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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ramblings of a Homeschool Mom

I would love to read a book entirely devoted to the things people say to homeschool moms in the checkout line, I really would. I'm sure it would be a hoot.

Ever had a friend, family member, complete and total stranger in the checkout line at Wal-Mart ,upon finding out that you homeschool, quiz your children in hopes of proving that they can't possibly know anything with you as their teacher?

I don't go around quizzing public school children on their knowledge and no one else seems to be doing that either. There's several reasons I don't do it and think others ought not to do it to homeschoolers either...

1. It's extremely rude.

2. I think it's extremely ignorant to assume that any child isn't smart because of where they go to get their education.

3. It's really NONE OF MY BUSINESS! Last time I checked no one died and made me chief of the intelligence police.

I mean, I am math dumb when it comes to throwing letters in with numbers. I never "got" algebra until my second year of college. Does that mean I was dumb? That the public school system failed me, my parents made a mistake? NO, of course not...all it means is that I never liked math and thus never applied myself to doing any more than just surviving until I was old enough to choose to use a calculator whenever I wanted.

I don't voluntarily offer my opinion to a mother or father who chooses to public school, however , everywhere I go I am attacked and criticized by people over my choice to homeschool my children...doesn't seem fair, really. I actually had a cashier at Wal-Mart tell me that I was a bad parent to be homeschooling and that she thought it ought to be illegal...yet she could offer no good reason why she held that opinion...I however, have plenty to say on the matter.

Public school as we know it today hasn't always been around and has never been the only option allowed to educate children. As long as parents followed the laws governing homeschool throughout the years, homeschool has been a viable option, though not without it's bumps in the road. I'm for options and for the parent's right to choose the option they feel is best for their families. I am not a public school basher! I want to say that again. I AM NOT A PUBLIC SCHOOL BASHER! I am a product of public school and I'm dad was a school teacher for over 30 years and it helped pay the bills for quite some time. So, I don't down public schools or the teachers. I think the huge majority (aside from a few bad seeds we hear about in the news)of public school teachers do a great job and I commend and respect them. Do I see things I'd like to change? do to if you'd be honest regardless of your lean toward in educational matters. That being said, I also see things here in our little homeschool on a daily basis that require change...curriculum, approach, routine, attitudes, diapers etc... No means of educating our kids is without it's mistakes and messiness, okay?

Do I think they ought to shut the doors on the public schools? NO! NO! NO!

Do I think everyone on the planet ought to homeschool? No. I've said it many times before , to be a successful and effective homeschooler, you have to feel a certain call to do it. Just as any public school teacher or private school teacher has to feel a call and have a passion for educating young minds to be truly effective. I had teachers during my school career that loved what they did, had a passion for the material and thus were the best teachers in my eyes. I also had some that just seemed to be...there, for whatever reason...I never learned much from them.

A good friend of mine and I were talking the other night about attitudes we've encountered. She told me of a time at the drink dispenser at McDonald's when a woman made the comment upon discovering that school had not been called off for the day but that the gaggle of kids were homeschoolers, that her daughter never could have been a successful doctor if she had been homeschooled. And she was right to a certain point, I'm sure. If she had tried to homeschool and not been successful, her daughter might have gone a different road. But her meaning was to say that she didn't think homeschoolers could be successful, well-rounded individuals. This is one of those arguments I both love and dread to hear. So, let me throw some names out there for you...

Leonardo DaVinci, Mozart, Stonewall Jackson, Douglas McArthur, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Wilbur and Orville Wright, 10 US presidents including Lincoln, Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Moody, John Newton, George Washington Carver, EINSTEIN, Booker T. Washington, Pierre Curie, Blaise Pascal, Winston Churchill, Patrick Henry, Ben Franklin, Supreme Court Judge John Marshall, Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, Ansel Adams, Clara Barton, Sandra Day O'Conner, Father of the US Navy John Paul Jones, Sally Ride (1st female astronaut), Florence Nightingale, Andrew Carnegie, and my personal favorite being a baptist and all...Colonel Sanders. Pretty sorry bunch, wouldn't you say? So the argument that homeschoolers are somehow inferior in intelligence to others doesn't really hold water with me. I mean EINSTEIN, for heaven's sake!!!!!!

But, skeptics and critics will be around every bend when you go off the mainstream path. Is it fair, no , not really. I will not apologize for my choice to homeschool, will not retract my praise for it when it's done right...I will not lay down and quit because other's make fun or make comments that are ignorant. If anything it will fuel my passion and pave in concrete my position, renew my resolve. The road of homeschooling is narrow and weedy, sometimes muddy and can be very lonely sometimes. But I always quote the last stanza of Robert Frost's Poem "The Road Not Taken" when I find myself getting discouraged:

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages since

Two roads diverged in a wood-and I

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference.

Have a blessed day!


  1. Love it! Very well put! :) I've had my share of interrogators question my children. Once I had the vet we took our dog to (note the past tense) ask my children math questions and then tell us that he was a truant officer...he did scare me a bit. Then he just made me mad. I love the poem you quoted too...One of my favorites! :)

  2. That's why I carry my homelife papers around with me...I'm scared to death secretly of being confronted...never had that problem before...but people can be so rude and hurtful out there. I had someone ask my 3 year old at the time to say the alphabet...she not only said the alphabet but the letter sounds to boot...I smiled with pride and, yes, a bit of me wanted to say "In Yo Face!" LOL

  3. Way to go Della! I think i will print copies of this and carry it around wiht me to hand out to the critics! just kidding but its a thought. And i agree with you, Homeschooling ain't for everybody but it is for some and the others should just keep their opinions to themselves! How rude, they was probably taught that in public
    Love ya girl B

  4. Very well put..and I agree completely! It never ceases to amaze what ppl do or say these days. Just because something is different!

  5. I can understand their confusion as to why a mother would want to spend every waking hour with her children, having to put up with the bad right alongside the good, when it would just be easier to "have a break". It doesn't make sense to me somedays LOL. But I love it when it's sticky and I love it when it's...not so sticky.