Monday, August 30, 2010

SGW: A Homeschooling Rant

Today's rant comes from Kathy Kennedy, a homeschooling mother of six.  Her blog handle is MamaJulep (you may have read her comments here) and her blog is called "Trying to live Proverbs 31 with Just as many Excuses: One mom who's pointing her kids to Heaven... but most days can't seem to get them to flush the toilet". 

And just in case you think she must be an uptight, Jesus-freaky, righteous sniffing, Perfect Christian Mommy with a bump-it style bun and a denim jumper - hold onto your t-box.  She's a wine-sipping, former career girl and a total MILF with a great sense of humor.  Plus Kate and I like to associate with her because she's all good and sweet and Olivia Newton-John-ish and it makes us feel like Rizzo and Marty in pink satin jackets, smoking and chewing gum at the same time because we're so bad ass.

And she's about to do for homeschoolers what other guest writers have done for adoption, special needs and only children
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Many people view homeschooling as they do mothers of sextuplets or something... a little freaked and weirded out, but 'can't take your eyes off the train wreck' kind of fascination. I guess that's why they feel free to ask you all sorts of questions, usually combined with snippy comments on their uneducated opinion of homeschooling. It's a good thing I'm old and stove up or I might not have the gumption to deal with their nonsense, but after having a six pack of kids, and especially after having my trio of babies nine years ago, I've witnessed nosiness to its extreme.


I have to pause here and say that I've never made a big thing over having triplets, as if it's the thing that defined me, I'm all about their individuality, always have been, but I do get that it's a little curious to most, and I never mind the benign comment here and there. But, when people find out I have triplets, often they become incredibly intrusive, frequently insensitive that my babes are all within earshot.

"Were they natural?"
"Yes, I believe he was on top that night."

This is my new snitchy comment since, after nearly ten years, I'm growing tired of being interviewed on the Little Debbies aisle in Target.

"Are they identical?"
"No honey, the girl has a vagina. Did you skip school during biology class?".

I think these comments are well deserved for nosy nuisances, and I'm just not as nice as I used to be, but mostly I'm geared up because my kids are standing right there. They have feelings and a brain. They are not science projects. And we aren't here to entertain you. I'd like to get home and drink some wine, mostly because I have to deal with people like you every time I need groceries.

But this is another post. We're talking about homeschool nosiness today. Sorry.

So here's my top three stupid questions I get asked about homeschooling.

Aren't you worried about socialization?
This is at the top because it always comes up when I'm being "interviewed" and I guess is the most fascinating because of its ridiculousness. So to answer.. No, I am not worried about socialization. Given the fact that all my kids are involved in activities to the ridiculous level that we leave the house daily for their activity schedule, not mine, to the point that I have to work to make sure school gets in to accommodate all their nonsense of auditions, concerts, rehearsals, academic clubs, SOCIAL clubs and regular outings with pals. Not to freakin mention that we live in a family of eight, so we get plenty of opportunities to learn about social skills...and there is a difference between social skills and socialization, and THAT is often what you are getting at, right?

My kids know well how to socialize because we are not animals and their parents have taught them since they were babes, what is appropriate and what is not. For example, they would never interview a stranger at Target and ask them the very personal questions you are asking me. And by the way, the "real world" is not a place where everyone the same age and level of learning are at the same job, shop at the same stores. We all work and live around a diverse culture of people with different ages and skills, so knowing how to "socialize" through homeschooling is actually more "real world" than your model. Oh, and I've seen the social model in schools, my kids were there for a few years, and yes, many of my pals send their kids to schools and are awesome parents and have awesome kids, but get real, the school setting is not exactly the example of excellence as far as socialization goes. This is where my kids learned some things I wish they hadn't, so don't try and sell me on school over this socialization nonsense because it ain't gonna happen.

This is where Kathy gets off her soap box.

