For those of you who don’t know, we are in our second year of homeschooling, after several years in the public schools. We chose that path for many reasons, which I will write about another time, but mostly because of the flexibility. When my ex and I decided that we would be divorcing and would live in different cities, I knew we needed a good custody solution that worked for everyone. We both really wanted to do 50/50 custody and homeschooling was the perfect solution for our family.
While on Facebook recently, a friend remarked that she was considering homeschool so that her son could experience lots of travel – not just normal summer vacation, but more like months-long journeys all over the world. In the comments, someone showed his obvious distaste for the homeschool lifestyle, despite never having experience it himself. I got defensive and then just had to laugh. Stereotypes are everywhere, but I believe homeschool families get hit with the most ridiculous ones.
So here, the top 5 things you probably have all wrong.
- “Kids need to socialize.” Sure, it’s a life skill. Is making conversation with another 12-year-old at an uncomfortable middle school dance a life skill? Not necessarily. How about communicating with a cashier, speaking to adults and authority figures, and asking a librarian for help? You bet your ass. I still have problems speaking to a bank teller without anxiety, so I am glad my kids have to go through the agony with me. Seriously though, most homeschool families (not us, because I don’t like people) are involved in plenty of groups where they get tons of interaction. My children get playdates and also hang out amongst lots of adults, where they are comfortable carrying on a conversation.
- “Your kids may fall behind.” Behind who? Behind what standard? Who decides? Every kid is different and there is no need for them to know X thing by X age.
- “Oh my, you’re going to be so tired of your kids. I couldn’t spend all day with mine.” When they go to dad’s, I rejuvenate, recharge, and spend so much time alone that I actually get sad. And guess what, y’all? It’s fucking AMAZING to be the one to witness them discover a new skill or finally grasp a concept. Believe it or not, I like my kids. We give each other space and needed and it just works.
- “Oh, I get it. You want them taught in a religious manner.” Oh hell. You must not know me. Did y’all know there is a HUGE community of secular home educators in the U.S.? Yep. There are even Christians who choose the secular route of educating, because they want their children to make their own decisions about religion.
- “I guess your kids won’t go to college then?” Did you know there are colleges that seek out homeschool students because of their ability to lead their own learning and to keep themselves on task? Universities enroll tons (super fancy stat, I know) of homeschool students. And – gasp – my kids are undecided about college and I support that because, hell, so am I.
No matter what decisions we make as parents, or even just as single people, someone is always going to have something to say about it. It’s crazy. Let people do their own thing! What have you done in your life that brought out someone’s unsolicited opinion?