8 Things Every Homeschooler Hears at Least Once

Ah, homeschool myths. Are there any home educating families who are immune to their consequences? I’m going to say no.

As we start our 11th year of homeschooling tomorrow (yikes!), I thought I would commemorate this occasion by dedicating a post to some questions I think every single homeschooled child has heard at some point in their lives.

While the topics of these questions run the gamut from academics to extracurricular activities, they all have one thing in common: they’ve been perpetuated by some insanely false notions about what education and real life actually look like.

Here is my attempt to  briefly explain why these inquiries are completely off the mark, and why people need to stop asking them.

Continue reading “8 Things Every Homeschooler Hears at Least Once”

Homeschooling IS Learning in the Real World

Of all the frustrating accusations about homeschooling- and there are many- the one that really gets me is this:

Homeschooled kids are sheltered from the real world. They need to go to school to learn what life is all about.

Ummm…what?! How is it that kids who are living and learning in the community every day are being encouraged to instead spend seven hours a day in a building designed to simulate the real world?

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(Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I realize that we as a society are so ingrained with the idea of what school is supposed to look like that it can be difficult, if not downright impossible, for some of us to recognize that there is another way, but let’s think about this rationally.

While children in school are busy completing reproducible worksheets about counting coins, reading about the community in their textbooks, and watching  power points on the life cycle of a frog, homeschoolers are counting- and using- real money to make real purchases. They are accompanying their parents to the grocery store, the bank, and the voting booth. They are wading ankle-deep into a stream searching for foamy clutches of frog eggs, squealing in delight at the discovery of hundreds of tiny tadpoles darting about.

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(Image courtesy of radnatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

They are learning in the real world, not an imitation of it.

And isn’t that what school really is? It is a building designed for the purpose of teaching children what the world looks like through textbooks, worksheets, and the occasional documentary, but school policy very rarely goes so far as to actually let the students venture out into the world that the education department feels is so important.

At this point, some people may chime in and say:

But what about socialization? Kids need to be around other kids if they’re going to know how to act in the real world.

I understand the concern in this claim, but again, let’s think critically. Are there only children in the real world? When a child grows up and gets a job, will they only be working with other people around the same age and living in the same neighborhood? Taking these factors into account, I think it would be safe to say that homeschooled kids- all kids- need to be around other people in order to know how to act in the real world. And that is precisely what homeschoolers are doing.

They are visiting their lonely, elderly neighbors and listening to them reminisce about days gone by. They are baking cookies for the local firemen, police officers, and librarians to say, “Thank you for what you do.” They’re having friendly conversations with cashiers who now know them by name. And, yes.They are playing with the kids in the neighborhood everyday after school lets out.

Suffice it to say that the notion of kids needing to be in school in order to learn about life should be one of the most easily debunked and, in fact, should possibly be looked at the other way around. Maybe it is the kids in school who need the opportunity to experience life in its truest form- a life lived through experiences, not worktexts.

 

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So What If We’re Socially Awkward?

(Originally posted in 2014)

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     But what about socialization?? Ah…the overused homeschool stereotype. The socially awkward child. You know the type. Those unsocialized homeschooled kids…drooling, shoes untied, shirt buttoned wrong, fly open…yeah, those kids. What? You’ve never met a homeschooler like that? Well, neither have I.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole ”socially awkward” homeschoolers thing. And you know what?? Judging by what I see where we live, we are socially awkward. Thank God.
     My children and I frequently go for walks…when there’s not twelve feet of snow on the ground. (Okay…I’m exaggerating. Ten feet.;-) ) Anyway, while we’re out, we usually pass by kids walking home from the middle school by our house. What an excellent way to reinforce our homeschooling decision! I honestly can’t believe the stuff I hear these kids saying. It upsets me…what kind of guidance do these kids have? And homeschooling critics think I should send my kids to school to get socialized?? No thank you.
So, as a retort to those who like to stick to stereotypes, I’ve come up with a new definition of ”socially awkward.”

Socially awkward– (adj..) not being inclined to conform to the norms of society; i.e.:

– having respect for parents and other authority figures

– refraining from using foul and demeaning language

– (usually) enjoying the company of siblings and other family members

– refraining from talking about drug use and promiscuity as if they were suitable goals to attain

– finding value and even enjoyment in menial tasks, such as cooking, sewing, and baking

That is my definition. I’m not saying that all of the public school kids that we encounter are like this. My children do have a few friends who are genuinely great kids. Unfortunately, in our city, moral values have been steadily declining for years. And we’ve got to remember- it all starts in the home.
I once was walking home with my daughter from a doctor appointment. There was a woman walking across the street with two young girls- one about middle school age, the other a bit younger. The woman was on the phone; then she abruptly hung up. She immediately turned to the girls and started screaming at them using all sorts of profanities. By this point, we had crossed the street and were walking behind them. Her outburst lasted several minutes until we turned and went down another street. I remember my daughter looking at me, eyes as wide as saucers. She was shocked.
A few weeks later, at Walmart, another woman had a similar outburst but to an even younger boy. Is this becoming the norm?
     I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been happier to be socially awkward. And maybe I’ll start taking some of these kids under my wing and teach them how to be socially awkward, too.

What about you? Is your family socially awkward?
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