What makes you qualified to teach your children?
This question takes many forms..."are you a teacher", "how are you gonna teach chemistry", "what if you don't know something", "aren't you worried you can't do everything". The other day-in Walmart- at 9:00 in the morning, a woman asked me why my kids weren't in school, so do you see why I'm this way? Can I just buy my milk and bread and go home please? So I told her that we homeschool and then turned my head back to my shopping. She continued, "oh, what curriculum do you use?" I said, "Are you a teacher?" and she said "no". So I'm thinking, "then what the hell are you asking me about curriculum for because you probably don't know a damn thing about curriculum, so I may as well talk to you about string theory- which you probably have never heard of either". So I ignored her after she admitted her ignorance and walked off. What she really was doing was testing me to see if I really do teach my kids or if I just spend my days with them in Walmart. Yea! I want to keep my kids out of school because I love dealing with their nonsense 24 hours a day, with no. freakin. break. ever.

And if you question whether I can teach my children, whom you can obviously tell are in elementary and middle school, then I suggest you really have doubts about what you grasped in your traditional school setting, because I am quite confident I can master those subjects just fine. As for high school, in case you ask that one, unless you can discuss calculus based physics I suggest you don't get into a conversation which you know nothing about. And by the way, they make these things, cutting edge stuff...they're called "Teacher's Manuals", and they can be quite helpful if the two of you hit a roadblock. Something you won't have when your child comes home from school asking for your help with science homework, and having no such manual can only spend the next 12 hours searching for help on the Internet and weeding through college papers just to find out the meaning of the probability of a blue eyed girl with brown eyed parents.

Please don't question my intelligence and expect anything but sarcasm.

You must be religious, Catholic, (ie: extreme religious nutcase) to want to homeschool.
This is another comment with hidden meaning because what you are really saying is "if you weren't a religious nutcase, you'd have your kids in school, so you must be a lunatic". Not all homeschoolers homeschool for spiritual reasons, in fact, it is just one part of our decision to homeschool- so we could teach our children their faith and know that they got it, so they'd be prepared spiritually as well as academically for life. We're weird that way, but we haven't joined a cult, don't wear denim skirts-unless their fashionable, and don't sit around the table polishing our guns every day-only on special occasions!

We happen to like this lifestyle of being with our crew. We tried school and it was too hectic and had too much nonsense for us. We think it's great for you, really. Just because you think what I do is weird doesn't mean I feel the same way about you, but recognize that I don't stop you in Target and ask why you send your kids to public school and aren't you worried about the socialization they get there and aren't you worried they won't get what they need academically, because I could SO ask you the same things. We are all called to various positions in life and mine is just a little different from yours. Please don't use the excuse that you could never make your kids do school because you struggle with getting them to put on clean clothes everyday, because I struggle with the same stuff too. Homeschooling is rather natural, I mean, I already am the boss at home anyway so I just carry it over into school work. That has never been any more of a struggle than regular family nonsense. And please don't assume that my kids are all geniuses or that I'm super intelligent because many days I find myself beating my head against the wall because this homeschooling lifestyle is not for sissies! Keep in mind that I sacrificed my lucrative career so I could stay home with my sweathogs and teach them myself. This means I also sacrificed having things, going anywhere, or saving any money, so I must be pretty passionate about this. I also have to pay for my own books, chemistry sets, and everything myself. There are no tax breaks for homeschoolers, but I do have to pay taxes to send your kids to school so if anyone should ask the questions, it should be me!

And my kids get to do awesome things, like attend things that are fun and not crowded because you all are at school while my kids are enjoying no lines at the fair or the pool at the Y or something like that. We have wonderful social things because we don't rely on the school for our clubs. My boys are in a club for boys and their dads to meet and learn about the virtues and awesomeness of becoming a man in this world. My 12 year old girl is in a group of other pre-teens, run by a recent homeschool grad, who talks to them about how to be a teen without giving in to all the nonsense of the culture these days like dressing like Miley Cyrus, and it's way better than just hearing it from me, because she is a COLLEGE girl and is loved by these girls. My little girls are in a similar group for them called Little Flowers, where they earn a petal of a flower when they learn a virtue like honesty or charity, and then make flower badges for their sashes.

So the next time you see me getting my oil changed at 10:00 in the morning when there's no lines and my six pack is with me, don't presume to know my situation or tell me how to live my life because I'm just trying to mind my own business, which you are making hard for me to do, and living the life I chose to live for my family. But if you really want to know what it's all about because you might want to live this awesome life too, then please come sit next to me so I can tell you how rewarding it is and how at peace I am in my decision to live this weird life as a homeschool family.


