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You give Homeschoolers a bad name!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You give Homeschoolers a bad name!

Let's be honest. Homeschooling has it's misconceptions.

It's understandable. Look at the media coverage you have to go on. At one end, you've got The Duggar Family, who by the way I think is awesome. Michelle Duggar seems sweet, and I admire her patience and soft spoken nature. I do however wonder if she takes Zoloft like me, but either wayI still think she's great. If they want to have 400 kids-more power to 'em. I just personally! My husband always tells me if we had 15 adult children helping us, we probably could do it. Oh, I see her trick. Good point. 

How about another take?

The Martins.They're the family you may have become acquainted with back in 2010 when ABC did a spot on a day in the life of their family. Or perhaps you caught Dayna Martin's interview with Dr. Phil? They teach their children with a method called "unschooling". The term alone sort of freaks me out, but I've been clicking around seeing what others have to say about this philosophy. I'm smart enough to know that media coverage can be biased. I don't think I'd be going out on a  limb by saying the Martin family probably wasn't happy with the final editing of that story on ABC. But, that's just a wild guess.  This young women, an adult unschooled student, spoke out about her education and experience being unschooled, and it's didn't sound so awful. In fact, I was pretty impressed by her.

To each there own! While I may not completely get the philosophy behind unschooling, or even necessarily agree with it, I don't need to.  I also do not get having 20 kids. However, I won't judge them for their choice. Plenty of people judge me for my choice to homeschool. And we're pretty boring. We have textbooks, daily lessons in all the subjects (even the ones they don't like), my kids receive grades, I lesson plan....blah, blah, blah. Ms. Martin would cringe!  

Ok, so all of that to say this...

I don't care what educational philosophy you subscribe to. We all have ONE thing in common. PARENTING!

By parenting I mean this...

the rearing of children: The schedule allows her very little timefor parenting.
the methods, techniques, etc., used or required in therearing of children: a course in parenting.
the state of being a parent parenthood.
of or concerned with the rearing of children: good parentingskills.

I also think it's critical to include my personal favorite-the verb variation for reasons that are about to be painfully obvious.
to be or act as parent of: to parent children with both love and discipline.

Okay, grammar is over. 

A recent outing with my boys has left me scratching my head. We attended our monthly science class at a local museum and science center on Monday. The courses are offered to homeschoolers year round, and it's a great chance to get hands-on with some really cool science stuff we wouldn't necessarily get to do at home. We enjoy it. Usually. 

But, while we were there on Monday, I noticed an alarming trend.

Misbehaving children + oblivious parents = notsomuch fun chaos!

Here's the thing. If your child is being a hellion and you're on your iphone, you're not going to be able to parent. If your child is screaming and you're socializing with other oblivious moms, you're not going to be able to parent. If the instructor is begging repeatedly asking your children to use their "inside voices" that means he wants them to shut up and he wants you to...parent.

In my younger son's class it is required that a parent or chaperon be in attendance during the sessions. There's a lot of hands-on, and most of the kids in this age group need assistance. It's very clear that the instructor needs the parents to participate in order for the experiments to go smoothly.

As the class wore on, I saw more and more parents zoned out on their iphones, socializing while johnny climbed the walls, and oblivious to anything that was going on. I was so embarrassed.

Embarrassed because I felt bad for the science teachers that were dealing with a bunch of "homeschoolers" who clearly aren't parenting. I felt embarrassed to be lumped in that group on Monday.

Homeschool isn't a free for all. My boys have structure and a nurturing learning environment. When I
take them places like this class, it's not so they can be babysat by the center staff, it's so we can get the chance to do these kind of things together!

Not only did many of the parents not pay any attention to instructions, but they talked while the instructions were being given. It was so obvious that the instructors were aggravated. And if the parents are acting like that? Yes. of course their children were too. Sigh...

