When people find out we are homeschooling, they say certain things. Well-intentioned comments like:
"Wow, I could never do that!"
"What do you do all day?"
"I'm not sure I could spend that much time with my kids."
"You must have so much patience!"
We get these comments from everyone, from our closest friends to the old fellow at the farm stand who inquires, puzzled, "No school today?"
And the truth is, while I don't mind the comments, I never really know what to say.
I will often make a joke or change the conversation. I'm rarely honest with non-homeschoolers.
Well, today I'm coming clean. I'm sharing three things that your homeschooling friend isn't telling you.
3 Things Your Homeschooling Friend Isn't Telling You
1. She loves homeschooling.
No, it's not all rainbows and sunshine. She has hard days, crabby days, and sick days just like everyone else, but she loves homeschooling. In fact, some days are more fun than she is willing to admit. She's afraid you will think she is bragging or, even worse, that you will think she is not taking her children's education seriously.
The truth is, it's challenging to be super-efficient in a public school setting. A lot of time is lost when you are shuffling twenty-plus children from place to place. Your homeschooling friend has the luxury of working with a smaller number of children. This allows for more freedom and flexibility. Academic work is accomplished in less time, leaving more space for unique learning opportunities, field trips, and fun projects.
2. She treasures the time she has with her children... and the time her children have with each other.
Your friend is enjoying this gift of time with her children. She values the space her family has for things like extra-curricular activities, art, nature, and play. Without homework, carpool, and lunches to pack, your friend is not tied to anyone's schedule but her own. And while she is certainly not immune to sibling rivalry, whining, and squabbles, there is a special camaraderie among her children. It stems from spending more time together, sharing meals, and learning alongside each other.
3. She wants you to know that, while not for everyone, homeschooling is a valid educational choice.
Your friend understands that homeschooling is not for everyone, but she wants you to know that the same goes for public school. One size does not fit all. Homeschooling is a wonderful option for children who do not fit in that proverbial box.
Your friend has learned more about herself, her children, and the world since embarking on this path. She has been forced to be present with her children, to answer questions, to solve problems, to search for answers. She has witnessed her children learn and grow and thrive. On a daily basis, she is challenged more than she ever thought possible, but even on her worst days, she is thankful for journey.
A version of this article was originally published on My Little Poppies.
Cait is a school psychologist, mom to three amazing children, and an unexpected homeschooler. She loves nature, good books, board games, strong coffee, and dancing in her kitchen. She blogs about the journey at My Little Poppies. Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is a co-founder of Raising Poppies, an online community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is a contributing writer at Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has been featured on The Mighty and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and G+.