Thursday, August 9, 2012

Things I'd like to say to homeschooling moms

FINE. Reposting.

I had no intentions of offending any schooling-option-mommas out there with this post.
I wholeheartedly agree that there are those of you out there who homeschool who would NEVER think of degrading those making a different choice than you. This post is not about you.
However, judging by the response of those who have kids in public school, you are in the minority. Public school parents DO hear this stuff A LOT. Take it for what it's worth... not trying to offend - simply open the eyes of those who may not understand that what they say - while true and not meant in a mean way - can cause pain to others.
**************************************** carry on.

90% of the time when someone finds out we have 12 kids they follow that up with
"I bet you homeschool, too."
It's more of an accusation than a question.
Like 12 kids = homeschool family.

I'm here to say...
tomorrow is the first day of school!
Public school.
We have homeschooled before... a year here, a year there...
but ultimately... it's not the best choice for our family at this time.

So... here's 10 things I want homeschool moms to know, 
from me - a public school mom: 

(forgive the "we/us"... I did not take a scientific poll and I don't speak for all public school moms.)

1. You guys tend to give us an inferiority complex. Or maybe that's just me.

2. We hate it when you call it "government school". There's an indoctrination-undertone there that's just icky. It's elitist and backhanded. Please stop. Yes, we know the government funds schools with tax dollars, but the common term is "public school".

3. Just because we send our children to school doesn't mean we don't love them and miss them during the day. For some of us it's just the best choice for our families. For some of us, our husbands don't support our desire to homeschool. For others of us, our children's personalities would make any learning impossible at home or drive us to drinking. Or both.

4. Does your 8 year old really prefer Tom Sawyer over Captain Underpants? Really?

5. If I promise not to presume that because you homeschool you make all your own clothes, never watch tv, sing from hymnals instead of the radio, all play violin or harp or piano or all three, and that your kids are going to someday implode and rebel...... would you please not presume that I don't homeschool because I'm just "less than" or that I don't love my kids as much as you do yours?

6. Most of us wholeheartedly agree that under a condensed setting in a home environment, an entire 7 hour school day can become a 2-3 hour school day with the same amount of learning. You don't need to convince me that you can get done in half the time what it takes the teacher in school the full day to do. Breathe in... breathe out. I'm okay, you're okay. Okay?

7. When we complain about purchasing school supplies or homework that takes till bedtime or permission slips or parent/teacher conferences or packing lunches and you come back with "whew! So glad we homeschool!" we kinda want to kick you in the shins. Not with steel-toe boots on, maybe with our flip flops and not hard... just enough to get your attention. Yeah, we get it. You don't have to sit up for 3 hours trying to re-teach Algebra to a kid who isn't understanding it from his teacher.... and you don't have to sign permission trips to anything... and you can serve cereal for lunch if you want. Let's put that phrase into the category "things to say inside your head, or at the homeschool convention".

8. Whenever something bad happens in a school - abuse, shootings, violence, etc... and all the homeschoolers start up with the above statement ("whew! So glad we homeschool!") it's actually pretty harsh. Yes, we know your kids aren't in the schools. But ours are. And we love them A LOT and we totally lose our ability to focus on anything of minor importance whenever something horrible happens - even on the other side of the country.

9. Christians send their kids to public school, too.
9b. Most teachers are NOT evil, brain-washing, communist, liberal, sex-ed instructing, Bible-hating bigots. They really aren't. I've been blessed over the years to have my kids in classrooms with teachers who go to our church, participate in Bible study before school, tell my children (without fear of repercussion) that they are praying for our family, and who have cried with me during difficult times. I have had teachers where I can send a quick text or email saying "may the force be with you. bad morning." and they know that kiddo may come in like a whirling dirvish. They are kind when they email or text back "mental adjustment happened between your door and our door... no worries."
Sometimes Christian homeschoolers like to drop Bible verses when speaking with Christian public-schoolers. Sometimes I wonder if they think that "if I just give them *my* take on 'train up a child' then they will burn their car-rider pick-up tags and join the HSLDA!"

