10 Things You Should Know About Homeschool Moms

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.

Everything you need to know about that elusive creature - the homeschool mom.

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?

This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday and iHN’s Ten in Ten.

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.

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Comments

    • allen todd says

      MY OWN PERSONAL ONE YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED IS (THAT YOU ARE THE “PARENT FIRST”AND YOUR CHILDREN ARE SAFE.) THE TEACHING WILL COME NATURALY TO THEM.THEY WIL THANK YOU LATER FOR IT.

    • says

      I too have a teaching degree. It’s harder to homeschool with that degree because I was ingrained to meet the “standards” making me less willing to “do our own thing.” I was a highschool math teacher. So the Algebra thing does not apply. I’m relieved when I get there. The rest…..definitely applies. Good job.

      • says

        My teaching degree didn’t help me at all, either, in the homeschooling journey. It actually was a hindrance! The only thing my teaching degree helped me with was to give me confidence. I figured that if I could teach 30 students whom I didn’t know very well, and walked into my classroom each day with a huge amount of emotional baggage, I could probably teach/guide my own two children whom I knew very well and knew how to work with their emotions and behaviors. So, yes – it helped me to be confident. That was it, though. :)

      • says

        Like you I have one as well. I am also half way into my masters in Educational Leadership. I saw the trend and thought.. not my children. The hardest part of homeschooling was believing I could do this. The profession in general has an underlying belief that home school families are nuts. It took a year of crying and praying for me to realize it was something the profession ingrained in my head… I had to change my heart first! Have fun with it.. I do! I would not change this for the world!

        • Kris Bales says

          Such an interesting perspective you bring based on your field of study. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      • Mothering4Him says

        I think my teaching degree gave me TOO much confidence. It wasn’t long before I realized that good homeschooling is nothing I can do myself…with or without a degree. It’s all about the Lord and giving my children back to Him over and over whenever I get the prideful idea that they are mine and I have things under control because I’ve chosen a great curriculum that year. However, my degree does look good to the school district I report to every year. Ha ha. So for that I’m grateful. It did take me a while to learn that even if they are brilliant children, but don’t have a heart for the Lord, what good is it?! But if I left learning gaps and they Love Jesus, He’ll see to it that those gaps are taken care of in whatever lies ahead in their lives.
        But for now, I’m like #7 and worry that I have only a few years left and I don’t want to mess up. And if I do, I have no one else to blame…their 1st grade teacher is the same as their 5th grade and 8th grade, etc. All ME! And #10 made me teary eyed. We wouldn’t trade it for anything! (Except maybe those few days a year that we stare out the window at that big yellow bus picking up the neighbors and wonder if they’d just take our kids around the block a couple times.) :) Thanks for sharing this!

  1. April says

    Thank you!!!! I’m thinking seriously about homeschooling when my munchkins get older. I am, however, scared that I won’t do a good enough job. This post came when I really needed it! Thank you for being so honest!

    • Colette says

      I just did my first year of homeschooling last year with my daughter for kindergarten. I definitely felt inadequate and frightened by the whole thing. I was constantly second-guessing myself and my lack of consistency and organization. But then I went to a Q&A session about homeschooling that a local mom set up. She invited seasoned homeschoolers, new ones and those considering it to discuss curriculums and any other questions and fears. It was sooooo helpful! When I introduced myself and gave my apologetic description of our unstructured inconsistent days of homeschooling I was floored by the reassurance they all gave that I was doing perfectly fine for kindergarten and that kindergarten was meant for playing and exploring. So banish worry (as much as possible) and surround yourself with a couple good homeschool mentors.

      • Kris Bales says

        A friend and I have talked about doing a Q&A for new homeschool moms. Your comment just convinced me that we need to quit talking and just do it.

    • Diane Porter says

      I love this post, and this response, in particular! My kids (homeschooled from birth) are both in college now, but several years ago, my son began griping about how he never learned carpentry or electrical skills. What? Crazy kid. My dad is an electrician and my uncle a carpenter. I never considered including house painting or plumbing either. Who knew that would be my failure?

      As an aside, it turns out that after my own schooling and going through it twice now with my kids, I’m pretty good in Algebra! :) I tutor homeschoolers (and their moms).

  2. says

    Number 5 is my favorite! The thing I say most frequently is, “I don’t know, let’s look it up!” I usually end learning just as much as they do or understanding a concept from a different angle. As someone that has always enjoyed learning, it is my favorite part of homeschooling.
    Shannon recently posted..June 24-28My Profile

    • says

      Best. I think one of the best things we are teaching our kids is that it’s OK that you can NOT know something… that there IS always and WILL always be MORE to learn.. and isn’t that AWESOME? Because I always thought my parents knew everything. Especially my Dad who instead of EVER saying “I don’t know, let’s find out” would just make random stuff up so he didn’t look like he didn’t know EVERYTHING. So I “learned” that I not only had to know it all, but that bar was raised pretty high. As a young adult if something came up that I didn’t know the answer to, instead of looking for the answer I would just try to cover up my ignorance. With my kids, they relish the NOT knowing of things because it always leads to a new adventure! They love the knowing and the learning. Which can only lead to amazing things later in life as well as while they are “in school”.

  3. says

    Love, love, love, #4. I am a decent house keeper and cook, but gardening, forget it! And grinding wheat, um no. I am a math geek so I’m not with you on that one, but that’s ok :) My hardest thing to teach in high school is literature. (which I’m farming out next year, so same advice, different subject.)
    Kristen recently posted..Compass ClassroomMy Profile

    • Lynn says

      I’m with you, Kristen. I’m a math/science geek, so bring it on. But I definitely farmed out the literature and composition once we hit middle school. However, after going through basic AND advanced grammar with my oldest son, AND then basic with my younger one, I FINALLY GOT IT!!! Woohoo… it only took until I hit 40 :-) Oh, and my oldest son always knew my answer to his questions about grammar… “I think I know the answer, but let me check the teacher’s manual and then I can explain it to you after I know the CORRECT answer.” **NOTE, I try not to share these comments with non-homeschoolers. They just give me that look that says, “Oh great… she homeschools her kids?”

  4. Christina Perry says

    Excellent! I teared up reading about how we all lie awake at night thinking that we are ruining our children. Those nights can be so scary, thinking, “what if everyone else is right?” the truth is, im going to mess up, im going to get some things wrong, and i may even make huge mistakes…but God’s grace and mercy are new every morning! Im real with my kids, i apologize, i tell them im not perfect and ask for forgiveness from them, and my Father…then we move on together…Him leading me as Im leading them. it’s good to know that im not the only terrified homeschooling mama out there! Lol

  5. Suzanne says

    #7 is my husband and I!! But have recently graduated our first- she had a 3.8 GPA, and graduated with her AA in a dual enrollment program at our local community college with honors, made lots of friends, participated in clubs,
    got her first job, and is so excited about her future. Feeling a little less terrified about the other 3 at home.

    • Erica says

      Hi Jennifer. My husband and I both work from home. It can be challenging, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. My husband had to jump in and help with the schooling – he is responsible for the math. Next month my DD is joining us in the business. She is in High School and will be helping us with my business 2 hours every afternoon. She intends to save the money she will be earning for travelling and university. :) A wonderful teaching opportunity!

  6. Lisa says

    As I was reading this post, my 10 year-old yells from the kitchen, “Mama! There’s a bunch of black stuff all over the bottom of this pan!”
    Yep, I burned the applesauce. So I guess you could say #4 definitely applies to me.

    Love your blog. It always helps me feel not quite so alone on this homeschooling journey.

    • Kris Bales says

      Hey, at least it sounds like you were trying to make applesauce. That stuff comes out of a jar at my house. I do by the “all natural” kind. That counts for something, right?

  7. Jamie Cavazos says

    Wow, I hadn’t thought about the situation with copyrights laws and the notebooks. Serious food for thought! Thanks!

  8. Jodi says

    I don’t even remember how or why I got to this site! But… I enjoyed the article! I homeschooled for a couple of years. I wish I could have done it longer! I now have a budding educational site! Oh… and you have a good sense of humor here! Life is too short for anything else! Kudos!

    • Kris Bales says

      Hey, if I can love your Lacy Dog enough to provide a standing offer of a loving, stable home should you ever be unable to care for her, you could at least try to like my cats. :)

  9. Laura Strong says

    I LOVE this!!! :) I can identify with all of them, especially number 2 (as I do have a teaching degree and it IS a hindrance at times), number 7, and of course, #10! Wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  10. Bonita says

    I can’t count how many times people have said, “Well, you at least are qualified to homeschool because you used to be a classroom teacher.”