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

59 comments:

  1. Love it! I am a beginner preschool homeschooler so I obviously don't get these remarks but I have heard people use these arguments about why they need to go to "real preschool" even. Insanity! You have some great responses.

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  2. I love this. Hardcore love this. I would love to homeschool my horde, but I lack the commitment it takes. Anyone who questions a homeschool mom is insane or ignorant (or both!).

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  3. YOU are my hero... thanks for sharing. You gave me some great "ammo" for the dingleberries that feel the need to give me the 3rd degree when I have my girls with me at Target, Walmart or wherever we decide to go. Homeschooling works for us.... and as long as it's workin', we'll keep on keepin' on.

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  4. Could not love this post more. I'm considering homeschooling my daughter (who starts kindergarten this morning!!!)if public school doesn't work for her. You are my hero!

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  5. Awesome post, and so, so true! Aside from the religious part, I get questions all the time, too. Got the qualifications covered (sorta) since I was in teacher school for a while, and my snarky remark about socialization is usually something like, "Today's your lucky day - we usually don't let them out of the cage until Saturday!"
    Wouldn't trade the life for any other, either.

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  6. Thank you! This is (yet another) awesome post! I have been teaching my "preschooler" at home and am starting in with some early Kindergarten stuff this year - I get TONS Of these comments whenever it comes up and it's just the beginning! I am looking forward to the homeschooling journey and all the craziness it brings!

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  7. Love it! I homeschool my two boys and have gotten so sick of the invasive/stupid questions, that my standard response to why we homeschool is "because they are f*&%ing geniuses." That shuts people up pretty quickly!

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    1. well, I got on here to RANT. Today I was accused of being a PUBLIC SCHOOL BASHER! Which Im not. HOWEVER, when I read your comment I realized that this person (family) has caught me with my guard down on more than one occasion....I think Ive said something to that effect! LOL (a few times) maybe that is why she is saying I BASH PS. LOL oops HA!

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  8. YOU and your family rock!!!! Love it!!!
    Kick some grass, lady!
    My kids go to parochial school and I get loads of stupidness for that. Thanks for a great start to our day.

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  9. Love it! There are a lot of homeschoolers in our area, so people don't regard us as circus freaks, but I do get my fair share of uninformed comments and questions. Sometimes I think that if one more person asks me about socialization, I'm going to scream!

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  10. To each her own:)
    I have seen it work, and I have seen it fail. I am a career educator and would never do it, myself. It would be absolutely wrong for my child -- who attends an incredible public school capable of providing far beyond what I can provide on my own.
    I think it's like every other aspect of parenting -- you do what works for you and your family, and it is no one else's business. Certainly no one else is in a position to judge or criticize your choices.
    Kudos to anyone being both mom and teacher to six children!

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  11. WOO HOO! AWESOME JOB! :D

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  12. As a mom of 5 kids (yes, they all have the same daddy!), I get the crazy questions too. "are they all yours?". ....(they look EXACTLY like me).To which we reply, "nah, we found these two in the parking lot".
    Your blog prepared me for next year when my oldest will be entering 9th grade and is BEGGING me to homeschool her. She's very social, tons of friends but the HS's here are terrible. I cant wait to deal with the idiots next year....my father has already started in on me.....all the same questions you stated above!

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  13. Absolutely love your post .. it sounds like a day in my life ... except I only have two kids altho some days it sure feels like six ... but that would bring cocktail hour to noon instead of six ... and we would never get any work done since we would be too busy socializing :) People and their questions are astounding, our youngest is adopted and is African American and that has made interesting opening lines like 'oh, why didn't you go to China? Yup, stupid is as stupid does - whatever that means. Off to follow you now :)

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  14. I love this post and this particular line... "there is a difference between social skills and socialization" Can I hear an AMEN? The cast of Jersey Shore gets plently of socialization...

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  15. People can be so ignorant! I have 4 kids and that shocks people and they ask me "don't you have a tv? and i'll respond "yea, but we only get the porn channels!" that shuts them up very quickly. People don't ask me why I homeschool anymore...I think I have acquired the look after so many years of homeschooling....the don't mess with me look! LMBO!

