You Might Be A Homeschooler If You’ve Ever Heard Any of This…

Are you crazy? What about socialization? This fourteen year-old homeschooled kid came to our school last year and didn’t know how to read! What about prom? There is no way you can teach every subject for 13 grades! You aren’t a certified teacher. Your kids need time away from you to learn to take care of themselves. When you discover you just can’t do it right, will you put them back in school? They won’t have any friends. Why are you sheltering them from real life? They’ll be weird. What makes you think you can do a better job than the professionals? Aren’t you worried you will regret this decision for years to come? You just can’t do it all.

Oh ya? Hold my beer…

Nah, I don’t drink beer. Hold my room temp coffee.

For real, I’m the kind of person that will bust her spleen to do something someone says I couldn’t possibly. I had so much fun getting ready to homeschool my boys. I was excited, hopeful and nervous. Oh and clueless.

I still remember the day I asked my husband to begin the deconstruction of our guest room.

“Okay. But are you sure you really want to do this?” He asked me warily as I was sketching a floor plan of where to put things in our new homeschool room.

First off, guest rooms are overrated. And after enduring the comments and questions of my sanity from various family members when they learned I was going to homeschool, warmly housing them as company was my last worry. They serve free breakfast at a number of mediocre hotels in our area, and if they didn’t want to pay for a room they could keep their judgements to themselves and just sleep on the couch or the floor. Or not come at all.

Especially after asking me to promise that I would put my kids back in school if I ever feel like I might need to chop them into little pieces or drown them in the bathtub.

OMG. Wow, right? I could not make this stuff up.

 

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Say it to a Homeschooler?

They really shouldn’t have bothered with all their worrying that I would screw my kids up royally. I was doing enough worrying on my own. And honestly I still do today. Did you know it is possible to worry about what history curriculum to use with your 4th grader to ensure that he has a well-rounded grasp of world cultures and events that have led to the present day turmoil he hears about on the news, while simultaneously worrying if he will ever capitalize a sentence or brush his teeth without threat of being sold to the next circus in town?

The last thing a worried new homeschool mom needs to bear is the added weight of the thinly veiled indignation of others. As if their obvious questions and assertions haven’t already crossed her mind numerous times.

It seems some people lose all sense of decorum when confronted with the disquieting news that you are planning to homeschool. Seriously, their shock…shocked me. You would have thought they showed up at our house to find me stir-frying Labrador puppies for dinner while my sister wives set the table.

My grandmother literally laughed in my face. Let me repeat that. MY GRANDMOTHER! Like, hysterically laughed. She was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s at the time, but knowing and loving her for years, I knew the real her that was completely present in the conversation. And though I fully expected her to doubt my abilities vocally and with her trademark biting edge, I didn’t expect complete mockery. It literally took her about fifteen minutes to compose herself and ask, “You are serious, aren’t you?”

Wow, thanks Nana. Remember when you came to my graduation for my Master’s Degree because you wanted to see your brilliant first granddaughter walk the stage? Ya, that was me!

But I totally give my Nana a pass. In her best years I never would have expected her to see my reasoning as sound. She never did get past her era of “men and the government are smarter, lets let them make all the really important decisions”. And the laughter was probably the effects of her thought filter wearing out.

 

Stupid Things People Say When They Find Out You Homeschool

There are many who are not suffering from neurological illness who just forget their filter all together and ask or say really rude and stupid things.

Go ahead and laugh. Do it out loud and in their face just like my Nana.  If they forget to use their filter, why use yours? Like I said, you can’t make this stuff up. Cackle loudly and then say, “Oh, you were serious, weren’t you?”

 

Here are some of my favorites:

  • “Homeschooling, huh? Is that even legal?”
  • “Well eventually you will have to put them in school so they can learn social skills.”
  • “You can’t reproduce school effectively at home.”
  • “This is just temporary, I hope.”
  • “But they’ll go to high school, right?”
  • “Oh, I could never be with my kids all the time.”
  • “I didn’t realize you were that religious.”
  • “How will you know if they have learned anything?”
  • “They need to learn how to dress in style, and what is popular in their age group.”
  • “We have a great school district here. They really shouldn’t have to miss out.”
  • “Don’t you want them to learn to keep a schedule and how to function when they are tired?”
  • “You can’t shelter them forever.”

At first I was very defensive about our decision to homeschool. I wanted to explain my reasoning and get through to these people. I tried to get them to see where I was coming from and to understand what I had learned from researching methods and curriculum. These were people who knew that I was educated and also somewhat naturally intelligent, and were proud of the life decisions I had made thus far. I thought I had their respect and trust after the many intellectual conversations we had in the past.

HA! Suddenly I was a bumbling fool who needed to be reasoned away from the cliff of insanity.

 

The Insecurity Behind the Insult

It took me some time and hurt feelings, but I came to the conclusion that these people were not so much concerned with my children’s wellbeing or my mental health, but rather they were defending the ground on which their own approach to education sat. The ground that I was starting to quake. They needed to quiet my outrageous idea of homeschooling in order to feel all was right in their world. That there could not really be another successful way other than their own.

The take away; just know they need to punch holes in your ego and find the potholes you will inevitably fall into in order to steady their own ground. Most of all, they need you to fail. Then they can be sure they are doing the right thing. Sadly these folks may not realize they are ruining a relationship in the process. And sadly, this is not how real friends behave.

The best defense is a laugh and duck tape. Your mouth or theirs.

You could also agree to disagree. Walk away. Or try reasoning, if you have the stamina and can sit on your fists. Eventually, you’ll have to forgive them and never discuss what you do all day every day. You may even have to part ways indefinitely.

With friends like these, who needs enemies, right? Homeschooling happened for us. Because when no one else believed in me, I did. Try to remember their hurtful words come from insecurity and try to forgive them.

And then be wildly successful. It is the best revenge.

 

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