Never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine that I would homeschool my children. It was never on my radar and yet, in May of 2014, I found myself suddenly, unexpectedly homeschooling. The decision to homeschool was stressful and scary, but we knew it was the right choice for our son.
Since that time, I’ve connected with so many unexpected homeschoolers. Today, I’m going to share five things you should NEVER say to an unexpected homeschooler (and one thing that’s right on the money).
1. “BUT WHAT ABOUT SOCIALIZATION?!”
But it’s very popular silly business, and believe me when I tell you that this question has already crossed the unexpected homeschooler’s mind and she’s worried, too. Mostly because people keep asking her.
Here’s the thing:
In the traditional school setting, there are 20 some-odd kids in the same room. They are placed together because their birthdates fall within a 12-month range. These students spend class time, lunch, recess, field trips, and specials together. I am a product of this system and I turned out okay, but who says it is the best way?
When you homeschool, the child receives:
- 1:1 social-emotional support as often as it is necessary, not just 2x/week for 20 minutes if he or she qualifies for it.
- Constant practice of social skills, whether at home, in the community, at a co-op, at church, at a class, or online. Every single day is different and the child is exposed to people of all different ages, education levels, and backgrounds.
- The ability to spend time with people who share common interests, not just birth years.
I have seen remarkable growth in Leo’s social-emotional functioning this year. I’m not he only one noticing this growth, either. I am frequently approached by complete strangers who share stories of Leo’s kindness, ability to share with others, manners, conversational skills, and his compassion for young children.
You cannot tell me we would receive an equivalent level of socialization at school or… yes, I’m going there: on the school bus. I’m mean, c’mon folks. This question is just plain silly business.
2. “I’D NEVER HAVE THE PATIENCE.”
Dude. This is so not helpful. DO you remember Bambi? Thumper’s mom told him, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Listen to Thumper’s mom.
The reality is, she doesn’t think she’ll have the patience either. In fact, she’s sure that her well of patience has run completely dry. She’s scared and you’re not helping.
3. “BUT WHAT ABOUT [MIDDLE SCHOOL/HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE]?!”
This mom is trying to make it to bedtime. She’s flying by the seat of her pants. Do not, for the love of mercy, ask her about college applications! Her son is SIX. He should be running around the backyard with a big smile on his dirty little face.
4. “IN THIS DISTRICT?!”
Yes, in this district. Did you think she was going to up and move? Believe me, this mom is not homeschooling her child in order to offend you and your phenomenal school district. She knows her child better than anyone else on God’s green earth and she’s well aware of the district’s many accolades. She bought a house here, remember? One size does not fit all.
5. “WILL YOU HOMESCHOOL ALL OF THEM?”
Calm down, people! Let this sudden, unexpected homeschooler survive the year. She has no idea what she’s doing and she’s scared out of her pants. She’s not thinking about homeschooling more than this one. She’s in survival mode.
But… if we’re being honest here… I bet if you ask her that question next year, she’d give you a mischievous smile.
Here’s the one thing you CAN say that’s right on the money:
“You’ve GOT THIS.“
She might not realize this yet, but no one is better equipped to teach this child than she. After all, she was his first teacher. She taught him to eat, to sleep, to use kind words, to use the bathroom, to tie his shoes… and the list goes on and on and on. She’s been teaching him all along. She’s got this, she just doesn’t know it yet.
And if you are wondering what that homeschooler isn’t sharing with YOU, check this out:
Now it’s your turn: What would you add?
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram