It’s Like a School in Your House, But Different

So, it’s not a family secret, but if you don’t mind leaning a little closer, I want to share something about myself that you may not know. You ready? Okay, here it is…….I….homeschool. Now, please don’t misunderstand, I am in no way ashamed of the fact that we are a homeschool family, but since I’ve started homeschooling I’ve learned that revealing that piece of information the first time I meet someone is not always the best idea. 

The most common response I get when I tell someone we homeschool is, “Oh.” Now that two-letter word may not seem like much, but let me tell you, I can get a lot of information from that little reaction. Sometimes “Oh” means, “I wonder if she’s ‘homeschool weird.'” You know what “homeschool weird” is, right? No? Oh, come on.  Surely some of you have heard “homeschool” and immediately thought of something like this:

Truthfully, that’s what I used to think, too. Over the years I’ve known several homeschool families and a few actually may have fit into that category. Most, however, are more like my family. When I meet another homeschooling mom, I always like to test the waters to see just where on the homeschool spectrum she fits.  

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to get to know Tiffani from Bears and Belles through blogging and emails and the like.  She homeschools and in the course of one our first email volleys we had the following exchange. My email is in pink (because it’s my blog and I get to pick the colors) and her reply is in green. 

I saw in your About Me section on your blog that you homeschool. Me, too! This is my first year. I’m always curious to hear people’s homeschool stories. I think I have a wide assortment of “personalities” amongst my homeschooling friends. I’m just wondering if you’d go into the “Kind of Out There” or the “Perfectly Normal” group. Yeah, I’m just kidding again.

 Well, I wear long denim and no make-up…I have a freezer full of organic products and a garden growing in the back.  And a cow for the slaughter lives in the backyard as we only eat from our own resources.  We are up by 7 fully clothed and reciting prayers…My children fluently speak 2 languages and are almost completely self-taught…

ARE YOU VOMITING YET????????????????????

JUST KIDDING!!!  Girl, I am about as “normal and flexible” as they come…Handy Manny qualifies us for Spanish and multiculturalism and we do the Cha Cha slide for PE….I do absolutely love homeschooling and this is my fourth year….

At this moment, I knew that my next question to Tiffani would HAVE to be, “Will you please accept this rose? Heriloom variety and organically grown, of course.”

Of course “Oh” sometimes means, “She thinks she’s a better mom and Christian than I am because she homeschools and I don’t.” I can promise you, I’m certainly not judging you because you don’t homeschool. Some days I may actually envy you. Besides, unless you are physically or verbally abusing your kid in the checkout line in front of me at Target, I am not judging you as a mom. Oh, I used to judge moms all the time….before I actually had kids. Now I prefer not to shoot my fellow sister soldiers who are doing warfare in the trenches with me. Being a mom is the greatest joy of my life and it is the most difficult thing I have ever endeavored to do. And I don’t think homeschooling my kids necessarily gives me any Mom Bonus Points. 

Especially on days like today when I hope I’m not failing at this homeschool thing. Today was rough. Some days I feel good about what we’ve accomplished. I find creative ways to teach difficult concepts and I actually make learning fun. Some days we finish everything I had set out to do that day and the kids still want to do more. And then there are days like today. It wasn’t our worst homeschool day but it certainly wasn’t our best. On our worst days, we all end up crying. I don’t think any of us cried today, but we didn’t get everything done and there was nothing innovative or creative about what we did do. Basically we all went through the motions….just barely.

I know that for this season I am supposed to homeschool my kids. My husband and I both arrived at this decision at almost exactly the same time. We knew that this was what we needed to do as a family, especially this year, and I haven’t doubted that decision. Will I homeschool next year? I don’t have the answer to that yet. If for some reason we don’t homeschool next year, I know that I will miss it. I’ve loved that I’ve had more of the hours of their day than anyone else. I’ve loved knowing what they’re learning and watching their brains stretch and grow and develop. I’ve loved having a say in what information they are cementing in their  lives. Despite the days like today, this has been a worthwhile experience.  I just want to be sensitive to what God is leading us to do next year and to be obedient to what I believe He tells us to do. 