    I love what you said about teaching degrees being all about classroom management (and, I’ll add, a lot of other useless stuff like multi-cultural studies, etc.). Nearly everything I learned about the subjects I was teaching I learned right along with the kids. My teaching degree has probably done more harm than good when it comes to homeschooling!

    • ads says

      Hearing you say “multicultural studies” was useless bothers me greatly. I’m a teacher and those multicultural classes were some of my most useful. I’ve taught internationally and in big cities and knowing how to handle a diverse class (and their parents/families who are likely very different than yours) is immensely important. I hope that though you don’t see the use in “multicultural studies” you are teaching your children about the all the diversity that exists in the world, their importance and how to be mindful and respectful of those different from yourself.

  11. says

    I really like this post, Kris — especially the part about ruining our kids. I worry about that sometimes — that I’m not giving them enough – but then I realize that I’m God equipped, and that is more than enough!

  12. says

    Love it Kris~They’re all great, but especially #3 & #9. It always cracks me up when people I barely know feel the need to tell me everything they think is wrong with my decision to homeschool. (well, maybe not always- Sometimes it leads me to shoot daggers out of my eyes with my glare, but anyway….) Thankfully, it doesn’t happen often.
    Pamela recently posted..The First Zesty Mom Travel Guide is Here!My Profile

  13. Jill says

    And then there’s “You must be so organized! I’m just not organized enough to homeschool.” Heard that one a lot back when we were homeschooling. (Now my daughter-in-law and son our homeschooling our grandkids. :)

  14. says

    Hey! This is my first time reading your blog. I found you because a friend shared your link on Facebook.

    Great post. I’d happy to be included in your theoretical “we”. The biggest “nod” from me goes to the part about worrying about “ruining” our kids. My oldest two are in Running Start (enrolled in college at 16 for college credit) and I still worry about the others. It never ends. :)

    But you are right, I wouldn’t trade my homeschooling lifestyle!
    Leslie recently posted..Monday Mitzvahs: Listening and MirroringMy Profile

  15. Shelli says

    Love this post! I’m a lot closer to Kristen on the math/lit. & housekeeping, but I would especially jump on #9. I cannot tell you how often I meet non-homeschooling moms who immediately start telling me why they don’t homeschool as soon as they find out I do. It sounds like they are assuming I’m judging them.

    I have a bias. I have to. I would not have stuck with the job for the past 16 years if I didn’t. It’s a huge commitment and a lot of work. You don’t do it without conviction that you are doing what is best for your children.

    If others ask why I homeschool my children or why they should consider it, I’m happy to share some thoughts with them, but I DO NOT LOOK AT THOSE WHO DO NOT HOMESCHOOL AND CONDEMN THEM FOR THEIR DECISION! I figure that is between the spouses, the children, and God. It’s none of my business and I don’t care to make it my business. While I have strong philosophical opinions, I do not make decisions about other families. That’s probably the biggest, “What I wish they knew about me.”

  16. Emily says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    You just said everything I’ve been feeling since we made the switch to homeschool last year! I am so thankful that I am not alone!

  17. Barbara says

    Love it!And guess where I saw this? My adult son,a med student formerly known as a homeschooler,linked it for me on facebook.Apparently he has heard me say most of this stuff before (but never so eloquently!) I even have the same t-shirt, but I honestly hesitate to wear it because I am sometimes afraid of being misunderstood. I feel the understanding here! Year 20 coming up, 5 more to go.I figure,I didn’t ruin the first kid, so the next 2 have a fighting chance. But it’s funny that that even though one is doing fine, I still have those nights you talked about. There’s still time for me to ruin my kids’ lives, I think. One time could be luck right? Silly thoughts like that. Thanks!I know I’m not alone!

  18. Jessica W. says

    I loved this article. I do not homeschool but have tremendous respect for those who do. I think we will see more and more families doing the same. Thanks for the article.

  19. says

    My favorite is the last line of #9……I never judge people who cose to send their kids to school so please stop judging me…..

  20. says

    Thanks for your blog! I have homeschooled all 4 of our children and can totally relate to what you wrote! I’m thrilled to say that our oldest daughter graduated with honors from college and is now a secondary English Ed. teacher at a Christian school. Her homeschooling background just pours into her teaching and it makes me smile. It also gives me resolve as we begin high school with our youngest! We would ALL do it all over again in a heartbeat!!! Thanks for the wonderful reminders, smiles, and encouragement!!!

  21. says

    About the copyright issue — you cannot copy the text to another piece of paper, but I can’t see any reason why you can’t write things on a piece of paper as long as you don’t copy the workbook content. You could also use a plastic sheet and/or laminate it. Laminating is way expensive though. I also have several workbooks that allow unlimited copying within the family — SOTW’s activity books, for example. We use maybe half the pages, so I copy them. If we used them all, buying new books would probably be cheaper. :D

    (I know a lot of about non-educational copyright law from being employed as a writer/web developer/etc for a number of years — it’s the actual act of *copying* that is not allowed. If you choose to do workbooks orally or whatever, that’s fair use. And yes, you can also sell them — that’s protected by First Sale Doctrine.)
    Katie recently posted..This Week’s Favorite ThingsMy Profile

    • Kris Bales says

      According to what I’ve read, it is breaking copyright law if you do things like have a student copy onto separate paper or use a page protector in order to be able to reuse consumable text because the workbook is designed for use by only one student.

      • Christy says

        After reading your post (which I really enjoyed!), I started digging around a bit on the copyright issue. My hubby is an intellectual property law attorney, and he was surprised at the idea that consumable workbooks cannot be used more than once if they aren’t written in.

        I found this article and thought it did a good job of summing it up. http://www.eclectichomeschool.org/articles/article.asp?articleid=388&deptid=23&resourceid=209

        Illegal? No. Unethical? Perhaps so. I’m not into copying pages for youngers to reuse, but as others have mentioned, the law says one cannot copy the work, not that one cannot read it again and write answers down on a separate piece of paper. I’m not, however, suggesting that someone do that. I know issues have come up with facebook groups existing to trade pages or files with one another, and I’m sure it’s an even bigger problem than that. So I applaud you for bringing up the issue. But I’m not sure the article you linked to is quite right.

        • Kris Bales says

          Thanks for the information. I think there is probably a lot of misunderstanding and confusion over what is and isn’t legal or ethical. The issues that have come to light with the Facebook groups sounds like it is pretty blatant misuse of copyrighted material. According to the article you linked, perhaps the best way to look at it is, sharing consumable texts (without copying pages) within your own family is unethical, but not illegal. To avoid writing in them for the sole purpose of reselling them is.

  22. Tara says

    Loved this, Kris. You’re so transparent and down to earth. I’ve followed your blog for probably about two years now and never commented, so I figure it’s about time I thank you for all the encouragement, ideas to chew on, and giggles you’ve given me. God bless you!

    • Kris Bales says

      Thank you, Tara. Your comment made me smile, so I’m glad you decided to leave your first comment. :)

  23. says

    Loved this! This was our first year homeschooling. We’ve made mistakes, but hopefully learned from them. I’m looking forward to the coming school year. We’re so glad we chose to homeschool.
    Niki recently posted..First Round of ChemoMy Profile

  24. says

    We will be homeschooling our daughter come this fall, as she enters the 6th grade. My husband and I both work full time (on staff at our church) and she’ll be with us, doing her schoolwork as we do our jobs. I have learned over the past few months that there are many other working moms who homeschool (so it CAN be done!) I actually had one family member tell me that “It isn’t good for a child to be at home (or in her case, at the church) all the time.” Really? I politely listen to the input of others, but at the end of the day, my husband and I have prayed and this is where we feel we need to go with our daughter’s education and upbringing. I have had a couple of moments of extreme panic, but I also have peace that we are doing the right thing.

  25. Misty West says

    My husband added this thought to #7….We homeschool because of #7:
    Because there is nobody else ON EARTH who IS going to lay awake at night worrying about how well our kids are being raised.
    Thank you!
    Blessings!

  26. Karen says

    LOVE this!!!! Especially no 6!!! I am SO right brained! No 7….made me cry. I am finding the High School years difficult because of having to keep tabs on credits and helping them decide what it is God wants for them to do with their talents and gifts. College? UGH!!! The stupid ACT is about to drive us all insane! What if ones student is gifted in English but not a good at Math and Science? A test CANNOT measure ALL areas of a students gifts and strengths! Thank you for the reminder that every family looks different and each is uniquely created by God.

