2008. december 22., hétfő

The Bitter Homeschooler

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List:
(From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1)
1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that
we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?
2. Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you
really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means
hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the
skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and
my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other
human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent
grasp of both concepts.
3. Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice,
baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer
lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.
4. Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same
reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.
5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the
news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.
6. Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of,
or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're
probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to
pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth
story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.
7. We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in
public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if
we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.
8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.
9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious
10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options,
experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you.
Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our
family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront
or a judgment about your own educational decisions.
11. Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I
didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my
family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at
least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we
call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't
teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe
there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.
12. If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach
him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot.
Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.
13. Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we
never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks,
museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at
you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and
14. Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we
must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does.
Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more
organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently,
because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.
15. Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not
be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to
break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom.
For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it.
16. Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask
your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.
17. Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of
compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't
bother disagreeing with you any more.
18. If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to
ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the
reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and
might even do a better one.
19. Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her
parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically
and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.
20. Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous,
argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled.
It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to
without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.
21. Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's
22. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my
23. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.
24. Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because
they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-sogreat
childhood memories you have because you went to school.
25. Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up

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