No. 1? That we don’t work.
I’m a mom who homeschools her kids. I’m also a mom who works. Yes, we exist!
The myth that homeschooling moms don’t work is just one of many I’ve heard since I began homeschooling my kids last year. When I announced to everyone I would begin teaching my kids at home, most of my friends and family were supportive. However, one woman told me, "It must be nice to have so much money you can afford to stay home all the time and play with your kids.” I was completely dumbstruck! Not only was the comment out of line, she was also dead wrong.
Moms who homeschool do it in many different ways, for a number of different reasons. I began doing it for many reasons, but the biggest was because I felt my middle daughter could use more "one-on-one" time in a non-traditional setting. We also felt the school we were zoned for was not the right fit for us. Overall, we're happy with our decision, but this is not to say we will never try traditional schools again.
During my homeschooling journey, I’ve encountered plenty of people who’ve made assumptions that aren’t always accurate. So I’m here to help dispel a few misunderstandings and tell you what life is really like for us hard-working, homeschooling mamas.
1. We don't have jobs.
More often than not, people are surprised to learn I’m a working mom who homeschools. I’m not sure where the idea of homeschooling moms being completely financially dependent upon their spouses came from, but it is totally wrong. As a matter of fact, most of the homeschooling moms I know financially contribute to their household in some way. Our hustle muscles are pretty strong!
2. We’re the queens of planning.
Daily planning has to be one of the most discussed subjects in the land of homeschooling blogs. Though I think it’s important, I’m dreadfully inept at sticking to planners or lists. The truth is I rely heavily on the schedules found in the curriculum we’ve purchased. Because I love my children and treasure my sanity, we purposely sought out a school program with its own calendar options. I really wish I were a gleaming example of this stereotype, but, alas, I did not receive this gift.
3. We’re “helicopter moms.”
Admittedly, I’m very protective of my toddler, but as my children get older, I push them to make decisions and solve problems on their own. While many moms may be of the the hovering variety, this is definitely not a phenomenon found only in homeschool settings. If you speak to any person who works in traditional schools, I’m sure they can point you to a few moms who just can’t “cut the cord” quite yet or has a hand in every single detail of their child’s day.
4. We’re incredibly smart. (I mean, we are, but …)
Some people don’t believe they can homeschool because it was a small miracle they passed a particular subject or they flat-out feel they aren’t smart enough. There are plenty of moms who learn alongside their children or who have to depend on tutors to help along the way. Homeschooling moms aren’t privy to some kind of special wealth of knowledge; we simply learn as we go.
5. Dads aren’t involved in teaching.
On any given day, you can find dads teaching their children a number of life lessons and/or helping with school work. It’s the same for homeschooling families. My husband is, at times, much better at helping our children understand more complex tasks, and I’m very thankful! Homeschooling dads should get way more recognition than they do.
6. Every day is a good day.
There are days when it seems I cannot get my children to focus on anything, work is nuts, my house is a wreck, the toddler is running wild and I’m just over it. It’s a sad misconception that simply because we’re all home, life’s just sailing along smoothly. It’s a convenience in many ways, but it’s certainly not easy.
7. We don’t like our neighborhood schools.
While this is the case for some families, it’s not really the most common reason you hear regarding why parents decide to homeschool. For some, it’s a matter of convenience. I know a family of musicians who are on the road quite a bit with their children, so naturally, homeschooling was a better option. In other cases, there are children who just need more hands-on care or have some learning needs that can be more effectively addressed in a smaller, more personal environment. There are reasons upon reasons why families choose to homeschool, even when the area schools are perfectly fine. It really is an individual choice.
8. Homeschooled kids turnout to be reclusive or awkward.
My children went to traditional school several years before we decided to homeschool and I have to say, they have dash of awkwardness anyway. The way children behave in different environments has a bit to do with how they are raised, but it’s also a lot about who they are individually. I’ve met homeschooled children who are way cooler than half the adults I know, and I’ve met a few who are quiet and more reserved. This is just a reflection of their personalities and nothing to do with where they go to school.
9. We just play all day.
This one is completely laughable! If washing, folding, hanging and putting away laundry, doing dishes, vacuuming, dusting, grading papers, teaching, chasing a toddler, cooking, constant redirection, changing diapers, potty training and working are your idea of daily play, let’s trade! Most homeschool families have schedules that reflect the goals they’d like to achieve during the day. My children’s schedule has a few short breaks and some time to do chores and have a little fun, but most of their school hours are strictly dedicated to learning. There are forms of learning which require a bit of playing for younger kids, but as they get older, depending on their learning style, the play becomes a smaller part of the curriculum. They are kids, after all, so they’re going to fit in a bit of extra fun, but it’s mostly business around here.
10. We want to wrap our kids in a bubble.
Sigh. Don’t we all? While our natural instincts are to protect our children from all things terrible, we know it’s impossible. We walk around with tubs of sanitizer yet our kids pick up their favorite shoe and begin gnawing on the sole. This just goes to show they’re going to do things their own way. There really isn’t anything we can do about it, but be there to support them through the thickest and thinnest of it all.
Written by Shannan Fowler for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.