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A Traditional School Mom Responds to Homeschoolers


Lately I’ve seen a lot of homeschoolers, some who I count as my closest friends, sharing memes and blog posts along a common theme: what not to say to a homeschooler. I understand that as a counter culture you likely hear a lot of the same things over and over. It can probably get annoying really quickly. But I’d like to give just one perspective on where some of these comments might be coming from.

Traditional School Mom Talks to Homeschool Mom

What Not To Say to a Homeschooler: The Rebuttal

1. What do homeschoolers do all day?

As a stay-at-home mom, I get this question a lot too. It’s not that people are insinuating that you aren’t doing any work. I think most people ask this because they haven’t spent that much time with their kids. They are used to going to work and really don’t know what they would do to occupy their kids all day.

2. How do homeschooled kids get socialized, learn to be independent, fit in, etc.? 

There are a lot of judgy people in the world and I’m not going to make excuses for them. But there are also quite a lot of people who are genuinely curious and don’t know about all the amazing programs available for homeschoolers. Now’s your chance to teach us about how different homeschooling is from the common perception.

3. I’d be too afraid I wasn’t qualified to homeschool.

This isn’t always directed at you. I’m sure you’re qualified. It’s me I’m worried about.

4. I just don’t have that much patience to homeschool. 

This one seems to really miff homeschoolers and I’m not sure why. It’s a compliment. You might not think you have a lot of patience, but trust me, you do! It takes a great deal of patience to be a stay-at-home parent. It takes a lot of patience to be a teacher. You guys are doing both! I’m sure you lose your cool from time to time, but give yourself a pat on the back and take this one as a compliment. Us mainstreamers recognize and admire your patience…even if you don’t see it yourself.

ALSO ON PRIME PARENTS CLUB :
Homeschool Exhaustion |Is Homeschooling Too Much for Me?

5. I could never homeschool because… 

These loaded statements often come off as judgy. I get that. But we mainstreamers often feel the same way when our homeschooling counterparts say equally judgy sounding things against standardized education. When it comes down to it, they both have pros and cons and we’re all trying to do what’s best for our kids. So, as a mainstreamer, I will try my best to refrain from any judgy sounding comments with regards to homeschooling. Can you do the same and not try to make me feel guilty for choosing a traditional school? And maybe we can both work on not being so sensitive?

I hope that clears up some of your feelings toward mainstreamers. I know it’s hard to see eye to eye with a lot of us. But, most of us just don’t know how homeschooling works. Please be patient with us when we ask annoying questions.

Rebeca is a self-proclaimed information junky who enjoys meeting new people, learning and trying new things, and spreading the word about her experiences. She has a particular interest in the “crunchy” lifestyle, travel and general parenting topics.

11 Comments

  1. Christin

    September 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Great article. I agree that sometimes people are just curious and want to know more, however, most of the time I can detect the judgement or lack of in their tone of voice. As a home educating parent that has used almost every educating option for my children, I can promise you that I am happy to answer valid questions. I am not open to having my kids quizzed in the checkout line by the 45 y/o bagger guy just because he thinks homeschooling is weird!

    We have had the experience of a wonderful public school, a public school that sucked, a fabulous International School and now we send our high school daughter to decent private religious school while I home educate the younger two. I personally feel that each family must decide what is best for “their” family and each of their individual children.

  2. Rebeca Holloway

    September 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    as with most things parenting, there are always people who disagree and want to make you feel dumb for the choices you make. I’m in a lot of “crunchy” forums, so I often feel guilt tripped for not homeschooling. Sometimes you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    • Jacqueline Wilson

      September 21, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      You need to tell those people to step off. LOL

    • Jacqueline Wilson

      September 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Or, just lie to them and say that you do homeschool.
      HAHAHAHAHAAAAA

  3. Becci

    September 18, 2014 at 9:25 am

    THIS.

    I feel exactly the same way! I honestly am not trying to judge – I just don’t completely get all of it, and I am curious. (Like, how do people live without the PTA?)

    Thanks for an excellent article!

    • Jacqueline Wilson

      September 18, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Wait, what’s a PTA? (Heh. Just kidding.) I think what homeschoolers would like traditional schooling parents to know is that most people don’t approach it as respectfully as you all. We love to have people ask us questions! However, the judgment is SO OBVIOUS from some that my 6 year old who was previously SUPER PROUD to be homeschooled is now shy about telling people. Those are the things that make us annoyed.

  4. Steph

    September 18, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Good points! Having my blog helps so much because when people say, “I’d worry about socialization,” I can say, “Don’t! See? We have so many social activities we can’t do them all!” There are many judgy people out there, but there are many more that, like you, are just trying to understand our differences.

  5. Jacqueline Wilson

    September 18, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Interesting post. I’ve never even considered that my traditional schooling moms were doing anything wrong by sending their kids to public school. I homeschool, but I do not think that homeschooling is for everyone. Most of my commenting about public school is about the public school system as a whole–which I think is broken. In my mind, there’s something wrong that we spend time teaching kids just so that we can test them to get funding. As for questions about homeschooling, from the majority of people I don’t mind the questions. I think discussion and sharing different experiences with people is amazing. However, you have to realize that a majority of the public still thinks that homeschoolers are weirdo freaks and we still get a lot of judgment for that. THOSE are the people that exhaust me. The ones that, on many occasions, have said to me with a look of disgust, “Surely you’re not going to do that for her entire education?!” Those are the people who exhaust homeschooling parents, not the ones who are naturally curious.

    Thanks for the post and opening discussion about this!

    • rockle

      September 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

      I think part of the problem is that to many of us traditional schoolers, there seem to be an AWFUL LOT of the “weirdo freaks” who are homeschooling their kids. Obviously you are not one of them — many, even most, of the homeschooling parents that I know are not among the “weirdo freaks.” But so many of the most vocal, evangelistic homeschoolers also seem to be … unhinged, somehow. Again, you’re not one of these parents, but SO MANY of them ARE anti-school, anti-teacher, anti-organization. THEY’RE not rational about their reasons for homeschooling, so it’s hard to have a reasonable, rational argument with them.

      I mean: opposition to the current testing mentality in public schools is a valid concern. There are ways around it, but you know that, and I trust that YOU have done your research and found that homeschooling is the best choice for you. I also know parents who homeschool because they don’t want their kids to have to spend an hour each day on the bus (valid), or because they have serious concerns about allergens in the school environment (valid), or because they don’t think that their local schools can accommodate their child’s special health/disability/emotional needs (valid). I can even get behind choosing to homeschool because religious education is important to the family, and there aren’t any private schools or catechism programs in the area that “fit.”

      But I have also dealt with homeschooling parents who chose that path for the following reasons: not wanting their kids to have to take physical education; not wanting their kids to be around people from other races and cultures (yes really); not wanting their kids to have to learn grammar or spelling because “it will give him a complex” (yes really); and my very favorite, “I don’t send my kids to public school because I am convinced that all teachers are pedophiles.”

      THOSE are the people who hurt the cause. (Although I’m pretty sure that even HOMESCHOOLING parents think these are examples of “weirdo freaks.”)

      • Jacqueline Wilson

        September 19, 2014 at 9:43 am

        I’m totally a weirdo freak, but not for homeschooling reasons. Heh.