    Karen:)

  27. says

    It doesn’t matter how they *want* you to use it. ;) They don’t get to decide it’s illegal. The First Sale Doctrine says you can resell it, burn it, use it, ignore it, etc.. You can laminate it or you plastic sheets with it… but you can’t copy it. It’s called “copyright” not “resellright” or “laminateright”. Seriously — this rumor might make workbook writers happy, but I cannot find any caselaw or anything to indicate that any court would find it illegal. The one thing I could think of is a math workbook — if you copy the problems out of the book and do them, and the problems really are the core of the book, that could very well be violation of copyright. I don’t have that issue — I print worksheets off of the Math-U-See website. :D
    katie recently posted..This Week’s Favorite ThingsMy Profile

  28. Surlymama says

    We actually do know how to socialize our kids. We don’t bar them from leaving the house or keep them from meeting others (only a very small, nonrepresentative segment of homeschooling families are xenophobes), in fact we drive them fricken’ everywhere, to so many group activities, with other homeschoolers as well as with established organizations where they meet “regular schooled” kids, like scouts, little league, music/dance/other lessons, events hosted by public schools, swim meets, chess tournaments, field trips, museums, etc., etc., and by and large homeschooled kids are better behaved, more polite, have more self confidence, and have a better rapport with folks older than them, authority figures, kids younger than them, and with peeps from all walks of life. So please, ask me again “how do I socialize them” and I will smugly tell you I do it like everyone else — I take them to the dog park.

    • says

      I love your response! My homeschooled kids are now grown, but that question about socialization used to drive me up. the. wall. I usually wanted to say, “I’m not trying to raise socialists,” but didn’t think that was probably polite. Several years ago, my daughter and I worked together in a call center. When people there would find out she had been homeschooled, the typical response was, “I can’t believe you were homeschooled!” (implying that she was too “normal” to have been educated at home) Ummm – okay?
      Lori Miller recently posted..Rediscover CTMH – You Make Me Happy Canvas (Surprised it’s not a card??)My Profile

  29. Bev says

    Love this. I don’t homeschool anymore but did for a few years and circumstances forced me to reenter my kids into public school. All 3 of my children have a different learning curve. My oldest gets things and hardly has to study to learn something, my youngest is smart but struggles with reading and my middle one who is entering 6th grade has an iep due to difficulty learning, retaining and getting almost all subjects. I was sick sending them back to school because of her, I thought if they base my teaching on her then they will question what I did. She still struggles but is doing better. My oldest is in advanced classes, I must’ve done something right. LOL. My one with an IEP has been told by a family member that she isn’t very smart because I homeschooled her. I was livid to say the least but I held my tongue and talked with her about her learning issues that being in a traditional class would not have made much difference. My house, yes its not the neatest and I like to garden sometimes but hate the weeding part. Somedays I barely get through even with them in school but I have stayed involved and am at school often and active with the PTA. I resolved that if my kids were to be in school then the teachers would know who I was and would see me often.

    Thank you for baring your heart and sharing with us. Bev

  30. Brenda Dawson says

    Your article is great! We homeschooled for five years and it was the best decision we made for our children at the time. It freaks the naysayers that we have the courage and strength to tackle the challenges. It is clear that our public education system has great failures and weaknesses. Why can’t people acknowledge that there are obvious advantages to parents being responsible for their childrens’ education? Children cannot succeed in ANY educational system without a great deal of supervision and advocating by the parents!
    The “super-power” quote is obviously funny, that is unless you’ve never homeschooled and take things too seriously!
    Thank you for your post!

  31. Chris Ann says

    Wish my experience was that homeschooling moms were not judging my decision to send my kids to a public school. The large homeschooling community I was a part of acted quite the contrary to the nonjudgmental moms you describe.

    • Kris Bales says

      I wish it had been, too. We’re all doing the best we can for our kids. The world would be a nicer place if parents would just understand that and respect each other, rather than condemning.

    • Kristi says

      I disagree with that statement too about homeschooling mom’s not judging non-homeschooling ones. Everyone is equally judgmental towards the other. LOL

    • Rita says

      Thank you for pointing this out. I have family members who homeschool and do a fine job. I, personally, would be lousy. I had a vacation outing nearly ruined when a tour ride of 12 discovered I was the only public school mom aboard. Thankfully the guide got started before the tongue-lashing became truly vicious (in front of my son, mind you). I’ve also been hit with the “you don’t nurse your child” and the “I’m a good mom and stay home with my kids” stick. I truly try to keep my opinions of others’ choices to myself. I’m also very glad of all the homeschool kids who are excellent students and doing well in college. So are a lot of public school kids. And my son is just as polite as any homeschooler, so don’t assume he’s a ruffian because he went to public school.

  32. Paula says

    Thank you so much! This is so exactly me. These should be printed on a little business card so we can just hand them out to those people who don’t get us. I adore your blog.

  33. Heatherly says

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain #2 to my non-homeschooling AND homeschooling friends! It was SUCH an adjustment, and I needed de-schooling much more than my son did.

  34. Keyana says

    Awesome and cute! This will be my first year homeschooling and I’m excited!!!! Thanks for the laughs and I would LOVE to know where you got the t-shirt!

  35. Lisa says

    I have to comment on #7.

    I’ve got a 20 year old who was public schooled all the way through. I have younger children (10 and under) who are homeschooling. Number 7 definitely applies to me. But, you know what? My oldest son is happy, pursuing his dream (acting), did very well at school – academically, athletically, and socially – and I *still* think “why did I do X this way?”, “what was I thinking?”, “will he ever forgive me?” and all the rest. I made mistakes when he was growing up. If I could do it all over again, i’d probably homeschool him…and make different mistakes. Either way, #7 would apply.

    • Kris Bales says

      I love your comment. It’s nice to hear from someone who’s experienced the fears and doubts from both sides of the coin. You’re right. I am sure I’m making mistakes and will (already do) wish I’d done some things differently, but a different set of circumstances would just be a different set of mistakes. (Just without people cornering me in check-out lines telling me I’m ruining my kids.)

      • Lisa says

        “(Just without people cornering me in check-out lines telling me I’m ruining my kids.)”

        LOL. Yeah – I know what you mean. In real life, I tend to get more friendly curiousity than hostility, but online is a whole other world!

        • Kris Bales says

          Exactly. I’ve never really had anyone corner me in a Wal-mart checkout line, but my blog? Oh, yeah.

  36. says

    I just want to comment on #3 that the reason it annoys us, is because it’s so rude! We don’t walk up to Public School people and get in their face about all the reasons why we think Public School is a terrible decision for our kids. Why do people think that it’s ok to tell us why they dis approve of homeschooling? Unless they WANT us to tell us all the reasons we think they are making a mistake for sending their kids to Public School in retaliation to their attacks? Really… people have no sense of respect any more. Here we are minding our own business, buying a sack of flour and a carton of milk and people who really know nothing about us start telling us why they think it’s wrong for us to bring our kids to the store in the middle of the day. People need to learn some manners. Maybe they should have been homeschooled! :)
    God bless you.
    -Laurene
    Laurene recently posted..We have a brand new store!My Profile

  37. clickaltdelete says

    I agree that people should not judge home school parents or their children. Too bad you can’t pass along some of the same respect you keep wringing your hands about not getting.
    Do not make generalizations as to what my secondary education degree entails. I majored in the areas I teach. So do most sixth through twelfth grade teachers.
    I spend most of the time on curriculum .. not discipline. Don’t act like you know about this .. not only did you just publish a complete fabrication .. you justified your fabrication with some kind of lame “this is why schools are bad because kids misbehave” … what a crock.
    I agree that classroom management is a skill .. but I also believe that many students would benefit from a little discipline at home.
    If you are still open and listening .. let me tell you about the students I get in secondary that come from homeschool backgrounds. Afraid, alone and isolated .. their inability to merge into teen life keeps them from learning. So those Algebra skills you are so frightened of .. the students afraid to speak due to homeschooling fears of others embedded in their psyche get an even poorer base since they’re encumbered with more than the usual teenage angst.
    You will never know I’m right .. since you won’t allow your kid around others .. it is doubtful that your child will ever get a true idea of what it’s like to function in mini-society before they go on to upper education … by the way, have you checked THOSE numbers lately? Not looking good there … not looking good.
    I am positive you are doing what you feel is right for your child. Kudos to you. Try to not play the whole “don’t put me down” card … WHILE you are putting others down, won’t you?

    • Kris Bales says

      Where did I ever say schools are bad? Where did I ever put you down? Where did I say anything about you not spending time on curriculum with your students?

