Sunday, January 11, 2009
The homeschool conversation
"Is she in kindergarten?" is the small talk question of the day.
"No..we homeschool" I say bright and cheerful as if I am just telling them that she goes to school in another town.
Invariably I get;
"Oh I could never do that"
"you must be so patient"
"How do you know what to teach?"
I know some homeschoolers get sick of these questions. For now, and maybe b/c my kids are younger the questions don't bother me. I often find people are genuinely interested and I try to present it as just another choice. As though it were no different then then asking if she went to the local PS and I replied that, "no she goes to whatever private school"
I try to answer without saying how terrible I think the school system has become.
I explain that our initial decision was not based solely on the ineffectiveness of schools but, rather, on my daughter's high anxiety, in large groups. My fear of her getting labeled. All that is true.
I reassure parents who say, "I could never do that" That, in fact, yes they could. I do this not to mean, "Hey do what we're doing" but rather to say, "hey I'm no different than you"
The view of homeschooling is that we parents are either quite religious (nope) or that we are uber organized (uh double nope) and that we have the patience of 3 saints and Mother Theresa (definitely a big ol nope!)
This notion is because people view homeschooling as "school at home" they think what the schools we do. Except the kids have no friends.
That is just not true. Even parents who follow curriculum and teach what the school teaches are not doing school at home.
I can not imagine how anyone can recreate the institution that is school in their home.
For us we are unschoolers but becoming more eclectic. However I would never give this answer to some friendly sand box mom just trying to make conversation. When I am asked "So what do you do; how does that work?"
I try not to get all caught up in trying to represent every homeschooler b/c I could go on and on.
I try to keep it simple.
"Well we mostly follow their leads and incorporate lessons in real life situations"
The surprising thing for me, though, is the reaction of, "I agree with you."
The moms go on about troubles in school, no toys in Kindergarten, too many tests, too much homework, no time to be a kid. All things I leave out for my reasons to homeschool b/c I feel like they might feel the need to defend school.
They never do.
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