Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I love when a person finds out we homeschool and then starts asking me about it. But I kinda brace myself because I know it's going to be a long conversation. It can't not be. For a person to get an understanding of what we do and how we do it, they need not only the whole backstory of why we're homeschooling, but the whole in-and-out of what our days look like, and of course how the future will potentially play out. Then, the fact that unschooling is not anything like the homeschooling they pictured, with desks and blackboards in the home. And it's always the same exact questions: "Oh, so you homeschool, what's that like?", "Does the government gives you books and a curriculum?", "What about being with other kids?", "What about all the tests they have to take?". And then the usual comments: "I could never do that.", "My husband/family/inlaws would kill me if I told them I wanted to homeschool, hahaha.", "I don't think I could stand being with my kids all day long like that.", "My kids would do nothing all day but sleep or watch tv.". I just want to print out a FAQ pamphlet and hand it out whenever I'm questioned.

What bothers me, though, is the complete and total cluelessness. I mean, homeschooling is not a new thing. My friend yesterday told me that when she heard I was homeschooling J she thought, "but I don't see anything wrong with that kid". Her understanding of homeschooling was that it was for kids who couldn't function in a school setting and had all these social and learning problems. Another friend asked us if we were very religious. I just want to scream from the mountaintop (ok the Empire State Building, at least, lol) that most homeschoolers are just fed up with the pointlessness of school and know that there's a better option out there! The majority of us certainly don't need or want our kids babysat by strangers 35 hours a week. And the majority of us feel homeschooling gives us a better guarantee that our kids will be smart, happy, healthy, emotionally sound, and actually have childhoods!

But, on the other side of the coin, I don't feel homeschooling is for everyone. I'm not an advocate in the sense that I think it's ideal for every family, but in the sense to have people gain a better understanding of what homeschooling/unschooling can look like and to get the outdated, ridiculous notions they have out of their heads. I love showing off my kids. I love telling them about our relaxed days. I love telling them about my homeschool group and all the fantastic events/parties/get-togethers/trips/classes we have planned. I love telling them about all the fun we have, the places we go, and the friends they have. I love telling them how we are so close as a family and love being together. And I love telling them that not only do my children learn, they are above grade level in all areas, they retain everything, and have the interest, curiosity, motivation, and determination to want to learn all the time (just like when they were preschoolers). Then, I enjoy the surprised looks on their faces because they had no idea it could be like this. ;^)


Scott Hughes said...

If people want to know about homeschooling, I say just send them to a website or book. Homeschoolers and unschoolers are too busy educating their kids too go around explaining themselves to everyone individually.

Jim said...

You are still going to find people who have no clue. Just like people that are still unconsciously racist. Both groups hear and see things that contradict their own belief systems but it doesn't register in their brains.

In time, we'll have more people on the same page.
Best of luck,
Jim Sarris
Author, Memory Skills Made Easy

NYCitymomx3 said...

Scott and Jim, your statements are so true. Lecturing and explaining just cause people to tune out. People have strong ingrained beliefs about how things should be. Sometimes the best way to educate others is just by example. And that's fine with me, lol. Thanks for your comments.