Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 10 Homeschool Parent Pet Peeves

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I'm definitely the Homeschool Supporter. I'm the person who is very vocal and willing to shout my bias for homeschooling from the rooftops but there are a few things that, in my opinion, are tremendous growth areas. I've been a homeschooling parent for over twelve years now and I know many homeschooling families internationally so I have a unique perspective on the homeschool environment. If you are a homeschooling parent I welcome your comments below, including your additions to this list.
  1. Socialization
    That's right. I said it.
    If I never hear this question again it will be too soon. Not to say that I don't take the question seriously; I have written about socialization here on this blog about two dozen times. I shall summarize by saying that every single homeschooling parent that I know takes this issue seriously. We have found that socialization and socializing are different for homeschoolers. Not inferior, different. We are far more deliberate in our friendship-making because our children don't sit in a classroom with thirty or more students of the same age five days a week. We make every effort to locate and help nurture connection. Our efforts would surprise you.

    Also, I find it necessary to mention the fact that socialization is a very serious issue for public school kids. I wrote an entire blog post about it but I will spare you that. Go to Google and type in Bullying and Public School. Go ahead. I'll wait.
  2. Gifted or Spectrum
    It is often assumed that a homeschool child is either brilliant, on the autism spectrum, or both. We've gotten used to it, the general populace trying to figure out exactly how to characterize homeschoolers. I appreciate the efforts of the general citizenry trying to identify popular themes in the homeschooling community, however inaccurate that effort is.

    It is true that many homeschooled children are quite accomplished, many are on the autism spectrum, and many identify with both labels.
    However, most homeschool kids are your average kid.
    So, yes, they are brilliant.
  3. Go to School
    Any parent of a child in any school of any ilk can report problems with the school, the teacher, the curriculum, the school district, their child's behavior, bullying, etc and we listen and understand their struggles. Unless someone specifically asks, I never ask Is this a good time to consider homeschooling?.
    Any homeschool parent who complains about any issues they are having will invariably hear the question, Is this a good time to consider sending them to school? unless, that is, if the homeschooling parent is talking to another homeschooling parent. Then we just offer support.
  4. The Pop Quiz
    Every single one of us can report a time when we are in public or at a family gathering and someone decides to give our kids a little pop quiz.
    How much change should I give you? How do we factor integers? Where is Estonia? What does ignominious mean?

    We have been pop quizzed in restaurants, grocery stores, the homes of family members, the mall... Is this a homeschool thing? Do people quiz public schoolers?
  5. Homeschoolers are Religious: NO SCIENCE MATERIAL
    Do you know what? This is true. I don't know the percentages of homeschoolers who are Christian vs. secular vs. atheist, but from the amount of secular curriculum and materials out there I would assume the ratio is quite high. I know this because it is impossible, sad, frustrating, annoying and wrong that homeschool families cannot locate secular science materials. All secular materials are sorely underrepresented in materials available to the homeschool community.
  6. We are Targeted
    Because homeschooling has gained such momentum, publishers are finally putting out far more materials than ever in the past. And that's nice. But in reality we are being targeted with lower-cost, poorly-written materials as well as tons of materials published just to make a buck.
  7. Expensive Curriculum
    And speaking of curriculum, so many people feel pressured by their insecurities and good intentions. Unnecessarily expensive curriculum is offered to parents who feel overwhelmed by the flood of materials, who assume that cost equals quality, or who are bewildered by the recent deluge of materials now on the market.

    While there is great stuff out there, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what to use and what to spend, especially in the first few years of homeschooling.
  8. Secular Homeschoolers, Atheist Homeschoolers
    The vast majority of homeschool families are Christian families, Christian families who have also been overtly defamed by the Duggars and other families in the news who make homeschoolers look like a circus full of clowns or like a group of abusers.

    Secular homeschoolers are so in the minority in some places that families living in some parts of the south or in some highly rural areas cannot find like-minded friends. In fact, some secular families are openly smeared and ostracized. I know several families who are hiding the fact that they are atheists or secular homeschoolers simply because their Christian community will not handle that reality well.
  9. Homeschool Stereotypes
    It's normal, I know. It's easier to simplify things than to truly understand. But stereotypes are always wrong. So much of the criticism leveled at homeschoolers is so inaccurate, yet naysayers can be incredibly vocal. We are often called names like weird, odd, and forlorn. Living outside of the box is an honest expectation for families who choose this lifestyle.  Homeschooling parents learn to cheer lead whenever the need arises.
  10. Homeschool Pet Peeves
    The very exercise of mentioning pet peeves or criticism of homeschooling feels like a total betrayal of homeschooling in general. My sincere efforts toward honesty require that I mention that I am far more likely to defend than criticize homeschooling. And that's normal.

One of my favorite
hidden atheist homeschoolers.
Families that have chosen the lifestyle of homeschooling have many and varied reasons for making this decision. Personally I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my children. Also I am convinced that my children are better educated, better prepared for life, and much happier than I think I was after eighteen years in the public school system; of course that was way back in the day.
I think that they are better educated, better prepared for life, and much happier than some of the kids who are struggling to get schooled under the common core. Homeschool and public school kids are all unique and being schooled in their chosen way. Let's just support each other.

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