Monday, April 5, 2010


I've been getting a lot of (unsolicited) advice lately about how things could be better/different/easier/ less stressful for my family, if I put my kids in school. I know the advice comes with good intentions, it is with the same good intentions that I share this.

  • 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?
  • 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 skills necessary to do so successfully.
  • 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 on both concepts.
  • Don't assume that every homeschooler does so for the same reasons and in the same way as that homeschooler you know.
  • We don't drill your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children to see if we're doing an adequate job of homeschooling.
  • Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.
  • Stop assuming that since we are religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons. There are millions of Mormons who do not homeschool. Our church does not dictate how we educate our children. Our church does not dictate anything, for that matter. We all have our agency.
  • We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing options, praying, experimenting and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to meet the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact that we homeschool as either an affront or a judgement about your own educational decisions.
  • I do not have a degree in education. Nor have I completed a course in culinary arts. But my children learn every day and they eat every day.
  • If my children are "behind" in a particular subject, it is no reflection on me or my ability to educate them. Every child has their unique challenges. I am keenly aware of those of my children. When my children surpass my current knowledge on a subject, I will either learn right along with them, or I will find an expert. Just like your child attends "gifted" classes.
  • We do not have "school" eight hours a day. We are always learning, but our least favorite (and least effective) way is book work. If you were a fly on our wall, you would see us doing a whole lot of discussing, cooking, reading, experimenting, writing, painting, playing outside, going to the museum, laughing, building, playing games and dressing up.
  • Stop saying "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's a compliment, it sounds like you think I'm crazy. Truth be known, anyone can homeschool if it is important to you.
  • Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my kids' teacher as well as their parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically (and yes, sometimes my kids call me bossy) and bossing them around the way I do about everything else.
  • Stop saying that my kids are shy, aggressive, outgoing, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because they are 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.
  • Quit assuming that my children must be some kind of prodigies because they are homeschooled. They are just normal kids.
  • Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids. I am a Latter Day Saint, however (LDS). But that is just a reminder to me that I need to be more saintly. And sometimes homeschooling makes me feel anything but.
*Adapted from a fellow homeschooler blog. If I want to be clever, I have to get the idea from someone else.*



Stephanie said...

I've read that before. Well, I don't think it had the "mormon" stuff on it.

The "socialization" thing is so ridiculous. It irritates me. People say that, and they don't even know what they're saying, they just spout it.
Like we sit in a house with the doors barred, and pretend there are no other people on the planet.
As well as all the personality traits being attributed to hsing. rolls eyes.

kath001 said...

Well said!