The Out of Context Homeschooler
Out of Context
Last week, I posted an article called, “10 Things Homeschool Moms Wish You Knew.” The response to that article was much greater than I ever anticipated. What surprised me the most was the negative response I got – from homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers. Of course, I had many people thank me for my honesty and candor, but I also had many call me all kinds of ugly things.
For the last week, I have pondered why people would think badly of me from that article. Why would they think I was neglectful or sad or pitiful or bigoted (still pondering that one…) or any of the other adjectives I saw used to describe me? The main reason I came up with was because my words were taken out of context. This really is so common in the life of a homeschooler that I should not be the least bit amazed by it. People take our lives out of context and make their own decisions about us based on nothing but speculation constantly.
The truth is, “Out of context,” is a way of life for homeschoolers. People don’t relate to us. They don’t get why we want our kids home with us. They don’t get why we think we can do it better than the school system. They don’t get how we educate our children. They just don’t understand us. They just take the fact that we homeschool and consider it out of the context of our lives, and then they make their determinations about us using assumptions.
You can read my original article here:
- 10 Things Homeschool Moms Wish You Knew
Homeschoolers do things differently, but we are just moms, trying to do our best for our kids. Here are ten things the homeschool moms want you to know - written by a long-time homeschool mom.
Here are a few of my statements which were taken out of context and attacked:
1. My 17 year old son has not opened his math book in a very long time.
The truth is, my child has not sat down and “done” math in a long time. That’s because he’s not a “book” learner. He’s a hands-on learner, and he learns math through doing. He understands fractions from using tools. He understands geometry through building things and working on houses. He understands addition, subtraction, multiplication and division through handling his bank account.
My child tried to learn the basics from a book when he was younger, but we quickly learned those lessons were not “sticking.” He would remember the information long enough to pass a quiz, and then he would forget what he had just learned. He did not truly learn math until he used math in real life. If I have found he can learn better though a hands-on approach, why would I make him use a textbook? It’s torture for both of us, and he ends up not learning.
Taken out of context, you could jump to the conclusion that I’m a neglectful parent. Read in context, you would find I’m a smart parent who is using her child’s learning style to teach him.
2. My 13 year old daughter does not know how to spell the word “were.”
The truth is, my daughter is a good reader and a great writer. For some reason, the word “were” will not stick in her brain. She writes “we’re” or “where” in its place a good portion of the time. This does not mean I have not taught her how to read or write. It just means she has a brain block against that word.
So, crucify me if you will, for not teaching my child the word “were.” I would venture to guess many people reading this struggle to use the correct forms of “there/they’re/their” or “its/it’s.” Where are your public school teachers? Let’s lynch them for not teaching you properly. I'll go light my torch, and you shine your pitchfork.
Taken out of context, you could assume I just haven’t taught my daughter anything useful. Considered in context, you can see we all have struggles with certain words. I won’t judge you for saying “Your” having a good day. You don’t judge my child for saying you “where” mistaken.
3. Our kids are weird.
Many people read this statement out of context and thought I was actually calling homeschooled kids weird. I really was not. In context, the point was, there are many stereotypes about homeschoolers that people choose to believe. They are not any more accurate than any other stereotypes about other groups of people. Regardless of what group you are talking about, generalizations are just wrong. That was the whole point of my words on this subject, but my point was missed by some.
However, as long as we are telling the truth, I will say, my kids are weird, and I’m proud of it! I don’t mean they are weird in a stereotypical nerdy kind of way, though I would still be just as proud of them if that were the case. I mean they are choosing to make their own decisions and be their own individuals. They don’t care what the popular vote says. They form their own likes and dislikes. They create their own styles. They stand out, but in a good way. I’m glad they are “weird.” Normal is highly overrated.
Taken out of context, it sounds as though I’m saying my children cannot function in the world because they are so different. In context, however, my point was, I don’t really care what stereotypes you want to put on my kids, they are doing just fine.
4. We really aren’t all that patient.
I was criticized by several for saying homeschooler moms aren’t patient. Maybe I was wrong about that. Maybe some homeschool moms out there are perfect. If you are perfect, I humbly apologize for insinuating you might occasionally lose your temper. I did not mean to lump you into a group with the rest of humanity.
For me, it does not make me any less of an awesome homeschool mom to admit I lose my temper. My children are champion button-pushers, and just when I think I have an extra dose of patience for the day, they play me like fiddle. Before I know it, I’m a screaming lunatic. This doesn’t happen often, and it isn’t something I’m proud of, but it does happen. If only I could learn to be perfect. I’ll keep working on that one.
Taken out of context, you might assume I’m not perfect. Oh, wait - in context, my point was the same. Now, the truth is out. I’m not perfect. Alert the presses.
5. Moms have worries.
I was criticized for saying homeschool moms have worries. We worry about if we are doing the right things for our kids. We worry about all kinds of things.
Taken out of context, many people said I was weak and this was sad or pathetic. They said this showed my self-doubt and lack of self-confidence.
Take it however you want to, but I know, in context, the reality of it is, all mothers worry. From the first moment we find out we are pregnant, we worry about all kinds of things! Mothers of babies worry. Mothers of preschoolers worry. Mothers with children of all ages worry, and they worry about everything. For goodness sake, I'm 42 years old, and my mother still worries about whether or not I remembered sunscreen. Mothers are going to worry, whether our kids are in school or are homeschooled. It's what we do.
To say homeschool mothers worry does not negate the fact that we are trying to do what is best for our children. Actually, on the contrary, it confirms the fact that we are always evaluating, always looking for ways to improve and always paying attention to how our kids are developing. We are with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we are highly aware of their development and learning. That does not sound like a neglectful parent to me. Actually, it sounds like a very attentive and concerned parent who is trying to do the best for her children.
Join the club.
If you are one of the many I offended with my candor and imperfection, I apologize. I never meant to do that.
If you are one of the many who now think I'm a terrible, neglectful mother, well, I will certainly file your opinion in my archives.
However, if you are one of the mothers who was encouraged by knowing you aren't alone in your imperfection and worry, join the club. I hope I have encouraged you in some small way with my writing. I believe our kids are going to be okay. In fact, I believe they will be more than okay; they will be awesome! Though we may worry, we are doing the best we know how to do for our kids, and our efforts will be rewarded.
Here's a list of basic reasons parents decide to homeschool:
- 10 Reasons Parents Choose to Homeschool
Here are ten basic reasons parents decide to homeschool their kids. -Written by a homeschool mom of 14 years.