Introduction by Nicholas Ducote, HA Community Coordinator; list is a group effort by numerous members of the HA community.
UPDATE, 01/05/2015: The title of this piece is, “10 Things Homeschoolers Wish Their Parents Knew While Homeschooling.” It is based on members of the HA community finding the “10 Things” in a homeschool parent’s article similar to statements they commonly heard growing up. The similarity proved too close for comfort. Thus these community members are expressing their reactions to those statements from their own experiences. This list represents the experiences of those contributors; it does not claim to be the universal homeschooling experience.
Two days ago, this post came across my Facebook feed titled “10 Things Homeschool Moms Wish You Knew.” The blog post is generally about defenses of their homeschooling methods, especially in regards to math education, socialization, grade-level, and comparisons with kids who attend public schools. Her second “Thing” disturbed me greatly because, like her son, I could plan a Bible study (about math!) at age 15, but I still struggle with basic high school math.
“2. Our kids are behind in school.
It’s true. My daughter can’t spell “were” to save her life. She’s 13, for goodness sakes. My son hasn’t opened his math book in…well, let’s just say, it’s been a while. They are behind in some subjects. But, let me let you in on a little secret…your kids are behind too. Now, before you start arguing with me that your child just made principal’s honor roll, let me ask you this: Can your 17 year old change the brakes on a car? No? What have you been teaching him? Can your 13 year old plan a Bible lesson and teach a whole room full of students? No? What has she been studying?? Mine can do that and more.”
While changing the brakes on your car will save you some money on occasion, missing out on a fundamental math education will substantially limit your capabilities as an adult. Not every child is gifted in math, but that doesn’t mean you give up or don’t keep at it.
So in the spirit of viral counter-lists, our survivor community has compiled their own:
10 Things Homeschoolers Wish Their Parents Knew While Homeschooling
1. Your choice to homeschool was never about us. It was about control, it was about you. It was about creating little robots that mimicked your beliefs and did what they were told so that you could show off how superior we were to the whole world. It wasn’t the best decision for us, sometimes it was a really bad decision. But that didn’t matter because your belief that homeschooling would save your kids and make them Super Christians matter more than our individual needs.
2. Some of us were behind in school and are now behind in life. This is not a good thing.
Don’t assume real-life experience and book-learnin’ are mutually exclusive…. and don’t assume that we got either one. Our parents phrased it as this tradeoff existed between “well, your kids are up to grade level, but MINE have life skills,” but often, it didn’t work that way at all. We didn’t get the education we should have had, but we also did’nt learn most of the things that would have helped us in the “real world” later on. Bills? Checkbooks? Banking? Insurance? Credit cards? Managing money, being self-supporting, holding down a job, driving, etc etc etc? Nah.
3. Fundamental schooling is more important than your religion. Forcing your beliefs down our throats at the cost of educational building blocks is immoral
4. Despite the lies you’re told, you don’t have to homeschool to be a Christian. Have a little faith in your own parenting abilities when your kids go to public school. When our parents got impatient because we couldn’t learn what they were teaching, they should’ve changed how they taught or sent us to school so we could actually learn. Not screamed or locked themselves in the bathroom.
5. Admit when you’re in over your head. It’s okay.
6. That’s legit. People should leave kids alone.
7. It would’ve been nice to know what our grades were. That way when we graduated and entered the real world, we would know whether we were good competition for our peers or woefully behind and unable to get scholarships and jobs.
8. You say we were socialized. Which actually meant that we were pretty good at talking to adults. But many of us have no idea how to relate to peers. Peers scare the crap out of us. Kids are good, we can talk to kids. But some of us still struggle to see ourselves as adults and peers of adults and struggle to relate and socialize with other adults our age. This is the product of most homeschooling socialization.
9. You worry? Did you ever stop to think those worries were legit? You say “if you can’t say anything nice about our choices, then please just don’t say anything at all.” But you also describe educational neglect and your children’s lack of basic skills. I was glad every time someone stood up to my parents – like when my grandparents fought for months for my parents to allow me to receive a newspaper subscription.
10. You said “We like being different. We are okay being different, and we hope you can appreciate us for our differences!” Do you think your kids feel the same way? Would they even tell you if they didn’t? Because my mom said the same things. But the fact was I hated being different. I hated being weird and the freak. I hated it all and was miserable because of it. So speak for yourself.