Every year around this time my heart starts to sink. I see darling pictures posted of kids in new clothes ready to begin new adventures. I hear the roaring of the diesel engines barreling down my street. I watch as young kids carry book bags half of the size of them with all of their fun new supplies coming out of the top. I look out as my kids are throwing a line and jumping in the lake... sigh. I breathe really hard and pray to God almighty we are doing the right thing.
As a homeschooling parent I get a whole lot of questions about WHY I would choose to keep my kids home. Am I hiding them from something? Am I scared of the world? Am I crazy? (For those that know me DO NOT answer that!) So many people think they wouldn’t be capable of such a decision, which is not true, but it may not be for you and your family. That is OK!
Here are some of the reasons why I’m sure I shouldn’t homeschool, but I do anyway.
#1. Socialization. THIS IS THE BIG ONE!!! Are you worried your kids are going to be weird? You know people never walk up to someone and tell them that their baby is ugly but they have NO PROBLEM denouncing homeschooling from the get go. They worry that my kids may be weird and different because they don’t ride the bus or attend a school with hundreds of kids their age. They talk too much, like to be home a little too much or they don’t text enough. I get it my kids ARE different… and so are yours….. and so am I… and so are you. Do you think that I haven’t thought of this when you ask me? I promise I see things for what they are and although I appreciate our open conversations, truly I do, I do think of these things. My children’s personalities started blossoming long before I was even thinking about school. Each one of them is different. One is CRAZY social. One is quite social and the other one is comfortable in smaller groups. School would’t have changed that. Do you think that I want to harm my children in any way shape or form to give you a good conversation piece when you walk away from me? I was probably thinking of your entertainment when I decided to do it! The truth is that our children have different experiences but anyone could argue for or against the way both of us are doing it... and we would probably both be right AND WRONG.
School Day in Florence, Italy.
#2. Opinons about Perfection. Everyone’s got one. Homeschooling your child does not make them perfect children. This is not a litmus test on parenting either. Let’s throw that ill conceived notion out ASAP and get real. They are going to act like kids and do kid things just like kids that attend school. They make mistakes and so do we!! We are not doing Quantum Physics all day or reciting the Declaration of Independence. (I mean some homeschool's may be but NOT MINE.) They may not be stellar workers all the time, they act like…..KIDS!!! HMMMMM I’m not sure that I’ve met too many kids that don’t act like kids, so maybe they’re more normal than I thought. Its interesting to me that homeschooled children can tend to be under a microscope with people continually looking to see where their flaws lie. Constant quizzes arise to 'see' what they are learning. Rest assured, they have flaws and shortcomings, and so do their parents so look no further!
#3. Always Home. Yep my kids are always home. Every day. All year. Until they aren’t. This has it's disadvantages and advantages. Somedays I’m sure they wish they could run away. Somedays I totally wish I could. Hopefully sometimes we are all on the same page and glad to be together. Days when we wake up to 2 ft of snow or below freezing temperatures I thank God that I can send them downstairs to get school work done instead brave the elements… I’m selfish like that. There are beautiful moments in the chaos of always being home, like doing Literature with a quick hug from mom on her way by. There are also tough times that we all need to figure out how to work through. We are doing life a little differently than the mass population but we are still doing life.
#4. Curriculum. I should be worried that they aren’t learning the same exact things that kids in school are learning. Should I be? You are probably right. They may not be learning the exact same things as school kids are learning. I am so impressed with my friends kids!! So impressed. I also know, however, that my kids are learning and experiencing seriously cool things that they couldn’t otherwise. I’d say win/ win on both fronts. We may not follow the Common Core, but the core of our curriculum is faith, values and common sense.
#5. We wear long skirts. I do wear long skirts, and wayyyyy to short of skirts. I wear high heels, make-up and ohhhhh I also have a nose ring. My hair isn’t in a bun, in fact it’s a pixie cut. You know what though. I know some people, who because of their beliefs, they do wear long skirts and buns all the time. They are some of the most lovely people I know. We may believe different things AND we are both homeschooling. I hate to say this but it needs to be said; if sending your kids to school is to expose them to everything, then how can we judge with any amount of integrity the stereotypical homeschooler? Just saying.
#6. Close Minded. They may turn out judgmental because they haven’t been exposed to you know… the world. Refer to number 5. Not all homeschoolers are alike. SHOCKER… I know this comes as shocking news but just like not all of your child’s classmates are alike, yeah neither are all of us homeschoolers. I do love Jesus… so there’s that. I also like me some wine, cuss a little and really use poor judgment (like writing this blog) a lot. My kids have been around the world and exposed to cultures that I have only experienced with them for the first time, and I was a public school girl. So I guess there’s that too.
In life we are all doing the best we can, most of the time. Don't think for 1 iota that my husband and I don't consider all of the things that people think in their heads about homeschooling. We have chosen this path for our children and our family. I welcome the honest conversations and curiosity with an open heart and definite humor. I also appreciate the same respect and consideration that I try to extend to your family.
At the end of the day we all love our children. We may be doing it differently and that is beautiful. Like I said before, that roar of the bus gets me at this time of year... sometimes I think I should jump on it myself! I compose myself, however, look back at my kids and am grateful for the choice we've made. I believe that one of the best lessons in education that we can instill in them is to love everyone: race, religion, schooling, ability, disability and socio-economic status. It doesn't matter where our children go to school, or how good they are at anything, if we all focus on the goodness in humanity and the respect of each other our children will all succeed in this life.
From my family to yours- may God bless all of your children this school year!