14 September 2009

Homeschooling to Strangers' Standards.

Sarita Holzmann sends emails from Sonlight to my inbox every now and then. (I'm sure about 27,000 other people receive the emails at the same time, so don't think I'm all important and stuff.) In her latest missive, Holzmann questioned whether people hold homeschoolers to a higher standard than they would a public schooling family.

Oh... that is *so* true. Let your public-schooled kid think school is stupid and boring, and no one bats an eyelid at the doctor's office or Sam's Club. But a homeschooled kid? We have to wonder what that poor kid is going through at home. Maybe the kid is getting indoctrinated or something.

Emperor desperately wants to go to public school. That lady he lives with is a mean, rotten mom. She's keeping him down. He's certain that in public school, he wouldn't have to do "all this work." Folks, he works from 6:50 a.m. to ... sometimes past *noon*! It's child abuse, I tell ya. I mean, in public school he'd have things a lot easier, right??? Certainly they wouldn't give him longer hours than that. It isn't fair.

Aside from making the poor child slave all day, she does something so tyrannical, so horrible, that you'll want to rescue him right now. She makes him use a RULER sometimes when he does his math. Do you hear me? A RULER. Mom's picky about straight lines when we're measuring angles and stuff. Emperor said he's sure the kids up the street have it so easy, and he's in no danger of being locked in a closet like Elf. I mean, that whole week and a half he was there for kindergarten? They didn't lock him up then. Sure, they suspended him three times, and made this kid who could do triple-digit math identify a triangle and rectangle during "circle time" ... but they didn't lock him up! It just HAS to be a child-friendly place that he is missing out on. Life was so easy back then. (cue violin music)

Poor guy. And sad to say, if he voiced all this out at the Hy-Vee deli counter or to his public schooled friends, they'd think it was a tragedy.

But back to the forum post Holzmann shared. She mildly stated that a Sonlighter "faced some criticism from her family dentist when her son told him he thought school was boring."

"I just want to pass along to you from your son that he wants school to be more challenging," the dentist told the mom. "As I was walking out he said, 'Remember: something more challenging.' I left feeling like my kids and I were being tested because they're homeschooled. (Um, ya think??) I hate this. It seems like almost everywhere we go if they say they're homeschooled they're tested on their knowledge... then if they make one mistake I look bad."

"I know more families than just this Sonlight user experience criticism from doctors, friends, family, and other people who don't understand why they would decide to homeschool," Holzmann continued. "The truth is, it is very discouraging to feel scrutinized by others who don't understand. Criticism, albeit common, is hurtful and confusing. It may cause you to doubt yourself and your ability to offer the best education to your children."

That, or it may cause you to find a new dentist. Inspire you, even.

The problem with related exchanges like this is that we're not there to witness them. I know sometimes when I blow off steam on the blog, I'm telling it from my perspective. In real life, though, I might just come off as a little tiny bit abrasive on very rare occasions. Most of the time, I am all sweetness and flowers, and you should bear that in mind next time I post in a huff! Maybe the mom in question was one of those "nice" Christians who let people say all kinds of crap to them and get away with it without saying anything mean back.

Um, I wouldn't suggest pulling that one on me. Every now and then, I run out of flowers, and you don't want to be there when that happens.

17 comments:

  1. I've rarely encountered strangers who want to tell me how to homeschool my kids. I think I come off as someone who might become offended enough to say something back. These days, they'd be right.

    Gary's stepmother once called up here and offered to buy our kids school supplies and clothes because she believed God was telling her that's why we weren't sending our children to public school. Gary was amused. I was not. My mother-in-law used to ask regularly when we were going to get real and give up on "this homeschooling thing." My father is always telling me how my boys aren't getting the kind of exposure to other kids that they should (he's convinced this is why Daniel has Asperger's).

    I ran out of flowers a long time ago. :)

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  2. PS. I'm a mean mom too. Brace yourself, it gets worse. :)

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  3. Amazingly I ve never been questioned about homeschooling the kids. I go places in the middle of the day some times and they never say a word. If they did I would lvoe to give them an answer. I battled that public school for so long I would put them in their spot instantly. They would wish they would have never tangled with me! LOL

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  4. Mary, I know *exactly* what it feels like to have people try to make you feel you caused your kids' autism. Yep. I mean, if only we weren't so messed up, our kids wouldn't be either.

    Mrs. D, I kinda wish someone would try it because *you* would so totally rock on the blogs after LOL!!

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  5. Give me a break! Suppose a child sat in the dentist chair and complained about school. Then suppose the dentist saw that child's public school teacher afterward. Would he feel inclined to put his two cents in regarding her teaching abilities? I doubt it.

    Frankly, I don't think I was ever issued any sweetness or flowers...

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  6. I'm clean out of nice at the moment. No~one even begins to want to tangle with me on this one because Ditz goes on & on all the time about what a drag school is because we all know the only thing of any importance whatsoever is music. I really, really don't feel like copping it from both barrels.

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  7. Mrs C--I can't imagine you being anything but sweetness and flowers. Come on now...I love the remark about being a "tiny bit abrasive..." You go girl! We haven't even started home schooling yet, unless you count teaching Cupcake to count to four and sing the alphabet song, but we get crap all the time. We even get the whole "pastors should set an example and support our fine public school system." Whatever! I want to be the one responsible for indoctrinating my own children--thank you very much!