10. Sometimes public school is a GOOD option... even when compared to home school. I'm looking forward to the school year for many reasons. Our three newest boys NEED to be separated to learn how to learn and be their own person apart from the three-some that they have NEEDED to be for quite some time. They need to be kids. In a class with other kids. Having fun. Showing off on the playground. Not trying to be the dad. Learning to speak English and learning social queues. This is a good thing for them. My little three need some time with Mom without the big kids around. My bio kids need separation from always being one of 12. In their classroom - they can just be an individual. They need the normalcy of a classroom routine free from attachment and therapeutic parenting and meltdowns over incorrect translations. They need to be with friends and have a break from feeling responsible for someone's ability to learn the language.

Let's lose the mommy-hierarchy/pecking order and just love each other because we have much in common. We know what it's like to be up most of the night with a sick child. We know what it's like to bandage boo-boos and sneak a cookie before dinner (but don't tell the other kids!). We have scrubbed our fair share of toilets, sinks and floors and we have all had a child turn up their noses at something we've served them to eat. We have all fallen short, we have all had proud-mommy moments. Any mommy out there who gets out of the bed, does her best to train up her children in the way they should go, and lives to try it again the next day... deserves respect.
No matter where her kids learn long division.


  1. You don't know me, I don't know you, but I am pretty sure we would be best friends if we knew each other. Once again, you have said exactly my thoughts!!

  2. Awe. Some! I agree with Laura. I can't wait to post a link to this on FB as I know there are a few other moms who are right with you/us!

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  4. I think you live inside my head and decide to write my thoughts from time to time....this would be one of those times. Aside- i fear i will be homeschool Sam at some point because of his sensory issues...and i am praying that day doesnt happen. GOOD LUCK TO YOUR KIDS!!!

  5. Dang, that made me want to curl up in a hole in the backyard. I'm a homeschooling mom simply because after a couple of years, God lead us down that path. Each year we reevaluate what's best and where God wants the kids to be, each child individually. Sometimes I'm made to feel as though because I homeschool my kids aren't socialized, they're missing out on so much, I'm doing my kids a disservice, I need to prove to people that my kids are learning, etc. It really goes both ways. One isn't better than the other. Each kid is different. Each family is different. Yeah, can't we all just get along. And I really hope I never make a non-homeschooler feel that way. Because by no means am I a perfect homeschooling mom. I fail daily. I don't sew. I don't bake. I cook but not very good. I use a virtual academy, I don't come up with it myself. I don't have it all together. I'll be the first to admit it. My kids know Jesus and that's our goal for them. We're preparing them for eternity.Yes they are learning Math, English, Science, etc along the way. This is where God has us for the moment. We're all sinners in need of a Savior. Plain and simple.

    1. JJ - totally didn't mean to offend anyone or make you curl up in a hole!!
      Have you ever seen a book/blog/website/article about parents reasons for choosing to send their kids to public school as opposed to homeschool? I haven't. I just thought it might be nice for those who ARE the extremist-anti-"government"-school types to see the reasons and the heart behind the "other side".
      I think I just missed the target this time.

    2. Actually, I had that post on my old blog, Chrissy. It wasn't about public school specifically but it was about my decision not to homeschool and why I was doing it. We put a lot of thought into our method of schooling and, in the end, it all boiled down to the fact that I wouldn't be a good teacher and Bean would have fought me the whole way...she made that perfectly clear from the start.

  6. Amen! (I could say more words of affirmation and support...of agreement and "I hear ya sista"....I'm full of extra words...but really..."Amen" covers it all!) Thanks for being human...LOVE that!

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    1. Very sorry, Kimberly! I know you read my blog a lot, and I certainly wasn't trying to offend or upset anyone...
      and no, there are lots of homeschool moms who don't fit that mold.
      I homeschooled for several years.
      I know I never fit the traditional mold either and I was very careful not to stomp on the toes of those making different educational choices than me.
      I DO think that there are elitist homeschool extremists out there who think anyone putting their kid in public school must hate their children, kick puppies, and flub the words to the national anthem at baseball games.
      Clearly, that's not you...
      but if you've never had your kids in public school and struggled with that dichotomy of guilt over "am I doing the right thing?"... you wouldn't understand the heart behind the post.
      Clearly I messed up this time with this post.

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  10. Your number 10 is the very reason this homeschooling mom is largely hanging up that hat this year. A newly home kiddo who needs way more than I can provide and bio kids who are in desperate need of a break and yes-- to be an individual and not just one of eight. :/ I'm having an identity crisis though-- I'm a homeschooling (homeschooling one still)/private/public school mom... which to claim? ;)

  11. I thought this was humorous and honest. I've read multiple posts, countless actually, about how home schooling is the only way to go. You aren't saying public school is better, just saying, with humor, the home schooling isn't for everyone. Home school moms work HARD. We all know this. Even this public school teacher, now stay at home first time mommy who is 43 chasing after a 17 month old Ethiopian child. Phew! I can't even imagine teaching at home withOUT siblings!!!!