My kids are not perfect! In fact they are far from it. My oldest has plenty of needs that I have to make sure are met, and he's often misunderstood. So I'm not talking about those kids. In fact, the chaos was so ridiculous for one little boy, that I saw his mom take him off to the side on more than one occasion. Not because he was misbehaving, but because everyone else was. It was just too much for him, and I could tell. Thankfully his mom was parenting.

My youngest has the attention span of about 2 seconds. I have to stay on top of him to make sure he's following along. That's fine. He's 7. He's a boy. He had a great time doing all of the experiments and I was proud he did not follow along with some of the other behavior that had me so irritated.

And I was irritated with the parents. I felt like they were leaving a terrible impression of what homeschool families look like. It really upset me. I ended up intervening as much as I could to try to help the instructors gain some kind of classroom control. I helped them make lines with other people kids while their parents stayed right where they were. UGH! But, it was all I could do. At least I was able to offer some help. One of the dads actually thanked me. That was nice and confirmed I wasn't over reacting. Because I have been known to do that.

And what aggravates me more than anything else? Parents like these give homeschoolers a bad name!

Me no likey.

There are enough misconceptions out there without us adding to the pot through lousy, lazy, selfish parenting. or lack thereof!

So homeschool, unschool, private school, public school, Montessori learning, and the list goes matter what educational trend you're subscribing to, please also subscribe to good 'ole fashioned parenting!

I'm pretty sure our kids won't get into college without it!

**I felt like this rant qualifies for Shell's fabulous Pour Your Heart Out, so you can find me there! AND it's her two year anniversary of #PYHO! I would never miss that! Thanks to giving us a great place to vent, Shell!***

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At March 13, 2012 at 9:26 PM , Blogger Dwija {House Unseen} said...

Preach it, sistah!

At March 13, 2012 at 10:27 PM , Blogger Janet Rose said...

Thank you for this post! I am embarrassed, too, by parents who do not parent. Homeschooling and Christianity get a bad rap when parents slack off in their God given duty to train their child in the way he/she should go.

At March 14, 2012 at 7:41 AM , Blogger Julie said...

I had heard about this unschooling before but never really paid attention for the pure fact that I didn't really like how they were structuring it. To me it was the kid running everything and like you said you need to parent once in awhile.

Good post!! I enjoy hearing about your teachings :)

At March 14, 2012 at 8:06 AM , Blogger ckbrylliant said...

Amen. And I would add that this is seen in the mainstream as well, i.e. the playground. Yes, children need to be children and have some freedom but as you so eloquently stated they need to be parented. Playground time is not free time for you....yes it is more relaxed and a break but your children still need to be supervised so they don't hurt mine or create a dangerous situation for mine!!!

At March 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM , OpenID pmlevitt said...

My daughter is only 2 but we've seen this scenario at public places (playgrounds, parks, children's museums). There is a balance between giving your children freedom to explore and making sure they aren't creating a chaotic, threatening, or in some cases, dangerous situation for themselves or others. As someone who is strongly considering homeschooling, I also agree that it's not the educational choice you make for your child, but your thoughtful investment and parenting of your child that are important. Thank you for sharing your experience:)

At March 14, 2012 at 9:27 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

Spot on! I am always coaching my kids before we leave the car at any public location (during regular school hours). "Remember other kids are in school right now so you don't need to be drawing attention to yourself by acting crazy". The least we can do is show that our children know how to behave well since we are their main influence day in and out.

At March 14, 2012 at 9:58 AM , Blogger Di said...

Amen! Jellybean is a toddler and acts like one. I let him run around if we are at a doctor's office waiting because he already understands No and come back here. He knows how to put things back where he got them and even helps with chores already. I love how some parents don't understand why their children are such hellions!

At March 14, 2012 at 10:13 AM , Blogger The Preppy Girl in Pink said...

You said it, sister!! I watch parents do the opposite of parenting all of the time. I have actually had to stop being friends with some adults because it made me so upset with how they let their children behave to not only my family but to their own family as well. Children need supervision, instruction, discipline and love. They don't need parents who ignore them and their behavior.

