Real Talk for SAHMs: Homeschooling promotion vs. homeschool reality

It’s presented as easy to jump into, especially by conservative men talking out of their hats, but there are numerous obstacles and regional barriers.  A few of the more common ones are listed below.  Actually, this should be an ongoing series, with each one its own post.  A project for another time.  For now here’s the capsules.

  1. “Just go join a co-op!”  LOL.  As if they’re listed in the phone book, or posted at your local church (if you even have a local church, the commuter-Christian phenomenon is painfully familiar and common, and has been for much of American history).  The existence of contact information does not prove the co-op is open to new families.  The lack of contact information does not prove the co-op is closed to new families.  This is, needless to say, confusing as all get out, especially considering the state the average Christian SAHM is in.  Sure, I’ll take my sleep-deprived, pregnant self around to ten or twenty churches and ask about their homeschool co-ops, towing my four kids under 5 behind me.  Or I’ll compose a dozen emails because doesn’t every homeschool co-op have a well-designed website with contact information and details of how the co-op works prominently labelled?  Oh, oh, wait, wait, let me make PHONE CALLS while KIDS SCREAM IN MY EAR.
  2. “You can easily homeschool older kids with littles around!”  ROFLMSMBO (rolling on the floor laughing my shiny metal butt off).  Not really, no.  It’s hard to end up with the mix of personalities that would allow this to be possible, and what is rare and unusual at best is all too often presented as a normal, reasonable expectation in homeschooling.  But everyone lies.  It’s just not real.
  3. Not distinguishing between HomeSchool and School at Home.  The latter is just a way to bring all the ridiculous pedagogy from public school into your house for no gain and a lot of needless hassle.
  4. “It’s always superior to public school!”  LOLOLOLOL.  The homeschool vanguard, with exceptionally well-educated mothers who had access to classically trained elites (because that was their cousin or uncle) could not produce employable children.  They couldn’t even produce the army of little Lee Kwan Yews they were very convinced they would end up becoming the new elites.

Brought to you by my attempts to find other homeschoolers locally and the honest experiences of homeschoolers online and off when it’s just us ladies realtalking while the kids run around.

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3 thoughts on “Real Talk for SAHMs: Homeschooling promotion vs. homeschool reality

  1. You’re right that homeschooling is not always an easy transition. I found the first year and a half extremely taxing. The learning curve was steep and it often felt overwhelming. But I’m glad I stuck through it.

    Interestingly it was joining a co-op that was the turning point for me because it put me in touch with other mothers, exposed me to various methods, curriculums, took some of the load off in certain subjects (like art) and gave me some breathing room.

    In our metro area, finding co-ops and getting information about who is still accepting new families or not is relatively easy. Homeschooling is a big thing here because of disillusionment with FL schools, so resources are plentiful although not all of them are affordable.

    That said, I have spoken to other mothers who have found networking and gathering information particularly challenging and discouraging.

    But you’re right. People who just spout off platitudes without taking into account the full picture (younger children’s needs), the housework that still waits to be done, meals, etc. understate the undertaking that homeschooling is and the pressure that it puts on the home educator, usually the mother.

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  2. I was homeschooled. When I mention this, more than a few guys (it’s always libertarian-ish white guys!) have been eager to breathlessly inquire about how “awesome” it was to be homeschooled. Smash the state and its army of feeeemale teacher-union goons!

    But the reality was that my parents were pretty dysfunctional educators– mom was math-phobic, depressed, and disorganized, Dad was irritable and explosive– and they were constantly on the verge of being too broke to afford a fresh round of kids’ shoes, let alone private tutors or supplementary curricula! So eventually I wound up back in public middle school, dependent on the kindness and professionalism of an excellent, incredibly patient sixth grade teacher who spent a lot of time after class tutoring me on basic arithmetic. I was twelve years old and totally terrified of fractions. :/

    It wasn’t all bad, though; I did read a lot!

    I don’t doubt homeschooling can be done excellently, but to listen to some of the advocates, it’s ALWAYS done excellently (or at least better than the local PS) no matter how ignorant, overwhelmed, or broke(n) the family is. Ridiculous. My own kids get on the yellow bus every morning, let’s just say that.

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  3. Pingback: The Reluctant Homeschooler | Loving in the Ruins

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