The Homeschool Mom is, to many, a strange, elusive being. I thought I would share with you today 10 things you should know about this fascinating creature. It should go without saying – but it probably doesn’t – that I don’t speak for all homeschooling moms. It just seemed more fun to me to write in the “we” voice. You know, as if I were speaking for me and my posse.
So, if you’re a homeschool mom and some of these don’t apply to you, that’s okay. I’m really not speaking for all of us. If you’re not a homeschool mom, don’t think these ten things apply to every homeschool mom because they don’t. And, you homeschool dads? Well, you’re even more elusive a being than us homeschool moms, so you’ll have to speak for yourselves, but some of these may apply to you, too.
Oh, one last very important thing – this is supposed to be fun and slightly amusing. If you take offense as you read these, you’re probably taking them too seriously.
1. We don’t have superhuman patience.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Homeschooling moms do not have super-human patience. This is a MYTH. Yes, in all caps, as if I am yelling at you from the other side of my computer screen. Not true. False. Stereotype.
As one homeschool mom commented on my Public School Parents’ Guide to Homeschooling Parents post, “You don’t have enough patience to homeschool? Neither do I!”
2. We don’t have a teaching degree.
Well, some of us do, but most of us don’t. I can’t tell you how many times a homeschooling mom with a teaching degree has told me that the degree was more of a hindrance than a help when it came to teaching her own children.
See, a teaching degree prepares a person for things like classroom management. It doesn’t really cover what to teach, as many assume. And with an unbelievably varied source of homeschooling materials from which to choose today, the what to teach isn’t an issue. The world really is our classroom – and what an amazing classroom it is.
3. It annoys us when you tell us everything that’s wrong with homeschooling.
I’m not usually so blunt, but there you go. When you corner us in the grocery store or the checkout lane at Wal-Mart or come to our blogs and tell us all the things that you think are wrong with homeschooling? That’s annoying.
I mean, it’s different if you’re someone with a vested interest in our lives, but if you’re a stranger we’d just as soon you keep your negative opinions about homeschooling to yourself. In case you wondered. That’s mostly because the opinion of a complete stranger probably isn’t going to change our minds.
4. Some of us are domestically-challenged.
I can cook and I can sew a button back on a piece of clothing. It might not look great, but it would be on there. My house doesn’t get cleaned as often as it should and if I tried to grow a garden it would soon be a patch of dead plants.
I know I’m not alone. We don’t all grind our own wheat, bake our own bread, and maintain small, self-sustaining farms…but a good many of us envy those who do.
5. We love learning alongside our kids.
We don’t know it all and the vast majority of us don’t claim to (some of us do claim to know it all, but I bet you’ve met some public or private school moms like that, too). That’s one of the great things about homeschooling – we can learn alongside our kids. Doing so allows us to expand our knowledge and shows our kids that learning never stops.
6. Algebra terrifies us.
Okay, I know there are those math nuts out there shouting at their computer screens right now. I don’t understand you. I’m speaking for the math-phobic camp now. Algebra terrifies us. Or maybe it’s chemistry. Or physics. Or trigonometry.
Those upper-level math and science courses can strike fear in the hearts of many a homeschooling mom, but there are lots of ways to homeschool high school and make sure our kids learn what they need to know even if it’s something that we struggled with in school.
And, then there’s always that “learning alongside the kids” thing. Sometimes we discover that some of those difficult subjects make a little more sense the second time around. Especially if there is a teacher’s manual involved.
7. Sometimes we lie awake at night worrying that we’re ruining our kids.
Sometimes fear and doubt strike. It’s usually late at night, when the house is quiet and we’re lying awake unable to sleep. Maybe those things you said to us on our blogs or in the checkout line at Wal-mart start buzzing in our heads.
Maybe it’s our own sense of inadequacy or the magnitude of the fact that our kids’ education rests squarely on our shoulders. Maybe it’s the thought that our kids might decide to blame everything that ever goes wrong in their lives on the fact that they were homeschooled.
Maybe it’s just indigestion. Whatever it is, there are those nights when we toss and turn, worrying that maybe all our doubts and fears will come true.
Most times, though, we wake up in the morning and realize that there will be inadequacies no matter how our kids are educated and that we really are doing okay. And sometimes, we realize that there may be areas of weakness that we need to shore up in our kids or areas in which we, the parents, need to be more intentional, and we take steps to make that happen.
And we remember the things for which we blame our parents and realize that some of that is just human nature and has little to do with educational choices.
8. We sometimes make mistakes.
We’re human. Sometimes we mess up. I mean, when I was in school, poor Pluto was still a planet and there were only four oceans. This kind of goes back to not knowing it all. There can be teachable moments in making mistakes.
Sometimes, we do things that are wrong out of ignorance. There has been a lot of talk lately about copyright laws. Did you know that having your kids write their answers in a notebook so you can reuse that consumable text is breaking copyright law? Yeah, I didn’t either until recently.
Before you make a copy or use something free that someone other than the original author has shared on the internet, find out what homeschool materials you can legally copy.
As long as we (and our kids) learn from our mistakes and move on, I can’t help but think those mistakes serve a purpose.
9. We really aren’t trying to ruin our kids.
Really. We didn’t decide to homeschool so we could ruin our kids. Homeschooling isn’t a decision that we made lightly. We really are doing what we feel is best for our kids – ours, not yours. We’re not judging you.
10. We wouldn’t trade our homeschooling lifestyle for anything.
With all its ups and downs; worries and fears; and people insisting that we’re ruining our kids, we really wouldn’t trade this homeschooling lifestyle for anything. We love being with our kids. We love learning alongside them. We love being there at that moment when they get a new concept for the first time. We love this crazy roller-coaster ride called homeschooling.
Oh, and one last thing you should know: That “I homeschool. What’s your superpower?” shirt? It’s supposed to be funny. I don’t think that the fact that I homeschool makes me super-anything. It does sometimes make me super-good at shows like “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.”
What about you, Homeschool Mom? What do people need to know about you?
Are you a new homeschool mom? Check out my eBook, Homeschooling 101. If you’re already homeschooling and would like to add more hands-on educational opportunities in your day, you might like Hands-On Learning.