Homeschooling is hard. I’ll just say that right up front. And it’s not hard for the reasons you would think — like never having time for yourself or figuring out how to teach your kids about fractions. Those things are actually easier than you think. Like for example, I just avoid fractions altogether. Problem solved.
The real hard part about homeschooling is all the doubt and second-guessing that comes with it. You’re going against the grain and anytime you do that you are going to be constantly questioned (and judged) by society at large. It just irks people to no end to see anyone take the road less travelled. I mean, seriously, get with the program! Swim in the same direction! March to the beat of the SAME drummer for Christ Sakes! What’s the matter with you?
Most homeschool parents just nod their heads and politely answer the same questions over and over again. (“Yes, my children do have friends.” “Yes, they have plenty of opportunities for socialization.” “No, I’m not creating the next uni-bomber – Not that I know of.”)
But still, sometimes in private all homeschool parents wonder/hope/pray that they’re doing the right thing for their children. I know I do. I don’t voice these concerns out loud, of course. But during the day, quite often sometimes, I get insecure and question my choice.
Times like when my daughter’s grasp of current events seems a bit shaky…
Me: “No, sweetie, actually the President of the United States is Barack Obama.”
Inside my head: Oh my God… You’re 10 years old! Why don’t you know that? And Oprah is not Michelle Obama. Stop confusing the two. You’re making us all look racist.
Or when strangers ask me what my children are learning…
Me: “Oh… We do a lot of home based science projects.”
Inside my head: Like today my six year old hit a large plastic water bottle around the yard with a stick for like four hours. That’s science, right? Or is he just insane?
Or when people ask me the benefits of homeschooling…
Me: “You definitely save money on back-to-school clothes.”
Inside my head: As a matter of fact, most of the time my children don’t wear any clothes at all. I’m pretty sure the only jobs they’ll be able to get as adults will be at a nudist colony. I don’t know happened. They’ve gone feral. If I got them to brush their hair I would consider it my greatest accomplishment.
Or how I stay organized…
Me: “As a homeschooling parent, you definitely have to keep to a daily schedule.”
Inside my head: I’m just lying right to your face. Daily schedule? I don’t even know what YEAR it is.
Or how I keep the house clean with kids around all the time…
Me: “That’s where a chore chart comes in handy!”
Inside my head: Quiet sobbing. I think the dog barfed on the chore chart months ago.
And then there are sometimes I get super confident about homeschooling and take comfort in this fact — In the 1950s, the average vocabulary for a high school student was 50,000 words. Today, the average vocabulary for a high school student is 15,000 words. I think, Well, I can do better than that.
And then I look at my kids and they’re happy, funny, well-read people. Homeschooling is such a cozy way to grow up. Sure, they might not know what the Continental Congress is, but really, how often is that going to come up at the nudist colony?