If you homeschool your kids, people will question everything. you. do. Anytime you step outside of cultural norms, people question you. You will unlikely be able to satisfy their curiosity no matter what you say. This is the catch 22 of homeschooling.
We had a very sweet ninety year old neighbor who could never understand the idea of homeschooling. We developed a close relationship with her. When I would have a new baby, she would have me over for tea and, of course, she wanted to hold the baby! Over the years, we would take her samples of desserts we had made and she would send over her extra bananas that were starting to brown. Every season, she would bring the kids Easter and Halloween candy. She loved our family, but she could never get over the whole homeschooling thing.
Occasionally, she would ask me about it and I would try to explain in the best way I could. Each time, she would respond with this puzzled look on her face. I went over it again and again from every angle. Yes, Helen, they have friends. And, yes, I report all their work to the local school district. They have lots of friends from different circles. They are involved in the community. By the way, would you like to buy some Cub Scout popcorn?
No matter what I said, she would just look at me with a dumbfounded expression. On one occasion, dear Helen pulled herself up to her full 4’11”, looked me square in the eyes and almost yelled, “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO PUT THOSE KIDS IN SCHOOL?!!”
If you swim against the current, you will find people will question you, no matter how well you and your kids are doing.
Here are some examples.
If you homeschool your kids because you want to pass down your faith to them, you are probably brainwashing them.
If you follow a more relaxed, interest-led style…. they are probably not getting a “real” education.
If your kids excel at academics, scoring above grade-level in every area on standardized tests, you are too hard on them. They’re probably brainiacs with no social skills. You are trying to produce the perfect child. “Loosen up a little, let them be kids!”
If your teenagers aren’t wearing a certain name brand and giving you attitude, they are probably over protected and unsocialized. On the other hand, if your teenagers have attitude and balk at your requests, it’s probably because they are bristling against their sheltered life.
Additionally, if your kids have a great group of friends, people assume their group is only other homeschoolers. They must all be in the same sheltered bubble.
And finally, if they look “normal” and all your ducks are in a row, you are too perfect. Only a supermom could do that!
In some ways, you really can’t win! This is the Catch 22 of Homeschooling.
Here are questions you will get as a mom.
–If you LOVE that you get to spend so much time investing in your kids, people ask,
“Don’t you want to do something for yourself, though?”
(If you teach other people’s kids, that is a career, but if you teach your own, its . . . what?!)
When you are overwhelmed, exhausted, and your kids are driving you crazy, they say,
” Why are you doing this to yourself?!”
On the other hand, if your kids are happy and well-adjusted and everything is going well, the question is…
“Well, what are you going to do with them in high school? How long are you going to do this to them?!”
When homeschooling feels tough, you hear…
“You know, you could just put them in school!”
I say, it’s tough for a reason, and I’m good at what I do. I am proud of what we learn here in our home, more than anything I did in the classroom as a public school teacher. We homeschool moms can take pride in our work because its done with the gut-wrenching, self-sacrificing love that only a mother understands.
Here are questions people ask your kids.
Have you seen the popular meme that says homeschooled kids are asked questions that adults could only answer with their smart phones. This is absolutely true. People will randomly ask your kids their multiplication facts, history trivia, how to spell random words. If you haven’t experienced this yet, just wait, it’s coming! Really!
They want to know if your kids are smart. And if they ARE smart, well then do they have friends? These two questions are pretty much circular.
This is the catch 22 of homeschooling.
Keep on Keeping On
If you’ve stepped out and decided to homeschool your kids, you are going to get all kinds of responses from people. These are ALL questions that people have asked me. And, if they haven’t already, they will ask you too! Just so you’re prepared for it. 😉
This may or may not be true, but many times I have felt that if you do what everyone else is doing, even if it’s bad, you have few critics, and if you do something different from what everyone else is doing, even if it is VERY good, people are quick to criticize or question.
Don’t let the loud voices of your critics pull you down. You have made a wonderful choice for your kids. Keep doing your best. Keep savoring all the time you get with your kids, making little bits of progress every day.
You are doing something really great. No matter what others think.
RESOURCES AND ENCOURAGEMENT
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!