Thursday, January 3, 2008

The (not so) Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

This has been making the homeschooling rounds. While I admit that it's laugh out loud funny as is, I thought I'd make a few comment of my own. :-)

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it? (And really, if you don't know someone by now who is homeschooling, where. have. you. been. for the past decade?)

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use
the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now.
Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.
(On second thought, why don't you tell me again about the bad habits your 5 year-old has picked up in his classroom?)

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize. (Instead, why not ask her how she feels about all those poor children who sit in desks all day?)

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know. (That's pretty much the same as me assuming that you're a completely uninterested parent who never helps with their child's homework and wouldn't be caught dead at a PTA meeting. You know, like that other public school parent I know.)

5 If that homeschooler you "know" is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double. (Amen.)

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. (Instead, can I enthrall you with stories from my own personal public high school drama?)

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling. (On second thought, go ahead. Chances are, your idea of "grade level" and "age appropriate" are so tainted by the watered-down societal expectations that my children will stun you .)

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious. (And don't assume that all homeschoolers who profess to be Christians actually teach their children their faith.)

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons. (Academic excellence, family togetherness, detestable school conditions, flexibility, character development, following a child's giftedness ... the list goes on and on.)

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions. (Ooooh, I want to say this to my mother-in-law so badly. But I won't. Instead, I will smile and thank her for her concern.)

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school. (Can you diagram a sentence? Well, can you? I rest my case.)

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind. (Well, in truth, I am doing my five year-old a disservice. After all, I've never given him a hall pass to go to the bathroom.)

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends
and holidays when it's crowded and icky.
(WDW in February, anyone?)

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn
through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.
(Speaking of lowest common denominator ... in homeschooling, there is no such thing. A child who needs more time gets more time. That's just the nature of the beast.)

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else. (What about the Prom?!?!? Honey, I know what I did after Prom, and believe me when I say that the thought of my kids doing the same is the LAST thing that's going to motivate me to send them to public school!)

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then. (Or if he'd like to come over and read a real book.)

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind ofcompliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more. (Honestly, I don't think I could homeschool half the kids I see out in public, either.)

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one. (Sing it, sister!!!)

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else. (It's called obedience. The applications are virtually endless!)

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood. (My children were born with specific personality traits. What you're seeing is simply the fact that they feel free to be who they are without conforming to a group of snarky little grade schoolers who must crush all individualism.)

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled. (We prefer to think it's because they have the time to engage in their own areas of interest.)

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids. (Good research skills. That's what it's all about.)

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids. (I'm a saint because of my faith in Christ.)

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get
because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.
(Why don't you ask them about all the great memories they wouldn't have if they hadn't been homeschooled? )

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, don't say anything! (Or, if you have a genuine question, just ask me, already!)



Dawn said...

My friend sent me that list a couple of days ago and I thought it was so funny. I love what you added to it.

Steve Sensenig said...

I love this list, too. I posted a link to them and a sample on my homeschool blog a few weeks ago, too. Didn't realize it was making the rounds, or I would have tried to be more unique ;) hehe

steve :)
Love Each Child

Kim & Dave said...

That is a GREAT list!

Made me smile, as did your added comments!

Poppy & Mei said...

I've dropped in out of no where just to say I loved the list. I found it both interesting & very funny.
Thanks for getting me thinking...Xxx

Paula said...

OH! Do I have a list of people that I would LOVE to e-mail this to. I won't...but I'd sure love to! :0) I hadn't seen this yet, thanks for sharing (& I loved your personal additions)!