Questions I Get About Homeschooling My Kids

54 Comments

As a homeschooler, I get asked a lot of questions about how the whole thing works. Folks tend to have an idea of what they think homeschooling is, and the reality, at least my reality, is far different. Here are some questions I get about homeschooling my kids, along with the truth:

1. “You must be REALLY organized!” Oh dear holy old cheezits, no. Unless I can count not having lost a child in Mount Washmore as being organized. (In fact, I think I will count it, as I need the reassurance to my ego.) Frankly, that’s about the only thing I can think of that I haven’t had to tear the house apart looking for. Hang on, where’s the baby?! Oh, right. Nap time. I’m still good on not having misplaced a child.

2. “Your kids must be so well behaved!” Uh…I have a nine year old son who decided that hiding his math book would mean not having to do math. Ever. And then it took him several days to find it again. He’s currently grounded until sometime after his 21st birthday for that stunt. And catching up on the math he should have been doing.

3. “You must be really patient!” I had someone tell me this once in front of my teen daughter. Her hysterical laughter caused a bit of a scene, and didn’t stop until I threatened her with the thought that she could wet her pants in the middle of the grocery store. Even then, she was still suppressing the giggles. Needless to say, patience is not one of my many virtues. I try, and I think I’ve gotten better with practice. Either that, or I’ve given up on many things, and just stick to my guns on the big stuff. You know, reading, math, writing, not drawing blood on a sibling…

4. “What about socialization?” Honestly, my kids have a better social life than I do. Granted, that’s not really saying much, but they have swimming lessons, skiing lessons, kids in the yard daily, field trips…Being grounded to the house and yard is their worst punishment, not their norm.

5. “Do you ever think about sending them to school?” Only about eleventy billion times a year. Dumping them on the front steps of the local public school for some poor, unsuspecting teacher to deal with is a fantasy on many days. Like, all this week, with the hidden math book fiasco. Any homeschooling parent that claims to NEVER have these thoughts is either a liar, or completely delusional.

6. “Why?” Ah, the real question. Some days, I suspect I’m a glutton for punishment. Other days, I’m protecting the teachers of the world from my kids. I suppose the real answer is that it just works for our family. The kids mostly enjoy being homeschooled, and I (mostly) enjoy homeschooling them. I say ‘mostly’ because, well, they’re kids. Given the choice between school work and doing whatever they want, chances are, school work isn’t going to win out. So, we have our struggles, just the same as we would with regular homework, but for the most part, they’re used to their routine, and things roll along fairly well. Also, for our family, the flexibility is a big part of things. My husband’s busiest season at work is during the Summer. This way, we c an flex our schedule differently than what’s normal for the public schools in our area, so that when he gets down time in the Fall/Winter, the kids can take time off their schooling to take a trip with him, be it over night or a series of day trips.

We didn’t start out to homeschool. But after we started, we discovered it works better for us than we ever would have imagined. So, while I may fantasize about handing them off to someone else to teach, I really can’t imagine not homeschooling my kids. We’re the Weird Homeschoolers, now. And it fits us perfectly.

Related post: Reasons to Homeschool

Comments

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  1. 2

    Vicki Bee says

    I home-schooled my daughter for one reason alone: It was easier to do than take her to school right after her dad was killed in The World Trade Center. Frankly, she was never actually able to return to school and be the same as she had before it occurred, and too many people expected it to all be better for her within 2 months after the tragedy occurred. Which was fine to think if you were assuming that other children were harboring these expectations, way much worse and hardly fine at all when you discovered it was teachers and other adults demanding that she recover in a period of time satisfactory to them and everyone else who’ve never seen a tragedy unfolding in front of their eyes and knowing someone in their family was trapped inside one of the burning buildings.

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  2. 4

    says

    I’m curious as to why some people do, outside of religious reasons (I know a lot of fundamental Christians are big on this). I can justify it if a lousy public school system exists, or if the curriculum being offered might not challenge a child, or if the child is pursuing a sport/avocation where normal school hours might not work. But is it practical to homeschool if both parents work? (That’s one reason I never even considered it.) I”ve heard a lot of other homeschoolers point out that socialization fears are greatly overstated by critics. It’s not for my child now, but I want to keep an open mind just in case our needs change and the idea is broached. Thanks!

