I don’t hate homeschooling.
(I’ll wait a moment while you release a collective gasp and then chuckle a bit. Still waiting… Are you done yet? Okay, enough already, it’s not that funny!)
I must confess that these past three weeks (Holy cow! It’s been three weeks already?!) have been eye-opening to me. I’ve held a lot of biases and misconceptions about homeschooling families that are being debunked on a daily basis. Here are a few things I’ve noticed…
- Homeschooling is not as stressful as I thought.
Abbey’s stress level (and as a result the stress level in our entire family) has decreased exponentially. (Is that an oxymoron? Can things decrease exponentially? I’ll ask Abbey to research it and let us know.) While there have definitely been “moments” of tension between student and parent (aka teacher/supervisor), the majority of our days are quite relaxed. I’m learning (I think) that sometimes I need to give a little push and other times I need to chill out and let Abbey direct her own learning. It’s also a huge relief for Pat and I to not have to conduct a “bullying intervention” five days out of seven.
- Homeschooled kids are actually not socially inept.
In my quest to understand homeschooling I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with other homeschool moms, picking their brains and soaking up their advice. I’ve met many children, and they have all been remarkably mature socially! They greet me with a, “Hi Mrs. Rowan” as they look me in the eye. Many extend their arm for a handshake. They smile and interact and respond to questions. They stand and wait patiently while their Mama is in conversation with me, not interrupting our conversation until she invites them to. I recently heard someone say, “Do I really want a classroom full of other six year-olds teaching my child how to behave and interact with others?! Or will they learn better social skills being taught be our family how to interact with adults and children of all ages?” (Things that make you go hmmmmm… -Name that song!)
- Homeschooled kids don’t necessarily make their parent/teacher insane by being in their space continually.
The more time I spend with Abbey, the more I’m realizing that I truly like her as a person. In fact, I went to work on Wednesday and left her home to work, and I kinda missed having her there. (Shhhh! You don’t need to tell her that!) Yes, there have been a couple days where I’ve told Pat, “I just need a few kid-free moments!” But it hasn’t been every day, not even 50% of the days. Huh.
- Homeschooled sibling groups are not fighting all dang dang, making mom’s day miserable.
The sibling groups I’ve seen in my “get to know other homeschooling families quest” actually seem to like each other! They have fun together. They want to play together. When friends come over, it’s the friend being included in the sibling play, as opposed to the siblings being instructed (forced/threatened) to include one another with their friends. When your siblings are your school-mates, it appears that you have no choice but to become friends!
I’m sure it’s not roses all the time. In fact, every mom I’ve met has been quick to assure me that it’s not. And this doesn’t mean I’m suddenly contemplating bringing all my kids home. But it does mean the idea doesn’t terrify my quite as much anymore.
- Homeschooling families are not all odd / organic / wearing homemade clothing / non-birth control using / super religious / slightly crazy people.
I know, I know! Totally rude of me to even think this. But you see the Duggers (who I love, by the way…but you gotta admit they are a bit odd), you meet a few oddballs along the way, and you begin think that there’s this little “homeschooling cult” out there. A rather odd cult, at that.
But the folks I’ve been meeting are really normal! A blogger/writer, a midwife, a mom who decided to put the kids in school for a year (maybe more), moms who homeschool some of their kids but not others, moms whose homeschooled kids do their learning online, moms that work, moms who stay home, a mom whose kids were in the Logos program just like mine…
I owe all you homeschoolers out there an apology. You’re not all weird. Some are – really, some totally are! But not all. Not even most. The vast majority of you are wholly normal, sane, awesome people.
Yeah, I do not hate homeschooling. In fact, dare I say… I might even like it. (a little bit)