One of the things I really enjoy is reading blogs by other homeschoolers–and sharing them, particularly when it comes to “answer questions/misconceptions about homeschooling.” Recently, though, I came across one with “and how I wish I could answer people” and I thought it was going to be a fun read. Who doesn’t want to see homeschoolers come out with honest (and maybe snarky) responses to the dumb questions homeschoolers are asked every day? It turned out to not be snarky in the slightest, which was nice and all, but it made me think about my own “how I wish I could answer” leanings. So here you go. Enjoy.
- “Aren’t you afraid your kids will be weird?”
Answer: Are you freaking kidding me? They’re among the weirdest children I’ve ever met, and you know what? So are a lot of their friends. But they’re so happy and confident in their weirdness that it’s truly glorious to see. I didn’t embrace my own weird and nerdy tendencies until college and I’ll be damned if my kids have to suppress their own until then.
- “How will they ever learn what it’s like to live in the real world?”
Answer: Pardon me while I die laughing. I considered myself pretty well prepared for adulthood after going out of state to college, holding down steady jobs in addition to school, and dealing with “grown-up” bills in an apartment all the while. As it turns out, adulting sucks and that was a big shocker. My kids have the chance to explore their interests before college (hello, I changed majors 6 times in my freshman year alone), they can converse with people of all ages (I was the kid who couldn’t bring herself to speak to friends’ parents because I couldn’t figure out what to call them), and they’re–get this–KIDS. I’ll make sure they understand what adulting means when we get closer (“sorry kids, life is going to suck real hard while you adjust to that”), but you can be damn sure I won’t send them out into the world without understanding alarm clocks and deadlines, k?
- “Are you qualified for that?”
Answer: ….Did you just call me stupid? Let’s be real, folks. I mean, I did pretty well in both 3rd and 6th grades so I would think I can handle grasping and relaying that info in my thirties. Most of the homeschoolers I know are pretty highly educated anyway, and even if they’re not, I trust that most of them can stay a lesson ahead of their kids and Google whatever they don’t know. I did help my kids learn to walk and talk and wipe their own butts and make quesadillas so I feel pretty good about guiding them along in our chosen curriculum and making sure they turn into decent human beings who aren’t ALWAYS a-holes.
- “How will they make friends?”
Answer: I assume all kids make friends in a similar fashion (say, by talking to one another) and let’s just say my kids are happy to talk to anyone and everyone. Cashier at Target asks what child’s favorite cartoon is? Insert painfully long explanation about Voltron. Fellow child at the park yells, “EXPELLIARMUS!” at the top of his lungs? Instant BFFs. See someone wearing a Doctor Who shirt? Nerd out session initiated. They might be weirdos, but they are incredibly adept at spotting other weirdos and managing to talk for 16 hours straight about Minecraft or dinosaurs or WTF-ever their passion of the day might be. And if their friends are homeschooled, well . . . let’s just say they have EVEN MORE TIME to spend hanging out with those friends and Skyping with those friends while they do art and Facetiming with friends while they play Minecraft and visiting the zoo and park and museum and playground while everyone else is sitting in school.
- “What if your kids want to go to school someday?”
Answer: Look, I’m not a total dickhead, okay? If my kid really wanted to try school and was old enough to have valid reasons and understand the reality of the situation, sure, I’d let them. When my kid was in kindergarten and wanted to go to school because she wanted to have recess (newsflash: your life IS recess, kid) or get a backpack or ride a bus or see her friends, yeah . . . not so much. Plenty of families end up sending their kids to school eventually, especially around middle and high school. I don’t intend to send mine at any point, but I wouldn’t deny them the opportunity if that’s what they really wanted. That said, my kids (the middle schooler especially) sure as shit realize what a sweet gig they’ve got at home. They can stay up late, sleep in, get their work done, and do what they want the rest of the day. We can plan all the field trips and playdates they desire, load up on evening dance classes that would be really damn hard to handle if they were at school all day and then had homework, and decide together what works for us and what doesn’t.
- “Can they get into college?”
Answer: I can’t even be snarky about this because it’s totally a valid concern even among homeschooling families, but yes, yes they can.
And lastly, my favorite . . .
- “Where do you find the patience to do that every day?”
Answer: Oh, sweetie, bless your heart. On a good day, my patience level is probably around a 3 out of 10. Maybe a 4 if anyone has had the foresight to bake cookies for me, and this is only until 2 PM rolls around. After that, it’s every child for herself around here as long as it doesn’t involving making annoying noises anywhere in Mommy’s vicinity or asking for the fifteenth time whether dinner is ready. We made a choice to homeschool and most days we all love it and the freedom it gives up, but that doesn’t mean I don’t lose my mind on a regular basis. I just thank my lucky stars that my children are finally old enough to go entertain themselves for longer than three minutes at a time. To all the parents of young ones out there–someday you too will get to experience the sweetness of silence once more. Until then, I highly recommend planning a monthly Mom’s Night Out with your homeschooling friends so you can recharge without going on a murderous rampage.