Tuesday, February 02, 2010

But They Are So Normal

The post on anti~homeschooling views at Why Homeschool got me thinking about a conversation I had a few years ago with some Soccer Moms. My boys have been involved in recreational soccer for a number of years and my husband is usually the coach or assitant coach. So I know the parents and kids pretty well. These are all nice intelligent women who care passionately about their kids. So we are all sitting around on the bleachers watching our kids practice soccer when one of the mom's announces that "She doesn't know why anyone would homeschool. All homeschooled kids are social misfits that can't hack "real" school". I calmly announce that I homeschool (you could have heard a pin drop - I definitely heard her jaw hit the ground). Then she replied in shock "But they are so normal and added they were the exception to the rule" at which point I just had to point out that three of the other boys on the team were also homeschooled. She couldn't believe it, and the three other boys were so normal that she couldn't manage to pick them out either.

After further discussion I learned that she didn't realize she knew kids that were homeschooled. All she knew about homeschooling she had gleaned from magazine articles. And that she was feeling guilty because her son was doing poorly in school and wanted to be homeschooled. At this point a public school teacher added her two cents which was that homeschoolers were usually more well rounded students. And while some public school teachers may be anti~homeschooling, it's important for us to remember that not all of them are. I have exchanged lesson plans and classroom ideas with many public school teachers I am acquainted with and when I have run into problems they have always been willing to help me. In fact it was one of Jonathan's public school teachers that first put the idea of homeschooling in my head.

So maybe homeschoolers should start talking about homeschooling more when we are in public. I had known these ladies for a number of years, but the only one who knew I homeschooled (we had exchanged lesson plan ideas) was the public school teacher. After all if people don't realize they know nice sane homeschool families can we blame them for believing the misinformation they read in the media? After my friend got over her initial embarrassment at having put her foot in her mouth we had a nice productive conversation about homeschooling. A conversation that wouldn't have happened if I had gotten defensive.

12 comments:

Rebecca said...

Reading the article about anti-homeschooling sentiment got me thinking as well. I enjoyed reading your post about the soccer moms and how homeschoolers really aren't "weird social misfits" afterall. Thanks for sharing!

COD said...

I've coached about a dozen of seasons of youth basketball and baseball. In all that time, I'd guess maybe 10% of the parents ever knew we homeschooled. I don't bring it up unless asked, and I guess my son is so "normal" that it never ocurred to anybody to ask.

Karen said...

"A conversation that wouldn't have happened if I had gotten defensive."

It's so easy to hear an accusation in another's tone--even when it's not there. And the normal reaction is to get your back up. But controlling that normal reaction can lead to interesting places, as you describe here.

Once, I thought I heard that tone of accusation in my step-mom's voice. I tried very hard to control my tone of voice to see where this was coming from--and it turned out that she had always longed to homeschool her own kids and currently wishes she could homeschool her grandkids.

Stephanie said...

LOL! I must be weird then...homeschooling *always* comes up in our conversation. Usually folks ask what grade or school my kids are in and we are off. :o)

I swear, it just comes up!

Ian said...

My boss is working with relativly low cost overseas online tutors with
degrees, and was wondering what subject home school mothers have the
hardest time teaching and would be most likely to want help with an
online tutor. I decided best way to find out was to ask people home
schooling for the answer to his question. Is that something I can ask
and could get answer for him here?

Alasandra said...

Sure Ian, for me it's higher Math. Algebra I & II, Calculus, and Trig.

DJ Ronnie D. said...

First, I'd like to say good for you! It is better to be less offended by the ignorant people say about homeschooling. You are doing a positive thing about spreading the truth about homeschooling.

Some people just need to understand that homeschooled children are not ALWAYS socially awkward. Even if some of them are, it doesn't matter because they are most likely ten times more intelligent than the public schooled kids.

April said...

In our local homeschooling group we have at least 3 former or current public school teachers. I think many teachers would easily admit that what they do is more class room management and less inspiring learning.

You're right that we benefit when we can talk openly can casually about homeschooling as something normal and reasonable people can, and do, do.

Luke said...

Very good thing to keep in mind!

~Luke

hsmoo said...

I think it's great that you responded without getting defensive. :) I would have liked to have seen the looks when they realized they stepped in it! :0 )

VP said...

LOL! I hear the comments all the time! Doesn't bother us though.

DiSCo said...
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