I’d love to keep talking about this, but that cow won’t feed herself. And I need to grind the wheat to bake the bread. And finish weaving the fabric for our Easter outfits. 😉

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “It’s Like a School in Your House, But Different

  1. I always have told God that I would homeschool if He asked me to, but I’ll confess- each year when we pray about what to do with our children for the next school year I am terrified that He’ll take us up on it.

    I’m really impressed by people who manage to do it well- sounds like you’ve found a great balance 🙂

    btw- I will totally be stealing this line: “Will you please accept this rose?”- hysterical!

  2. whimzie

    I can’t take credit for the rose line. I’m pretty sure I stole it from Tiffani! But she won’t mind if you re-steal it!

  3. First of all…this Tiffani girl is nothing shy of genius. I must meet her.

    Secondly, you wouldn’t be normal if your days weren’t a mixed blend of good/bad/ugly. Your reasons for loving what you’re doing mirror my own and we too, take it one year at a time.

    My favorite response to “we homeschool”? “Aren’t you worried about SOCIALIZATION??” Puh-leeze! It makes me get all riled up and ugly, I tell ya. Is it 1964? Maybe then you could ask me that question. I feel the need to give a thesis on the matter and say “are YOU worried about the social influence YOUR children are receiving??” But, that’s only if I am feeling particularly “spry” (and shuts people up quite nicely). Otherwise, I give my Jesus answer “of course not, it’s a great blessing.”

    May I just say I am so excited the Green Peep got the green words…rockin’…you are the meeter of my needs, sister.

    The biggest passion in my life is being a Mom and for right now I am relishing this season of having them with me every day (of course, they are days I want to throw them on whatever yellow bus that passes the house ;)–I know it’s coming all too quickly when they will be out my door and out on their own and I just pray that the decisions we’ve made as a family homeschool or not will prepare them for that.

    Kudos on a great post, dear! I love my rose!!

  4. Well, well, well . . . allow me to introduce myself, a homeschooling Mom now of 8 years. I loved this post! Lots of people are really surprised when they find out I homeschool. Pretty much most of the time when I am outside the 4 walls of my house I am all dolled up complete with high heels, accessories, and the like. . . I am also a people lover and extremely social. So people are normally very surprised when they ask, “Where do your kids go to school.” and I have the honor of saying, “I homeschool.” In fact, I just started going as a sub to a new Bunco group and 2 different people there one night asked me if I was a teacher. I said yes. They asked me what grades. I replied, “6th, 2nd, and Pre-K. I homeschool.” And, I got the, “Ooohhh” response. I guess people think homeschoolers aren’t normal folks.

    Tiff’s advice is great advice. You are going to have the good/bad/ugly days . . .that’s just life no matter where the kiddos go to school. Just enjoy them . . . every single solitary minute. On days when all is not finished . . . don’t sweat it.

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what you said about just b/c you homeschool doesn’t mean you get more Mom points. Thank you so much for saying that. I know many a Mom who think that they are better mothers b/c they homeschool rather than sending their kids to public schools. I also know moms who turn up their noses at public school kids and it drives me NUTS!! They are what I refer to as homeschool snobs. I know lots of good, Godly families who send their children to public and/or private school. They are just as good, if not better, parents than my husband and I. I really appreciated you saying this.

    I enjoyed your post very much . . . can’t you tell by my “novel” of a comment?

  5. carpoolqueen

    Can I send my kids to your homeschool?

    I send mine to public school right now for a lot of reasons but I’m open to having to do it myself if I need to.

    Did I just type those words outloud?

    And why did the little homeschool girl have to be knitting?

  6. So, you’ve met my wordy BFF Michele?!

    I had to say that I meant to comment on the “Mom Bonus Points” bit too…very true. I was so self-consumed by my “fame” here today, I forgot.

