Monday, November 15, 2010

What I wish non-homeschoolers understood about my homeschool

Blog Cruise time again, and this week's question has had my brain going in all kinds of directions.  I think instead of directly addressing myths about homeschooling, I'm going to create my own little list of things I wish non-homeschoolers understood about homeschoolers, or at least about *this* homeschooler.  So, although I know this is mostly being read by homeschoolers, it is actually addressed to people who don't homeschool.
  1. Just because we have chosen to homeschool does not mean that we think you are wrong for choosing something else.  Believe me, homeschooling is not for everyone.  There are things my kids miss out on since they are not in an institutional school environment, and there are things your kids miss out on since they are not home.  I totally respect your decisions, at least as long as you aren't criticizing mine.  Honestly, I have enough to do without trying to second guess your choices.
  2. Just because we have chosen to homeschool does not mean that we think teachers are unnecessary.  In fact, teaching my own children has done more to make me respect the challenges that classroom teachers face every single day.  I'm grateful that so many people do care enough to take on the huge job of teaching the next generation.  I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it.
  3. My kids are not weird because they homeschool.  My kids are weird because they are kids.  And because they have weird parents.  They'd be weird if they attended a traditional school too.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree and all.  Honestly, I haven't met too many kids that aren't weird somehow.  I never attribute it to their parents' choices in educating them.
  4. You don't have to have the patience of a saint in order to homeschool.  Homeschooling does teach more about patience than anything else I've ever done.  But you don't have to have it first.  Believe me, you'll get the chance to learn it.  And I am nowhere near having mastered those lessons.  Nowhere near.
  5. If one more person tells me that they aren't homeschooling because they can't afford it and that I'm lucky we can, I swear to you, I will throttle them.  First off, that statement generally comes after showing me photos of your annual two week vacation in Vail or Europe.  Secondly, homeschooling does NOT have to be expensive.  Eat at one less five-star restaurant on that vacation, and you've undoubtedly saved enough to have a larger homeschooling budget than we do.  Finally, we certainly can't afford to be homeschooling either.  It is a struggle.  We sacrifice a lot to do this.  Please, go back and read #1.  I don't care why you don't homeschool, just don't go making excuses for it.  Honestly, it's okay.
  6. I do resent it when people start assuming all homeschooled kids are whatever because of that one homeschooling family they know. I've probably met more homeschoolers than you have, and believe me, the only thing we have in common is that for some reason we have chosen to educate our children at home.  Or some of our children.  There is no such thing as a typical homeschooler.  Really.  I don't judge all public school families based on that one worst-case family I know.  I'd appreciate the same courtesy.
  7. If you have a specific concern about my children and can tell me about it respectfully and without insulting any of us, I'd be happy to hear it.  But if you are just throwing out random stereotypes and blathering on about socialization, please, can we discuss the weather instead?
  8. Just because traditional school kids are in class doesn't mean my kids are slacking off if they aren't.  My kids may be playing when yours are sitting in a class, but my kids are also likely to be 'doing school' at times that your children are not.  Like the science class my son attends from 5-6:00 pm every Friday.  For the record, our school year runs from January to October.  That means my kids are officially on break right now (but still in science from 5-6:00 pm ever Friday).  I don't criticize your kids for running around playing in July when my children are in school... can you extend me the same courtesy?
  9. Just because it does not look like school to you does not mean it isn't school.  Most homeschoolers I know tend to get pretty creative, particularly in areas where their kids struggle.  Blogging can be an excellent way to work on spelling, grammar and writing in general.  Facebook can be good for that too.  And just because mom doesn't publicly correct their spelling doesn't mean those errors don't go on a list to be studied.  
  10. No, my children do not always listen to me. Yes, they do make me crazy sometimes.  Yes, I desperately need to get away sometimes -- see my gratitude post last night.  None of that changes my commitment to homeschool.
  11. If you want to quiz my children, then expect that I will likewise quiz yours.  If you want to ask my children if they'd rather go to school, don't be offended when I ask yours if they would rather be homeschooled.  If you criticize my choices (especially in front of my kids), don't be shocked if I feel free to criticize yours.  Can't we talk about something more interesting? 


Miss Janet said...

You've got spunk and I'm crackin up!!!!

I was part of the crew last year. Have fun!



I follow you!

Kela said...

You go girl!! THESE are awesome points!!
I give this a hearty AMEN!!

Lori Watson said...

EXCELLENT post! I heartily agree!

Jodi said...

Wow, you made some great points Debra! Many of which I have said and/or thought myself. Thanks for participating in Blog Cruise this week, loved your post!

Tess said...

This is the post I wanted to write last week! Thanks Debra for vocalizing my frustrations. My post went in a different direction but you nailed what I wanted to say!

Michelle Smith said...

Great points, Debra! Can you believe I forgot to do the Blog Cruise this week? Something about grades being due at my church school and our week of volunteering at our church, which is an Operation Christmas Child Drop-Off Center, two birthdays, etc. were at the forefront of my mind instead. I think I'll just link to your post instead. :)

Kelly said...

Awesome points! Thanks for sharing.

Laura O in AK said...

Great post full of things I often think, but rarely say.

It's only November, and I feel like I need a break again. Wait..I had a lighter load while at my parents. Only, then I had 2 weeks of "the boys should really be in school" coming at me.....

Anonymous said...

Well said!
I am not a homeschooling mom, but I APPLAUD you and all parents who DO homeschool! God Bless you!
I think I would have to look at the person asking the questions and say: "Really? My life and decisions are none of your business!" then walk away. Ah, But I guess that might give them more to talk about!
Hang in there!

Vickie said...

Love it!!!! You took a little different twist on how I did post. All these things we've all wanted to say and at some point, have said LOL

Julieanne said...

Loved your viewpoint on this week's topic! I wish I had written this...maybe you'd let me copy and paste it to my blog if I give your name as the author and I link to your blog? If not, that's okay, too. Just let me know!

ejm (at) truevine (dot) net

Mozi Esme said...

How I wish #1 were true for ALL homeschoolers. Sadly, it seems the most vocal homeschoolers in our community are extremely judgmental. I've gotten nothing but support from non-homeschoolers, while the vocal homeschoolers not only condemn non-homeschoolers, they also mandate exactly how you should homeschool. It makes me a little sick.

Unknown said...

I love this! I wish I could somehow convince certain people to read it without offending them by just suggesting it! Wow! You nailed it...