      I completely respect teachers and the amazing job they are doing with their students. I’m sorry if you felt I was making generalizations. Those comments have come from the many, many public school teachers I’ve talked to (former and current) and were in no way intended to insult classroom teachers. I’m sure you do see homeschooled students who are just as you described – afraid, alone, and isolated. Unfortunately that does happen. There are also the ones who go on to do amazingly well. I’m so proud of my homeschooled niece who just graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree and will be attending med school in the fall.

      Best wishes to you as you go into the upcoming school year.

      • John says

        As a public school educator for 35 years, I thought your comments were honest and delightful. I think homeschooling (when done with care) is what public education would love to do! Small groups, individual help from involved teachers, hands on learning, classrooms without walls, etc. And some of them are able to do this. But it takes money and most states fund education on a “per pupil” basis so the budgets are tight!

        As for socialization, many of my public school students could use the peer pressure of associating with young people who have respect for older people, other students and themselves. The sad part is your students are not there to provide that example. Many don’t (or cannot due to money) take advantage of scouts, sports, clubs, church so they think many homeschool students are from another world.

        I think there is room for both. Our district has invested in online education that provides assistance to homeschool students in a way that draws them into the public school for part of their day and the public school gets some funding for this from the state. From what I have seen it is a good partnership and should be encouraged.

        • Kris Bales says

          Thank you for your thoughtful comment, John. I think you’re right – there is room for both. We don’t have to have an “us versus them” mentality. We can support and learn from one another. There are pros and cons to any form of education. Thank you for commenting!

    • says

      I would like to remind you of a comment she made at the very beginning of the article.

      “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.”

      Also I never saw her ever once point fingers at Public Schools or teachers in Public Schools. The nearest she came was when she said that for Homeschool Moms with a classroom teaching background frequently found their education to be a hindrance more than a help with homeschooling. Maybe this is because teaching your own children in your home looks nothing like teaching in a classroom?? Maybe it’s because Homeschooling requires different skills that are not taught to Education Majors in college? There could be a hundred reasons why this is true (and probably are) and identifying them all in this fun little post is beyond the scope of this article.

      Also, many of us have graduated homeschooled students who are doing fabulous out there in the real world. My oldest son is entering his third year of college, double majoring in Computer Science and Business, and he is on track to graduate a year early. He is doing just fine! And most homeschooled families I know are not isolating their children. If anything, we’re so busy that we reach a point where we have to step back and say, “No, we can’t do that thing or go that place. We have to get some school done at some point! Where is the home in homeschooling? I want to stay home today!”

      Every homeschooled family looks different. You can not look at the students from one family and say that we all look like that. We don’t. Some live on farms with all kinds of chores and real world experiences. Some live in apartments surrounded by the city, and only a goldfish for a pet. Some live in a small house with a small back yard with 5 cats, a dog, a chinchilla, a neglected fish tank, and 10 chickens. Some are enrolled in soccer, tennis, swimming, and dance. Others are engaged with drama and the SCA. There are so many ways to homeschool. And so many fun things for us to do. And overall, homeschooled students really are out-performing their peers. My middle son took his SAT in June. He just got his scores back recently. All homeschooled students now have to enter the same school code, and thus are compared to other homeschoolers in their scores, as well as compared against other students in their state and in the nation. In every subject, homeschooled students out performed both the state and the nation academically on the SAT. It can’t be all bad. :) We’ve got to be doing something right. Now does that mean EVERY Homeschooled student does better than all the other Public Schooled students? No, certainly not. Does EVERY Public Schooled student do poorly? Obviously not. But statistically speaking, homeschooled students have a better chance of performing well on the exams than their Public Schooled peers. Maybe it’s because of all that one-on-one attention they get at home that the schools logistically can not offer them? Maybe it’s because Mother really does know best? Maybe it’s because God knew what He was talking about when He commanded parents to be the teachers of their children? I don’t really think it’s that Homeschooled children are just smarter than everyone else, because I know a lot of families pull their kids out of school due to special needs, and they do indeed perform better in a Homeschool environment than they did in Public School. I think it’s because God created families to be together, and God’s way is the best way. When we do things His way, things work out a lot better.

      Maybe some of those Homeschooled kids that you see in your classrooms that have trouble adjusting came from families that maybe weren’t successful in doing things God’s way? Or maybe they were troubled kids to begin with and it has nothing to do with homeschooling and more to do with that particular child’s personality? I went to Public School my whole life, and I never did fit in! It isn’t always about the schooling choice, or even the teachers, sometimes it’s about the kids.

      God bless you.
      -Laurene
      Laurene recently posted..Visions Download is Half Off!My Profile

  38. Erin says

    Thanks for this! How about “We don’t want to hear about you’re sure WE do a good job homeschooling, but you have a neighbor/friend/cousin who is homeschooling and never teaches her kids anything. Especially if we know and are friends with that neighbor/friend/cousin, but even if we are not.”

    • Lisa says

      I love that one, Erin! I certainly knew kids who didn’t do as well in public school as my son did. I never felt the need to tell everyone how those parents should homeschool, as they obviously can’t adequately support a public school education. People always like to jump on the “alternative” choice.

  39. Sharlene says

    Thank you for this post! The timing – at least for me – was perfect! We are about to start our school year, and I am feeling a little under prepared…this post just served as my pep talk :D

    And, where do I get one of those t-shirts??? I love it!

  40. says

    You hit the nail on the head on all of these! It’s always nice to find out I’m not the only one out there worrying about these things. Yes, I could have sent my kids to public school, but why on earth would I want them to fail before getting help (actual school policy) with their dyslexia? That wasn’t good enough for us. We just couldn’t do that to them. I may not have all the answers to give them, but I’ll help them learn the answers with them. They are great kids, are very smart, and are socialized more than most realize. We get many compliments on them, but the best was when a teacher, who was helping with a summer swim league, said to us that it was nice to see a good family with great kids. He said he could tell we had a genuine interest and a great relationship with the children and that it was nice to see how much time we spend with them even outside of schooling hours.
    Ester recently posted..Fourth of July Fun and Confetti Poppers CraftMy Profile

    • Kris Bales says

      I can totally relate to the dyslexia. Two of my kids are dyslexic. That’s a shame that it’s the school policy to let them fail before getting help. That does wonders for their self-esteem.

  41. says

    I cried at the last one–so true all of it and I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything! I am petrified of science and math. I lack patience and envy self-sustaining farmers and my house is never as clean as I would like it…and I do lay awake worrying my kids will live in my basement when they are 40…but I would not trade these years with them for anything!!
    Theresa recently posted..Week of June 24 & July 1st and 2ndMy Profile

    • says

      Theresa, none of my kids (currently) live in my basement, although our eldest moved home twice, because of deployments so we could help with the children. Oh, and we moved in with our middle son between jobs once! :) Life is unpredictable and others will always blame homeschooling for any aberrations. Love the Brit’s attitude, “Stay calm and carry on.” :) (Or at our house, . . . don’t blink!) lol

  42. Mrs H says

    Love this! You really got at the heart of the matter.

    My purpose isn’t to give answers or cram tons of facts into my children’s brains. It’s to teach them to think and quest for the answers, to challenge “facts” and assumed knowledge, to really dig in and find out for themselves- both collectively and individually. It’s awesome to know my children on a teaching level and watch them blossom into really neat individuals.

  43. says

    It’s very rare I find a like-minded mom on this new journey. I have a feeling we’d be fun neighbors. You bring the T-Shirts, I’ll make the capes. (After I find out how on Pinteret of course.)

    • Kris Bales says

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You’re welcome to share an excerpt (2-3 sentences) and link back to the original post. Thanks for asking.

  44. Gina says

    I’m surprised people have told you their teaching degree was a hindrance to homeschooling, or that teachers don’t learn content in college. Classroom management is actually the area I was least prepared for as a classroom teacher; most of my college classes were focused on learning about children and about the skills and content I would teach them. Although I love your list and totally agree that a degree isn’t needed for homeschooling, I have found my training and experience as a teacher helpful. I think this is probably why the teacher above had her feelings hurt and got a little angry.

    • Kris Bales says

      It’s unusual that I hear what you’re saying, Gina. As a matter of fact, the last comment that I just approved was from a lady with a master’s degree in teaching who completely agreed with my statement. Maybe it’s just a matter of opinion or a difference in where a person gets his or her teaching degree or maybe even just a difference in teaching style in a person’s homeschool. Either way, it was anecdotal and not intended to be offensive. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  45. says

    I homeschooled my daughter to 9th grade. She spent one year in an Art School (while being homeschooled on the acedemics at home), and 10th grade in a public high school. That was enough for her…she started college at 15 1/2, and now has an Associate’s Degree, With Distinction, and the ripe old age of 17. HOMESCHOOLERS ROCK and allow our kids to learn at the pace they require as human beings…no human doings.

