A Homeschool Parent’s Guide to Traditional School Parents

I’ve seen several guides written for public school parents meant to help them understand homeschoolers.  These are generally meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but amidst all the hilarity is a genuine desire to really open the eyes of “the other side.”

These guides can actually be quite helpful, especially for those who have only been on one side of the fence.  As I read, I began thinking to myself: “What about a guide for homeschoolers? Surely they should have a guide too.”

Before we started homeschooling, we sent our daughter to a private Montessori, and if we still lived in WA, she’d still be going there.  We absolutely loved her school, and she did too.

I’ve been on the other side.  While I’ve never sent her to public school, I have been a “traditional” school parent, and I myself went to public school.

So here, my homeschooling friends, is your guide.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF US CARE DEEPLY ABOUT OUR CHILD’S EDUCATION.

I didn’t spend months going from school to school attempting to find the best for Babydoll because I thought that would be a great use of my time.  Just because folks don’t homeschool doesn’t mean they don’t see the value in a great education for their child.

ENJOYING CHILD-FREE TIME DOESN’T MEAN YOUR CHILD ISN’T LOVED.

Yes, as a homeschool mom, I think it a little odd to hear the sighs of relief once kids head back to school each year.  I enjoy the company of my daughter, and I missed her when she went away to school.  I did enjoy the time to myself I had, though, and all the things I could get done during that time.  That didn’t mean that I couldn’t stand being around my daughter.

WE DON’T ALL SIT AROUND AND TALK ABOUT “THOSE CRAZY HOMESCHOOLERS.”

Frankly, many of us have better stuff to do with our time than to spend copious amounts of it concerning ourselves with what you do in your house.  While I didn’t really know anything about homeschooling before I started, I didn’t think they were freaks at all.  Well, not most anyway…

ASKING QUESTIONS DOESN’T MEAN WE THINK YOU’RE A COMPLETE LOSER WHO CAN’T POSSIBLY EDUCATE YOUR CHILD.

I know many folks only “know” about homeschoolers based on what’s in popular media.  A genuine curiosity about the process doesn’t equal a disdain for the process.

MANY OF US SPEND QUITE A BIT OF TIME ON OUR CHILD’S EDUCATION.

I was up at Babydoll’s school every single week.  The first year I volunteered to be the mom who sat with each kid as they read to me for fifteen minutes.  At first, I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t a fan.  But after each kid became comfortable with me and I was able to see the progress they made, it was one of my favorite things.  I helped out at her school, I was involved.  Many parents do the same.

SOME OF US MIGHT WANT TO HOMESCHOOL, BUT WE CAN’T FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS.

Just because someone isn’t homeschooling doesn’t mean they don’t want to.  Just because you can handle being a single mom, working, and homeschooling doesn’t mean that someone else can.  Sometimes it’s just not someone’s time.

SOME OF US WOULD STILL LIKE TO SIT AROUND AND TALK TIME MANAGEMENT, CURRICULA, AND MORE WITH YOU.

Just because we don’t homeschool doesn’t mean that these things aren’t important to us.  I think any mom can benefit from the sharing of these ideas.

YOU KNOW HOW YOU DON’T LIKE FEELING YOU NEED TO EXPLAIN YOUR DECISION? NEITHER DO WE.

Sharing of ideas, eye-opening information, and a genuine desire to learn more are one thing; that uncomfortable judgmental silence is another.

WE DON’T ALL THINK YOU’RE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIANS.

Sure, that’s the image that many people have in their minds of homeschoolers, but that doesn’t mean that we automatically assume that about all homeschoolers.

JUST BECAUSE WE DON’T AGREE ON SOMETHING DOESN’T MEAN WE HATE HOMESCHOOLING.

As long as their are parents and children, there will be differences of opinion on how to raise them.  That’s OK.

I just can’t get behind your desire to only expose your daughter to the wonders of housecleaning, child-rearing, and being a subservient wife.  Homeschooler or not.  My stating so is in no way a slam against homeschooling.  I hope it works for your family, but it definitely doesn’t work for mine.

This list doesn’t apply to all people, of course, but it’s a good digest of things I remember when I was “over there.”

What would you add to this list?