Have you met that homeschool mom with those exquisitely well behaved, neatly groomed, spelling-bee winning, piano playing prodigies for children? Does she grow all their food in her organic garden in the backyard of her clean and organized home? She appears calm and content, right? Did she mention her 9 year-old is doing high school math and her teen takes SAT practice tests for fun?
I’ve seen her around. I think she travels, taunting moms everywhere.
You stand before her feeling like a slacker because your laundry pile may contain the remains of your 4 year-old’s missing hamster and your kids ate cereal for dinner 3 times this week. Your 9 year-old isn’t doing algebra. You’re just happy he’ll take a bath once in a while.
A reader recently commented on a post here, stating that she could not find any evidence that homeschool moms don’t think they are superior to the rest of the world. She went on to say that my writing (a particularly snarky post) reflected this attitude. I took the time to write a long reply explaining myself, my humor and my epic failure at accomplishing perfect homeschool mom status. I hit publish and it vanished.
Maybe my disappearing comment was a sign. I think that reader was talking about that mom, not me.
So. Let’s talk about this.
Do homeschoolers think they are superior? Do homeschool moms think they are better, smarter or more loving than non-homeschooling parents?
My answer is most certainly no, but a little bit yes. Now, before everyone jumps on my back yelling and screaming, allow me to explain.
The little bit yes comes from the attitude that can develop following years of answering questions and defending our choices to every family member, friend, neighbor, grocery store clerk, guy at the post office, and random person on the street. We are tired. And sometimes the answer to a socialization question, or the how will they ever get in to college question will result in snotty, defensive or superior response.
All of the homeschooling moms I know have spent countless (seriously countless) hours researching homeschooling statistics, approaches, learning styles and curriculum options. It is their life, and doing the best they can for their children is their passion. They don’t take this job lightly.
I don’t think the majority of homeschooling parents think they are superior to public school parents. I was a public school mom for a long time. I know there are good people teaching and caring for the kids there. I know my choice is not the right choice for everyone.
The truth is…
- Public schooling comes with a set of possible problems.
- Private schooling comes with a set of possible problems.
- Homeschooling comes with a set of possible problems.
We all know this is true. My family has tried them all three choices now. My gilrs have been in public school (8 years combined) and private school (4 years). We’ve been homeschooling for close to 5 years, and I am more than willing to discuss the downside. There is a downside with each choice.
Here is what I know about homeschooling moms:
- They are more concerned about getting through the day (or the daily math lesson) than converting the world to their educational philosophy.
- They put a ton of miles on their cars shuttling kids to co-op classes, fencing practice, violin lessons and archeological digs (or insert child’s most passionate interest).
- Some of them (us) embrace a European showering schedule out of necessity.
- They’re willing to go against the mainstream to give their kids what they need.
- They’re not afraid of criticism because they are confident in their choices. They have that confidence -not because someone talked them into it – but because they have experienced the upside of homeschooling first hand. It’s their chosen path.
Parenting is hard, regardless of the path you choose. Some moms (homeschooling or not) seem to have it all together in a really grand, amazing way. Most of us are just pushing forward, doing the best we can, trying to avoid comparing ourselves to supermom.
Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. -Benjamin Spock
What do you think? Do you think homeschooling moms think they are superior to everyone else?