I love homeschooling my kids. It is one of the key components to our “homestead” lifestyle. Teaching kids that they don’t need a specialized teacher in order to learn is vital to raising self-sufficient kids. Homeschooling teaches our children HOW to think, not what to think. I wouldn’t trade it for the world but let’s be honest, there are a few problems with homeschool life. One of these things is the constant battle with what homeschooled, tiny humans say to embarrass their parents.
Here are just a few of my favorites:
- “We only do school one day a week.” This is the one that they love to tell their friends (and the friends in turn tell their parents, and then you get the stink eye from the parents.) The truth is that we have our CC community day (others often have homeschool COOP) and for some reason homeschooled kids seem to think this is the only “school day” that they have. We do school at LEAST 4 days a week… most of the time… I SWEAR.
- “No we haven’t done any school yet today.” This is one they love to tell their dad when it’s 11:30 AM and he calls home from work to say “Hi”. It goes something like this…”What are you doing right now?” kids inevitable response is “Oh, just laying here” (Translation: “I WAS just doing my copy work, but I laid down on my bed to talk to you.”) Dad’s tone grows concerned “Have you done your schoolwork yet today?” “No, we haven’t done any school yet today.” (Translation: We haven’t done our math and phonics workbooks yet and apparently don’t REALIZE that all this other stuff we’ve been doing (ie. Bible story, memory work, copy work, read aloud time, science journaling) is “school work” leaving Daddy with the impression that we just rolled out of bed. (SIGH)
- “I don’t know what grade I’m in.” This is their #1 favorite thing to say to strangers who are interrogating them in the grocery store. And to be fair to the kids, we as mom’s don’t know how to answer that question either. We know what grade they should be in by age category but the truth is that homeschooling offers us the freedom to work with our children according to their own ability in each area. My 5 year old, should technically be a kindergartener… but she started Classical Conversations at four and insisted on starting to read the minute she turned 5 years old, so she’s closer to a 1st grade level in many ways but we are still doing kindergarten math. In language arts my 7 year old is doing the second semester of a kinder language arts program because I felt the curriculum we used previously was lacking in some areas. So although she’s reading at a 2nd grade level, we’re catching up on some fundamental phonics right now. AND THAT’S OKAY! So no, random lady in the grocery store check out, none of us really know how to answer that question.
- “We just watch TV and color.” Yet another thing they LOVE to tell strangers. Yes, we use Wild Kratts to supplement our science and trace black line maps with dry erase markers to learn geography, but it sure would sound a lot better if they learned to tell people, “we’re studying biology and European geography right now.” But no, we watch TV and color.
- “No, I haven’t learned about ______ yet.” (This one also comes in the form of a non-verbal blank stare.) This comes as a response to someone asking, if they have learned something yet and as luck would have it, will always be something very basic that you have gone over many times. The truth is we have no idea where this response comes from, maybe it’s because they don’t recognize the word “addition” or maybe because their little brain decided to go on recess break at that moment, who knows.
The truth is that homeschooling is a unique journey and it rarely looks like a public school setting around here. (THANK GOODNESS) But that, especially if you are new to homeschooling, can lead to anxiety over social judgment. Learn to laugh at your kids when they say these things and relax into the arms of grace. That lady in the grocery store checkout has no business interrogating your kids but maybe rather than elbowing your kiddo into silence and running away as quickly as possible, take a moment to explain to her the hidden translations to your kids’ answers. Most who are opposed to homeschooling don’t understand it or are working off of a narrow stereotype. It would do a lot for our cause if we took the time to joyfully share how penmanship and art are connected to science in nature journaling and how that fuels their desire for more knowledge. Who knows, she might just walk away with some new light shined on an old stereotype.