I want you to know that I don’t consider myself a superior parent because I homeschool. I recognize that it is a personal decision and choice each family must individually make. My decision to homeschool my children is not a reflection on your decision NOT to homeschool your children. Our decision has nothing to do with you, and I mean that in the kindest and most polite way possible.
I don’t consider my children to be prodigies. That is not why we choose to educate our children at home, so excuse me if I don’t feel the need to have my children perform “tricks” related to their education to impress you, or allow you to quiz them on demand.
I completely respect teachers who dedicate their lives to teaching the children of others. I just choose to teach my own children. It’s not a reflection of my feelings towards teachers in general but rather a reflection of my own personal wishes and desires for my family.
Because I have assumed the responsibility of teaching my children at home I do not have as much time available to meet for lunch, shopping or even to chat on the phone as someone who sends their children to school may. It’s not a reflection of my feelings towards you, but simply a lack of time on my part. I’ve now taken to not answering my phone when I am teaching because its hard for me to hang up and get back to the task at hand. So, if you see my car in the driveway and I don’t answer the phone when you call, please know I am most likely in the middle of a project or lesson with my child. If you leave a message I will be happy to call you back! I might even be able to join you for lunch one day. Believe me, I’m hoping that day is soon because sometimes I need a break!
I assure you that we are not part of a cult, we pay our taxes, and have no desire to drop out of society or keep our children away from others. We are simply a family that has decided that homeschooling is something that we have the time, energy and resources to implement. Please don’t share your horror stories with me (especially in front of my children) about the people you “heard” about that homeschooled their children with disasterous results. I can cite many equally disasterous horror stories in regards to public and private schools. The stories you’ve heard are isolated and may never be my reality just as the stories I’ve heard may never be your reality.
It’s okay to ask me about why we chose to homeschool or what our typical day is like, but it’s not okay to argue with me about our decision. My children aren’t up for public debate and I believe it was you asking me about homeschooling and not me asking you for your permission to homeschool our children.
My children all have friends. They have both homeschooled friends and friends that attend school. They have friends the same sex as them, and of the opposite sex. They interact daily with people of many different nationalities, economic background and ages. In other words, yes they are socialized. They know how to act and conform to the standards of society and society is not made up solely of children their same age who reside in their same zip code.
Yes, my children do have time to play and they are allowed to just “be kids.” It is not all school all the time at our house; although we do have many learning opportunities that we take advantage of. In fact, our children may have a little more time to play than if they attended a traditional school program because they are able to finish their lessons in a few hours instead of a full day—-leaving more time for play and personal pursuits.
My children are happy and well adjusted. They enjoy spending time with their family and siblings. They enjoy learning. It works for us.
We consider it a blessing and a gift to be able to homeschool our children. So please don’t ask me if I’m crazy or laugh and say, “better you, than me.” Perhaps you mean it as a compliment but it makes me feel uncomfortable and puts me in a situation where I have to put down my choice, in order to make you feel better about yours. If you are at a loss for what to say to me, simply say, “That’s great.” Because, it is great to have a choice. We are both just exercising our choice to educate our children differently, and that is just great for both of us!
We do not know how long we will homeschool. We are simply doing what works for our family and our children right now. Like most parents we just want what is best for our family. We realize what works for one family doesn’t work for another and it doesn’t make the other family any better or any worse. Really, it’s not a competition. Please don’t try to turn it into one.
Please don’t ask my children if they would rather be in school and then smirk at me if they say yes. My children would also like to eat candy for dinner, live at Walt Disney World and watch more TV than they are allowed to. Frankly their obsession with school is related to riding the school bus and playing at recess. With everyone asking them about it they’ve naturally become curious about it. If I asked your child if they would like to stay home with you, have no homework and have a much shorter school day they would say yes too!
And finally, I want you to know that you don’t have to be super mom or super woman to be able to homeschool. You don’t have to be the most organized or the most academic. You don’t have to be independently wealthy. You just have to be willing to try, willing to learn alongside your children, and able and willing to dedicate a good portion of your day to educating your children and yourself. I promise you, if you desire it, you will be able to achieve it and whatever you put into it will be returned to you (and your children) ten fold.
Grand Pooba says
Very well written and very interesting to read! Everyone has those questions about homeschooling and I am glad you laid them out for all to see!
Amy Bayliss says
Good points! 🙂
Hi Karin. Thanks for you wonderful comment on flipflops and applesauce. I really appreciate your honesty and thoughts.
I also really LOVED this post (and the blog itself) We are going to homeschool our girls next year for kindergarten. We’ve already encountered some of these questions/attitudes from others. It’s helpful to see your responses so clearly and kindly laid out.
Lots of love to you!
EXCELLENT post, Karin!!!
Oh I’d LOVE to repost this (with a few of my own edits of course) on my blog if you don’t mind….
Momma Bear says
Great article! Thanks for sharing!
Good for you!!! I was homeschooled and even though I can throw down a good homeschool joke like the rest of them…I completely understand why people do it. Granted I have met more than several families who do it for the wrong reasons and are actually handicapping their kids instead of benefiting them, but overall, I agree with homeschooling. I can’t say that I would LOVE to homeschool. Actually, I would rather not. I have 3 girls under the age of 5 and I really would love a break!!! 🙂
Although, when we move to Boston next yr…I know I will probably have to.
~ Kellie ~