That’s Why We Homeschool

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Last week I shared some things that homeschool parents need to stop saying. I was really worried about stepping on toes, but the response was overwhelmingly positive.

I did, however, want to clarify one point. I made the statement that homeschool parents need to stop saying, “That’s why we homeschool.”

That's Why We Homeschool

Many homeschool parents stated that they were guilty of that one and the fact is, I am, too. I don’t think it’s a statement that we need to completely wipe from our vocabulary, but I do think we need to be mindful of when and how we say it. I stand by the fact that it is never a good idea to say it following a tragedy – at least not in a, “There you go. Right there. That’s why we homeschool,” triumphant kind of way.

The statement may have its place in an “I am so sorry that you have experienced this. Concerns over things like this were part of our decision to homeschool,” compassionate sort of way. I still think we have to be really careful, though, because when emotions are raw, comments may not be taken in the way you intended. I stand by my statement that in that moment and that setting, “I’m praying for you” or “I’m grieving with you” are much more appropriate comments.

So, when is it okay to say, “That’s why we homeschool” or its possibly less snarky sounding cousin, “I’m so glad we homeschool”?

When you read about a teacher sending a kid’s uneaten Oreo cookies home with a note about sending a nutritious lunch, that might be a good time to say, “I’m glad we homeschool.” Because, you know what, I am capable of packing the food I find acceptable for my child to eat. (So is the mom who sent her kid a sandwich, a string cheese, and a couple of cookies.)

Now, don’t get me wrong. If all a parent sends is a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, then, sure, I think the teacher is justified in sending home a note requesting that the parent pack a more nutritious lunch – or send the tranquilizer darts for when the kid is running laps around the room because she’s on a sugar high, but come on. Calling a mom out over a healthy lunch with a couple of cookies for a snack? Yes, not having to deal with those kinds of things make me glad we homeschool.

When you read about a dad getting reprimanded for taking his kids out of school to watch him run the Boston Marathon and go see, with their own eyes, the historic sights of Boston, that might be a good time to say, “I’m glad we homeschool.” Because I do appreciate the flexibility of allowing my kids to have experiences like that – not that I’ll ever run the Boston Marathon, but you know what I mean – without having to worry about excused vs. unexcused absences.

Of course, the dad in question handled the situation just fine, thank you very much.

When my sister tells me that my niece got a math problem marked wrong because, although she got the right answer, she didn’t work the problem exactly as she was shown, that might be a good time to say, “I’m glad we homeschool.” Because, y’all, not every kid processes information the same way. Lattice math anyone? I’m glad we can find alternate ways to reach the same correct answer.

My sister, my cousin (also a public school mom), and I were discussing the fact that the correct answer is all that matters when you fill in the bubble on a test. And, while we’re at it, as far as I’m concerned, poor Pluto is still a planet, there are only 4 oceans, and you borrow, not regroup when you’re subtracting 7 from 3 in the ones’ column.

That's Why We Homeschool

When you hear about a kid getting suspended from school for bringing breath mints or chewing a piece of bread into the shape of a gun or pinning toy soldiers to an army hat, that might be a good time to say, “I’m glad we homeschool.” Because sometimes school administrators get so hyper-focused on following the letter of the law that they overlook common sense.

When a kid is being bullied mercilessly, that might be a good time to compassionately say, “I’m glad we homeschool.” Because maybe that’s a path that a parent hasn’t considered and this kid needs to feel safe and important and loved and valued. It breaks my heart to hear of kids committing suicide because they were bullied.

When someone tells you about something happening at their kid’s school that really is why you chose to homeschool, that might be a good time to say, “That’s why we homeschool.” Because maybe homeschooling is an idea that they’ve toyed with, but don’t know much about.

If someone tells me that their 1st grader is doing 3-plus hours of homework a night or is struggling academically and the school isn’t offering any feasible solutions, you’ll probably hear me tell them that’s why we homeschool. Because it is.

I’m not saying don’t be proud to be a homeschooling family and confident in your choices. I am saying be respectful of other people’s choices and mindful of how your words come across. I want to be that homeschool family who positively changes someone’s opinion of homeschoolers, not that homeschool family who alienates people by implying that their way of doing things is the only way.

And you know what? I really am glad we homeschool.

images courtesy of pixabay

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who continues to say borrow rather than regroup. šŸ™‚ I don’t know if I’ve ever said “that’s what we homeschool.” I do know I say, “I”m so glad we homeschool.” Because, as you pointed out in your previous post, I probably never did actually think those things when I chose to homeschool.

    Let me add a reason to the list. When I see kids getting on a bus at 6 a.m. and returning at 4:30 p.m., I’m thinking “Wow. Home. Dinner, Homework. Bed. No wonder I never see kids playing outside! They have no life! So glad I homeschool!”

    1. Yes, I agree with your additional reason. I often had a similar thought when I’d be leaving the gym with Megan at 7:30 at night and many of the girls would be heading home to do homework. I was always so glad we were finished with school for the day – well, most days, anyway.

  2. Great post with a great message!

    Here in Florida, the state and local governments are in an all out brawl about student evaluation, teaching methods, and required classes. More testing vs. less; this test vs. that one; PE vs. art; recess vs. study hall. Nobody’s sure what’s best, and it’s Florida’s young minds that are suffering as we sort it out.

    Then we had to pass a so-called “Poptart law” to protect children who wish to imagine that their breakfast pastry is a weapon. (Or those who wish to point chicken fingers at one another.)

    Every time I see these stories or updates in the news, I turn to my husband and say, “This is why we’re going to homeschool…”

    And now children can’t climb trees, walk to a friend’s house, or play in the woods with other neighborhood kids without some concerned party calling the police to report them as “unsupervised”. What’s the world coming to?

    Thanks for all the down-to-earth advice and inspirational wisdom that this blog gives! It’s a haven for those who still hold on to good old-fashioned common sense.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more! There are so many times when I watch the kids on the playground across the street (we live right next to a public school that my son used to attend), and I see elementary kids beating on each other and the teachers not watching them, I think to myself, “and that’s why we homeschool.” Or when my son surprises his grandparents by counting to 30 in Spanish, I beam with pride and think, “and that’s why we homeschool.” I love everything about the freedom, flexibility, and personalization of homeschooling. When I talk to my teacher friends and listen to the horror stories that they tell me about administration, parents, kids, etc., I reflect on my own time in the classroom of public school and count my blessings of being able to homeschool.

  4. When a neighbor complains about the sketchy school bus that also comes ay 6:45am….
    But yes, I love to joke about everyday PJ days, and ‘field trips’ to Walmart, but being able to see past my kids failures and help them succeed because Iā€™m not worried about grade levels, THAT’S why I homeschool.
    Give credit where it is due, because those public school moms that get up and get the kids ready and loaded and sit in drop off lines and pick up lines have it more together than I do!

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