We are a homeschooling family. If you've been here before, you probably know this. If not, hi, hello, we are a homeschooling family. As we were nearing the end of last year's school time, my husband and I started perusing curriculum options for the next year. Ultimately, we made our choices and decided to continue 'schoolwork' through the summer. Our oldest is working at a second grade level and our youngest is now considered (by me) a pre pre-schooler (by which I mean she is mature enough to participate in almost all school activities, but lacks the ability to sit still for a full lesson so she flits in and out of the room, alternating between coloring in her journal and putting her pretend pigs to sleep in a book.)
This will be our third year homeschooling big brother and little sister has been tagging along all the way. In three years, we have fielded many questions, speculations, criticisms, and admirations from all manner of people. We have had strangers at pharmacies and restaurants give us their opinions as well as suggestions and support from family. We've navigated explaining homeschooling to acquaintances and co-workers, as well as the cashier at the grocery store. As a family, we've been lucky enough to have friends that love us for homeschooling, and to have connected with families who share our love of it and our children have made invaluable friends. Unfortunately, we've also endured our fair share of snide remarks and heard plenty of conversation about how horribly detrimental homeschooling is for a child's intelligence, development, mental health, sociability, and overall well-being. If you are a homeschooler, homeschoolee, teacher, parent, student, or prospective homeschooling family, I have compiled a list of five questions you will most likely be expected (albeit, at times, by someone whom you owe absolutely no explanation at all) to answer and answer well because the world's opinion of homeschooling depends on it!! (Not really, it will mostly be an elderly couple you've met once or maybe a gum-smacking store clerk who is a proud product of 'regular' school.) But I digress. On with the list.
1. "Aren't you afraid they'll be weirdos?"
|Making careboxes for the elderly.|
2. "But when will they have a chance to socialize? Aren't you afraid they'll have no friends?"
|Attending an indoor children's concert at the library.|
3. "Oh I could NEVER do that!"
It's this comment (that almost always comes from parents), and more than any other, makes me question what people think homeschooling really involves. Homeschooling, for our family, looks almost nothing like "real" school. We read, we sing songs, we color, we paint, we build things, we read, we write, we study art,
|Helping Daddy plant a garden.|
4. "At least you have a teaching degree."
|Baking bread doesn't take a teaching degree.|
5. "I envy you."
|Even pretend zombie families like to go camping.|
Homeschooling may or may not be for you. Homeschooling is for us. It's for our kids. It's for my husband and myself. And in our experience, those 'things' your family gives up are repaid a thousand fold to get to be an active participant in all aspects of our children's growth and life. So, if you see me in the park on a Tuesday morning, notebooking about the insect life under an oak tree; respect what our family has done to get there, rather than envy my lack of hours on the clock. When you see my kids romping with ten other kids of all ages, worry not for their socialization; admire their flexibility, creativity, and acceptance of one another. In line behind me at the store, when my sensory girl is running circles around me and hanging from the cart handle; instead of asking how do I DO it every day, smile at her and remind yourself that you don't know her story. Rather than be annoyed when my son insists on paying for his own toy, admire the fact that he could count out his money on his own. If you truly want to know more about homeschooling, ask us. I know fifteen people who would love to talk your ear off about it. Just ask us thoughtfully, respectfully, and kindly. We'd do the same for you.
**The views presented on this blog are my personal opinions and are by no means intended to represent the feelings of all homeschooling families.**