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  16. You rock mama, keep up the good work! I was homeschooled some 20+ years ago, and times certainly have changed, but the nosy questions have not. Back in the 80's, homeschooling was "new" and many people had CPS called on them if you even muttered you homeschooled.

    No, I did not grow up in a cult, did not spend my days playing video games, did not stay trapped in the house for days (I heard it all) I like to think I grew up to be a happy, well-adjusted, mature adult. I have 3 myself now, so I appreciate the sacrifices my mom made for me even more. Thanks for standing up for the hardworking, homeschooling community!

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  17. "There are no tax breaks for homeschoolers, but I do have to pay taxes to send your kids to school so if anyone should ask the questions, it should be me!"

    I am SOOOO using this!!! great post!

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  18. As a Catholic homeschooling mom of five, I really enjoyed and related to this post. One of my kids is adopted so I get the are they all yours comment on a regular basis. I hate that for my adopted son, because they are always referring to him because of his dark skin. Then they start asking all sorts of personal questions about his adoption and where he is from. I am the nicest person but I have started cutting people off mid sentence to protect my kids. Nosiness drives me crazy!

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  19. We've homeschooled my kids from the start. This year we decided (against his will) to put our son in 5th grade for either a semester or year. His question when we told him we think he should go 'for the experience' was "how can I possibly do everything I want to do when I have to sit in that building all day?" I should say that he is beyond grade level in almost every subject, so he's not saying that out of laziness. I've morned the loss of our life style, but kept a happy face and said only positive things. While he's having some fun, he's already looking forward to homeschooling again in the future.

    My favorite response to the 'socialization' question is, (with a smile as if I didn't really hear them correctly) "I'm sorry, do you mean institutionalization or socialization?" Depending on the response we sometimes have some fun (my kids are as sarcastic as me--however, I usually insist they use it politely). Often the conversation ends when I say, 'I'm pretty sure we're being social right now.'

    Favorite response ever--- We were at Costco and a lady comes up and gets right in my son's face. "Why aren't you in school?" I respond that we homeschool. She gets right up in his grill and says, 'Doesn't your Mommy know you need to be in a classroom with the other kiddos?' Without batting an eye he said, "I am in school. The world is my classroom." He was 5 at the time (and I swear I had never said that to him, or told him to respond in that way)--that was almost 6 years ago, and I'm pretty sure the Costco lady is just starting to pick her jaw off the floor.
    Jen D.

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  20. AWESOME POST!!!!!! I hate when I feel apologetic when someone asks me why my kids are home! Rock on! I homeschool my 3, 4th grade, 1st grade and preschool :)

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  21. We lived in an urban area until last year and I homeschooled because the district was a major disappointment. I got all of the same questions. I found something online that was similar to this, called The Bitter Homeschooler's Wishlist and hung it on my wall.

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  22. AWESOME! You rock, in a rockstar way. I homeschool my four angels and get interviewed, interrogated and otherwise stared at in unabashedly unsocialized ways all the time. If I could treat you to a box of wine, I would!

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  23. Everything I wanted to say... and then some. Awesome.

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  24. My response to socialization questions is to point out what our children are being socialized to do in school. Bullying, cussing, ect ect. Not to mention the lovely info they get on sex. They come up with words I have to look up and then am totally grossed out by and would never explain to them. I have a teen home schooling, 2 in public high school, and one in college, so I've seen every angle of this and if I had it to do again, I'd have home schooled them all.

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  25. I'm loving the feedback,thanks again Kate and Lydia for letting me visit the "cool kids table" in the lunchroom today! I make fun of serious stuff rather than get my B' on, so I hope that message was received, because I respect and would never intend to slam anyone who sends their peeps to school- we HS'ers just want the same thing. My main reason I HS is because when they were in school (parochial) it was their whole life, and evenings were spent on school related stuff and not family stuff. Everything you could say about HS'ing you could say about traditional school..."I've seen it work and I've seen it fail".
    Mr. Mamajulep taught school for some time and I worked for a few years as a speech therapist at a special ed school, (but my primary career was working in geriatrics).
    I get the adoption thing. We were on the lists early on (told we couldn't have any?? WRONG!)and some people got wierded out. When my son was dying, people were both awesome and horrific in their comments(see post "For Sean" not a funny post, but meaningful). THIS IS WHY I love Rants...it makes fun of nonsense rather than B' about it! I get enough B' in my life, don't you?

