Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

Every person who meets a child for the first time seems to ask, "What school do you go to?"
Since, Blaze will now be answering "My mommy teaches me", I decided to revisit this post that I had on my previous blog last November:

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1

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

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

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

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!

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Crafty Crow