According to the most recent census about 3% of American children are homeschooled. It’s a growing movement, to be certain, but still far from “the norm.” Many, if not most, people in this country live their whole lives without even ever meeting a homeschool family. Therefore their perceptions are based on those folks “on the fringe” who end up on the evening news or Dr. Phil talking about how they are proud that their 15 year old has never read any book other than the Bible and they don’t believe in girls learning math.
The reality is that homeschooling families are pretty much everyone else. There are good days and bad. There are success stories and failures. There are some people who are just fabulously cool and some who are truly odd.
Still, when you are approaching such a major part of life in a way that is different than the way 97% of those around you are doing it, there are bound to be some awkward moments.
10 Awkward Moments in Homeschooling
1. The moment when someone knocks on the door, unexpectedly, at 1pm and you realize no one can answer it because the entire family is still in their PJs and/or underwear.
We’ve been learning, I swear! In fact, we were so busy learning we forgot to put on pants.
2. The moment when your child is asked where they go to school and they just stand there, staring at the person like a deer caught in the headlights.
I’m never sure why they don’t just say, “I’m homeschooled.” This, of course, does little to dispel the “weird unsocialized homeschooler” myth.
3. The moment when you’re asked what grade your child is in and you can picture all of their books and lists – 3rd grade math, 9th grade reading, 5th grade science, and a coloring book from 2009 they just won’t give up on until every corner is fabulous – and you realize you have no idea what grade they’re actually in without consulting your records.
This is the parent version of #2.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s why the kids can’t answer that question. Maybe they’re thinking, “I go to school in the dining room, the car, my mom’s office at work, the park, the local grange building…”
4. The moment when someone asks your child, “How long did you do school this morning?”
SHHHH! I’m trying to be sneaky over here! We ARE doing school! We’re grocery shopping and she’s keeping track of how much we’re spending. This is math class. She HATES math and doesn’t realize she’s studying right now so please don’t judge me when she tells you, “we didn’t do any school today.”
5. The moment you overhear your child say to a public school student, “What do you mean you’ve never had a single lesson on the science of Star Wars? Isn’t that a required subject?”
We’re nerds and we’re proud.
6. The moment when someone at the grocery store sees you and your two children and says, “Oh, you homeschool? That’s nice. Are the rest of the children at home then?”
OK, first of all – making assumptions about the number of children any family has is always a fast train to Awkwardland. Just don’t go there. If you are close enough to me to ask about my choices regarding child-bearing you already know how many kids I have and why. If you don’t already know, you really have no business inquiring about anything having to do with my uterus and/or sexual choices.
Second, contrary to what some people think, there are actually families that homeschool who have only one child. And some that have 3. And some that have 7. If you ask around at public school you’ll find a similar situation.
7. The moment when a public school child says, “This week we studied the feudal system.” And your child responds with, “We just watched movies this week.
They weren’t movies. They were DOCUMENTARIES. Totally different thing.
8. The moment when a friend who is a public school teacher says, “What textbook are you using?” And your child responds with, “We don’t use textbooks. We just look stuff up on the internet.”
We do a lot of learning online. I often direct my child to very reputable sites – everyone from NASA to PBS offers amazing free resources. We’re not just doing random Google searches, I swear. Er… well… not when it comes to the really important stuff anyway. But does my child say, “I’m learning science from NASA right now,”? Of course not. She just implies that her main source of information is YouTube.
9. The moment when you are trying to assure your family that, as homeschoolers, your children are still getting plenty of opportunity to develop great social skills and you child enters the room walking backwards with a bag over their head loudly singing Elvis’ Greatest Hits.
What can I say? They come from a long line of strange people and big Elvis fans. They get plenty of interaction with other children and adults as well but, really, the poor kids never stood a chance.
10. The moment you look out the window and see a group of kids all wrapped up in their winter gear, waiting in the dark to get on the bus and go to school for the day, while you are lying on the sofa under a pile of giggling kids and fuzzy, tail-wagging dogs as the 3rd episode in a row of The Magic School Bus begins.
Oh, wait. Wrong list. That one goes on 1,001 reasons why I love being one of the 3%.
Share your awkward story in the comments. Life’s too short for us not to laugh together!
But before you go, don’t miss out on this great give-a-way!
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to share a truly amazing book with you.
Tom Rogers’, “Eleven” is a wonderful story about a little boy who turns 11 on 9/11/2001. The book is totally age-appropriate for an older elementary student and engaging enough for any adult.
As the anniversary of that world-changing event approaches, I am having my 5th grader read “Eleven” in the hopes that she will come to understand that people just like her had their lives directly, irrevocably changed in a moment. If you’d like to read the review, you can do so by clicking here or you can visit www.ElevenTheBook.com.
I’m so excited that Tom Rogers has agreed to give a copy of his book to one lucky reader! It’s a read you don’t want to miss.
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