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  26. Ok, when they say 'Are you a teacher?' Why don't you say yes? Clearly you ARE a teacher, just not formally trained. Also, did no one ever stop to think that the moms used to do the teaching before there were public schools? It seems natural to me. Mine does go to public school, but that is what is normal for us. Our school is really good, we are in a very small town and it still has small town values.

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  27. I have Identical twins so I get the comments all the time too, I'm starting to get the homeschool discussions now that people are asking me about our plans for Kindergarten now that my oldest is that age. I enjoy both subjects still so it doesn't bug me, but it's def fun to joke about it with those who understand :).

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  28. ROCK ON! Loved it! I can't wait until I get asked these questions and am preparing a whole list of snarky responses!

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  29. love this! honestly, it sounds like i wrote it, only WAY funnier. i want to print this on flyers and hand them out to people who like to start in with the inappropriate questions! <3

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  30. It's always so amazing and helpful to me when I see normal people like myself home schooling! When I first made the decision a couple of years ago, I felt like (aside from my sisters, anyway) I was going to be the only one, and I'd be standing alone against a torrent of uninformed opinions.

    I must have The Look or something, though, because most people don't ask me any questions. Maybe home schooling is more prevalent in my area than I thought, or maybe I just look really intimidating. The only people who've ever said anything negative are friends and family, and it's *always* about socialization. They know not to question the intellect of the lady with three degrees. Well, tell ya what, folks, you know me pretty well: I went to parochial school, and in every grade was a complete social outcast. As you probably know, so was my husband. Explain to me how our kids, who are probably *genetically* social pariahs, are going to be better off in a setting full of cliques and bullies and devoid of familial support? Maybe, JUST MAYBE, they'll be more well-adjusted in an environment where the "right" brand of jeans isn't everything, and nobody's going to call them names or beat them up for doing their best work. That's social training we could all do without.

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  31. Wonderful post. Although my oldest is only 2 and #2 is still on the way, I think even now about how much I wish I could home school. (Unfortunately, we couldn't live on one income...) It's too bad that there isn't government funding for this...it's such a wonderful alternative. Kudos to you!

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  32. Great post. I'm enjoying reading the comments, too. I've always been a HUGE advocate for public education, and kind of down on the choice to Homeschool--not in the criticizing kind of way like some of the people that come up to you in grocery stores are doing, just in the "it wouldn't be my choice" kind of way. I think that it takes a HUGE committment to Homeschool your kids--a committment of time, approach to life, ways of learning, desire to learn different subjects that maybe you're not that educated in...etc. And I think that you should absolutely say "yes I am" when asked if you're a teacher. Right after you say get your T-box and leave us the hell alone, and you're welcome for paying for your kids to go to school. Seriously, thanks for the post, I'll go and check your blog out too. Keep up the great work with your family!

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  33. I LOVE THIS!!!! AMEN AND AMEN! I am just starting to Preschool homeschool my kids. I feel so much more prepared now for all the coming comments I will get over the years. THANK YOU! I have been given a side comment or strange look every once and a while when people ask if my two oldest kids will be attending preschool. I feel like sometimes I live in a preschool snobland! UGH! Whatever! I love homeschooling so far and I look forward to all it has in store for our family. (Good and bad!)

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  34. Thanks so much for this. As a newbie to both parenting (we are an adoptive family) and homeschooling, I'm getting this too. You made me laugh and gave me ammo, all at the same time. THANKS!

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  35. I'm managing to get up everyone's nose this year by sending my youngest to preschool (a great Montessori school 3 blocks away - she's just at a stage where she needs a little not-mommy time where she's not just the younger sister) and homeschool my eldest, who will be entering first grade.

    Already I'm getting the socialization questions, which I answer with a bland stare that covers my thought 'well, I'm well enough socialized that I didn't just snark at you. And look! Neither did my kids. I must be doing something right...'

    Thanks to the mama who steered me to the Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List. Here's a linky for anyone who wants it:

    http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/001/bitter_homeschooler.html

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  36. Absolutely fantastic post!! I pray that God sends me a girl so we can do the Little Flowers. I've heard so much about it and want to get involved SO bad! You rock, keep up the good work!

