I have a joke with my husband that nothing stops a conversation quicker than being asked, "So...what do YOU do for a living?" and replying with "I stay at home and homeschool my kids." Usually the person asking the question responds with "OOoooh..." and has nothing else to say. Which tickles me to no end. I can only imagine what is going through their mind as they process that information!
This past weekend I was asked by a good friend of mine if I would talk to her about homeschooling. She was interested in possibly homeschooling her girls. So I got my mental notes ready. I was prepared to tell her about where to shop for the best priced curriculum, how to join the homeschool group in this area, etc. So I almost had to laugh when her first question was:
"What about PE? How do you know they are getting the number of hours required by the state?"
That question spoke more to me about her perception of what homeschooling was like than any thing. No-we don't 'veg-out' in front of a TV all day between classes. We don't even WATCH TV as much as we did when they were in public school! So my answer was something like this:
"When the weather is nice, my kids enjoy a bike ride or walk before school, they take 'recess' breaks to jump on the trampoline, we take nature walks for science classes, we have a park day once a week to meet and play with other homeschool kids, they have a PE class in co-op one day a week, they are involved in sports, and they aren't too exhausted at the end of the day to actually go play with the kids in the neighborhood....so I think they are getting a good amount of exercise."
Her second question tickled me even more :
"But I don't belong to a church. I know when I went to school, all the homeschooled kids were really religious."
"You don't have to be religious! As long as you aren't sacrificing goats at the full moon I think you are good."
So-no....we aren't all religious fanatics either. But if you are, that's okay too!
This got me thinking about all of the memorable questions asked of me as a homeschooler. These are a few:
Q:"How will they ever learn how to function in the real world?"
A:"Considering we LIVE out in the real world and they aren't stuck in a room with 30 other kids of the same age, all day, every day I think they have a realistic expectation of what life outside of 'school' entails."
Q:" How do you stand being with your kids all day? I could never do it!"
A:" Some days I can't stand it either. But ninety percent of the time we truly enjoy each others company. I think it's because we have a stronger family bond now. We have a deeper understanding of each other. But some days the wine flows a little earlier than it should. (ha ha)"
Q:" What makes you qualified to teach your kids?"
A:" What makes a complete stranger qualified to teach MY kids? They don't know their quirks, their weaknesses, their strengths, their motivations. I taught these kids to walk and talk for Pete's sake! I think we have nouns under control.
Q:"How will your kids ever be exposed to children of other races and cultures?"
A:" Considering we live in a neighborhood and not in the wilderness, my kids have a variety of neighborhood children to play with. All colors, ethnicity, etc. And any trip to the grocery store, post office, or field trip will put you in contact with all kinds of different people."
In a nutshell...NO we don't all wear denim jumpers, NO we don't lay around and watch TV, YES they actually play with other kids and YES we are preparing for life in the real world.