Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dear Non-Homeschoolers...

It’s hard to put your foot in your mouth...if it’s shut. Silence can be powerful. Scripture doesn’t record one word from St. Joseph. -from Tweet Inspiration

Happy Wednesday All!

We are waiting on storms around here. <3 We need the rain. Praying for nothing severe.

Let me get right into the topic at hand...

Dear Non-Homeschoolers,

Recently I read this article. titled 7 Annoying Questions Homeschoolers Hear. I had to laugh... everyone I know has been asked those questions... many times. Of course as a mother of one, I also hear:

"You homeschool? But you only have one child." Actually we have four, but only one is at home. The others are Marque's from past marriage.
"You must do it for Religious Reasons. Wait, do you vaccinate?"  Not entirely and Yes we do!
"You're the most NORMAL homeschooler I've met. I mean, you don't wear long denim skirts and things like the Duggar's do." I'm normal because I only have one child OR because I don't wear long denim skirts? I wear a lot of skirts, my husband does not like the denim ones. Sigh. I DO and i want one. lol But I try to please my husband.  And p.s I am not normal. I don't want to be what YOU think NORMAL is. hmmph

Here are the questions that the author speaks of. My responses are in italics:

1. Are you worried your kid won't have a "normal" childhood? I love the word NORMAL. It means "conforming to the standard or the common type; usual..." So NO, I'm not worried because I know my child is NOT Normal by societal standards and I couldn't be happier about that.  Our Normal is a child on the spectrum and all the challenges that come with that... but he has chores, requirements for good manners/behavior, and follows God's Commandments/living our Catholic Faith. It isn't always easy.

2. Are you going to homeschool the whole time? The WHOLE TIME as in through high school? I don't know. Honestly he's in need of more challenge so I may not. Only God knows for sure. By the way, we only school 3-4 hours/day. He stands in NO lines; jumps on the trampoline; takes a break to play with lego, and makes tea (to read with). So we don't even school the WHOLE day.

3. How can your child be socialized, then? Socialized? REALLY?  Well, it's a challenge with our child. We've learned a lot in the last couple years about social skills and such. But we do not believe in the world conforming to him. We believe that HE has to learn to get along and temper his personality (as we all do). We believe in insulating, not isolating. So - yes, he is very socialized. He has friends of many faiths. He plays sports, we are in a co-op. He will go to football camp and hang with friends this summer. He gets invited to parties, playdates, etc. Honestly - he's BUSY, just like he would be in a brick and mortar school. He really has a great life. 

I do have a question for the non-homeschoolers though... Aren't you worried about the "normal" socialization your child is getting? In first grade my child learn the word "nut sack" from a classmate. I know this because the child (a very troubled child) was speaking TO ME about his father. Yes, it happened.  The same year, my child told on a child in school who "drew a picture of himself "humping" a girl". Six years old people. Of course, my child did not know what it meant, he said he 'just knew it wasn't good for women'.  Neighborhood children who want to play with your child's things but not him.  Yesterday a friend of mine's child had to tell school officials about a bomb threat and death threat and he's in Middle school. Bullying. Lack of manners and respect.... this is what I see in our school systems. So if that is what you call NORMAL socialization. KEEP IT! 

4. Oh, so this is a "religious" thing. We have one child at home. My only child. People love to make reference to religion for a reason we pulled him out of school. Sigh. Do I prefer a school where we are free to live our Faith, pray, etc.? Yes. But did I pull him out for religious reasons, NO. We pulled him out because public school in our area is sorely lacking for smarter children... that and bullying is rampant. We could do better by our child. Religion is a bonus. HE, on the other hand, says he does not ever want to go to a school where he is not free to pray. How about that?

5. Are you really qualified for this? Are you qualified to parent? Who qualified you? So technically - NO, I am not qualified to homeschool by anyone other than God. I am not a teacher by trade. I am a degreed individual and I'm learning every day. My real answer... I'm not sure I am. I have my doubts. But I've surrounded myself with POSITIVE people who know I can; Who encourage me; Who give me ways to make it happen. And you know what, I'm doing a pretty good job (if I could stop being so hard on myself, it would be easier).

6. Aren't you afraid that your kid will be behind in his or her studies? As a matter of fact, he's farther advanced than he was. It's truly amazing.  Like many smart children, and anyone who is taught the value of a good education, he will likely have a year or two of college under his belt by the time he graduates high school. We shall see what track he is on by then.

7. Wow, your kid is so outgoing for a homeschooled child! I honestly do not know how to address this. My child is on the spectrum, but is somewhat outgoing. He was BORN that way. If he feels comfortable - you're in. If not, it takes longer (or doesn't happen). He loves people. He's a good kid. He naturally helps others.

I do think people tend to lump homeschoolers together... as if we all must wear long denim skirts and be evangelical Christians. Please note, I didn't say there was anything wrong with either of those things... I'm saying don't lump us as we are individuals.

Here are my questions for YOU (non-homeschoolers). I would not ask them, because that is not appropriate and I would NEVER make you feel bad about your choices, but these have crossed my mind:
  • Why don't you homeschool?
  • Why would you want your children in a brick and mortar school (especially public) that could be unsafe for them morally, physically and mentally?
  • Why don't you think YOU can do it?
  • Why do you think children would not make friends or be social outside a building?
  • Why would anyone not want a life where they can pick up and travel and not be tied to a school? We have visited Civil War Forts and Museums and many fun things. We see plays and musicals. Our life is Amazing.
  • Can't you think of better questions to ask? Like why we love it, how it benefits our children, etc.?
At the end of the day, it's every family's choice to do what is best for them. I don't think we should all have to do it the same way. You know? God guides us, and if HE is leading you one way or another... try not to question it. I'm learning that.