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  37. I haven't gotten too many questions about homeschooling (yet) but my 3 year old is quite large for his age and I had a woman at the park ask what school he would be attending this fall. I explained that he is 3 and wouldn't be in kindergarten.

    Then his ped asked if he was going to preschool. I haven't mentioned homeschooling just yet, since he's only 3 and I'm not ready to open that can of worms. But we are using www.letteroftheweek.com and a few other sites to do a homeschool preschool.

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  38. AMEN! My sis homeschools her five and I am 95% sure I am going to homeschool my 2yo and any siblings that come along. There was a little girl I nannied and when she was 12 and in 6th grade, she came home one day to tell me that two of her classmates had skipped school, gone to one of their homes and had sex. Then she tells me that more than a couple had engaged in oral sex. We're talking about one of the top school systems/areas in Colorado. It was at that point I decided that homeschooling was in my future. When my son gets to high school, he can choose for himself. But until then, I(his MOM) will be socializing him and giving him a foundation that will allow him to be strong in social situations. This is all assumning that I can continue to stay home with him, financially-speaking. I know how LUCKY I am to have the choice that many do NOT!!!

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  39. Very well put... I am now a retired mother of 6 who homeschooled all the way through....No doubt the road was not easy...but it was our choice...The questions people ask just because they have lips, do make you wonder if they have a brain or a life .....All I can say to those who do choose to homeschool...follow your heart...My biggest question to everyone is "Why cann't we support each other's choice instead of critizing them??" I dont remember ever quizzing someones choice to send their kid to public school, while they were shopping at Walmart...Never looked in someones basket and said...."humm I see you must have kids, where are they, why don't you have them with you.....) Bless you brave and strong moms of the world...weather you have 1 or 20 children, weather you homeschool or private school, or public school...its your choice...go for it....

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  40. Great post! I wish you would include some notes about what questions ARE okay to ask. For me, if I met a homeschooling Mom or Dad I'd have all the curiosity with none of the judgemental-ness, and would love to know more about how it works. I bet a lot of people who ask you dumb questions feel the same way too. Heaps of admiration for you!

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  41. Love this post... and now wish I could homeschool. Gee, thanks. :)

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  42. Rah! You go mama julep ;-) love the "power to the homeschool" mama rants ;-)

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  43. MAJOR KUDOS TO YOU!!!!! You are the epitomy of a wonder mom! Honestly, I can't say enough great things about this post! I don't do homeschooling because I don't have the patience for it-but I deeply admire anyone that can do it! Keep up the great work with your 6 pack and keep smiling. Don't let the ignorance of others get you down-just smile and walk away!
    Thanks for the laughs-

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  44. Incredibly, I get most of the same questions/ judgements for sending my kids to Catholic school. Thanks for a new arsenal of snappy comebacks!

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  45. Thank you so much for posting this. I am a first time homeschooler of my kindergartner and preschooler. The comments I have been getting are ridiculous, and the bad part is most of them are from my side of the family (which I don't really talk to) and friends of mine.

    It really ticks me off, the 'view' that everyone has on homeschooling and how I am 'going to mess up my kids' and they will never be able to 'fit into' the real world. Good, I don't want them to 'fit in' to the world anyways.

    Again, thanks so much!!!

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  46. I absolutely love this! I was homeschooled myself and am planning on homeschooling my daughter. I can't even begin to count how many times I've been asked questions like, "How are you going to get into college?" and "Don't you think that you won't be able to make it in the 'real world'as you haven't had the right experiences?" Well, I still managed to get pregnant at 17....homeschoolers aren't God, we just have a better education. ;)

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  47. You rock! I hate being interviewed everywhere! My most pet peeved question: "Are you going to homeschool forever? Through High School?" ugh. Thanks for the much needed laughs!
    Angela

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  48. Kathy! Fantastic as ever, and now more people know. We are cruising along with HS this year. *Finally* got our materials, but PATIENCE was on backorder so I'm heading to Another Source for that. Thanks for snarking out loud.

