Tuesday, September 3, 2013

School vs Homeschool

This photo is of our classroom. It's an older picture, probably from last year, but the room is still set up pretty much like this. Well, except for the piles of papers, forms, books, and crud that's carpeting my floor right now. As soon as I get it picked up, I might take a new one, but you get the idea. As we start up another school year, I'm seeing the typical posts by parents of school-age children. Some are happy their kids are going back to school. Others are sad because they enjoyed the time they spent with their kids. And then there are the homeschoolers ...

Most of you know I'm a homeschooling mom. I'm about to start my 15th year, so this is hardly a new thing for me. After 15 years, I have accumulated so much stuff that I could pretty much do it without buying any new curriculum. It's worked great for my family, even though we started out the private school route when my girls were younger. I began homeschooling them because the school they attended—which we loved—was getting too expensive. Education shouldn't have to compete with a house payment, but they were getting to be about the same amount, so I looked into an alternative. Homeschooling was the answer for us.

One of my pet peeves about homeschooling are parents that slam parents who have chosen to go the public or private school route. Every year I see comments and posts ridiculing parents who seem happy their kids are going back to school. Some (not all!) try to make it sound like parents hate their children and can't wait to get them back in the classroom so they can selfishly have their "me time". That's not true, and it's really unfair for those people to paint others with that kind of brush. Not everyone can homeschool their children. Some families can't afford to live off one income. Not everyone should homeschool. It's a choice. Homeschooling families should consider themselves lucky to have the choice, and not ridicule others for their decision. Every time an article on homeschool hits the media, I cringe. A lot of people drag it out with these huge debates. I just want the freedom to do what works for my family.

Then you get into the debate of which type of schooling is better. That's another pet peeve. Some homeschoolers feel their way is the only good way. When you confront them, their argument is that most of them went to either public or private school when they were kids, so they know what it's like. That's a load of BS too. I went to public and private school. I hated them both. Not because the schools were bad, but for a million other reasons that I'm not going to go into now. Granted, schools have changed, so I get that. There are good schools and there are bad schools. If you're stuck in a bad school, you have to work with it to try to make it better. That's your job as a parent. That's what PTAs are for. 

I have homeschooling friends and I have friends who have kids in public or private school. I even have friends who are still in school themselves. Whenever I see a homeschooler ragging on the school system, it leaves a bitter taste. There are just as many great kids coming out of the system as there are coming from homeschooling families. I'm sure the number is higher in the system because there are more kids using it. So, unless you're a homeschooling family who associates ONLY with other homeschoolers, it looks stupid for you to be making fun of others who choose to go a different route. If I did that, no one would talk to me because most of my friends (at least online) are teachers, school workers, or parents with kids in the school system. Then there are all of my writer friends who rely on the schools for their careers. My MIL and SIL are both teachers. My daughter (homeschooled from grade 2 through 12th) is in college working on an education major. Why? Because she wants to make a difference in kid's lives.

How we educate our children is a choice — there is no wrong or right way. There is only what is right for our kids. Who cares if a parent does a happy dance on back-to-school day. It hardly means they hate their children or that they don't want to be with them. Everyone has their own reasons. If you don't like the school system and you can/want to homeschool, then more power to you. It just bothers me to see people being made fun of for their choice. Homeschoolers dislike the stereotype and labels that get tossed at them for their choice. They shouldn't turn it around and do the same to non-homeschoolers.

Well, I better get off my soapbox ... I have a ton of laundry to do.


  1. Great post--and awesome school room! I wish I had one place I could dedicate to a schoolroom, but our homeschooling books, papers, projects, etc. are all over the house. :)

  2. What a lovely post!
    I just sent my little guy off to start third grade. We have the time and the space, and I would be happy to homeschool him, if it was right for us, but he really loves his school (it's a rural public school). He was so excited to go today, that he woke us up to make sure he got ready on time.

    Good luck with year 15!

  3. Very well said, Rena! And I love your classroom.

  4. It's a hard decision for a lot of parents. I thought about homeschooling when the kids hit middle school...for some reason middle school was scary...for me not them.

  5. Amen, sister. We can't all take the same path, we don't all live the same circumstance.