Catch 22

If you decide to homeschool, be prepared for people to 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.

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. Yes, I report all their work to the local school district. Yes, they are involved in the community. Would you like to buy some Cub Scout popcorn? No matter what I said, she would just look at me with a baffled expression. On one occasion, dear Helen pulled herself up to her full 4’11”, looked me square in the eyes and exclaimed, “When are you going to put those kids in school?!!”

Yes, 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, 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 sheltered and unsocialized. On the other hand, if they have a great group of friends, people assume 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!

Here are questions you will get as a mom. 

If you LOVE that you get to spend so much time investing in your kids,

… 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,

… why are you doing this to yourself?!

When homeschooling feels tough,

. . . 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. Homeschool moms can take pride in their work because its done with the gut-wrenching, self-sacrificing love that only a mother understands.

On the other hand, if your kids are happy and well-adjusted and everything is going well,

…well, what are you going to do with them in high school? How long are you going to do this to them?!

Maybe you have read 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. 

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. 😉

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