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The Bitter Homeschooler’s Wish List

     Shelle Gholson submitted the following from Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1 (I have also see it entitled Homeschooler’s Christmas Wish List).

     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 reasons.

     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 icky.

     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. So go be shallow somewhere else.

     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 homeschooled.

     22. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

     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-so-great 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!

     For anyone interested – this is a brand new magazine….Here is the magazine info if anyone is interested…

http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/ .

     Editor’s note: I share this because I think that there is a great deal of truth and even of wisdom in it. However, I am sorry that this "secular homeschooler" feels so bitter. Many of us have had some of the same experiences that he or she has had, and there are times that we feel like responding with some of the same "zingers" mentioned above, but over all most of us, especially those of us who do so out of convictions that pertain to our religious beliefs, would classify ourselves among the "joyful homeschoolers" rather than the "bitter homeschoolers," and rather than just complaining, it is our desire to present as positive an image of homeschooling as possible to others.

2 thoughts on “The Bitter Homeschooler’s Wish List

  1. Don't you know the difference between tongue in cheek humor and bitter?
    Its called "shared experience", and we can all read and laugh at her commentary, because we have all felt that way at some point.
    Yes, those big bad secular homeschoolers MUST be bitter. Whatever.

  2. Yes, I know the difference between tongue in cheek humor and bitter. I assumed that the piece was written somewhat "tongue in cheek." That's why I said, "I share this because I think that there is a great deal of truth and even of wisdom in it….Many of us have had some of the same experiences that he or she has had, and there are times that we feel like responding with some of the same 'zingers' mentioned above" It was not my intent to imply that secular homeschoolers are bad, or even that all secular homeschoolers are necessarily "bitter," and I'm sorry if my comment left that impression. I know quite a few "secular homeschoolers." They are fine people who are very pleasant, and I consider them my friends. However, I have also read from some (certainly not all) "secular homeschoolers" who always seem to have to make comments about how the "big bad religious homeschoolers" have co-opted homeschooling and made it difficult for them. I just found it interesting that the "bitter" homeschooler seemed to feel that it was necessary to make sure that everyone knew that he or she was NOT a religious homeschooler.Edited by wswalker310 on Nov. 24, 2007 at 9:01 AM

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