Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day22/365 Our Last Back To School Photo and The Bitter Homeschooler's List

This is DD's last official year of homeschool, even though she's officially started college. She will not be happy I've put her pic on my blog, but I think it's disguised enough so she'll enjoy it.
It's just the perfect illustration for 10 years of swimming upsteam from the current everyone else follows, doing things the opposite of the way most other people do it, and in general, schooling outside of the box.

To go with it is this exasperated article sent to our homeschool list today - I couldn't have said it better myself:

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

By Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling, Issue #1, Fall 2007

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's
insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would
we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the
one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now.
Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization
means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and
pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in
fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the
planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir
practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H
club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the
same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either
on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know,
know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling.
You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is
running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them
every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear
they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential
oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for
religious reasons.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of
options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to
annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the
specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being
homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own
educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my
credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to
successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching
to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of
chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left
me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the
basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's
a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can
possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that
you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in
"homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the
amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the
off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and
holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in
homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day,
just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education
— and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a
lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our
lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid
might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry
was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get
to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be
bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't
mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep
now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's
some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of
these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're
allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't,
thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job
than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well
as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around
academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet,
boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because
he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be
as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of
anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool
my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get
because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about
all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling,
shut up!


  1. Oh man, that one deserves a BIG AMEN! And how true it all is...I have heard soooooo much of that and more. LOL