The truth is, I honestly do not find it MY business what you do or do not do in your family. If you send your children to school, you have concerns and lessons to learn, just like me. And I wish you the best and pray for moms on a regular basis. It's not an easy vocation. Worth it...but not easy.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. It was fun to write. I would LOVE to hear your questions and comments.

Hugs, Love & Blessings all.

Em

p.s. I get that people who send their children to school might be offended by my questions. Please note, I would not actually ask them of you, even if they did cross my mind while you are questioning me. I do know that you do the best you can for your children and family (just as I do). Think about it though, what if you were constantly bombarded with those kinds of questions? How would you feel?

15 comments:

  1. With all due respect, my jaw literally fell open when I read your questions for non-homeschoolers. After going through the insensitive/ignorant/judgmental questions posed to homeschoolers by those who choose school for their kids, your questions were just as bad if not worse.
    You choose to homeschool your child. And it sounds like you've thought it through carefully and have compelling reasons to feel it's the best choice for your family. Feel good about that.
    My husband and I choose to send our children to a Catholic school. Our reasons are many and equally compelling - topping the list is for our kids to be part of a strong faith community with their fellow students. To make friends with whom they share a faith bond among other shared interests. To be challenged by excellent teachers and to grow in ways they never could if I was their only teacher.
    Homeschooling is an option. It is not an option I support particularly and it is not a choice I would ever make for my kids outside of very specific circumstances.
    I offer respect and encouragement to the homeschooling moms I know, whether it's a choice I agree with wholeheartedly or not. Posing your questions as you did does not open the doors for healthy dialog. It just makes the lines in the sand that much deeper.

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  2. I think I get where you are coming from. But the truth is, I would not ever question your choice to send your child to Catholic school, beyond thinking it. We are considering our options for Catholic High schools, though we are told by many there are not good ones in our area. This is, of course, subjective.
    It is very offensive when your choices, which you (we all) feel are best for our children are questioned. When someone asks why I homeschool, I do feel like saying "why don't you homeschool?" I think that is a normal reaction.

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  3. My kids are adults now, and homeschooling was just "starting" so to speak when mine were school-aged. I felt I wouldn't be disciplined enough and there wasn't any social networking back then like there is today among homeschooling families. We have a wonderful group at our parish. If I was the parent of school-aged children today, I definitely would home school.

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  4. Thank you Candy.
    I hope my post doesn't offend people. I'm just really trying to say - that we are all entitled to do the best we can for our children without the silly, constant questions and assumptions.

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  5. This is an excellent post! Thank you!

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  6. Emily, as a homeschool mom since 2005, I enjoyed your post here very much! I like your answers to the questions and I have often thought about similar questions as you for non-homeschoolers. I think there are positives and challenges for whatever schooling option parents choose for their children, but our family thinks there are more positives than negatives with homeschooling. When non-homeschoolers find out I homeschool I usually get the "socialization" question and "how do you know what to teach" question. But, I enjoy answering the questions if the person is charitable, which from my experience they have been. Happy Easter! :)

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  7. Thanks Tracy.
    I think many of us feel the same. We just want the respect we give and it's all good!
    Blessings and a very happy Easter!

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  8. I loved them, and that's half the point. People actually ASK these rude, offensive, insensitive type if questions to homeschoolers...sometimes while our children are standing right there! She acknowledges in her article that she would never actually ask her questions. I do think its interesting that it would be rude to ask if public school parents the same questions that are asked of homeschool parents...but it's seen as completely okay to ask those rude type questions to anyone who does something even slightly outside the status quo.

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  9. Also, not everyone has the option of catholic school...would you still prefer public school over homeschooling if it were your only option?? Catholic school is a lot different than public school, at least in most cases.

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  10. Me too. Why is it rude to ask the questions back?
    I wouldn't... and neither would the original author. But so many would and do.
    Sigh.

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  11. I like your answers to #3 and #5, particularly. And yes, you are too hard on yourself. ;) I love & miss you!

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  12. I see that you softened some of your questions and added a disclaimer. That helped a bit. I think it's important for everyone to take a breath and realize there is no one answer for every family when it comes to parenting and education.

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  13. Every choice my husband and I made and continue to make is with the goal of providing our three children with a Catholic education, so I have no answer to your question. Public school was not an option and, for us - for my children - I don't feel homeschooling is the right choice. They are where they should be, surrounded by students and teachers who share and celebrate their faith, learning and growing every day. Just like I'm sure your kids are.

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  14. Actually the bolded part was there.
    Further I never said everyone is not entitled to do their own thing. In fact, I said it the first rendition and made it more clear in this second.
    I think you would have to walk a mile in a homeschool family's shoes before you think this post harsh.
    You'd have had to been asked questions like these a zillion times... and hear/see the tone/looks.
    To me, it's all funny and it will NOT change my mind about how great our co-ops (classroom interaction) and things are and the HUGE benefits of homeschooling.
    To each their own. I just think if people want to ask questions they should expect them back. I get that you don't agree.

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  15. Love you more! And YAY you commented!

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Thank you for leaving a message. I love hearing your thoughts. You are a blessing to me.
Em