Yesterday we found the new Captain Underpants book at the library. Say what you will, but Captain Underpants has been a staple at my house since my oldest found him at the library probably 10 years ago. Yes, it is twaddle. Yes, it is bathroom humor. Yes, it is everything most homeschoolers turn up their noses to.
But sometimes it is just fun, right? Freckle Face was pretty excited to find Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers yesterday. He started reading it right away, but later went outside to play.
He came in later visibly upset. It seems that the neighbor was very vocal about his feelings about homeschooling. Claiming that is “stupid” and that Freckle Face is stupid for being homeschooled. It seems this neighbor kid thinks Freckle Face doesn’t do anything all day. Freckle Face needs to be in school because that is where you learn “stuff”. So according to the logic of this neighbor kid, Freckle Face is “stupid”.
Oh, the mixed blessing of having neighbor kids to play with. I explained that we don’t care what people think. We know that he isn’t stupid. We know that we learn “stuff”. Freckle Face does not have to explain to the neighbor kids why he is homeschooled. I told Freckle Face that the next time the neighbor kid starts on this rampage to say, “I like being homeschooled. Let’s skateboard.” Most likely that would end the conversation.
What does this have to do with Captain Underpants? Well, to cheer up my sad faced Freckle Face (because no one likes a sad Freckle Face) I grabbed Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers and started reading aloud.
I started reading Chapter 4. Mr. Krupp is in prison.
All day long he had people bossing him around….He got bullied constantly by a bunch of meat-heated thugs, and he spent his days doing menial “busy work” in an overcrowded, poorly ventilated sweatshop.
Well, look at that, Freckle Face. Mr. Krupp is in public school. I kept reading.
He was told when to eat, when to read, and when to exercise. He even had to ask permission to go to the bathroom!
I looked at Freckle Face. He smiled. “Still sounds like public school to me,” I said.
…..pointless rules, ridiculous discipline…and pharmaceuticals designed to make everyone compliant and docile.
Ok. Now I am starting to wonder if Dav Pilkey has a kid in public school. “Public school, Mom?” Oh yeah, public school.
It was a lot like being a student at…except the prison had better funding.
That was the last of the slam on public school. We read a couple more chapters together. There is a lot adult humor in this book. Almost like Pilkey wrote it to be read aloud (or is this a book for the original Captain Underpants fans who are now adults?) because I know that the humor in this book is going to go right over the head of your average 8-10 year old.
“There you go, Freckle Face,” I said. That is what you are missing. “Do you feel any better?”
“Oh, yeah, Mom. LOTS better!”
“That is good. Don’t let what the neighbor kids say bother you. Always stand up for yourself and then change the subject.”
“Got it, Mom.”
On another note-as I skim this book, it is not filled with the same light-hearted potty humor as the others have been. It feels angry. Even though that bit that we read together was funny and made us laugh together, I am not sure that I will encourage him to finish the book. In fact, I may just take it back to the library.