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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Bitter Homeschoolers Wish List

We are now in the full swing of homeschool, a friend of mine sent this to me and I couldn't stop laughing. I thought maybe some of you homeschoolers out there might enjoy this.

by Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling, Issue #1, Fall 2007

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.

6. Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7. We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

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.

25. Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!


angela said...

Thanks for sharing. I love #13! We just got back from the beach...a glorious vacation after everyone else is back in school. Over the course of the week many beach combers asked about my girls (7&5)missing so much school when school just began. First, just because we both enjoy finding pretty shells doesn't mean you get to judge me...and second, coming from a stranger, that's none of your business...but since you asked, I homeschool and I schedule in lots of vacation time when I make my scope and sequence plans.
Oh, and #25 si a personal favorite!

Wendy said...

I need to remember #18, because I have been both asked that question by well-meaning acquaintances and family members who wonder how I'll deal with it, and dealt with that question as a homeschool resource teacher from other homeschoolers who are concerned that they won't be able to teach those subjects, because they don't remember enough. Hmm? My response would be, "And somehow you've made it this far into adulthood without even knowing the periodic table of elements? Wow! So, perhaps your children could do as well??"

This particular post couldn't have come at a better time for me. Thank you so much for sharing it ;).

Jacks said...

Sounds like someone needs a break.

Jana @ The Homeschool Jungle said...

hahahahha...linking up

Andrea said...

I've never homeschooled, and my kids are o.k. If I homeschooled, I believe they would still be o.k. To me, the choice to homeschool is no different than any other choice: you make the decision that's right for your family. Kind of reminds me of the "fight" between stay-at-home moms and "working" moms that we endured in the late 80s. Thanks for telling it like it is without a sugar coating.

marisa said...


I totally agree!!! Homeschooling or public schooling are very personal decisions. I think that most kids are going to turn out alright, whether they homeschool or not. Having a secure family in my opinion will make a bigger difference in how kids turn out.

Shaunika said...

I don't even homeschool my kids and I still got a huge laugh out of that list! So sorry to all the homeschoolers for all the crap you must put up with! I think it's great! And I agree....a super personal and well-thought out decision. To each their own. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I don't have children yet so I don't homeschool. However, we are considering it as part of our adoption process. And this list actually gives me a lot of encouragement to homeschool. Some of the statements on here were actually fears I have about homeschooling or what others may think. So thank you.

karisma said...

LOL Have not read this one before although I've come across similar posts. Love it! thanx for the morning laughs!

Heidi said...

As a person who was homeschooled as a child, I can really relate to these complaints! But on the flip side, as a mother who sends her own children to an excellent charter school, I have gotten some ignorant and rude comments from homeschoolers on how my kids are being totally screwed up by going to a school, how they will be taking drugs by 1st grade and how I must not love them that much since I send them away for hours every weekday. I love, love, love my kid's school and I spend as much time as I can volunteering there, and I adore my children and want them to have the best education possible. Whether a parent homeschools, sends their child to private school, public school, or a public charter school, is a personal family choice and we ALL want to be respected and accepted for who we are!

Missy said...

As a former homeschooler, this made me laugh. I particularly remember a boss RECOILING when I mentioned I had been homeschooled, and asking how I could be socialized when I spent A WHOLE 3 YEARS being schooled at home. The huge irony is that I had been working for her for about 3 months when this conversation happened...and was surprised that she hadn't noticed my ability to communicate up until that moment.

/sigh And yes, I sympathize with @Heidi, too -- I send my child to an excellent public school that is bilingual. I love my child's school, but some of my homeschool friends can be condescending about it.

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

LOVE IT! (and I am not even homeschooling right now) Everything you said is so true and I heard it all so many times they years I did homeschool.

I especially love 9 and 10