  46. genie says

    I am writing this while I hear my kids teaching themselves Japanese, by singing, in the room nearby.

    (The following is what I usually share with people who are curious when they learn that my kids are not in school.)

    My 14 yo twins have been (home)-unschooled for the past two years. I took them out of public school bc I felt they were not being treated respectfully enough. (I mean, that the standard way of treating kids in school, is not respectful enough to me… as in having to wait to go to the bathroom/get a drink of water, being punished for the group/or a few individuals in the group, not being allowed to stretch their legs, not being lectured to, or being discouraged to speak up for themselves…etc) They have been A+ honor roll students since K., and have come home with school paper’s margins covered with drawings bc they have so much time on their hands. I wrestled with the idea of homeschooling for a couple years before I did it… my mind going to “How the hell am I gonna be able to teach them all this stuff that I did not even remember/learn from when I went to school?” What gave me the courage was “How the hell did they learn enough to even get into school?” Oh, yeah… that was ME! We didn’t separate learning from living back then. There was no reason we should start that now, on our homeschooling journey. They lead the learning. Whatever is interesting to them at the moment, is where the learning is. I am not afraid to say “I don’t know” to my kids. Invariably one of us will say “Let’s look it up”. I think that it is more empowering to know how to find answers, than to memorize stuff. I am learning just as much as they are… especially because they are excitedly sharing with me what they have just discovered. The ability to give them my undivided attention, or stating that I can’t at the moment, but will be able to after ____, is probably the most helpful thing I have developed/instituted.

    I have definitely caught flack from people, and family members, for how we are living, and yet, some of those people are also saying “Your kids are so thoughtful, talented, poised, kind, expressive…’ etc. (Yes, Self… you are doing a great job.)

    What I understand from people’s concerns about homeschooling… is their fear. “What if___? ” “What about math?” “How will they ever get into college?” All inconsequential to me. When they are interested… they will devour it.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful perspectives, that allowed me to pour forth. : )

  47. Andra says

    This is great! We are on our 3rd year….. and I can so relate to all of this. Except the Algebra part… I kinda like Algebra….. fractions, not so much!!!

    Ironically, I shared this on my FB page and a “friend” (online acquaintance) totally pulled a #3!! I don’t even think she read the post…. just saw the word “homeschool” and went for it. UGH!

    • Kris Bales says

      “…pulled a #3.” Love it! I’m totally going to start saying that. Cornered in the grocery store? Oh, she just pulled a #3! :)

  48. says

    One more thing about homeschooling that may have been mentioned already is socialization. That was the argument against homeschooling that I always heard. To tell the truth, if we were any more socialized, we would never have gotten any actual school work done. And my kids could hold a conversation with friends and family of all ages because they were around people of all ages all the time.

    It was truly a blessing for me to be able to spend that time with my kids even though it was very difficult at times. I once went out of my house crying that I couldn’t handle it another day. That’s when I opened up my Bible and read Psalm 1 verses 1-3. I never questioned God’s will for my family again.

    “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
    Nor stand in the path of sinners,
    Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
    But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
    He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
    Which yields its fruit in its season
    And its leaf does not wither;
    And in whatever he does, he prospers.”

  49. says

    This was a wonderful, wonderful post! I wish I’d written it myself (and all ten things did apply to me). My children are 23 and 19 now, and those days are over, but they were the happiest days of my life! Oh, how I wish I could relive them all over again, yes, even the Algebra lessons and sleepless nights!

  50. Candace says

    Except for the math thing, every single one of these is true of me. lol. It feels like you really do speak for all of us :D

  51. says

    Love this! We have been cornered in stores because I dare to go in the daytime with the kids when all the other kids are in school. I think the worst was when I still had a shop (I have a business and recently went from storefront to a display at a local general store). This lady came and saw my son sitting there. She asked him why he wasn’t in school, and he replied that he and his sister was homeschooled. She then informed him that maybe it was time for him to go to real school to which he told her that THIS was real school.
    The whole thing about socialization drives me nuts. If I had a dime for every time I heard that line, I would be a very rich woman. My kids are in co-ops and extra-curriculars. We actually had to cut back this year because it was too much. My kids don’t lack for friends or socialization.
    This was a wonderful piece. I am so glad I stumbled upon it.
    lesa recently posted..Doing it rightMy Profile

  52. says

    I’ve noticed the odd scarcity of male respondents, so I will break the mold and tell you that I enjoyed your post.

    My wife and I have home schooled our eight kids, though Terrie has borne most of the load. Lord willing, if she finishes our youngest through to graduation, she will have made a 30 year career of it. Together, we head up a home school support group, but again, she bears most of that load too.

    Both of us have degrees in education. She in Elementary Ed; I in science. Both of us spent a few years in the classroom before we started our family. Now I am an engineer, and she is mom and grandma. (Grammy and Grumpy are what we go by.)

    We have a small farm with chickens and cows and honey bees, and Terrie grinds wheat and bakes all of our bread. All she ever wanted to be was a teacher and a mom. So she got her wish, and I got mine. She’s the finest person that I have ever known. I am blessed.

    Over the years we have encouraged a lot of new home school families. My favorite part is when we are listening to a young mom agonizing over whether or not she is qualified to teach her first grade child. I always smile, look her straight in the eye and ask, “What in the world could your 6-year old possibly need to learn that you have not thoroughly mastered by now?”

    When she was just starting our first in “kindergarten”, she was at wit’s end trying to make him sit still and keep his little pencil in the groove at the top of the little school desk that we bought. The best advice she ever received came from a well-experienced teacher who said, “Oh Honey, just read to him and enjoy him. No need to teach him how to line up and march to the bathroom. This is not a class room. This is Home. Let him learn to enjoy learning.”

    That was about 24 years ago. He is now a college graduate, owns his own business, and he gave us our first grand-child. All in all, not bad. Not bad at all.
    Dan recently posted..The Attic StairsMy Profile

    • Kris Bales says

      Just so you know, you almost brought me to tears with your comment. Thank you for beautifully written, encouraging words, Grumpy. :)

  53. lynn says

    I am a teacher in the public school sector & I have always been curious about home schooling. It does have a stigma in my world, but I would never propose to judge an parent for their choices on how to raise their children! I do not think that children home schooled are any worse off OR better off than the child that is in the public school. It is a matter of personal choice on how to raise your child! I enjoy working with my students, but realize that public schools is not the answer for all. I think teachers especially feel a sting when someone looks down their noses and proclaims their child is home schooled because we feel that our profession is being looked down upon and criticized. (And I did hear a hint of that in some of the above posts…if you want respect for what you are trying to do, please grant us the same.) I know that the public education system is public enemy #1 right now and we are being blamed for everything from a child not learning their ABCs to their inability to function in society. The assumption that teachers don’t care and are these evil people who teach for a paycheck is just as insulting as the assumptions that are made about parents that home school!
    That being said…this past year I had the pleasure of having a student in my algebra class that was home schooled. She came to school 2 periods a day for algebra and German. She was the most respectful, attentive and mature student I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She made my day every day!! She was a little quiet but she just didn’t participate in the shenanigans of the other students. I wish there were more students like her in my world! Other students could definitely learn from her example.
    So, kudos, home schoolers!! I applaud you for this brave undertaking of educating your child. I know you are doing the very best you can with your child. Just as we teachers are doing our very best with the students that we are given each year. There is room in this world for both.

    • Kris Bales says

      I agree, Lynn. There needs to be a mutual respect. I’ve said many times that while I probably do have something against the public school system (and I bet a great many teachers would agree with much of what I don’t like about the system), I have nothing against teachers, most of whom are doing an amazing job.

      My son did speech therapy through the public school system as a preschooler. There was a definite bad vibe between his therapist and I until one day she asked me why we homeschooled. When she realized that I honestly had nothing against teachers (including her) and that homeschooling was just the choice that I felt was best for my kids, the whole relationship changed. She had felt that I was judging her (and I felt the same). From that point forward, we were able to work together to help my son overcome his speech problems and we just enjoyed each others’ company. She even admitted that she’d considered homeschooling when her daughter was younger.

  54. Carrabie says

    Thank you for posting this I too lie awake at night, sometimes every night wondering if I am ruining my kids too. But with the grace of God I know that everyday is a new chance to tackle that guilt and overcome it with clarity and successful happy little learners!!

  55. Joyce says

    I just loved this. It’s like you’ve read my mind. Every single thing is what I have thought or felt especially staying up at night!! Reading this makes me feel that I’m actually not alone!! Thank the good Lord I’m not :)

  56. says

    You are doing an awesome job! I’m a public school teacher whose daughter in law home schools her 5 children and does a great job too! Her kids are smart, happy, and way more mannerly than sadly, so many students are at my school? They are also so much farther along in their education as well. If my kids were small again, I’m not sure I could do it, but would certainly consider it. Keep up the good work!

