How to Spot a Homeschooler by Things You Find in Our Houses
“When I was growing up, we had a bat in the freezer for a couple of years,” my husband said reflectively.
This comment – which made me choke on my water – came after he opened our freezer to find the collection of rocks that our daughter had put in our freezer as “an experiment.”
I should probably preface all of this by letting you know that my husband and I were both homeschooled, and now we’re homeschooling parents. Anyway, his comment about bats in the freezer (in response to rocks in the freezer) got me thinking:
We homeschooling people really live in our houses, don’t we? Stuff happens in them.
Traditional (public or private school families) often live life differently than homeschool families.
There are families who get up every day, leave the house at 7:00 a.m., go off to various lives, come back at 7:00 p.m., eat dinner, hang out a little, go to bed, and then do it all again. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it blows my mind because that is so not my life. And it’s also not the life of most homeschooling families I know.
Homeschooling families tend to be in our homes a lot (or at least in and out of them a lot throughout the day)! Life happens here. Things get messy. We make beautiful discoveries. Science and art happen. Somewhere along the way, bats and or rocks may end up in the freezer.
I’m willing to bet you get me, fellow homeschooling readers.
Yes, it is very possible for friends, family members, and (honestly) anybody else who knows anything about homeschoolers to know how to spot a homeschooler by things we have in our houses!
After all, we identify most species by their natural habitats, right? Homeschoolers are no different! In fact, I think that the living and learning that happen within the walls of our homes are distinctive.
Other Articles in Our “How to Spot a Homeschooler” Series
In my series on “How to Spot a Homeschooler,” we’ve talked about How to Spot Homeschoolers by Our Friendships, How to Spot a Homeschooler by How We Dress, How to Spot a Homeschooler by the Things We Say, and How to Spot a Homeschooler by How We Say Hello.
Today, let’s talk a little bit about our homeschooling habitats. Here’s How to Spot a Homeschooler by Things You Find in Our Houses!
1. We’ve got craft supplies.
(And I mean a much-more-than-average amount of craft supplies.)
We homeschooling parents and homeschooled kids are often found crafting—together or individually. As teachers, homeschooling parents tend to be big believers in hands-on learning and creativity. Our homeschooled kids know that their natural, hands-on inclinations will be encouraged. This can potentially result in doubly-crafty kids.
These homeschooled kids can take household things apart and put them back together in different ways faster than Buddy the Elf. So we give them craft supplies to work with, instead.
Maybe your house has a whole homeschooling room with a neatly organized cabinet of craft supplies. Maybe you are more like me: a disorganized, “out of sight out of minder” with a small-ish living space. This can result in kitchen cabinets stuffed with random items. Personally, Elmer’s glue and glitter have attacked me more than once while I was cooking.
Whether homeschoolers occupy spacious, well-organized homes or smaller, more tightly-packed ones, we tend to have construction paper, pipe cleaners, and popsicle sticks on hand. And let’s not forget googly eyes, because they are possibly at the top of the hierarchy of most-important-craft-supplies-in-existence.
2. We’ve got enough books to rival the local library.
“It’s not hoarding if it’s books,” right?
The house of a homeschooler may be large or small, clean or messy, organized or disorganized. However, there’s one thing that most homeschooling homes have in common: lots of books!
First, there’s curriculum. We’ve got books for every child–sometimes more than we need. Of course, we can’t get rid of the curriculum books (even the ones that didn’t work out) because they may come in handy for future kids, a younger relative, the next-door neighbor, or someone in our co-op. So, we keep them …ALL.
But we don’t just have curriculum-related books. Oh no.
We (clap) have (clap) BOOKS.
We’ve got: activity books, coloring books, classic novels, fun novels, history books, language books, cookbooks, meal planning books, and self-help books. We have the novels that we are writing and the novels that we gave up writing. We have bookshelves, built-ins, nightstands, and desks with books. We’ve even got books on coffee tables and in the kitchen and probably in the bathroom, too.
