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The Out of Context Homeschooler

Updated on January 28, 2015
notyouraverageal profile image

Mom. Homeschooler. Mystery shopper. Editor. Wife. These are a few words to describe notyouraverageal. Her life is anything but average.

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.

Here are a few of my statements which were taken out of context and attacked:

There are other ways to learn math!
There are other ways to learn math! | Source

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.

Mistakes DO happen.
Mistakes DO happen. | Source

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.

You say, "Weird," as though it's a bad thing...
You say, "Weird," as though it's a bad thing... | Source

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.

This is what I look like when I throw my hands up and yell, "I. Have. Had. Enough!"
This is what I look like when I throw my hands up and yell, "I. Have. Had. Enough!" | Source

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.

Source

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.

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      Jenn 7 weeks ago

      I was amazed to find that anyone had attacked your original article. I loved it! I thought it was open, honest, and compassionate to both homeschooling families and non-homeschooling families. I bookmarked it, re-read it and will share it with others.

    • Mia Town profile image

      Mia Town 18 months ago

      The biggest challenge we had with home schooling was that, in our small community, so many jobs are tied to the school that I had people attack me for threatening their jobs. I also had people say I was stealing from the school because the school won't get paid for my kids. I wish people would remember why we have public education. It is supposed to be so we have an educated population, not to keep the lunch aides and teachers employed.

    • profile image

      Jenn 2 years ago

      I lived the original article, and liked the fact that your son hadn't opened a math book in awhile. It made me feel better, because math around here has fallen off somewhere when we weren't looking. It was more depressing when you explained it. Now I'm back to feeling like a slacker, lol!

    • profile image

      Jen 2 years ago

      I loved your original article!!!! I have been homeschooling for 3 years. My son is at a grade higher than he would be in public school! He is involved in karate, our church, and I am constantly being told how mature he is, and how pleasant he is to talk to. He dresses amazing, and was a model for a major clothing company. I am tired of the "socialization" comments. I personally don't want him socializing with public school kids, and just "getting by" in the public school. I care too much for my children to not homeschool them!!!!!

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      Anthea 2 years ago

      Good for you. Ignore the moaning Minnies.

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      Anthea 2 years ago

      Good for you. Ignore the moaning Minnies.

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      Sandy 2 years ago

      I loved your original post so much I had to share. I related to so much of it as if I wrote it down myself. I was shocked at the fact it was taken out of context... But then like I said I related to so much of it. Thank you for taking time to write it and be openly honest. We need more of that and less masks in this life.

    • Amy LeForge profile image

      Amy LeForge 2 years ago from Ionia, Michigan

      I missed last week's article but wasn't surprised that people responded badly to it. The first years of our homeschooling experience were terribly difficult, and I struggled mightily. When I asked other moms if they occasionally felt homicidal or like quitting, there was always a long silence and I was usually ignored.

      I ascribe the response to the desire to not cast homeschooling in a negative light. That's all well and good, but the lack of honesty and transparency hurts moms who are really in need of support. The whole "I'm blessed and my children only poop sunbeams" crowd isn't helping. But if that's what they're really experiencing, more power to them.

      Kudos to you for the honest assessment and I wish you the best on your journey.

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      Sarah W. 2 years ago

      This is GREAT and honestly just saved me from myself tonight! :D I will be going forth looking at our homeschooling adventure in a whole new light. Thank you for sharing!!!

    • profile image

      Nicki 2 years ago

      You encouraged me and I appreciate your humor AND your transparency. :)

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and the ponderings of your heart.

    • profile image

      Tracy Sockriter 2 years ago

      I love this article and others. YOUR articles. Your experience.

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      Elizabeth Wright 2 years ago

      I think your article was very inspiring. It was honest, and to me it was refreshing to know I'm not the only one who struggles with some of these things.

    • profile image

      Michelle 2 years ago

      I really enjoyed your last post, everything you wrote felt like you wrote it after going through my head. I honestly thought "wow, I'm not the only one who..."

