My Homeschooling Rant for the Year

What irritates me is that if my kids are shy around strangers or don’t want to try something new, people will blame it on homeschooling despite the fact that our schools are full of quirky, sometimes socially awkward, unmotivated and terribly misbehaved kids! I remember plenty of misfits, mean kids and bad kids in my high school. I also remember some very nice peers and outstanding students.

Please take note: In the homeschool activities and classes I have attended so far, the kids all have different personalities. Some are quiet, some are very outgoing, some are attentive, some are not.  Most are polite, but not always. They chatter and want to play just like all kids. They group together with friends, find one friend or go it alone. Basically, homeschooled kids are the same as their traditionally schooled peers: it’s a mixed bag. Please don’t assume that a child’s personality is only the result of homeschooling.

All children are unique. They have individual needs, and not all of them hit the milestones at the same time. Every kid deserves to have someone who notices their unique style of learning and interests. They deserve to have a loving and emotionally stable adult to help them navigate a course that’s best suited for them.

The goal of education and child-rearing should be to create competent, confident, compassionate, creative, problem-solving and honorable adults.  Let the kids get there at their own pace.

12 thoughts on “My Homeschooling Rant for the Year

  1. YES! Exactly! Please quit telling me that my kids need more friends. We put them into situations where there are potential friends all the time, and if they find someone friendly, great. If not, Great. Don’t imply that we are being negligent as parents and that they would have loads of friends at school. Don’t people remember how difficult the social situation at school was, especially for introverted, shy kids? Friends aren’t an off-the-shelf commodity.

    I have three others (if I can be so bold as to add them here)

    1. Please do not quiz homeschooled kids. Don’t ask them to recite their multiplication tables because YOU think they should know them or to locate states or to name the major systems of the body or to solve differential equations. If you have concerns about their education, talk to me, or better yet, open your mind and ask the kids questions that originate from a position of respect (i.e. Can you show me some of your projects?). They will have loads to say.
    2. Do not keep suggesting alternatives to homeschool with the implication that we have not considered them and that you know better (“I hear that Montessori schools are excellent and should be just what you are looking for.” or “There is a new charter school that is just perfect for your kids)
    3. Don’t tell me about all of the crazy homeschoolers you “know” (i.e. “my grandaughter’s neighbor’s kids are homeschooled and they are terrible. The kids run wild and are in and out of my granddaughter’s house all day long. Their mother has no business homeschooling them” or “My neighbors homeschool their kids and the kids are just crazy. The kids were out raking the other day. It was probably gym class. Ha ha ha).

    Thank you!

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  2. one of my favorite stories about this is when i called a friend to tell him that my son wanted to invite a kid to his birthday party whom he had met at my friend’s son’s birthday party a week before — and i didn’t know the kid’s last name and the kid’s parents wouldn’t know who i was. so i wanted my friend to call and let them know what the invitation was about.

    i called later to thank him and he said, “no problem — i told her your kids are homeschooled so they don’t have any friends.”

    so the anti-homeschooling lens turned “my kid is so gregarious that he made an instant friend and now wants to include him in his birthday party along with a dozen other friends” into “this poor kid has no friends because he’s homeschooled.”

    basically, people will really grip very tightly onto their beliefs, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary!

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  3. Right! Ugh! This is related (in my mind anyway) to a Facebook post by one of my childless friends. This article was claiming that women who don’t have children are subjected to excess criticism for their decision (intentional or not) to not have children. I just pointed out that while such criticism is unfounded and inappropriate, all women endure criticism for their choices in life, and when you do have children you are mercilessly criticized by some portion of the population no matter how you raise your kids. (Breast/bottle, stay at home/work, Co-sleep/crib, public school/private school/homeschooletc) I said I thought we should all must make the best decisions we can for our own lives and assume others were doing the same and leave the judgements out of it please. I was then told that I had no right commenting on that because I had kids.
    Sigh. What Lori said – “basically, people will really grip very tightly onto their beliefs, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary!”
    And they’ll judge and criticize you for something if they feel like judging and criticizing!

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    1. Peggy, Thanks for the comment. You are very right that all women endure criticism for their choices when it comes to child-rearing or their decision not to. It’s too bad you were told not to contribute to that discussion. Yes, some people are just going to judge and criticize no matter what! It makes me sad that more people can’t be more open-minded and just TRY to see the other’s viewpoint. I have found that very few people have that ability. I treasure those I’ve met who can.

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  4. I just finished a great book…”Quiet” by Susan Cain. It is about the power of introverts and, although it does not mention homeschooling,
    it does discuss how schools are geared to extroverts. One point that resonated with me was how introverted children seem to “blossom” once they leave school…when really it is not they that change, but rather their environment which allows them to function in the way that works best for them without the pressure to be a “personality”.

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    1. Annette, Thank you for your comment. I have not read Cain’s book, but I watched her TED Talk, and I read Laurie Helgoe’s book, Introvert Power, which I wrote about here: https://mamaofletters.com/2012/07/08/introverts-and-coffeeshops/ I’m so glad that these books have been written and the word is getting out about introverts. I have always been very introverted, and it was very hard getting into a “group.” It still is. I can’t be for sure since I’ve never sent him to school, but I know my 7yo is introverted, and I feel like his environment is well-suited for him. He gets to play one-on-one with friends during play dates, and I feel as he matures, he’ll gain confidence and be able to navigate big groups and classrooms better.

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