At March 14, 2012 at 10:50 AM , Blogger Cindi said...

I love the Duggar's too. Inspirational family.

Great post!

At March 14, 2012 at 11:31 AM , Blogger Life As Wife said...

Love your take on homeschooling! It's nice to see families who are not lumped in the stereotypical group.

At March 14, 2012 at 12:13 PM , Blogger JDaniel4's Mom said...

I love this post! Parenting is something we do and not something that just happens.

At March 14, 2012 at 1:43 PM , Blogger MiMi said...

We have a very large homeschooling culture in our town...and I think they give other homeschoolers a bad name in that they hold themselves way higher than the rest of us.
I've been thinking of doing a post on it but I don't want to insult any homeschoolers! Although, I'd be clear that they aren't probably the typical.

At March 14, 2012 at 2:56 PM , Blogger Shell said...

Sounds like you are doing it the right way!

Homeschooling, when done the right way, involves lots of hands on parenting!

At March 14, 2012 at 8:53 PM , Blogger KLZ said...

I don't see what business it is of anyone else's what type of schooling you choose for your kids...people get judgmental about everything. Keep on keeping on!

At March 14, 2012 at 9:03 PM , Blogger Natalie @ MamaTrack said...

So true. It all starts at home. Regardless of where they spend those "school hours."

Thanks for the reminder!

At March 14, 2012 at 9:47 PM , Blogger Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Amen, amen, amen. I see that out there all too often, but I wouldn't know if it was homeschooling parents or not. I just know that way too many parents are less than attentive to their children out in public.

At March 14, 2012 at 9:59 PM , Blogger Samantha said...

I was homeschooled through high school, and I always find myself embarrassed to say so when people ask me what high school I went to. Mostly for those reasons. Homeschoolers do have a bad name, and it's for people like that and in other categories that give them a bad name. I just couldn't see myself, as a Parent, talking while instructions were being given. It's rude for one thing, and disrespectful for another...and you're right, if the Parents can't listen and be respectful...then they're kids sure aren't going to be.

Thanks for commenting at my blog, now you're newest follower :)

At March 14, 2012 at 11:04 PM , Blogger Heather said...

So a number of things:

#1 I also love the Duggars. My 5 year old LOVES the Duggars and for better or worse it is one of the few shows that I know is appropriate for her to watch.

#2 I hate that people feel the need to judge the Duggars. Just let them be. No one is dying and everyone looks pretty happy - really this is what we have to worry about!

#3 So parenting... um yeah I kind of think I signed up for it when my hubby and I decided that getting me knocked up was not a bad idea. I just did a workshop for toddler teachers about being engaged v. being present with the children they take care of. It sounds like I could be doing the same workshop with some of those so-called parents

#4 Don't let those homeschooling slackers bring you down!

Great Post!

At March 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM , Blogger Jennifer Gilbart said...

Parents who ignore their kids in public places because they are glued to their smartphones is an epidemic. You see it everywhere...certainly not just the homeschooling moms. It really is unfortunate.

At March 15, 2012 at 8:43 PM , Blogger Missy | Literal Mom said...

Right on! So, so much of some kid's misbehavior is actually parental misbehavior! Great post - you go, girl!

At March 16, 2012 at 9:54 PM , Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

I understand your frustration. What I don't understand is, if the parents are required to be there, why didn't the instructors speak up. Give the child a firm warning, "Johnny, if you can't sit today, Mom will have to take you home." and then if Johnny misbehaves again, firmly, "I'm sorry you are having a rough day Johnny, I hope you come ready to learn next time. See you then!" People need to stand up for themselves!

At March 17, 2012 at 8:46 PM , Blogger Savannah McQueen said...

Great post! I like to here people, especially home school mothers, write what they think. Would you consider linking this up to my new HS blog hop? Here is the direct url -


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