Dear Homeschoolers, Please Stop.

Dear Homeschoolers, Please Stop.
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As homeschoolers, we are often so worried about what we should do. But let’s—just for a moment—focus on a few things we can maybe stop doing. So I ask you: fabulous awesome homeschoolers, please stop doing these seven things:

1. Homeschoolers, please stop being afraid of your kid being mad or uncomfortable.

If your child is mad at you, you are not Satan. You are not the Antichrist. You have not screwed up your kid.

If your kid is mad at you, it simply means the both of you are in disagreement.

This is normal. And valid. And okay.

Stop thinking that because you are you, you’re automatically going to get along better with your children than all the other parents and children in history ever have.

2. Homeschoolers, please stop thinking that because you homeschool/unschool/radically unschool/fluffy unicorn school that your child is going to be more enlightened/more inspired/more motivated than all those other children who attend (gasp) public school.

Stop thinking that your child is going to be self-motivated to change the world by age eight.

Imean, it could happen. But more than likely, it won’t.

It’s entirely possible that your 8-year-old might be throwing mud at his sister in the house while your 12-year-old plays TF2 for the 13th hour in a row and you sit at the table with a glass of wine.

Be proud of the kids you have, okay?

3. Homeschoolers, please stop thinking you have to pick a side.

We should be beyond having to point this out, but to be a homeschooler, you really don’t have to

  • a) quote a minimum of 37 Bible verses a day,  or,
  • b) hate God, cops, government, GMOs, gluten, and structure of any kind.

The groups at both extremes in the homeschooling community are so polarized—even though they say they aren’t. That polarization makes it really hard for the huge middle ground to convince the rest of the world that we are not one of Those Kinds Of Homeschoolers.

4. Homeschoolers, please stop using homeschooling and unschooling to make your world smaller.

If all members of your family have defected to their own countries of isolation under the guise of “we’re following our interests”, you might want to rally the troops back and re-group.

If all your social contacts look, talk, and think just like you…you’re headed in the wrong direction. There is a difference between diving into your interests, and diving into a hole like a hermit.

5. Homeschoolers, please stop asking me what I taught my kids when they were two.

I’m either going to tell you:

  • a) I don’t remember, or,
  • b) “nothing”.

Realize that when you complain to me that public school moves too fast and doesn’t let kids be kids…but then you ask me what curriculum I used to teach my 18 month old their colors, we’re going to end up in a very uncomfortable staring contest.

6. Homeschoolers, please stop telling me you are homeschooling your six month old.

You plan to homeschool. You are not currently homeschooling.

If your child isn’t old enough to be asked “why aren’t you in school today”, you’re not homeschooling him.

If your child wouldn’t otherwise be in public/private school (heck, I’ll even give you preschool…) at the age they are currently at, you are not currently homeschooling.

You are a parent.

When your child is older and you are wading through long division or algebra or mom you never taught me how to write a paper, or hey guess what there are still bullies in co-ops, you will understand why I’m-homeschooling-my-6-month-old is so annoying.

7. Homeschoolers, please stop thinking there is a solid, lasting point in homeschooling where you will say “I get it! THIS is how I’m supposed to do it!”

That magical blissful point does not exist in real life.

You will find a happy place. You will think you’ve found center.

And once you find center, it usually moves to a completely inconspicuous place, never to be seen again except in fleeting glimmers of hope.

(Psst. This doesn’t just happen in homeschooling. It happens in all facets of life.)

Kids change, parents change, situations change, interests change…everything changes. The way you do things will change many, many times.

And then it will change again.

And that’s okay!

That is all. Carry on, dear homeschoolers. Carry on.

Or, hey! Go read Seven MORE Things You Should Stop Doing if You Homeschool.

From telling me you're homeschooling your 6-month-old to thinking you have to pick a side...homeschoolers, please stop doing these 7 things.

 

Tired of the sugarcoated version of homeschooling? Read my book The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.

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13 thoughts on “Dear Homeschoolers, Please Stop.”

  • "and you sit at the table with a glass of wine wondering why your children ended up just like the spawn you swore they wouldn't be."

    Oh I am so there…hahahaha! This is a perfect reminder and encouragement. I think I felt that I finally "got it" about 3 months ago. But that feeling lasted but a brief moment. not even a whole day.

  • Love this!! For point 6 – we have a 1 yr old. I *plan* to homeschool him. We will fool around with "tot school" and "preschool", but really, it's the same type of crap I did with my older kids who started their schooling in public school!

  • Just found your blog. I’m lovin’ it so far. Omg #6 is hilarious! I homeschool my six year old and my 2 year old wants to join in so I let her do stuff, but I would never say that she’s homeschooled yet…. She can do the stuff normal 2 year olds can do. Colors, shapes, numbers, letters…. There’s no reason to label anything yet.

  • #7 Yes! My kids are in their last year. I still don’t know how I’m supposed to be doing this!!!!! 😀 And I think they have turned out pretty decent, so… 😉

    • and just when i think i might possibly have a handle on ‘this’ (my oldest is 21, has a good job, is polite and capable) i realise that my younger children have (seemingly just to spite me) turned out with totally different personalities, interests and learning styles meaning that i dont actually a handle on anything 😉

  • And then there are those of us who hate government, GMO’s, gluten, but love God, read the Bible daily, and respect our men in blue…LOL! Just thought I’d throw that out there. 😀

  • Concerning #6, I think being a “homeschooling mom” is a heart issue of being committed to the home education of one’s children, not something that suddenly begins when they would otherwise be in public school. Having the mother of a 6 month old be a homeschooling mom does not make the mother of a 15 year old any less of a homeschooler. Teaching baby sign language, letters, colors, not to bite, storybooks, addition, algebra, dealing with bullies, calculus, classical literature- it is all part of the learning process. Perhaps all moms are homeschooling until some send their kids to school. We need to stick together, not shut each other out because we are not in the same season.

    • Philosophically, yes. But in practice? Unless you are setting aside time every day to systematically instruct your one-year-old in colors, shapes and the ABCs, parenting a curious toddler is not comparable to planning and executing the academic instruction of a third grader. And it shouldn’t be! I get that you’re excited about a lifestyle of loving & learning with your child, now and when she’s older, and I totally share your excitement (as a mama with a couple kids under school age and a couple in it!). But – and I hate pulling this card, but it’s true – when you get to the point where your responsibility for this kiddo’s education extends to a wider variety and a greater complexity of topics, you can see the reason for the distinction. Enjoy this simple time!

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