They say confession is good for the soul, so let’s just get on with it.
First, I am not a “homeschool mom” in the way in which you’re thinking. Rather, I am a mom (a new one at that) and I was homeschooled. The title still fits, so I went with it.
Second, now more than I have ever heard of before, so many people are considering homeschooling their children. It’s interesting to me because growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s almost NO ONE was homeschooled. I know it’ll surprise many of you (not really) but for a time, homeschooling essentially made you a social pariah and thus, for completely superficial reasons almost no one did it. But with time comes acceptance and with the growing interest in an alternative method of education and the dozens of similar questions I’ve been asked over the years, it got me to thinking that perhaps a little confession was in order. Thus, I’ve decided to bare my soul and give you a glimpse into the mind of a former homeschool kid and perhaps answer a question or two you’ve always wanted to ask.
Confession 1: No, I don’t plan to homeschool.
Don’t get me wrong, I am glad my parents homeschooled me, but that was my parent’s choice/calling, so the desire doesn’t automatically pass down to me like a generational blessing. Now, God may tell me otherwise, but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you i’m honestly hoping he doesn’t for no other reason that I just really don’t want too. Nothing personal.
Confession 2: No, I’m not stupid.
I’m about to get reaaaalllllyyyyy transparent. I made a 23 on my ACT. At the time, a 34 was the high score (23 = not stellar). Despite this number that by all standard testing accounts doomed me to a life of failure, I still graduated high school and college with an almost perfect GPA and made it into and graduated from law school. Does this mean I’m smart? No. It means I know how to study to pass a normal test and I suck at standardized testing. My ability to also make a certain grade taught me nothing of how to function it real life. So, for those of you mamas concerned with your ability to do this, please hear me when I say your children’s grades are but a small part of making them well rounded, educated individuals.
Confession 3: Moms are SUPER judgmental when it comes to education.
This is a big one. While homeschooling today may be totally normal and in some circles considered “posh,” as mentioned above in the mid-to-late 90’s and early 2000’s it was a notch above leprosy. I watched my mom get judged and ostracized a lot for her decision to educate us at home. I didn’t recognize it as a child, but now, as I watch homeschooling become a popularly accepted method of education, I see just how much she endured. My mom was the recipient of horrified, judgmental faces, big eyes and the most audacious of people actually made comments such as “aren’t you afraid they’ll be stupid?” Gee, way to support your mom friend. Also, thanks for being mindful of the 8 year old next to her who heard you. Aside from the fact my mom has her bachelor’s AND master’s degree, don’t ever say that to or about someone–friend or not.
Confession 4: No, my parents didn’t hate public school.
I think many people assume that if you homeschool, you’re anti public school. Incorrect. My family was the prime example of how such couldn’t be further from the truth. I was homeschooled, my brother was homeschooled and then went to private school before finally going to high school at our local public high school. My sister was homeschooled until 9th grade, went her freshman year to public school and returned home. My youngest two brothers started out in private school before my middle brother transferred to our public high school, and my other brother stayed in private school. Do what works for YOUR kid and don’t get so caught up in only one method.
Confession 5: I didn’t do school in my pajamas.
If I only had a dime for every time one of my friends asked me this; as if this would be the ULTIMATE school experience. No, I got up at 7:00am, got dressed, made my bed, did my chores and we started school at 8:30/9am. I’d’ve gotten nothing done in my pajamas all day.
Confession 6: I wasn’t deprived of social interaction.
One of the best complements I ever received in was when I was in college and someone learned I’d been homeschooled. Their response was classic: “please don’t take this the wrong way, but….you’re so….normal.” Honestly, until that moment it hadn’t dawned on me that many people might lump me in with the socially awkward crowd I always rolled my eyes at. Though I come from a big family and we’re all close, they were not the people with whom I socialized. I played community sports, attended church, babysat and went to movies with friends–public school friends—on the weekends.
I confess all of this to say 2 things: 1) Whether you’re considering public school, private school or home school, know the decision should be what’s best for YOU and your kids. Don’t let mom shame, mom guilt, social rejection or insecurity factor into your decision. You do you, Mama. 2) Please don’t hold my grammar mistakes above against me. My mom did her best, but I’ve never been good with commas.