  57. Tina Rippy says

    This is awesome! You go girl! You covered it all! I read an article once where this lady commented on how homeschooling has changed from the ‘religious kooks in the long dresses’ started the homeschooling trend/lifestyle. Well, if it wasn’t for those ‘religious kooks’ fighting for our homeschooling rights, we wouldn’t be homeschooling! ;) lol People can call me what they want, I love homeschooling!

    • Kris Bales says

      Very true. No matter what you think of their lifestyle or their dress, we owe much to those early homeschool pioneers, many of whom were willing to go to jail for the right to educate their children at home.

  58. says

    Love this post! True and funny. I wrote my “Why I Homeschool” post last year and it felt really good after 9 years of homeschooling to be able to put my “why” in writing. I’m planning some upcoming posts about homeschooling and will definitely link to this post. Good stuff.

  59. Jenni says

    Thanks for the positives! I have been homeschooling for the 3 years and am preparing for the 4th… and honestly, I still need to pray about my reaction when people ask me the question “Aren’t you worried that they (meaning my kids) aren’t getting enough socialization?” or someone saying “Oh, I could NEVER do that!!!” I am so very thankful that the Holy Spirit has control of my tongue, mind and heart… Walking away with a smile on my face because of my love for Jesus Christ, my family and for others is much more rewarding than a smile on my face because I replied with a “smart” and “witty” answer. Thanks again for sharing and I will be praying for your next school year as you continue to bless others through encouragement!

  60. Paula says

    This was a great article, certainly speaks for me! Could you correct the grammar in Paragraph Two, the last sentence: please make it read “than WE homeschool moms…” – I love my fellow homeschool moms to put their very best homeschool foot forward! One thing I would share in addition to the above: My children are now 25, 22, 18, 16, and 13 – the three oldest have done AMAZINGLY well for themselves, the first having graduated from one of Forbes top 3 colleges in the U.S each of his 4 years there (the rankings switch a point or two every year), the second having graduated from one of the nation’s top business schools, and the third also attending one of the Forbes top colleges now. I, the homeschool mom am NOT a certified teacher, and I have committed every homeschool sin you list, and weakness enumerated, PLUS a few of my own! My kids know how to eat humble pie when you have to apologize, because I have role-modeled that for them, sometimes daily. People love and enjoy them for the most part, and they are moral, responsible, usually-loving human beings. I have NOT spoon fed them their lessons, preferring rather to have them read their lesson and figure out as much as possible on their own before my involvement – tow our mutual surprise, much is figured out independently, similar to what is required in college. This has taught me that a teacher giving a lecture on every single point of every subject is NOT necessary, or perhaps even desirable (in case anyone is experiencing the guilt of my-poor-non-classroom-schooled-kids.” To you or any of your readers, should you choose to post all or any part of this, I say, “This is a twenty year committment from the beginning of homeschooling until independence, so have faith! And keep doing what must be completed today! Throw in a little prayer, and you are all set!” I also have pursued a favorite personal goal of my own, fine art painting, so that my kids see me struggle, persevere, sometimes succeed famously, and sometimes fail miserably followed by picking myself up and beginning again. Whatever you are doing, homeschool parent, private school parent, or public school parent, know one thing: they will imitate you. Now go and give them something worthy to model after! God bless all! * Sorry about the run-on sentences – my kids and I are both working on improving in this area! ;o) *

    • Kris Bales says

      Thanks for commenting, Paula. It’s wonderful that your children have done so well. That is such an encouragement for others to hear.

      I do appreciate your concern for the reputation homeschooling moms everywhere, so let me explain why I won’t be correcting the grammar error you pointed out. Blogs differ from more formal writing in that they are most often written in the author’s speaking voice. This allows the author’s personality to come through to her readers. That means that grammar rules are very often bent, if not outright broken. We use an ellipsis to show a pause, though many insist it was never intended to be used that way. We use sentence fragments on a fairly regular basis.

      I grew up in the deep South. While it might be “we homeschooling moms” on a paper to turn in at school, it’s “us homeschooling moms” when I’m talking to my friends. I’m not willing to give up my speaking voice for a few who might use a grammar error to cement their idea that all homeschooling moms are uneducated and shouldn’t be teaching their children. The people who are looking for those kinds of excuses are always going to find them and they would be thinking them anyway.

      Have a great day!

  61. Amber says

    I am not sure how I ended up here but this article was very touching to me. I would probably add to this list that “not all of our homeschooling kids are straight A students.” I have two special needs learners that I pulled out of the Hawaii public school system about 3 years ago. We saw very early on that our children were being used more than educated. It has been an up hill battle to get them caught up to grade level work while learning how to teach according to their very different learning styles. They struggle, and Lord knows I struggle, but what we have gained as a family is well worth it.

  62. Sandy Hawes says

    Such a great article, loved all of it. My children are now young adults and my homeschool journey is about to come to and end. Can so relate to almost all of the points, 7 mad me cry. My husband always says at the end of a trying day, “I love you, I love that you love our children enough to spend every day with them. I know your heart and that you are the best mom and teacher our children have.”

  63. Tiffany says

    This was great for me to read today! Just about everything you wrote applies to me… even the button sewing (because that’s ALL I can sew). As for laying awake a night, worrying about “ruining” my girls? Yep…. in fact it happened just last night.

    Thanks for making me feel not quite so alone in this world. :)

  64. says

    How about this one:
    YES, my children get “socialization.” They are more normally socialized than their public school counterparts since they spend time with people of all ages just like adults do out in the real world.

    :-)
    Christine Hebert recently posted..Happy Mother’s DayMy Profile

  65. Kasandra Mazingo says

    I think that you should add that our kids are socialized. We are not trying to keep them away from the world. My kids are part of a homeschool group as well as being very active in my church. They spend time with the friends that they made while in public school. That is the biggest problem that people will confront me with.

    • Kasandra Mazingo says

      I homeschooled my 10 year old when she was in first grade. I decided to put her back in school for 2nd and 3rd grade. When she was in third grade, I realized that she was being retaught everything that I had taught her in 1st grade. I don’t believe that it is the teachers fault. They have to teach what the state requires them to teach at that grade. I think that the teachers have a hard job teaching a large classroom of students. I love homeschooling my kids, because it is best for my kids.

  66. says

    I love it!! I totaly agree
    You made me laugh with the “I homeschool. What’s your superpower?”
    It is not that we actually have a superpower, but some people think we DO have a super patience or super “I-don’t-know-what”, but as you wrote we are normal people trying what we think is the best for ours loved ones.

    As you said it is annoying when a strange tell us how bad homeschooling is, but I feel it is a lot harmful when my sister tells me so, it is painful not to have support from your own sister. Any ways it won’t change my mind.
    Yuria recently posted..Huerto en casa: El calor y el huertoMy Profile

  67. Kelley Murphy says

    Great top 10! When someone discovers we homeschool and gives us a strange look, I just say, “We don’t make our own cheese!” lol Although there’s nothing wrong with doing that! The response I hear most is, “I could NEVER do that, I can hardly get my kids to do their homework!” I smile and think to myself, “If my children were disobedient, I would not want them out in public!” Of course my children aren’t perfect, but what a joy it has been to “train” them and see them be blessed in “the way they should go.”

  68. Kim says

    I am so confused about the copyright thing. If I only have one copy of the workbook(s), either gifted to me or the only copied available, I can’t copy pages so more than one child can use it? Who came up with that idea?! I’m not selling it to others and trying to pull it off as my own work.

  69. Jan says

    What people don’t know about me?

    Our home is an education center… we have more books than most of you, more arts and crafts supplies, more ongoing science projects. Our life is centered around exploring and learning about our world, our God, our culture, our history, other’s culture and history and anything else we take a fancy to. We don’t just go to school, our life IS school.

    Our children are more “socialized” than yours. They can carry a conversation on with people of all ages. They routinely engage the elderly in conversation and their favorite thing to do is to ask questions that pertain to history… What was WWII really like? So, you had to hide in caves when Japan occupied the Philippines? (yes a real question my son was able to converse about with an elderly Filipino) We attend group classes, participate in the arts, are members of a cross cultural church, are learning a second language, participate in sports and are members of a chess club. Hmmm… can most of you “more socialized” children in public school say that?

    Okay, there’s mine!

