Last week, I was hanging out with a fellow homeschool mom and we got to discussing misconceptions people have about homeschoolers. I want to share this with you because whether you homeschool or not, you most likely come into contact with a homeschooling family. It is quite possible that you, yourself, are guilty of some of these self-imposed ideas you place on homeschooling families. The following misconceptions can lead to frustrations as a homeschool mom: some of them make us feel like we can’t be real, while others just make us shake our heads.
misconceptions of homeschoolers #1
Because they are being taught differently, they aren’t really learning.
From a homeschool mom, can I please beg you not to quiz children who are homeschooled? I think I can safely say that for most of us, it drives us crazy. Would you meet someone for the first time, and upon finding out their children went to public school, start quizzing them? Probably not. So why do you do that with a homeschooler? Just because our children aren’t in a traditional school setting doesn’t mean they aren’t learning anything. You don’t need to make sure all homeschool families are “up to par” to your personal standards.
We know our responsibility as homeschool families. We know we need to teach our children their ABC’s and 123’s and their multiplication tables and the states and capitals. We know. Trust me. We really do. We often feel the weight of that responsibility in a greater way than our counterparts. We know we aren’t perfect. Which leads to number two.
misconceptions of homeschoolers #2
Because you receive personal attention, you don’t struggle in schoolwork.
This is one of the things I absolutely love about homeschooling: personalized education, one on one attention, knowing my child and how they learn. However, it doesn’t mean they don’t struggle. I have had a few struggling readers, and it has been very difficult to talk about with moms who don’t homeschool and talk about how little Johnny has been reading since he was 3. There is the fear of being judged; we fear someone making the assumption that we are unqualified because our child is struggling in one are or another.
I have often felt from others that pressure of because we homeschool my children shouldn’t struggle. It seems that it is completely acceptable and actually expected for children in the public education system to struggle, but it is frowned upon for a homeschool family.
Again, we feel the weight of the responsibility and want to give our children the best. I have shared my struggles with some and they will ask me, “Have you ever considered putting them in school?” Sure. Every homeschool mom has probably threatened her kids with “I’ll send you to school!!!!” What they don’t understand is that homeschooling is really a calling for us. I know because the Lord sustains me each day. It doesn’t always go as planned, but I wouldn’t change it, even amidst the struggling readers, or the ones who struggle with math. Is it hard? Without a doubt. But no one ever said it would be easy!
misconceptions of homeschoolers #3
Because you are home, you can watch my kids too!
This one gets me every time! I will often have people come up to me and ask if I watch kids out of my home…. because, well, you’re a stay at home mom. Even when I tell them we homeschool, they still look at me as though I should be pouncing on the opportunity to babysit. Now, I’ll be upfront and honest: I am not really the “babysitting” type. Those days are long gone for me since having my own children. I joke that you know I really like you when I will watch your kids for you! C’mon. Who’s with me? I know I’m not alone on that one!
Most of my days are spent breaking up fights between my own kids, while trying to get a Language Arts lesson in! If I do watch someone else’s kids– depending on the age of the child– it means my school day is shot. Some days I’m okay with that, and some days I just have to say no. It’s something I’ve had to learn over the years, saying no to people. I’m a people pleaser and when you have expectations placed on you, it’s hard to say no and disappoint. But unrealistic expectations often lead to disappointment. I’ve had to honor my own time with my children. I didn’t choose to stay home and homeschool to babysit.
I know that probably sounds harsh, so please hear my heart– I am more than happy to help when someone is in need. If you know me in real life, I will drop everything to help a friend. However, I’m learning to kindly say no to those things during the day that will take away from the calling of homeschooling my own children.
misconceptions of homeschoolers #4
“you must have the patience of Job!”
Can all the homeschool moms just have a moment of silence on this one?
If you have heard this one before, please let me know I am not alone! This one makes me laugh and shake my head! No, I don’t have the patience of Job actually. Patience has nothing to do with the reason I decided to homeschool my children. I pray for the patience of Job. You betcha! But I don’t have it. I just shared with you on Facebook yesterday what a hot mess I was…. and we weren’t even trying to do school!
Just because we homeschool, doesn’t mean we have it all together. We aren’t all Martha Stewart types whose houses are immaculate. We aren’t all Rachel Ray’s or Danielle Walker’s baking up a storm in our kitchen because “you must have the time.” Nope. Wrong. While we have more time with our children, that doesn’t necessarily equate more time to bake, cook, clean, or anything else. As a homeschooling family with 5 children, it means we are home just about every. single. day. Do you know what that means for us? It means LOTS of dishes. A living room scattered with doll house pieces and legos. School books, art projects, science projects (when we get to them! ha!), and everything else, all over the place. It means rearranging until things are just right to fit our needs. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my photos/Instastories from rearranging my living room a few weeks back!
We have the same amount of patience as the rest of you. We need the Holy Spirit too! 🙂
I hope this list helps you to understand homeschoolers and homeschooling moms a little bit better. I’m sure I could keep going with things that people believe about homeschoolers that just aren’t true. Extend us some grace, if you will. We know we aren’t perfect, and honestly, we don’t need your help by pointing it out to us. We know where our kids struggle and are lacking, we know where we struggle and lack. I don’t think I’m better/smarter/holier than you because I homeschool. Which is another misconception! We homeschool because we truly believe God has called our family to it. Will that change? I don’t know. Maybe. But for now, this is where we are.
P.S. If you need help planning your school year, I highly reccomend either “Plan Your Year” or “Organize My Homeschool.” I have used both and think they are great resources to help you plan your year!