*If you’re reading this, and you’ve asked me about this recently, please don’t think this is about you. I am addressing general comments I’ve received over the years. Okay?
I’ve only recently made public my decision to homeschool my children, and yet, in a matter of less than two weeks I’ve had quite a few people express their concern to me over how my husband and I have decided to educate our child. While most of the people lately haven’t been rude in any way, they have questioned why we’re doing what we’re doing, putting extra emphasis on the word “why.”
I’ve got no problem really with people wondering what brought us to such a decision, and even if they smirk, and raise an eyebrow quizzically as they say, “I’m just not sure that’s best,” I try and understand where they’re coming from. After all, homeschool isn’t the most common thing around, and though its popularity has grown exponentially compared to say twenty years ago, it’s still not something most people do. Being different always raises questions from others, and I’m okay with that.
I don’t mind sharing what I know, and I’ll even be the first to tell you that I’m new at this too. I have a lot to learn myself, and in between feeling slightly overwhelmed at the self-education of my daughter, I’ve been doing a bunch of research. Tons. So ask away.
But I’ve noticed a few things as I’ve gotten going. Since I first began to entertain the idea of homeschool years ago, I became aware that a lot of people had opinions on the subject. While never actually trying to homeschool themselves, or even knowing anyone personally who had, a lot of people had really concrete ideas about the subject. And most were not complimentary.
Oh God! Don’t do that to your kid. Don’t make them one of those homeschool weirdos!
Yes, I heard that, and other opinions too on why I was not doing right by my child. My child.
A big concern from others over my child was her socialization. People who normally had no interest in things like what my child eats for dinner, her bedtime, what age we’ll allow her to date or wear makeup, and which college she would plan to attend, were suddenly very willing to give their input on how she should learn. Yet they certainly weren’t helping us put anything back for her college fund.
I want to say, “it’s cool. I got this.” But instead I begin to defend myself with how busy our social calendar has been. Between dance class, church, play dates, and enrolling in formal classes with other children from the homeschool association there’s been little time at home. And I know this surprises most of my critics immediately.
As I’ve listened to people’s opinions over the years I’ve learned they have certain assumptions about homeschool children. They think they’re chained to a table at home, secluded from other children, and society as a whole. They think they’re lepers, weirdos, and slow learners. Most of this being the fault of an overprotective parent.
I’ve had the honor of knowing a lot of homeschooled children, and been friends with them through our college years, and into adulthood. I’ve seen them get a 4.0 in their Engineering major while being voted homecoming queen at the university they attended on a full scholastic scholarship. These same kids never struggled with drugs, alcohol, or promiscuity, despite the idea by outsiders that their “sheltered” upbringing would lead to a “wild, out-of-control” college existence.
Homeschool kids have dances, play sports, and have an annual. They have field trips and graduation. Just like “normal” kids. They just also have a mom and dad who teach them at home.
I could tell people who ask “why in the world” I made this decision a number of things. I could tell them of my concerns with public education and the safety of my children, something that is a very real concern nowadays.
I could tell them how I want my children to focus on learning rather than be swayed by the world, and things like what brand of clothing they’re wearing, or what mommy and daddy do for a living.
I could tell them of the Biblical focus I desire my children to have in their learning, and my desire to personally instill this belief system.
I could tell them that children are only in the home for a short time, and I wish to make the most of that time, by spending it personally with my kids.
But most important would be that it’s just what feels right. We’ve prayed, and this is the decision we’ve made for our children. It doesn’t make them weird, and it doesn’t make us bad parents. Although, I know in this world it doesn’t really matter what others think of my parenting style.
I don’t think my decision makes me a better, more involved parent. Each family must make their own decision, and this just happens to be the one for us. In the end, this is what’s right for our family, and that’s the bottom line. I appreciate the concern of others, I do. But God has given me charge of these little ones, and I take that more serious than anyone.