When someone decides to homeschool, it's a pretty radical choice. It definitely goes against the grain and receives a multitude of responses. It is not an EASY way to go - that is for sure!
When we made this decision, I was certain we were going to run into all kinds of resistance. I think that by being a certified NY state teacher, it made it easier AND harder. It was easier because they nay-sayers thought and said "oh it's ok for YOU because YOU are a teacher and know what to do." So I might have run into less resistance from my casual acquaintances and community members because I appear to be QUALIFIED. Then again, it was harder because I permanently turned my back on my teaching community. I did this once before when I quit public school teaching over 12 years ago. But by pulling my kids out of the system, it was like a personal insult to them.
However I was very lucky to have the support of close friends and family through this difficult choice. But there are many people who do not have this support. As with any difficult life choice, it is usually not made on a whim. So for those of you who know someone who chooses to homeschool, please keep these things in mind:
1. I do NOT need some certification to teach my children. All of you managed to teach your children how to walk, talk, feed themselves and become mini independent little beings capable of going to school. Learning letters, math & how to read is easier than that!
2. Under NO circumstances should you QUIZ my children. What I choose to teach them and what YOU deem appropriate for them to know are probably 2 different things and YOU are not a part of that decision! And I don't quiz your children to see if they are learning at school.
3. School is NOT socialization. School is forced association with people all the same age. And for the most part, kids get in trouble for socializing at school. So STOP talking about socialization. Homeschoolers are some of the most social, friendly and active people I know.
4. Stop saying that you COULD NEVER DO THAT! Yes you could, you chose not too - which is fine! My life choice is not a statement about you.
5. BE SUPPORTIVE! and I mean really supportive. Not the kind of supportive that says 'Good for you' while slipping my child a ditto sheet. The world trusted you to have children and raise them the way you see fit. No one constantly questioned what you did with your 3 year old each day (or maybe they did but that's for another blog). Just because my child is 8 doesn't change things.
Why is it totally acceptable that a stranger who gets 26 new kids every year is more qualified than me to teach my kids? That a curriculum written by some random company should be thought of as the BEST way to learn? I get to teach 2 children that I love and know inside and out. I can honestly say that all of my degrees, certifications & years of teaching experience really haven't helped me all that much. If anything, homeschooling has re-ignited my passion for teaching instead of teaching helping me to homeschool.
So remember when you are talking with someone who is homeschooling, it probably was not an easy decision for them. Choosing anything that goes against the norm is not easy. Don't be defensive, be supportive. Or as my mother used to say 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all'