Friday, November 7, 2008

Funny? True? Not Funny? False?

Homeschooling Mothers. Are they freaks? Are they saints? Are they Afraid of something? Are they stupid? Are they gluttons for punishment? If you ever decide to homeschool, these are the questions you must ask yourself.

But one lady came up with a list of answers for commonly asked questions about homeschooling. Interestingly, I've been asked at least 17 of these 24 questions myself in the 1 year that I've been exclusively homeschooling. I'm not endorsing this particular author's use of hostile language, and perhaps she has some bitterness stored away somewhere, but nonetheless I consider most of her answers intriguing. Some of my favorites are in purple.

Please don't take this post as though I'm bothered by questions about homeschooling. I'm not. I'm actually happy to talk about it and would love to tell everyone how brilliant my daughter is and how we're already 5 weeks ahead of what a "normal" second grader would be doing. I love to talk homeschooling. Ask away! Actually, I'm usually surprised at how people just sort of clam up when I say we homeschool. The most common response is, "oh."

But here goes the list:

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

Like I said, it might be a little on the "I'm really angry at people asking me questions"-side of life. But I think some of her little "come-backs" are down right funny.

Here' s the source if you must read the parts that I edited. Read at your own risk.


mommy4 said...

HA! That's a great list. You should share your curriculum. Us fellow homeschoolers are always thankful for some ideas.

Kelly said...

How funny that this is your new post and we just had this conversation. I guess I should have read this first then we could have talked about something else. Anyway, I enjoyed our talk today. Hopefully we will get to chat again soon! Love yag

Ginger said...

Just recently had a neighbor say that homeschoolign is great when the kids are little, but you can't compete when it comes to high school.
I wanted to say: Compete with public schools? Are you kidding me????
Instead I just smiled and said: uh huh.
You can't convince anyone in a short conversation, so I don't bother throwing my pearls before swine.
My biggest pet peeve is when they say they don't have the patience. Patience is a fruit of the spirit, not an inborn trait.

shipra said...

Oh Jody, great post and thouroughly enjoyable to read. Truth be told, sometimes I wish I could spew out one of those more straitforward answers instead of just smiling and not saying too much.