Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bitter Homeschooler

This came to me in an e-mail. I think it's kind of funny, and while there's a lot of truth, I've never felt bitter about the questions. Intriguingly, most normal folk are mildly interested by the concept. Teachers on the other hand split between very supportive and rather indignant. (Without fail, the indignant ones are hard-core union-lovin' Leftists.)

  1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is (and it is) it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?
  2. Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.
  3. Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.
  4. Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.
  5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.
  6. Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling.You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.
  7. We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.
  8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.
  9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.
  10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.
  11. Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my
    children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.
  12. If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, lease understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.
  13. Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.
  14. Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day,just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education (and many of us prefer a more organic approach) we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.
  15. Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get
    to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.
  16. Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.
  17. Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.
  18. If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't,thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.
  19. Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.
  20. Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be
    as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.
  21. Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.
  22. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.
  23. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.
  24. Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.
  25. Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!
I found the source of this. It's by Deborah Markus, and was originally published here.


  1. Ha! You posted this to Twitter at the same time that I was reading it on another site. I had the same reaction you did.

  2. I found this in the process of deciding homeschool my son. Eureka!

    I printed it out and posted it, and to this day I read it at tougher times.

    It's a beaut, all right.

  3. I agree with both of you about the not-bitter part (with only a couple of exceptions). But in my case, I think it's because I was "forearmed" by having heard from homeschoolers prior to my own foray (including interviews conducted as part of my job something like 20 years ago, when homeschooling, among other ed issues, were hot topics in PA).

    I really do feel a sense of gratitude to so many who paved the way.

  4. I really do feel a sense of gratitude to so many who paved the way.


    We decided to homeschool before we had kids. I don't know that we would have known it was even a possibility thirty years ago.

  5. What I want to know is, if you are homeschooling, how can you kid get to pretend to be sick so he can stay home from school.

    It seems like a gyp to me.

  6. Troop:

    That just goes to show how little you know you about homeschooling (at least chez "XX"**).


    **Our son decided to offically name our homeschool during the time leading up to our actually deciding to do that. The "XX" is a placeholder for that name, which we share exceedingly sparingly. It's ours.

  7. I never had to pretend.

    My mom encouraged me to stay home if she thought I needed more sleep.

  8. Reader I cheerfully admit that I know nothing at all about homeschooling.

    So do you have to dress up like a nun and rap your son's nuckles with a ruler when he whispers in class?

    I mean I know Blake loves to dress up like a nun. Just sayn'

  9. If you wear it every day, Troop, it's not dressing up.

  10. I know dude, but the Sister Bertrile outfit is just not working. No matter how stiff the Santa Anita wind is you won't take off.

    Go with the Ingrid Bergman look from The Bells of St Mary's.

  11. By the way, we had lunch in Santa Ainta and there was no winds. What's up with that?

  12. But if I wear the Sister Bertille outfit, I get to say, "You like me! You really like me!"

    And, dude, the Santa Anas don't blow all the time. Just when the Angels are in town.

  13. Oh right it's the Santa Ana not the Santa Anita's.

    Why is so much stuff in Cali named after a one legged Mexican general?

    You know Pollo Locco was his nickname right?


Grab an umbrella. Unleash hell. Your mileage may vary. Results not typical. If swelling continues past four hours, consult a physician.