Questions from the masses

As a homeschooling mom, I get asked questions all the time about our homeschooling. I should learn to expect questions. Why? Well, because an off-the-cuff question, neutral as "how are you doing?", is "where do they go to school?" I will admit, most people hear, "we homeschool" and take it in and pass it off as easily as when someone answers "Zach Elementary." But others, not so much. Some responses:


My fast and dirty answer is "the system is broken." I do not think it's the teacher's fault, and they are the ones carrying the burden of the broken system.

I don't like busy-work, homework, worksheets. Teaching to an average. Socialization. Forcing 5 and 6 year olds to read when they aren't ready. Making them feel like they are inferior when they can't. I don't like that it's all about test numbers, but only for math and reading. Never mind the kids who are brilliant but can't take tests, or the kids who are average but excel on tests (me!) Or that the failing kids get more of the same and are expected to then do better. I don't like how we lose all the other subjects in the rush-for-test-numbers shuffle. I don't like how it all boils down to money in the end. It's such a mess. John Holt or John Taylor Gatto can say it much better than I, go read them.

"Do they like that?"

Do my kids like being homeschooled? YES! They do not want to go to school. They enjoy their quasi-school, but would never want to go more than they already do. They don't want to do it 5 days a week. They don't want to lose the freedom to do archery at 10am or go to the museum in the middle of the week on a whim. They do want to be able to take a break from math and go jump on the trampoline. And they love to get interested in something and not have to stop because it's time to stop. They don't want to go to bed early and get up early. Yes, I've asked them, these are their answers, not mine.

"wow" or some version thereof

No "wows" needed. I'm no super mom. I'm a slacker mom. We follow their interests and I make them do about 1hr of math/spelling/grammar a day for ~3 days/wk. I strew which leads to lots of learning. We attend library and other community programs that are not necessarily intended for children (but children are welcome.) We watch shows from National Geographic, History and others. We explore our world, a lot. We learn as we go. They figure out which things are a better deal at the grocery store. They read a trail map on a hike. They ask questions, we find answers.

"How do you fit all their school in 4 days a week?" (from a homeschooler who was concerned quasi-school would take too much time.)

Really? I don't know how I could stretch out formal schooling to 4 full days a week. Ok, I could. But then I would be lapsing into a school model and that isn't what I want to do. No problem if that is how you want to do things, it's just not my choice.

As for non-formal schooling, it's happening all the time and I don't fit it in at all. It's not limited to certain days or hours. It doesn't stop at an arbitrary or predesignated end. It's 24/7/365.

The unspoken question, "is she judging me for my choice to school (or how I homeschool)?"

NO! Emphatically, no. It is about ME, MY family and MY choice, it has nothing to do with you.

"I couldn't do that"

I'm sure most of you could if you wanted to. If you don't want to, no problem, choose what is best for you and your family. But please, don't sell yourself short. If you can't help them learn something they want to learn, then you find someone who can. If they are driving you crazy, you head to park day and let them run it out. If they are making your house into a pig sty because they are there all week instead of at school, well, can't help you there ;)


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