I can’t be the only one who justifies this with a survivalist mentality, right? (Collecting physical books is sort of preparation for the apocalypse of the digital age!)
3. We’ve got well-stocked kitchens.
Our homes are full of good things to eat, good things for science experiments, and more!
Some of us are “crunchy” (health food oriented). Others are gourmet foodies. Many are economizers. Yet others are all about convenience. Maybe most are a blend of several different food styles.
However, there’s one thing you can likely count on when defining a homeschool household: there will be plenty of food. Homeschooling homes typically have well-stocked kitchens. We’ve got supplies for baking and air frying and recipe-trying and meal planning. And, as is the case for many families with kids, we often speak the language of Sam’s Club and Costco.
Why are we so well stocked? The answer is simple! Our kids are hungry… all day! And we have them at home…all day!
As another blogger noted in her article 5 Reasons Homeschoolers are Like Hobbits, homeschooling kiddos have been known to consume First Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, and Supper! As any The Lord of the Rings fan will tell you, hobbits’ holes always have a well-stocked kitchen. So do homeschoolers’ houses!
4. Creative Space Solutions
Homeschoolers are creative!
We (both homeschooling parents and homeschooled kids) think out of the box! This is a good thing for many reasons. It also comes in handy on a daily basis as we come up with creative ways to utilize the space where we balance living, learning, and working.
Some people have the space to devote whole room to the purpose of homeschooling. It’s amazing to see the huge variety of homeschooled classrooms that exist out there in the wild! No two are alike. The sheer variety and imagination that goes creating a classroom especially built for the specific students is mind-blowing and inspiring.
Of course, some of us don’t have a lot of space, and that limitation is also like a giant creativity prompt. We devote various spots in our houses to the purpose of learning: the kitchen table, the living room couch, a child’s bedroom, etc. And often, much rearranging and troubleshooting to figure out what works (also a big part of the creative process)!
Others among us choose the nomadic homeschooling life. Yesterday, school was outside. Today, it’s in the kitchen. Tomorrow, it will happen at the living room desk that we originally designated for the purposes of school.
This is the ultimate in creative rebellion against typical the standardized school workspace, and we tend to love it. Honestly, I think there’s a bit of the nomadic in every homeschooling household, even in those with super cool homeschooling rooms.
Whichever way a homeschooling house is designated to suit the purposes of school, living, and working, you’ll always find creativity sprinkled throughout the floorplan.
5. Projects in Various Stages of Completion
(This could also be known as: mysterious objects in the freezer).
You knew I had to come back to that bat in the freezer, right? I can’t just tell you my husband had a bat in the freezer when he was growing up and never come back to it. I’ll explain that now.
As it turns out, the answer to why there was a bat in the freezer isn’t that weird. When they were young teens, my husband and his siblings were doing a study on dissection and a bat just fell out their basketball hoop one day. Mama G (my name for my mom-in-love) decided: waste not!
As these things sometimes go, the bat went into the freezer and then was ultimately not dissected for a while. Oops. It happens.
This illustrates something that I think is true of most homeschooling houses: they contain projects that are in various stages of completion. There likely aren’t bats involved (I feel like that’s rather specific).
However, all homeschooling houses contain the ongoing process of school and life, science projects and art pieces. We leave our charts on the fridge and painted crafts out on the table to dry. We’re always in process…. because learning is a never-ending endeavor!
Do you want to know the #1 way to know how to spot a homeschooler by things you find in our houses? It’s simple! Learning in progress!
If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read the other articles in our “How to Spot a Homeschooler” series!
Katie Gustafson has been a member of the world of “weird, unsocialized homeschoolers” for a long time–first as an alumnus and now as a homeschooling mom to a fiercely fun little girl! She’s very into anything creative, especially writing, dancing, and painting. She’s also particularly passionate about literature and owns more books than she will probably ever be able to read. However, she reassures herself with the belief that, in the event of a digital apocalypse, she’s cultivating a much-needed physical library for future generations. Katie is happy to contribute articles to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Hip Homeschool Moms and Sparketh. She also has a personal blog on writewhereuare.com.