I posted this a long time ago but I wanted to repost it to help some of my home school mom friends. Also, at the bottom of this post, I have included an email I got called "the bitter home school wish list". It is funny. I wish I had written it. Oh well, at least I wrote this, and it makes me proud to have been bitter enough to post it on March 22, 2007.
My children and I were brutally assaulted in an elevator the other day. Well actually we were Brute-assly insulted by an ass who was too much of a brute to even realize he was doing it.
He said to my daughter, “Where do you go to school?”
Daughter: “I’m home schooled”
Brute: “Wow! Brave Mom” (Subtext: “you kids are scary”)
Mom: “Well, it works for us” (Subtext, “shut the hell up now, it’s time to stare blankly at the doors till your floor mercifully arrives to release us both.”)
Brute: “I had a friend who did that. (Subtext, “that makes me an expert”) They put their kids in school because of the socialization. Aren’t you worried about the socialization?”
Mom: “Oh no, there are lots of opportunities to socialize nowadays.” (“Unlike the days when you learned how to socialize with strangers on an elevator, idiot!”)
Brute: “Where do you live?”
Brute: “Oh there are great schools there. You should put your kids in school,” he says over his shoulder as he exits through the closing door.
Can you imagine that conversation? “Kids, your father and I decided that after 10 years of doing this we feel it would be best to send you to school thanks to a messenger from God who showed us the light on an elevator date with destiny”.
It is amazing how many times this has happened. It’s amusing to me that people think that bringing up the subject of socialization with a complete stranger will undo all the research and experience I have had up to this point to arrive at this perfectly legal and viable educational alternative. It is odd that socialization is the first thing they think of when they see my kids dressed in scuba gear babbling incoherently and throwing their feces around the room.
My next favorite thing is when people discover the kids are home schooled and start quizzing them on geography. I still don’t know where things are. Being ignorant about geography is not a home school privilege. Which brings me to my honor roll student.
People often say to me, “Wow!! I am afraid I would not be qualified to teach my kids!”
My daughter recently had the perfect answer: “So what you are saying is that because you went to Public School you would not be able to teach 4th grade material?”
Miraculously, without the benefit of socialization she knew to say that to me privately after the person had left.
That brings me to the smug temptation I have in response to those who say, “I could never home school! My kids would drive me crazy!”
“Yeah, your kids would drive me crazy too. Thank God I have mine!”
Wow! It must be the season for home school bashing. Here is my glib response to the painful problem of not getting the support of your family or spouse. (I would make a horrible counselor. Depressed? How bout a little seltzer in your pants or a pie in your face!)
Regarding my parents: I am so glad I have so many other vices that my parents now only send me articles about how every fat person dies of cancer. Really, my kids have been the proof in the pudding for my parents (who I've already noted are against pudding in all other applications). You just have to smile and nod and let them feel good about being good parents because they worry themselves silly over how foolishly we are being parents (which really means they were bad parents or we would not be being so foolish and we should listen to them now because....?) Actually in my case, besides the "socialization" they were an easy sell cause my dad worked for the OH Education association so I grew up knowing that the NEA and the school system was really a shrimpy little guy squealing, "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain". They ALWAYS took my side against the teacher.
As for the non-supportive husband - hmmm....that's a tough one. I choose passive aggression, bitter complaining, back biting and gnashing my teeth (preferably on something that will make me fat enough to have my parents worry about my weight). Actually my husband is supportive when it seems to be going well and when it is perceived as a virtue by outsiders, but sometimes he drops the "so have you considered putting the kids in school?" bomb when he is certain it is home schooling and not HIM making me act in passive aggressive ways. Husbands get scared and insecure when they think we are damsels in distress unable to rescue their babies from Algebra or whatever subject helps you slay a dragon in the competitive work place. They also get a lot of pressure at work (if they are like my husband) for the single income thing and the life style of a home school family. Don't know what to say about that one, except to have him volunteer to be a youth group leader or something so he can hear what our kids are really missing. EEK! Help him be more afraid of school than of your kids not getting whatever it is he is afraid they are not getting.
Finally, I just got this great email from my niece in NJ who is writing a book on un-schooling (BTW She said she might want to canvas some un-schoolers for this book at some point so you may hear more about her later). She is my husband's niece actually so she is catching all the heat from his side of the family being generated from her decision and which is probably somewhat pointed at me but has not been direct enough to reach me. (I can be so dense). I think our security and survival depends on being around each other. I had great therapy, I mean conversations at Livermore park day today. This is really important because it helps us laugh and not cry and be patient with people who are scared for us and our kids. At least they care enough to care that we are screwing up our kids or in my case to imagine me dead. (That's what I tell myself when I get the worried health emails from my parents).
Feel free to check out some of my old blogs on homeschooling if you have nothing better to do (https://jillibee.typepad.com/) At the very least you will see that you are SO not alone (and I tend to set the bar very low so it might even make you feel relieved at your own accomplishments.
If it helps, my son who went through public school, Horizon's home study, charter, DVC, un-schooling and over schooling is now 20 and is glad he was home schooled and says I absolutely must continue to home school the younger kids. (OH and he is cute and social and bright and following his dreams and supporting himself. He is a fun one to parade around as a big success story though I am fairly certain he was born to thrive. We don't have to tell "them" that though).
Whatever you do, GOOD luck and DON'T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!!!!
> The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List
> From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1
> 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?
> 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.
> 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.
> 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
> 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.
> 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. We
> all hate you, so please go away.
> 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.
> 8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.
> 9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for
> religious reasons.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's
> some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of
> these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because
> she's homeschooled.
> 22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I
> homeschool my kids.
> 23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I
> homeschool my kids.
> 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.
> 25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about
> homeschooling, shut up!
"Disquietude is always vanity, because it serves no good. Yes, even if
the whole world were thrown into confusion, and all things in it,
disquietude on that account would still be vanity."
-St. John of the Cross