    I also see the anti-public school side of things, having just retired. I taught middle and high school for fifteen years. I loved it, don't get me wrong, but our concerns for Sophie are more about the kids and parents than the teachers. Kids have changed. Times have changed. Different kids will adapt in different ways, so any choice you make as a loving parent, is fine. I took all the "bad" I learned from public school and decided to raise my child from a "Back to the Future" perspective.

    I look at the teens I've taught over the years, the easy and the difficult, and I did they turn out THAT way? Then I either do the thing that made them so great, or don't do the thing that made me wanna drink myself into an early grave. The problem much of the bad.....I relate to technology. So.....what do you do if you wanna have a kid who can work in this technology driven world, but keep her safe from the texting,gaming,onlinebullying,pervert,bikiniphotoposting culture?

    I. Don't. Know.

    Pray. Pray hard.

    I respect the doo doo out of home school moms. I know what it means to retire and stay home and look at that budget for the first time and say "HUH?". But I also know the joy of watching my students in public school become friends, support one another, and grow.

    Pray. Pray hard. For a sense of humor.


  12. as a public school teacher AND a Christian AND a mom.....YES! thanks, Chrissy.

  13. I'm not offended by this post - at least not any more than I'm offended by the many people I know who regularly do the reverse: rag on homeschooling while touting public or private school as The Only Way. They do this with me until they find out I was homeschooled for my entire life, and by my choice starting in 9th grade. Even then I'm not offended though, so don't worry. Actually I find it rather amusing when they look taken aback and say, "But you're so normal." Usually I don't inform them that their opinions about homeschooling are several decades old, and instead say, "Maybe you ought to reevaluate your thoughts on homeschooling and realize that what's best for each family is different." That is an opinion I share about regular school too.

    We are going to try homeschooling our kids because I loved it so much as a kid, but if it doesn't work for them/us, we will happily consider the other options. It's no one's business but ours.

    And for the record, my mom is a college professor whose mother was a public elementary school teacher for 35 years, and her mother was also a public school teacher for years. My mom totally rocked the boat by homeschooling us, but my grandma and great-grandma got over it when they realized we were still being well-educated and that the lack-of-socialization thing is a myth for 99% of homeschoolers. Oh, and my mostly-homeschooled younger brother is an elementary ed major who will be getting his teaching certificate later this year - to teach at a regular school - but if his future wife is willing, will probably homeschool their kids.

    See? All the schooling options can coexist in harmony. My family proves it quite well.

    People just need to stop worrying about what other people are doing and what other people think about what they're doing.

  14. This is will be our first year homeschooling and this post just made me laugh- as most of your posts do! Enjoy the time with your three littles!

  15. We are just beginning our 11th year of homeschooling and I want you to go girl!!! Every mom does what they believe is right for their kids. God doesn't call all of us to homeschool, nor have large families, nor adopt, nor be self-employed. We are all called to do something different. If we were all doing the same thing, how boring this world would be :)

    So kudos to you for doing what is right for your family, for you, for your kids ANd for sharing it with the rest of us. You are so right though, we see all kinds of post "why we homeschool", your post was/is a nice refresher for the public school version. I'm glad you put it back up after reading the other post and comments about you having written it then taken it off.

    God's Blessings be with you and your family.

  16. i'm one of THOSE moms who has been fighting off the moms for years who say things like "instead of 'sending your child away' you could be with them all day"--oh yay.
    and now, only because of the Lord's direction, we are going to try the school-at-home route, with each of us changing our minds every other day. so remember how i told you that when things weren't good with school i'd say "i'm home schooling!"? well....time to eat those least for awhile. we'll see how it works.
    to each his own. i realize now only we can control how we take in another person's words and what we choose to do with them.
    to each his/her own....just like everything else. :0)

  17. We have homeschooled our kids, we've also done private & public schools at various times. We are still trying to make a final decision for this year (better do it soon, right?) Anyway, I LOVE homeschooling and I wonder if sometimes when I am sharing why I love it, if I am inadvertently offending people because of their own thoughts/feelings/experiences.

