Saturday, 2 June 2012

Why I Love Being a Homeschool Mom

Guest post by Karen Loethen of Homeschool Atheist Momma  

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.

- Diane Loomans, from "If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again"

Most families do not homeschool.  Most families send their children to public schools, private schools, or alternative schools.  

As a homeschooling mom, I am SO in the minority.  As a homeschool mom, I am SO stereotyped.  As a homeschool mom, I am, to someone, a representative of all other homeschool moms.  As a homeschooling mom, I am accused of being selfish, of being too sheltering to my children, of disrespecting the school system by taking my children out of it, of being infuriatingly confident that my children can learn without the school system, of being frighteningly inadequate to attempt the education of my children, of being in an unhealthy and enmeshed relationship with my children, of raising children who are insecure around others, of having children who are unable to form close and intimate relationships with friends, of losing the respect of my children and being unable to discipline them in their confusion of my role, of preventing my children of acquiring skills necessary for living in the society at large, and, most frightening of them all, of depriving them of THE PROM. 

How heinous and awful I sound by this count.

You will have to read my blog and/or other extended writings if you are looking for evidence to support homeschooling.  This writing is not about that.  It is about being a parent in such an unpopular and outside-of-the-box lifestyle.  (I have included some links at the end of this post for those who are interested in such reading.) 

Think of it this way, in some way, ALL parents are outside-of-the-box in something :
The common knowledge encourages breastfeeding until 13.62 months, but you did it for three months.  The popular opinion is that all children should read “Best Boring Poems” by the time they are eight years old and you waited until they were teens.  The other parents have the uniform company stitch the name on the back and you did it yourself.  The PTA parents discuss earlier bedtimes and you allow your child to watch SNL.  The authorities insist on early-in-life vaccinations and you choose to have them administered after eighteen months.   The important people insist that a religious background is essential to bringing up “good kids” and you are an agnostic.  The popular parenting philosophy is attachment families and you do not accept the model.  You disagree with families who practice non-violent parenting.  Your family loves steak and does not agree with the notion of families that are vegan or non-vegan.  Families are those made up of a mother and a father and the children they give birth to and you are gay, an adoptive parent, a single parent, living with your parents, or any other of the many lifestyles out there.

As parents, we need to realize that the parents around us are doing their best.  They are making choices that, while they may not be my choice, is their informed and examined choice.  It is their choice based on a variety of reasons that I might not understand or agree with.  Parents all around us are making decisions and living by paradigms that disagree with our own conception of “optimal parenting”. 

As a society, truly, it’s time we parents supported each other!
Many societal influences are out there trying, unrelentingly, to divorce our kids from their self-esteem, to create chaos and confusion in our kids, and to reduce the strength of the familial bond.  If you have chosen to take your children to the center of Africa so that they can learn from that, if your children are in the circus, if your family spend its time and energy in supporting the local community theater, I SUPPORT YOU. 
I support your choices!  And, at some level, I think, COOL, that’s a neat lifestyle choice!


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