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    • 6

      says

      Some people choice to home school because they feel their child would do better with curriculum tailored for them with one on one attention. Instead of a one size fits all situation. Also lots of people do not like common core and standardize test each year. Some people home school because the can teach their children in the time they take dropping off/ picking up their children. (2-4 hours a day). I could go on forever. Their is lots of reason to home school. BTW- I do not home school my child, but we are thinking about it.

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    • 7

      says

      I home school because my five year old has intestinal failure and spends a lot of his life in he hospital. When he is home he is hooked up to an iv pump for a minimum of 16 hours a day. He is immuno compromised so for right now school is not an option.

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    • 9

      says

      With both parents working? Sure. My wife works Mon-Thur…and I work nights, weekends, and online. Sometimes I bring my homeschooled kids with me to clients’ houses. Sometimes they wait in the car for 1-2 hours, reading. Sometimes I leave them at the library. Sometimes I hire a cheap (14 year old homeschooler) babysitter. Sometimes I arrange playdates opposite my appointments. Sometimes I drop them off at their grandmother’s. I’ve even been known to leave them home all alone for a couple hours…(they are 8 and 9 years old).

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    • 11

      Brandi says

      I’m a single mom and I homeschool my 13 year old daughter. We chose to homeschool because she just does better with one on one teaching. Her grades in public school were not good and it was a daily fight to get her to go. We have been doing it for 3 years now and she is a completely different child. Homeschooling has actually made her more social as she is able to control the situations better.

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    • 14

      Bev says

      I was sick of the whining and frustration of making my son do his homework from public school. Now since I homeschool, if both of us think the “homework” assignment is “stupid” we can change it or skip it or do something creative instead. Homeschool is great for kids that get things quickly – you can skip all that repetitive work. On the flip side, it is great for kids that take longer to learn – you can practice and practice – you can teach the same topic a different way – you can review weeks later, etc.

      And yes, your parenting style will change! When I was with my kids for only a few hours everyday, I was much more tolerant of poor behavior. When you are with all day long for days in a row, you quickly expect better behavior out of them. It is not east for kids or parents, but both can be better people in the long run.

      That said, there comes a time when the best answer is to send that kid to public school. We hit that with my 16 year old. He would not work for me, so I gave him several choices, including public school and dual-enrollment at the community college. For him, public school meant the lost of his freedom to sleep in, eat lunch whenever, do school whenever, etc. He decided on dual-enrollment. So you are not making a life decision. Just take it year to year – even month to month.

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  3. 15

    says

    I have a question to add to this list: “Were you home schooled as a child, and did that experience contribute to your decision to home school your own children?” Here’s why I have this question….good old fashioned curiosity. ;) I was home schooled most of my childhood. My personal experience (which was not horrible by the way) prompted me to send my own children to public school.

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    • 16

      says

      I was homeschooled and it’s why I’m homeschooling my kids. Well, I’d like to think it would homeschool anyway. Public schools don’t teach kids how to think and learn for themselves, and that’s important. And I worked in an elementary and middle school and decided I would never want to send my children to that. The teachers are fine, but the other kids aren’t.

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    • 17

      says

      My SO and I both attended public school, and that definitely influenced our decision to homeschool. I feel that in a lot of public schools, information is given to you, you are expected to memorize it and spit it back out on tests and that’s about it. I am teaching my children in such a way that the information they are learning is relevant, not just something to remember for tests.

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      • 18

        Coco says

        This ^

        That’s exactly what we are having an issue with. Granted my oldest is 3, so we’re still trying to decide what to do but both my husband and I feel the public school system, at least where we live, is just a bare minimum for learning.

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  4. 19

    Mary says

    SO MUCH THIS!

    Wish we’d started from the beginning, and homeschooled straight through… The three years I homeschooled with my son were some of the best ever.

    Love it. It’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone, but it’s great if it works.

    Mary

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  5. 20

    says

    Barbara, all those reasons you posted are pretty much all the reasons I have heard homeschool parents mention. I would also imagine health reasons would be another where certain conditions would make regular attendance a challenge. Also I’d imagine that families that move around due to job or military service so that their education isn’t disjointed. As far as two working parents, I suppose it depends on how. I know one family, the mom worked from home

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