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Friday, August 7, 2009

Turning The Tables

Today is a little bit of a different post for me. I consider myself to be a very tolerant homeschooled parent. I get all kinds of people who ask all kinds of questions, but lately it has been a rush of questions. I generally find their curiosity, to be just that, but some people are rude, and disrespectful. It is funny to me, I can meet someone new, and get along just great, until they find out I homeschool my children. Then they withdraw like you have Leprosy or something. Mostly I find this behavior amusing, and I let it fly right by. I had a young girl, from Sweden, come to my home the other day. She was actually selling a product. She was an exchange student, and I found her to be very inquisitive, and friendly. Her country does not allow homeschooling, so she was very curious indeed. However, I also get people who are curious, but also almost hostile, or rude. It seems they think we are better than them, or something. At any rate, I have been asked why I decided to homeschool, and I will answer some of the other burning questions I have gotten of late.

Why did I decide to homeschool? When I decided I was finally ready to have children, I really wanted to homeschool. My husband was against it, so I gave public school a try. For a lot of reasons I was unhappy with it. When we moved to a new town, and found out they had to be to the bus stop by a quarter to seven, and not get home until almost 4, that was the final factor.

Is homeschooling hard? It can be, if you let it. There are premade curriculums that make it much easier. I spend a great deal of time, searching, and researching so I can pick and choose my curriculum. That is one of the pleasures of homeschooling, you decide what your child learns.

How can you spend all that time with your kids? Hmm, umm are you kidding me? I can not believe someone even had the nerve to ask that one. I love being with my children. I enjoy watching them grow, and learn. Even when they are driving me crazy, and trying to kill each other, I find them entertaining, and amazing.

Don't you want your kids to grow up normal like public school kids? Umm okay another question, that is based on ignorance more than anything. First of all what qualifies as normal? Why is my child any less normal, than a public school child? That is ludicrous. My children are well behaved, polite, kind, caring, and get along well with others. They do not judge other children by their clothes, skin color, gender, or by how much money they do, or do not have. They do not have the bias of public school, that other children are negatively influenced by.

Don't you want them to have friends? Nope, I want them to cling to me like white on rice, and never leave home. Please people, maybe think before you ask something that dumb. Of course, I want them to have friends, and they do have friends. We have neighborhood kids, just like every neighborhood in the world. We have a playgroup for both homeschooled, and public school children. They go to church, they go to the park, the museum, lots of places where they make friends, and meet new people. However, even if my children were in public school, they would not have the freedoms a lot of public school children have. They would not go wherever they want, whenever they want. They will not play certain video games, or watch certain shows. They would not spend every waking minute with friends, family is far more important, in my opinion.

How will they learn things about life? Again, a question, that is based on preconceived notions. What do children learn from their friends? Sex, drugs, how to be mean to each other, what clothes are important to wear, what gadgets they must have to be cool, or fit in. These things are all things I could care less if my child knows about, least of all from another child. It is my responsibility to teach them about sex, drugs, etc when they are ready to know about such things.

Don't you want them to have a good education? I will not even go there.

You must be rich, because you don't work. No, we are not rich at all, and most homeschoolers live on a very tight budget. Deciding to homeschool your child, is a decision that takes commitment, and some sacrifice. You have to give up some things, and go without some things you want, it is all worth it in the end. By the way I still have to pay school taxes, despite the school not being helpful at all, and considerably unfriendly.

So now it is my turn, to turn the table on all you that send your child to public school. You see, I too am a curious person, and I have some questions too.

Why do you choose to send your child to public school? Why do you want them to go off for 8 hrs a day, to a complete stranger, to learn something you have no control over? You want my real opinion? I think all children under the grade of fifth grade should be homeschooled, then if you decide to send them to public school good. So now I am asking you to explain yourself. Since there is no objection to questioning the parenting skills, of those of us who choose to homeschool, I am questioning your parenting skills for choosing not to. If you are uncomfortable with this, or do not like being put on the spot, neither do those of us whom choose to educate our own children.


Sandi said...

my parents home schooled my youngest sister. Many of my family members are. A lot of my aunts and uncles down the line started making the decision to do that. I do not find it odd or weird. I have many many online friends who do the same thing so homeschooling is not new or strange to me in the least but just an option when you send your children to school. However even though I thought about it myself I knew I could not do it. I just do not have the ability to home school all of my girls. I am not a teacher though many people do have that ability I know that I do not. It takes patience and the ability to explain that I just do not possess. I get flustered and frustrated. I prefer to put my kids in an environment where I know the teacher is doing what she went to college to do and is able to teach my girls what they need to know. I live in a tiny town in a small and good school. Everyone actually does know everyone and I feel very comfortable sending my girls there. I am sorry your experiences have so bad. I do believe we all have our reasons for making the choices we do and I admire the fact that you are able to do it because I know without a doubt it is a difficult yet very rewarding job!

Melissa said...

Sandi thank you for your honest feelings. The post was not really meant to make people defend themselves, but to make a point as to how they make homeschoolers feel like we have to defend ourselves all the time.

Anne said...

I have thought about homeschooling (to protect my kids from some of the bad influences of public school and schools tend to teach to the middle, leaving a large portion of the class at sea), but I do not have the temperament to homeschool my kids. It takes a huge amount of patience to be able to spend all day with kids and I just don't have that patience. I think it is like everything else. People need to make the decision that fits with their family and one decision is not better than others. Requiring parents to homeschool would be the same as requiring kids to attend a specific school. I think many children would be lost that way since I don't believe many parents would be able to homeschool their children. I do agree that some of the questions you listed are insensitive, but it might be ignorance (and a serious lack of tact) rather than trying to criticize your choice.

A Lil Enchanted said...

Great points and reasons for homeschooling Melissa! I have to say though that I get more positive reactions than negative from other people about homeschooling.

We share a lot of the same reasons :)

A Lil Enchanted,

betchai said...

i perfectly understand where you are coming from Melissa, somehow, i too have difficulty defending sometimes some of my friends choice to homeschool their kids to our friends who don't. for some reasons, they think that homeschooling the kids deprive the kids of a normal childhood, which sadly, is not the case.

i read the works of DJ and though i see both your kids only in pictures, but I can tell they are very happy kids and they are blessed to have a mom who is dedicated to teach them.

I met some students in college who are product of homeschooling, and I can say they do not have any social issues at all, in fact, they are very good in relating to their classmates especially in helping their classmates understand more the subject matter.

Melissa said...

Thank you, all of you, for your thoughts, and comments. While I feel all children under fifth grade could definitely benefit from homeschooling, I in no way am saying the government should force that on people. The whole point of the topic was in fact to make people think, of how they make homeschoolers feel when we they ask, or even demand to know answers to disprespectful questions. We are all the same, but we are all different. That is what makes all of us special, in our own ways.

Andrea said...

I've been tempted to homeschool my boys many times. I'm mostly tempted to allow them to be "homeschooled" through Florida's virtual school. Sort of the best of both worlds--they are at home away from some of the negative influences, and yet have a planned out curriculum and a teacher for a busy Mom! The only thing that prevents me from doing it right now is the great public elementary school they go to. I love their school and the teachers there! And I stay involved by volunteering there twice a week, too. If the school wasn't so good, then I would jump at the chance to homeschool them!

Sorry you've received so many ignorant questions. I've known many homeschooling parents and their children, and they are the smartest, most polite children I've ever met!

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