If you had told me, two years ago, that I would be homeschooling my children, I would have burst out laughing.
Homeschooling was never on my radar and yet, in May of 2014, I found myself suddenly, unexpectedly homeschooling. The decision to homeschool was stressful and scary, but we knew it was the right choice for our son.
I've since connected with tons of "suddenly unexpectedlies"... homeschoolers who landed here, for one reason or another. Today I am sharing five things you should never say to an unexpected homeschooler (and one thing that's right on the money).
1. "But what about socialization?!"
Let me tell you something, guys. This question is plain silly business.
But it’s very popular silly business, and believe me when I tell you that this question has already crossed the unexpected homeschooler’s mind and she’s worried, too. Mostly because people keep asking her.
Here’s the thing:
In the traditional school setting, there are 20 some-odd kids in the same room. They are placed together because their birthdates fall within a 12-month range. These students spend class time, lunch, recess, field trips, and specials together. I am a product of this system and I turned out okay, but who says it is the best way?
When you homeschool, the child receives:
- 1:1 social-emotional support as often as it is necessary, not just 2x/week for 20 minutes if he or she qualifies for it.
- Constant practice of social skills, whether at home, in the community, at a co-op, at church, at a class, or online. Every single day is different and the child is exposed to people of all different ages, education levels, and backgrounds.
- The ability to spend time with people who share common interests, not just birth years.
I have seen remarkable growth in my son's social-emotional functioning this year. I’m not the only one noticing this growth, either. I am frequently approached by complete strangers who share stories of his kindness, ability to share with others, manners, conversational skills, and his compassion for young children.
You cannot tell me we would receive an equivalent level of socialization at school or… yes, I’m going there: on the school bus. I mean, c’mon folks. This question is just plain silly business.
2. "I'd never have the patience!"
Dude. This is so not helpful. Do you remember Bambi? Thumper’s mom told him, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Listen to Thumper’s mom.
The reality is, she doesn’t think she’ll have the patience either. In fact, she’s sure that her well of patience has run completely dry. She’s scared and you’re not helping.
3. "But what about [middle school/ high school/ college]?"
This mom is trying to make it to bedtime. She’s flying by the seat of her pants. Do not, for the love of mercy, ask her about college applications! Her son is SIX. He should be running around the backyard with a big smile on his dirty little face.
4. "In THIS district?!"
Yes, in this district. Did you think she was going to up and move? Believe me, this mom is not homeschooling her child in order to offend you and your phenomenal school district. She knows her child better than anyone else on God’s green earth and she’s well aware of the district's many accolades. She bought a house here, remember? One size does not fit all.
5. "Will you homeschool all of them?"
Calm down, people! Let this sudden, unexpected homeschooler survive her first year. She has no idea what she’s doing and she’s scared out of her pants. She’s not thinking about homeschooling more than this one. She’s in survival mode.
One thing you CAN say that is right on the money:
"You've GOT THIS!"
She might not realize this yet, but no one is better equipped to teach this child than she. After all, she was his first teacher. She taught him to eat, to sleep, to use kind words, to use the bathroom, to tie his shoes... and the list goes on and on and on. She's been teaching him all along. She's got this, she just doesn't know it yet.
Are you an unexpected homeschooler? What would you add to this list? Share here.
(And, if you want to know five things that homeschooler isn't saying to YOU, click here!)
A version of this article was originally published on My-Little-Poppies.com.
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. Cait is also 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+.