  70. says

    Yes! Yes! and Yes! :) #1 & #4 are soooo me… LOL

    Our older two boys are now seniors in high school and will graduate in May 2014. But, our youngest (a first grader) just didn’t take to public school or even a charter Waldorf school last year. Therefore, we just switched him to homeschooling…he is going year-round and we LOVE it!

    Thank you for sharing this poignant post!

    Honoring you and all homeschool parents,
    Janelle
    Janelle Alex recently posted..Do We Carry Stuff Over From Past Lives?My Profile

  71. Kate in Topeka says

    Amen! I couldn’t have said it better…except I excelled in math so Algebra didn’t terrify me!

  72. says

    I have read your post and nearly all of the comments. I have to say that your post is great. I can’t agree with being kept awake at night worrying about whether I am doing a good job or not, only because I don’t go to bed until 4 or 5 am, why, because I am up reading and reviewing, downloading and printing learning materials for my grandson whom I homeschool while my daughter works to support us. Having been bascially forced into retirement due to the economy and my age, and the way my gs was treated by his “teacher” in the gifted program at the public school, we decided to homeschool him. 3 months of public school and now we have the daunting task of trying to instill in him the belief that learning is a good thing and that he was not rejected because of what he didn’t do or couldn’t do but because of what the “teacher” could not or would not do for him. He has just turned 6 and reads at a 6th grade level, does a combination of math at 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade level, language arts 3rd grade, vocabulary 7th grade. What I have learned to remember is this, children are natural learners, they want to learn, they want to know and they will do it in spite of us. Homeschooling is awesome. It gives me the opportunity to spend quality time with my grandson and take care of the home at the same time so that when his mother is home, she has the ability to have quality time with him without fear of hindering his education in any way. She is a single mother and fully intends to stay that way. Our one failing is our ability to give him a social calendar. With one car and hours that don’t coincide we don’t have the ability to put him with other children his age, however, when we have, he winds up standing alone in the park wondering why all the kids call hin “weird”. I even heard one child say to him, “what on earth are you saying, where did you learn words like that and how come you know everything about sharks and stuff?” My gs told him simply, I know because I can read and my words come from my head, where do yours come from.” That was one conversation I was proud to have overheard. Now he tends to play with older or younger children and avoid those of his own age, or he just goes over and sits and talks with the grandpa’s and grandma’s that brought their children to the park. His favorite place to go on Sundays is the nursing home where he absolutely loves to push folks in the wheelchairs and sit and play Gingo (sp) with them or do puzzles with them. Do I regret pulling him out of PS, not so much. Do I worry that I can’t teach him, never, but I understand those that do, I just simply understand that if something does not work or he does not like it, we just try something else and sometimes that is just, making a top hat and a coat with tails, putting on a fuzzy beard and pretending to be Abe Lincoln.

    I thank you for your post and I want you to know how upsetting it was to see the post from the teacher who seemed so angry at your post. It is really unfortunate for those who live with that sort of self-doubt of their abilities.
    Thank you
    Mimi

  73. Lisa says

    We don’t all travel!! I used to think that only Missionaries and Evangelists homeschooled. Its even true that not every family goes on huge family trips every year to somewhere educational like D.C. or Niagara Falls. Some of us have to look at pictures online.

  74. Jacob McCarty says

    I remember when people would tell me that my homeschool diploma was a “worthless piece of paper”. They said I would be a bagger at grocery stores for the rest of my life and that my dream of being in the military wouldn’t ever happen. Well a hop, skip, and a jump later, I joined the Marines and am doing just fine. Still the best feeling is shaking my dads hand and him telling me that he was proud that I had graduated

  75. says

    I LOVE this! I am starting for the first time in just a few weeks with child #1 (#4 is on the way!). We are so, SO excited to begin our adventure. My brother, sister, and I were home schooled. And we’re all extremely grateful! I just want to comment on the misconception “non-homeschoolers” have that we think we feel qualified to teach every subject, and to teach it better than public school teachers. I just had a conversation with a family member that had something like that mentioned. ;) I’m so, SO thankful for all the curriculums out there that help! There really is no need to sweat it. Because I was terrible at Algebra too!

    Also, people need to realize that for a lot of home schoolers, it’s not necessarily about academics (though I know for some it is!), but it’s about influence. Who do I want to influence my kids 7 hours a day? Um… hardly anyone but me! And that’s not to say I’m perfect at all, but God gave these kiddos to me, and nobody else on earth has the insight into their lives, their struggles, their strengths… except my hubby and me!

    Thank you for the article!

  76. Marjorie says

    I am perfectly fine with families making a choice to home school their kids, however your assessment of what a teaching degrees teach is just flat out wrong. I’ve spent the last 10 years assisting military spouses in obtaining their education degrees throughout the world. I counsel them on the different routes and requirements for education degrees in each state and in schools overseas- so I am well versed in what most colleges and universities require for K-12 baccalaureate. In most programs there are five classes that teach a teacher how to teach. That is Human Growth and Development birth through adolescence, Curriculum and Instructional Procedures which teaches how to build lesson plans and structure those plans into a guide for what should be learned throughout the school year, Classroom and Behavior Management, Foundations of Education which talks about the evolution of education, and Language Acquisition and Reading which is how to teach language comprehension in a subject which is not English/ Literature. The rest of their 120 semester hour degree is spent studying the content area they have chosen to teach. So they actually spend 100 semester hours learning what they should teach and if they still have no clue what they should teach their state school system has put together a guide for them to follow of what should be covered and their school districts come up with their own guide, as well as their school guide, and their team guide. So if you do not know what to teach after having all of these tools at your disposal then teaching is probably not what you should be doing.

    • Kris Bales says

      That’s interesting, Marjorie. That’s very different from what I’ve heard from my friends who are or have been teachers. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      • Marjorie says

        I know many successful home schoolers so I don’t want my comments to appear to be a negative reflection on homeschool and I know this post was made in fun and so I don’t want to take this too seriously however it worries me to know that the individuals you spoke with stated they didn’t know what to teach after spending 120+ hours in college receiving a teaching degree on just that and that they didn’t see how the structure of their degree program prepared them to do just that. So if they weren’t prepared for the public/private professional classroom, how can they possibly be prepared for the “kitchen” classroom?

        • Kris Bales says

          I didn’t say that anyone said that they weren’t prepared to teach in a classroom or that they didn’t know what to teach. I said that the degree covers how to teach (in a classroom setting) and classroom management. The public school teachers I’ve talked to have nearly unanimously said that the “what to teach” they learned was the same as anyone with a general education would know. The point being, there was no “what to teach in a American history” class for those seeking a teaching degree. Therefore, a parent with an education who took American history would be just as capable of teaching that subject to their children (or learning alongside them) as someone with a teaching degree.

    • says

      I have a degree in elementary education, and I totally agree with Kris that a teaching degree is superfluous to a home educator. A brand new teacher has nothing a homeschooler needs. Every teacher learns to teach by getting into the classroom and teaching, whether she has a degree or not. The classroom and behavior management and the curriculum and instructional procedure classes are quite simply unnecessary with one’s own children; evolution of education is interesting but hardly a necessity; and all four of my children learned to read well above grade level by me just reading to them … no language comprehension classes required. Childhood development is the only class I can call to mind that might be helpful to a parent homeschooler, but there are plenty of good parenting books that cover all of that material.

      Besides which, none of those classes have anything at all to do with actual teaching. They’re administrative tools. All the lesson plans in the world are nothing but theoretical assets until the person has stepped in front of a room full of children and started trying to implement it.

      As for the rest of the hours acquired, of course the general knowledge that comes with any college degree will add to the breadth of knowledge a parent brings to the table and therefore would be helpful, but honestly it’s not anything that anyone with any college degree wouldn’t have.

      As for the rest, one of the reasons that drove me to investigating homeschooling my children – long before I even had children myself – was that I realized that I was in class with quite a few students who couldn’t write a grammatical sentence, but since they were (barely) passing their education classes, they would soon be matriculated into the teaching workforce. We had “how to teach math” classes, but nothing to make sure we understood the math itself … just the mechanics of running a math class. Ditto teaching science and language arts. Oh, there was a wonderful children’s lit class that DID actually teach about literature rather than the mechanics of teaching literature … but it was elective, not required.

      Suffice it to say, it was getting my elementary education degree that convinced me I needed to homeschool my own children.
      Carma recently posted..7 Reasons I Homeschool My TeenMy Profile

  77. Eric says

    Hi,

    I’m considering becoming a home schooling dad. We’re sending our daughter to a private pre-k while we consider and research home schooling.

    I enjoyed your post. It’s good to know these things before hand. That way I know I’m not crazy. ;) I’m a self taught computer geek. I learned and retained more information after I got out of the school system. This is one reason I am considering home school. The other, main, reason is my daughter has shown to be a non-traditional learner.