      I don't want to reinvent the wheel, so here is was I wrote when I shared this article:

      "I liked her "10 Things Homeschool Moms Want You to Know" post... What kind of snobby homeschool moms would rip someone to shreds for being really open and honest? And honestly, homeschool moms who took her post out of context are lying to themselves, they are in complete denial that they too are "guilty" of those same things at least some of the time... Seriously, there was One Man Who was perfect and we crucified Him, only fake people pretend to be perfect."

      In the words of the great philosopher Taylor Swift (ha, ha) "...Haters gonna hate, hate, hate... Shake it off, shake it off"

      P.S. If you have haters, you must be doing something right :D Thank you for being so open and honest, I really do appreciate it.

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      Lola 2 years ago

      I always enjoy your posts. You are truthful and funny. Thanks for sharing!

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      Charlotte 2 years ago

      This is only my 2nd year homeschooling. 9th 5th and 2 nd grades. I worry ALL the time. I live in a small town that can feel very isolated. You were very encouraging to me. It was the perfect read to make me feel I'm not alone in this. You are 100% right when you said "people just don't get it" you are right they don't :( and I'm tired of trying to explain it. I'm so very thankful we as a community of homeschool moms ARE NOT alone thanks for the reminder.

    • notyouraverageal profile image
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      Al 2 years ago from Florida

      Welcome to the club! :-)

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      Jennifer Torres 2 years ago

      I really enjoyed that article. I understood it and agree with it...I even shared it on Facebook. :) So I guess I'll join the club.

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      Misty F 2 years ago

      I absolutely loved your list and this article as well. It does sadden me a bit that you were attacked in such ugly ways! Not really sure why some people feel the need to bash others, unless it comes from their own inadequacies and guilt? We are happy homeschoolers, and I could relate to most of your list! I hope you'll remember the positive responses to your post better than the nasty ones!

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      charlotte 2 years ago

      Your article was spot on. I've been homeschooling for 19 years and can certainly relate to your article. Keep up the awesome work.

    • Theresa Deitche profile image

      Theresa Deitche 2 years ago

      Oh my gosh, I had to post this time, because I have to be one to tell you how much you helped me with the last article. Your article was so real that when I finshed I though"Ok, I can do this next year. I don't have to worry about the details, because someone is willing to admit that it's not perfect, and why."

    • profile image

      Mabel 2 years ago

      I love you and your perfectly wierd family...I had to laugh I told my mom we would be there at 530 no lie she's calling at 529 wondering why we weren't there yet lol

    • profile image

      Elizabeth Bernard 2 years ago

      Who'd have thought this would be such a sensitive subject!?! However, I've had moms who have put their kids in public school confess that home school moms make them feel like they aren't "as good a mom" as home school moms. To some degree, I know this comes from some home school mamas acting superior (I've unfortunately seen some of this 1st hand). I also know that this is just a mom thing. I think all moms eat a bowl of guilt every morning. The thing we're not doing. That thing we said to our kid we wish we hadn't. The thing they "have to have" they we can't give. We all have this measuring stick for ourselves and most of the time feel like we don't measure up. I wonder how many of those hateful statements came from feeling inadequate rather than truly offended. I know I feel that way as a home school mom. I see the mom who puts her kids in public school and she's always immaculately dressed, and her house is perfectly clean, and her children are brilliant, and I think "What am I doing?" But, I remember that this was God's calling for our family and it is not everyone's calling. Thank you for your humor and your candor in talking about your life and your experiences in home schooling. More were edified by your post than you know.

      P.S. I have a brain block against the word friend. I have to think "fri" and "end" otherwise I swap "i" and "e". It happens to everyone :)

    • mama Mac profile image

      MacAllister Bishop 2 years ago from Bonne Terre, MO

      I honestly felt better after reading your last article. I could relate to a lot of what you wrote. I worry, I am impatient, and I have to say, my kids are a little weird, but for the same reasons yours are weird. :-)