    Angela :-)

  18. Oh, your kids are *only* taught long division? MINE are learning the NEW MATH! Just kidding ;-) Great post...I totally tracked with it and I'm glad you re-posted.

  19. I remember teaching in a classical school and being told that I needed to change my vocabulary from "public school" to "government school". The tipping point came for me when I realized that the sweet little first grader in my K-5 class was a miniature pharisee, just like I was as a child who grew up in Christian schools. This post is important, because it is a reminder that it's important to respect each family's decision for their own children. Our kids pick up on our judging attitudes, and their little concrete minds easily translate that to "there is only one right way to do this". And before we know it, we have reared a perfectly legalistic child who will one day find out what it means to become a recovering pharisee. I know. Because I am one. Thank you for posting this again and keeping it up. Whether we do homeschool, public school, or some form of private school, all of us mamas want our children to thrive. We do our best and pour our hearts into serving our kiddos, according to their bent. And if we can remember to give other mamas grace along the way and remember that we're in this together, we'll be doing well.

  20. I love this, and I'm gonna share it. You said it well and have totally spoken my heart, just like all these other commenters have said!!

  21. Wonderfully written! You go girl! If anyone takes offense to this, it must be because they are feeling "guilty" about that which you speak! This is your blog and yours to write on as you please. People do not have to read it if they don't want to. We all have choices.

  22. Any form of judgement from one parent to another is wrong and shows insecurity of those doing the judging. Remember when our babies were little and there were some moms who were nursing babies and there were those moms who either couldn't or chose not to and they whipped out that bottle with formula? I know in my mommy circle, there were those who would throw you to the wolves if you weren't nursing. I remember breastfeeding being a hot topic among our local mommy group.

    Now those babies have grown up and we are making decisions for those babies again. Homeschool. Private School. Public School. (am I the only one who has never heard the term "government school"? - I have taught in public and private schools and now homeschool and have never heard that termed that way.) So now these mamas (and daddies) are making these decisions regarding education and the claws are coming back out again. Surely their way must be the only way.

    Here's the thing. I have taught as a public school and private school teacher. We had our son in the local private school for kindergarten. God led us to do something different. I'll be honest. I never even considered homeschooling. I had a friend's daughter ask me if I was planning to homeschool Robert (he was about 3 at the time) and I think my response was "I think I'd rather poke my eyeball out with a fork." Now, here we are in our third year of homeschooling and we love it. Why? Because WE are where God wants us to be. We are doing what HE called us to do for our family. My best friend hauls her 2 cuties out the front door to catch the school bus at 7:30 every morning. She loves it. Her girls love it. It works for them. There are days where I wish there was a yellow bus to come pick me (or my kids) up and take us away for a few hours. But most days I love being right where I am. In the center of God's will for Paula Sloan's life. Do I think my best friend should homeschool her girls? No. Absolutely not. Could she? of course! But that is not what is best for her or her family because God has called them to something different. My neighbor is also good friends with our family and our kids are best friends. They choose private school for their kids. It's what God has for their family.

    As a homeschooling mom, I do sometimes get a little teasing from my non-homeschooling mama friends - yep, I have lots of those - one day we took our kids to the Kids Bowl Free and there was a form for each child and it had a blank for their school. My friend said "what are you going to put there?" and I giggled. The girl asked what school my kids went to and my friend piped up: "oh, her kids don't go to school. They are homeschooled. because they are FREAKS." I just responded, "Yep. pretty much." and filled out my forms. We have a great relationship with each other and I know she's just playing. My feelings weren't hurt.

    We do get a lot of heat as homeschool moms. We are constantly badgered on "socialization" and "do you give tests?" and "what about P.E.?" or "will your kid know how to function in society?" It gets old having to defend the choice that you know is right for your family. I have never once uttered the words "government school", nor have I ever made another parent feel badly for doing what they feel is best for their children. We're all just parents, doing the best we can for OUR children. I am a believer in parents. Parents know their child the best. They know what their kids need. They know what their family needs. They are doing what they feel is best for their children.

    So if we could all stop judging each other and focus on what God has given US and called US to do and not worry about everybody else we could do a lot more good in the world. This also applies to the whole breastfeeding/formula, adoption/not adoption, and if adoption domestic/international, and denominational differences.

  23. good posts and totally agree with your points!


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