I didn't realize this until we started homeschooling, but adults begin child-oriented conversation with a question about school. It's like the weather. It's safe and universal.
When we were at the grocery store, buying junk food, the cashier said to me, "Your sons must be so excited to get out of school today!"
I said, "They don't go to school."
She looked horrified.
I made a note to myself to just say, "Uh huh." It's like when someone asks you "How are you?" The proper answer to all school-related questions is some version of "Fine".
Then, two days later, I saw my six-year-old playing with a group of kids who live outside of Chicago. I always watch him play because he's the only one in the family without Asperger's and his play instincts look like magic to me.
A kid said, "Hey, you look familiar. What school do you go to?"
My son said, "I go to a school far away from here in the country."
And everyone continued playing.