dumb questions

On the treadmill today I began reading my favorite homeschool website forums. There was an original post from a woman asking the question. “what is the dumbest question anyone has ever asked you regarding homeschooling your kids?”. Some of the questions were real doozies. I showered and immediately hopped onto wordpress in order to share some of the questions asked by non-homeschoolers and my very passionate reply. I can’t not write this bog.

I am fully aware and understanding of the fact that not every parent is familiar with homeschooling. There is so much more to it than “read the lesson and fill in the circle”. A lot of parents are with their children up until school age, then their children begin attending a school or preschool or what ever they do and all of the sudden, the parent can’t understand how they or anyone else could homeschool. I keep my kids home after they turn 5, just like most families keep their kids home before they turn 5. Homeschooling is an extension of parenting, only the topics become more organized, and more educational. I am going to preface the questions with this… they are passionate and a rebuttal to the rude questions asked by those who have no understanding of this lifestyle. I am going to shed light on homeschooling and its main intention is to dispel ignorance and share my heart on the topic.

1) Aren’t you worried there will be gaps in their education? No, just the opposite. I would go as far to say that had I sent my middle child to school he would have major gaps in his education. He went to the public school 3x’s a week for speech therapy. When we moved here I began working on phonics with him a little bit more than usual and wouldn’t you know it, he’s doing a lot better. He’s making strides in leaps and bounds. It was recommended that we enroll him full-time and he would be put in the “grade” below other kids his age. That would have been a huge mistake. He is way ahead of most kids his age in math, science, and history. He is very proactive in his education and likes to learn in a natural way.

2) (This one’s pretty bad) Do you think you can do as good of a job as a real teacher would? No, because my job is different. It would be like comparing apples to automobiles.  A teacher prepares the child for testing and FCATS and is with the child for a year, so only has to get the child through the year. A parent on the other hand has the responsibility of raising the child. A big part of raising that child is teaching them what they need to get where they need to go. If we need to stay on a topic for an extra month, we have that luxury. If my child is not “getting” something I know it immediately and he is my top priority because he is my only student in that grade. A teacher teaches a classroom for a few hours a day. I am a mom and I teach my children all day long every day. The very first lesson was to coo and hold my finger and then to walk. I did better than anyone else could have then and I am doing just as well now. And just like when they were younger, they do the hard part and they are the ones who are determined to succeed.

3) What makes me think I am qualified? The answer to that one is answered by the Lord. He has qualified me. He placed them under our care and we have chosen not to delegate that responsibility to another. A teacher may be qualified to raise other people’s children by a university, but a parent is qualified by God Himself. He says that in the Word, in His Son. ‘Nuf said.

4) How do you know what to teach? We follow a series of curriculums that work for us. Every family chooses what they want to teach and when. I have chosen a mastery approach (delve deep into topics rather than cover just a little bit more each year) and I have chosen to cover history in a four year cycle beginning with a year of geography. When we get to the end of the cycle, we begin at geography, then do the 4-year all over again. I have researched Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and studied children’s reading and writing styles, and I have made myself an expert in all the things my children will need to learn in order to be well educated. I use a math curriculum that is done on the computer and begins with a lecture given by a homeschool Dad and college math teacher.

I know what to teach because I don’t take homeschooling lightly and I have made myself an expert in their education.

5) Do your kids hate being homeschooled because they have no friends? My kids have friends. They have formed relationships with children all over the place. They are given opportunities to be with their friends in setting which allow them to talk, play, and goof around. They are not scolded for talking to their friends during their hours and hours of classes. My children are able choose friends in setting which  they are comfortable in. They are not made to be friends with certain people just to feel  included. They are not made to spend time with children who bully them or encourage them to become materialistic or compromise on their beliefs. My children are friends with each other and each other’s biggest cheerleaders.

I have walked down the halls of public school and there is not one single behavior I have seen which I want my children imitating. I went to public school and I know there are very dear and sweet souls who go to them. I am friends with people who went to those schools. They turned out this way in spite of school, not because of it. The thing is, it’s not only my choice to homeschool, it’s my responsibility and this is how it was for thousands of years. Mass institutional schooling is a relatively new thing. And I don’t know that we are becoming smarter or better for it.

So the next time someone asks you a rude question about homeschooling or socialization, just smile and nod. Their kid is probably in public school and it would be rude to point out all the obnoxious and damaging things that institutions can do to the soul. Some places are good and some people do well in them, but we are not meant to live our days in an institution. But don’t tell them that, just let them think we are the ones raising socially retarded kids, because until they have known the blessing of homeschooling themselves it’s just another topic to remain ignorant about.

I have plenty of friends who do not homeschool and are very gracious about it. They don’t judge or make snippy uneducated comments. Some of them have really great public schooled kids. I love these people. The ones who don’t put down what we do just because we are in the minority.

I need to go make dinner because we are having folks over tonight, but I hope you’ve enjoyed, or learned, from my blog post today. Have a wonderful week!

Love,

Jackie

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