’d explained things by then (I even used pamphlets) they knew what that was about.
One day we were going to do a science demonstration and I needed a single edge razor blade. The guys stayed at the house while I walked to a different convenience store that is no longer in existence. The razor blades were hanging behind the counter and when I told the man what I wanted he asked, “Just one?” I told him yes, and he opened the package and sold me a single blade. I couldn’t help laughing a little when I told my sons we wouldn’t go to that store any more and why.
Well…they didn’t miss out on drug education.