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  49. I would love to be strong and patience and be able to home school.. But I finish putting my girl through all the school stuff because I needed the free mental time .. plus she just have my measure exactly and it is impossible for me now.. I'm a failure that way. Wish I was strong and smart like you. :)

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  50. @adequate mom: Just simply asking, "I'm interested in how that works. Can you tell me more?" comes across as non-judgemental and that you're looking for more info. Homeschoolers love to share information (gee, we do it all day, we'd better love it!!), and will happily talk all day long about it to someone who is genuinely interested.
    The above questions are just the hot-button topics that we've all faced... and thus the impatience. I guess it's the equivalent to the mom of boys being asked, "Don't you want a girl?" or some other such thing.

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  51. So, I was at Wal-Mart before school got out and had the EXACT same situation you described! However, I was the one asking the questions b/c I was genuinely interested in the possibility of pulling my 4 out of parochial school to homeschool them.
    I was completely put off and disappointed by the woman's snarky attitude when that moment could have been used as a moment of moral support or encouragement and a great source of information!!

    So, outside of that particular experience, we have started homeschooling and this post is awesome for great comebacks!

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  52. Really fabulous post! I'm a purple haired, tattooed oddball homeschooler and I get my own special brand of interviews as well and it's nice to see that I'm not alone, thanks!

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  53. My oldest is 3, and I've already been asked a few times if she goes to kindergarten! To be honest, I _guess_ she could pass for a small 5 year-old, and she taught herself to read a few months ago & has a huge, very clear, vocabulary, so it could be an honest mistake. I just tell people, "She's only 3, but we're planning to homeschool anyway". HS-ing is pretty common here, so I don't really get the 3-headed look. Besides, I already got it when it sank in that I just said that the girlie who was sounding out all the words on whatever sign in the store is THREE. :-)

    Socialization would totally get her into constant trouble at school, though. Hubs and I have been trying to figure out how two people that would gladly be hermits (we're both kinda loners by nature) ended up with a kid that is a total social butterfly & will walk right up to total strangers to hug them. And she's been this way all along--it's not just a phase.

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  54. I have to admit that I used to think homeschooling was for religious kooks who didn't want their kids to socialize with "normal" folks. My older sister homeschooled all five of her girls, which caused great concern in our family because she barely graduated from high school. Her oldest daughter is now working on her doctorate at Harvard, her second one just graduated with a bachelor's in business and the third is a undergraduate at a terrific private college. The two youngest are still homeschooled and doing great.

    I now have several friends who homeschool and I have nothing but admiration for them. While I could never (and would never!) want to do it, I respect their choices and the awesome job they do.

    As for socializing? There are badly-adjusted kids in good schools, too, you know. I get to hear all about them from MY kids, who have to sit in class with them.

    I do have to respecfully comment about homeschooling families having to pay taxes to support schools they don't use: I hear this same comment from senior citizens who refuse to vote for much-needed school levies, and it pains me because we ALL benefit from good schools. Whether or not your children attend the schools in your district, we all need a well-educated populace that will provide us medical care, do our taxes, count our change at stores and construct our buildings. I'm pretty sure Kathy is not ranting about having to pay taxes for schools, but this is one of MY few soap boxes so I wanted to get that out there.

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  55. You seem really confident in the way you've chose to raise your family. I applaud that and I think people will respond to that confidence, especially when they see your family life functioning so well. I liked a lot of the things you said, and maybe I read into it wrong, but some things came out kind of...bitter. I hit this tumbling block myself when I was pregnant and random strangers made very inappropriate comments or questions. I got really aggravated, but then I realized that the majority of the people mean well and the rest were just have poor manners. For example: Maybe the woman in the store was asking what curriculum you use because she's always wanted to home school but she didn't have the guts/didn't know where to start?

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  56. Thank you for writing this! My sister-in-law is currently homeschooling her oldest daughter who started kindergarten. When I expressed interest in doing the same thing with our son (who will hopefully be born any day now) my boyfriend shoo-shooed it with the socialization b.s. My brother, his wife, and I all had a difficult time with "socialization" in school from our classmates and teachers. I think this is a great option so my niece's soul doesn't get crushed because she can't conform to exactly how the school wants her to act or think. I applaud my sister-in-law for her commitment to her daughter's well-being and learning while trying to wrangle her other 2 daughters (3 and 2 years old).

    Thank you for this great post!

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