    Thanks. I’ll be checking back.

    • Kris Bales says

      I think homeschool dads are awesome. As I’ve attended homeschooling conventions as a vendor this year, I’ve met a few dads who are the at-home, teaching parent. I really enjoy talking to them. They bring a really interesting perspective to home schooling. Best wishes as you research and make your decision.

  78. nik says

    I don’t know you but I want to give you a huge huff. Homeschool is an option in the future depending if school goes ok or not…I’ve already changed primary school.you have just put a big smile on my face :0)

  79. says

    Great points! I always say my elementary ed degree DOES help me as a homeschooler. It has helped immeasurably at keeping me from having “I’m not a trained teacher” panic attacks AND it has helped me talk other people down from similar attacks because I am able to reassure them: a teaching degree is just a degree in classroom management and not needed in your homeschool, and EVERYONE learns to teach by getting in there and teaching, not by getting a degree.

    It also enables me to say — when I’m feeling brave (or rude) enough to say it — to those people who could NEVER homeschool because they don’t have a degree, “I don’t have a teaching degree is a COP OUT. There may be viable reasons why you can’t homeschool, but lack of a degree is not one of them.”
    Carma recently posted..7 Reasons I Homeschool My TeenMy Profile

  80. Amber Dawn says

    Hi Kris, I’m late posting here, but I found your article after it was shared by a friend on Facebook. I loved it and laughed along with, I’m sure, many other homeschool mamas. I’m so glad we chose to homeschool and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. No, I don’t know it all. Yep, I sure do worry sometimes that we’re “not doing enough.” I am the furthest thing from organized! Ha! But… I know that it is the best decision for our family. I LOVE learning together with my kids. I LOVE being there when my 5th grade daughter “gets” her math. Or when she says “Hey Mommy! There’s this really cool part in this book! Wanna hear it?” And then listening as she reads a few pages from her history book… Love it.

    Thank you for the laughs and encouragement! :)

    (P.S. I did also want to say – since I happened to see a comment about it – that I don’t believe there was a “grammar error” up there in paragraph two. I believe “us homeschool moms” is correct. If you remove the noun that follows, “us” would be right in this case. “…than us.” Just my two cents. Or nonsense. Whichever. ;)

  81. Carissa says

    I have always said that I could never home-school my kids because, well, something just tells me I can’t. In that same breath I follow it with, “I give kuddos to anyone that home-schools.” I respect you all very much and wish you much success and hope you have many great memories.

  82. Chandra says

    To find this post, I googled “weird homeschooler” tonight because I just started homeschooling for the first time ever on Monday and I’ve felt like for the first time in my life I “stand out.” I’ve always liked blending. I’m an introvert, I have a great group of friends and I’m comfortable with my place in life. I’ve never liked drawing attention to myself, but I’ve always felt happy with where I am and who I am. But since I started homeschooling the questions have started coming, and the looks, and the feeling of being an outsider, and the thoughts that everyone thinks I’m doing this whole parenting thing wrong. I just want to say thank you for this post. It’s such a nice affirmation that I’m okay. That my kids are okay, and that I’m doing the very best thing that I know that I can do for my kids. And that’s okay. I’m not perfect, but I’m doing all that I know how to do. The most frustrating thing that I’ve felt is that I don’t judge my friends that send their kids to public and private school…why is there all of this judgement on me? Anyway, thank you. Thank you for saying all of this and putting it out there. It’s been a big consolation for me tonight, thank you.

    • Kris Bales says

      You are so welcome. I’m glad I could help to reassure you. I can totally relate to your comment about wanting to blend in. I’ve got some great, funny homeschool t-shirts, but I find that I feel so awkward when I wear them out in public – like they’re a flashing neon sign inviting people to whisper about me behind my back or ask crazy questions.

  83. Ashley Franklin says

    Thank you so so so much for this! I am starting homeschool with my 5 and 10 year old this Moday and am super nervous. I totally needed this!!

  84. Beth says

    I came across this article on Zite, and I see that it is months old, but I had to tell you that I needed to read this today. Especially number 7. I am in the middle of a battle with myself over how I’ve wrecked my kids lives, one is 19 and the other almost 17. Both are having struggles right now that probably aren’t out of the ordinary for anyone their age, but I am taking it quite personally. My husband is wonderfully supportive and has said all the right things to me, but that wasn’t helping. What truly helped is reading these words from another homeschooling mom who has been there done that! Thank you so much for being real, this is exactly what I needed today.

  85. Marcie says

    Thank you so much for the encouragement! I began homeschooling our 15 year old daughter in August. She had been at the same private, Christian school since kindergarten. She had many friends, cheered, and was on the homecoming court just this past January. The peer pressures and mean girl groups got to be too much. She is loving this! I’m beginning to get adjusted, but still feeling very inadequate and second guess my self when I see all of the school events she is no longer involved in. This is a great blog! Love reading all of the comments :)

    • Kris Bales says

      I’m so glad I could encourage you. Going from public to homeschool can definitely be an adjustment, especially, I would think, for an older student and her parents. I hope you both look back on this year as a wonderful experience.

  86. Sheila says

    Come and get your big cyber hug!!! You said it well!! Especially #4. I’m domestically challenged.
    Well, I’m all of them!! Thanks for saying it so well.

  87. Maria C. Hughes says

    I am not a homeschooler, but your post really brought up issue(s)/question(s) I had about homeschoolers. Thanks for a candid, refreshing look at homeschooling.

  88. says

    Just discovered your blog :-) I have been h/schooling my 11 year old son for a year now and will never put him back into school – yay! In the moments I wonder if he’ll fail miserably and I’m not doing enough, I remember my own education in mainstream school and that I didn’t do so well, however I was a late bloomer and did better in adult life (as many school-leavers do)! My son is actually learning things because of my 1-on-1 with him, and we take our time and learn together which is fun. This alone gives me the confidence to keep carrying on – plus many other benefits of course. Thanks for a greatly supportive blog.

  89. says

    WOW! You just described me LOL! I really enjoy your blog and this great post. A lot of people have the wrong concept about homeschooling moms. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!

  90. Christine B. says

    Hi there! I just came upon your blog not too long ago and it has been a great source of encouragement for me during my first year of homeschooling. I have 4 boys, but I am only homeschooling my 4th grader at this time. It is posts like this that make me feel like I am not alone on this journey, and that it is something I can do-without “messing them up”. I am actually excited to bring home my 2 younger kiddos next year as well. I got the biggest giggle reading this. Solely because it is so nice just to be “understood” and to see myself in your words with a light heart. BTW, I so love that t-shirt. Most days it feels like I do need superpowers to accomplish anything-lol. Have a terrific New Year’s!

    • Kris Bales says

      I’m so glad to hear that you were encouraged by the post. Hearing that always makes me smile. Have a wonderful 2014!

  91. says

    FanTAStic post! So glad I ran across this today! I’m homeschooling four up here in Alaska, grades K-6th. My neck kinda hurts from nodding my way through your “ten things” :) Happy New Year!

  92. Tammy says

    Wow! You said everything I was thinking and feeling. I stayed up half the night worrying about my choice to homeschool and how I was doing. I don’t regret homeschooling, but it is one of the toughest jobs out there. I really appreicate your humor too. Thanks for your post! God Bless you and yours :)

    • Kris Bales says

      I’m telling you, at my house there are 4 oceans and Pluto is still a planet. :) (Actually, I’ve read the Pluto may be getting its planet status back.) That being said, in 2000, the ocean in the area around Antarctica, which most of us know as the southern part of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, was renamed the Southern Ocean. I had no idea until we studied oceans a couple of years ago and different books said there were 5. You can read more about it here: http://geography.about.com/od/learnabouttheearth/a/fifthocean.htm

  93. Terri says

    Oh, so true. I am now finished homeschooling my three children and I realized I didn’t ruin them. Everyone says they are the most wonderful people. There are things I regret but all three of my children say they are going to homeschool one day and that says a lot. I am encourage by the lack of domestic abilities that you experienced. That has been me and it bothered me that I didn’t make my own bread enough or cooked better meals or kept up the house perfectly even after being homeschooling mom. After realizing others may feel that way I almost cried. I wasn’t a failure after all.

  94. Amanda Williams says

    I am in my 3rd year as a homeschool mom, and I’m loving it. My favorite moment would have to be the day I was in Wal-Mart with my kids and the lady in line behind us started going on about how polite and helpful my children were. My 4yr old daughter looked up at her and said ” of course we are, we’re homeschooled”!

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