Thursday, July 08, 2010

Why you might think homeschooling is easy

If you do not homeschool, you might think homeschooling is easy and stress free. You might think that homeschooling parents never wonder if they are doing the right thing, or if they're ruining their kids' educations. You might think that the kids always do their work happily and without ever complaining.

Do you know why you think that?

Here's why: if you do not homeschool it's unlikely that your homeschooling friends and acquaintances will ever share their struggles with you. We just won't tell you when it's hard, or when we second-guess ourselves, or when our kids rebel against doing their math. We don't because we have heard, and don't want to hear again, the stock response to any complaint:

"Then why don't you just put them in school?"

Think about that. When a mother with kids in school expresses her worry or displeasure or struggle with some aspect of schooling, it would be ludicrous for me to say "then why don't you just homeschool them?"

"Tim is having a tough time in algebra this year."

"Why don't you homeschool him?"

"Sara is having some problems with some mean girls."

"Why don't you just homeschool her?"

Anyone would laugh- or be offended - at the idea that a minor problem at school would be a reason to pull a kid out and homeschool. But most people don't seem to think twice about suggesting that any homeschooling struggle is best solved by putting the kids on the bus.

It's not that people are rude, it's just that most folks haven't stopped thinking of public or private school as the default option for education. That's just the way it is. It's not likely to change for a while, if ever. Probably not in my lifetime, though I hope in my kids'.

So now you know why your homeschooling friends don't complain about homeschooling to you. It's because we can't. It's because you don't understand that just as pulling your kids out of school would not be simple for you, putting out kids into school is not simple for us.

But don't worry about us, because we do have plenty of homeschooling friends and acquaintances who will listen and understand. And more coming along every day!


Kerri said...

Your kids rebel at math?? How shocking!!! Just kidding.

Though, really, even if you did put them on the bus that wouldn't solve anything, because there is still getting them to do their homework. I this the serious public/private school families probably put in as much time-or more because they have to train out all the attitudes and deal with parent teacher things and so on.

So maybe that would be something to say back, like "Well, don't you help your kids with homework, struggle with getting them up early in the morning, permission slips lost, etc.." Getting them to think about that stuff, they may think more about coming to the other side of the fence! :)

DADvocate said...

I'm sure homeschooling is very hard if you do it right and it seems you do. Just supervising kids for a day is tough. I'm not sure I could do it. Dealing with the corporate world is easier.

Marbel said...

DAD - I'm not sure it's any harder than being a parent of a schoolkid. I wouldn't know for sure. But it's hard not to want to make it seem easy just to avoid people telling us to quit when it is hard.

I bet you could and would do it, if you felt it was the right thing for your family.

Susan (HomeGrownKids) said...

Oh I am so hearing you on this one. Good post... for our non homeschooling friends as well as ourselves.

SmallWorld at Home said...

Great post! I never really thought about this, but you are so right. I would never complain to a non-homeschooling friend! They would so NOT get it.