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  8. I have been there soooo many times. Tyler is so bright and articulate but is NEVER fails that when he talks to someone in my extended family, most of which are either teachers or principals in the public school system, he seems to forget everything he knows. It makes me want to scream. It probably doesn't help that they drill him like he is on trial. I have to be honest and say I have tried confronting them and now just avoid them. I care more about the damage to my kids then trying to win them over.

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  9. LOL Deb, most of us don't really have flowers... I was just saying that so I would *look* like a nice person in blogland and keep up a good front. :P

    Ganeida, I have never homeschooled a teenager. I keep thinking that if I play my cards right, things will be perfect by then. But then, I thought my other children would be so perfect by this age, too. HA! I wonder if teens don't have to take a step back before they take one forward...

    Bonnie, as a pastor, keep reminding your parishoners that you're there to support the Lord Jesus Christ and want to be sure your children are trained in the scriptures. Hang on to it! I think pastors are in a really tough spot when it comes to raising their kids, and we need to support whatever decision they make and help 'em out. They do so much! I wish my pastor knew how much I appreciate him and his wife and their prayers. I'd probably write 'em a fan letter or something, but I don't want anyone thinking I'm flirting or a stalker. Or weird because I'm thinking about the Sunday's sermon still on Tuesday. You know if you got an "I love you guys" letter, you'd think your parishoner is weird and sit somewhere else during small group prayer time. :P

    But. If you sent your kid to public school, you should be supported as well. I mean, where in the Bible does it say, "Thou shalt homeschool," or "Thou shalt support public schools."

    Ok, that gets me mad. They're basically telling you how to run your life... and they pay their tithes, and it's awkward. Fights should be saved for biggies like "what kind of music is played on Sunday morning" or "whether I get thanked in the bulletin for my work at church last week."

    LOL

    Bronwyn, that is so incredibly disrespectful to your parenting. Actually, it sounds like they're going on a fishing expedition and using your child to prove their point.

    WOWWW. Could you imagine if we did that to kids in public school and then made snide comments to the parents? Way to be salt and light and stuff. I don't blame you for your reaction!!

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  10. Talking about what our hs children have to put up with from "the public"... have you noticed how one of the first things they are asked is.."What grade are you in?" or "Where do you go to school?" Maybe it's just an easy way to break the ice when talking to children, I don't know. Two of my children don't even know what to answer for the first question, which tends to be awkward.. I don't care though, what the heck difference does it make in homeschooling? I stopped worrying about what "grade" my son with autism is in a long time ago.

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  11. I don't have my kids yet, so I haven't had anyone question me yet. Of course, I actively promote homeschooling and the most common response I get to that is: "I could never do that. I couldn't spend that much time with my kids."

    "...umm... that's a problem on your end, yeah?"

    I haven't figured a nice way to say that yet, so mostly I keep my mouth shut. I do like flowers, but sometimes I can't figure out how to present them to others in a way that these people will grab the stem by a thorn and realize they're missing something important. [smile]

    ~Luke

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  12. I am so glad that after 20+ years of homeschooling, I just don't care what others think. I mean really, let me mess up my kids in my own way. I will leave you in peace to do the same.

    I would definitely have found another dentist and surely told that one off.

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  13. I can't even imagine my dentist saying such a thing! Honestly, it's not like a Pediatrician who might be looking at his well-being (or whatever else excuse they might use).

    On the other hand, my chiropractor surprised me recently by remembering that I homeschool (I told him so at least over a year ago) and proceeding into a conversation of how much he admired his patients who homeschool their children! Need I say I was feeling better in more ways than one when I left?

    I wish I could say that was always the reaction. But I admit that most the time I just don't care anymore. I'm just glad that I still have the right to choose how my children are schooled. Hopefully it will stay that way.

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  14. Ooooh, LAA, that is a post in itself, that grade thing.

    Luke, you are killin' me here. You have flowers for everyone, always. :]

    Jana, I LOVE how you are politely confrontational. I really do. I like hearing it straight from you and not being in any doubt about your opinion. It's one of my fave things about your blog.

    Mkm, isn't that awesome to get a good testimony? Usually I hear the story about some guy's cousin who messed up his kids.

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  15. Tell your little one that at public school, not only are you there allll day but they make sure to send even more work home with them. So play time is MUCH shorter actually for kids in school. I have to remind my boys of that every now and then.

    Awww... Mrs. C, we know YOU are all flowers. You just have a bee poking around in there sometimes. That's when we see the stings. No worries. ha ha.

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  16. I was at a doctor's office today. Learned that she has seven kids, and homeschooled them all.

    Also that two of them are themselves in medical school at the moment.

    Why everyone feels that they're allowed to pick apart your methods and results is beyond me. I've seen what passes for knowledge in a "respected" school system. They're really good at putting a lot of acronyms onto different teaching methods. Then they go and do what they have to, which is teach to the mean. If my wife didn't supplement the heck out of what the kids got at school, they'd both be lost.

    Joe

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  17. ((Virginia))

    Joe, that's *exactly* it. And then the government makes all these standards schools are supposed to live up to. They'll penalize schools where the free/reduced lunch kid with no parental help doesn't do as well as your kid. So... guess which kid gets more help?

    They need families like yours in the system to make it work. But the thing is, at least in the *lower* grades, it's a lot of work on the parent's part. And the really tough thing about having a kid in ps is that you really need to do it the teacher's way whenever possible. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with the teacher's way, but I do my math or whatever the way I find most comfortable. It's a lot of work! It really is. :]

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)