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 way, I still think she’s great. If they want to have 400 kids-more power to ‘em. I just personally could.not.do.it! 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…
I also think it’s critical to include my personal favorite-the verb variation for reasons that are about to be painfully obvious.
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 on…no 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!***