  7. gretchen

    Oh.

    I homeschooled David last year. I never wanted to. But…there are so few middle school situations which would’ve met his needs. He and I did okay. I’m basically home schooling him this year because his private school is wonderful, but his 1:1 classes only take up a fraction of his week. That leaves the rest of his time @ home. And much as it would be easier for me to ignore him and let him play Civilization IV on tv computer all day, I can’t roll like that.

    So I’m what you call a reluctant homeschooler. I’m doing what I can to do the right thing for my child. This year, that has meant getting other adults to teach him the “school” stuff, while supplement with the “fun” stuff. I found I
    was pushing too hard, and we were often at odds. We are so close that I’d rather preserve
    my relationship as “mom” than as (primarily his) teacher.

    I so heartily know what you mean by the “oh”.
    Beautifully written.

  8. Oh my word…..love that video. I’m sure I’ll have to borrow that for my readers someday. So nice to meet you too and can’t wait to snoop around your blog!

  9. Love your post! I didn’t know that you were homeschooling! Yea!

    We are starting our first year next year, and so I love finding other people that I actually know “in real life” that homeschool! We are sooo not “that” kind of family either!

    I have been doing tons of research, and talking with other homeschool moms that I know, but until I get thrown into the water in the fall, I will not be able to speak with any experience.

    I’m both sooo excited, and soooo scared!

    Any and all advice is STRONGLY welcomed and encouraged! 🙂

  10. Laura Beth (Sus's roommate her Jr year, my Sr year at OBU)

    Check out my friend’s blog and add it to your list, she’s great http://www.thinkingoutloud-byamom.blogspot.com/

  11. I’m one who would love homeschooling (I think) but have never felt like we got the greenlight from God to go with. The reasons are complicated and I can tell you more about that later.

    Looks like you got some great advice/encouragment from friends in your same boat.

    The thing that irritates me the most about two of my homeschool friends is the superior attitude. I love my kids, I love the Lord, but sending my kids to public school does not make me a loser mom. I could live without the condescension. (sp?)

    Oh, and that video is hysterical. I’ve seen it before (I know all the words) and my favorite part is “we build our own computers, we never go to Hooters…” OMG…SO FUNNY.

  12. I’m a homeschool wanna-be. We don’t do it, and I’m not sure we ever will, but I love the flexibility it provides and all the time spent together instead of in a stuffy school building. I haven’t always been interested in it. My first college roommate was pretty wacky, and she was homeschooled her entire life. NOT a good first impression of homeschoolers for me. But now that I’ve met some “normal” ones (he he), I have a new perspective. All that to say, I secretly wish God would call me to homeschool, but for now it isn’t happening. You just make it sound so fun!

  13. Wow, girl. You got quite a response today, huh?!

    I had to come back and see what “others” were saying…

  14. We homeschooled. And I love it. But it just isn’t right for us right now. I don’t even know what that means, but I’m just trusting God to tell me when it will be right again. I pray every day for Him to give me the opportunity again.

    I have some horror stories, though. Like when I was convinced my middle son had a learning disability. Uh…he is just stubborn and thinks his mom is stupid, and he chose to act stupid to prove it. Still wondering why he is still breathing.

    And the “Oh” you spoke of. Know it well.

  15. I found you through Tiffani’s blog…..LOVED this post! We are a homeschooling family as well. I laughed out loud reading the email conversation between you and Tiff. I often have a hard time putting into words my thoughts on homeschooling etc….and I often dread that moment when first meeting someone and they find out we are homeschoolers.
    Just recently at a party I was having a nice conversation with someone, she found out we homeschooled and literally her eyes bugged out and she ran away. Again, thanks for sharing this post!

  16. You really should see what it is like when we tell people we homeschool and Tim is a pastor. We can really clear a room.

    For a fun read try and find “A Bitter Homeschooler’s Wish List”.

  17. Pingback: Snoodlings

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