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What is the Goofiest Questions Asked About Homeschoolers?

So this weeks Heart of the Matter Weekly Meme question is great and I can not wait to read some of the responses. But meanwhile, here is mine.

Picture a lovely, sunny day at the park. It is about 11:30 in the afternoon and my kids 6 and 3 are playing on the playground with about 8 other kids that are all homeschooled. A lady approaches me and asked “Oh are the kids on a field trip of some sort?”.
I laughed a little and said well, sort of”.
She asks, “What do you mean sort of? What school do they go to?”
My reply was “They are homeschooled. We teach our kids at home.”
“Oh, wow, you all are teachers?”
“No, we are mostly all housewives.”
“Is that legal?”
“Yes, in the state of California and many other states as well.”
Well, are your kids socialized? So you ever get your kids out with other kids? Don’t you worry about socialization?”
I burst into a snicker and pointed my finger to the group of kids all playing together and said to her, “What do you think! Yes, I believe they are socialized very well.”
The conversation went on from there about how public school socialization structure etc. I will not bore you with that.

Hmmm, so are my kids socialized when they play with only 8 other kids? Let me think for a moment. I don’t know are they? Goodness gracious should I do more? No, I think they are just fine!
So that is my little funniest question I have ever been asked.

12 comments to What is the Goofiest Questions Asked About Homeschoolers?

  • Kimberly Eddy

    I think the socialization question is always the dumbest one I have been asked too…especially when it comes right after someone has commented on what nice kids I have (until they find out we are “one of those” families).

    Another dumb question I got, more relating to having a large family, was “How do you afford all of that daycare for 5 kids?” (doh!)

    The other irritating homeschooling question came from my mother in law who is a retired public school teacher, and who has three sons…one was in jail a few times for drunk driving and works odd minimum wage jobs while living at home at the age of 39, one also job hops to low skill jobs and has awful people skills, and the other is my husband who only learned to read during his 2nd year of college after getting saved (while on a baseball scholarship)!…my mil said, “But only a trained school teacher can really teach them.” (oh, right, like how good yours turned out? Do you think I want the same people who “taught” your sons to teach mine???!?!) Anyway, we are heading into the sunset of our years as parents…ours are all now teens and preteens, and I am blown away at how smart and how skilled they are, and we have won over my mil, although she does wonder about their socialization (after all, none of my girls are pregnant yet like their cousins…lol),even though she always says how nicely they hold onto a conversation.

  • Kristin

    The socilization ??? is always dumb. But when they see your kids playing with all the other kids and they still ask if I ever socialized my kids with other kids….Ok are you blind or something??? Oh well, we will never be accepted by all of the public, but if we can have friends and family on our side it sure helps!

  • Jamie

    Call it a stupid question if you want, but I have a very real curiosity as to how children who are homeschooled (mine aren’t even school aged yet, so I have no experience w/ home or public schooling yet) can learn to deal with other kids or people who are not part of their social circle. In public schools kids are exposed to and have to learn to deal with people of different races, religions, bullies…people maybe you wouldn’t necessarily want them to hang out with. How do they learn to deal with people they don’t like or don’t agree with? So, again, call me dumb if you want to, but as a person who is unfamiliar with homeschooling, it really is a genuine question. How do you give them that experience? I think the assumption is that homeschooled children are living in a bubble and are only socializing with people their parents deem worthy. is this true? And if not, how do you let them have the “bad” experiences to learn from?

  • Kristin

    Kristin, I don’t think it is a stupid question, but when you are in a park with other kids and you get asked if you ever socialize your kids…well, you got to admit that’s pretty silly.

    It sounds like you have a valid question. Not a question to demean homeschoolers. However, you do not need to put you child in a fire to teach them how to stop drop and roll, they do not need to dial and call 911 to know how to work it, you do not need to put your child around name calling, drugs, sex, drunkenness and bullies to teach them how to deal with it and you certainly do not need them around 100 other kids to learn to appreciate and respect people of different sizes, shapes and colors.

    As a matter of fact your children actually only learn to deal with their age group for the most part. What I mean is most schools are age segregated. I know when I was in school you just did not play with the kids that were younger then you. This was true all the way from about 2nd grade on up.

    I do not know your background but I’ll give you a little of mine. I am a very social person by nature however during the 5th grade all the way through to my senior year I was beaten, name called and bullied etc. This ended up giving me a very low self esteem. I also ended up in trouble because I was trying to get accepted. It was not until about my 30s that I realized I needed to be who I am and not what the children I went to school with made me to be. My sister is another example to share. She has never been a social person at all. I remember when she was a very young little girl; she would always be the quiet one and sit in a corner. Trust me school did not teach her to be any more social.

    If you want to build a relationship with someone, you have to put more then about 25 hours in a week to it. Right? Your marriage would not hold up if you only put in 2 or 3 hours a night M-F and then 10 hours on Sat and Sun. Right? It is the same with your children. You cannot expect them to love you, respect you and want to trust you when they are bombarded with teachings of the opposite. You cannot expect to know what your children are doing when you are really not around enough to watch them. Children have a drive to be accepted. In school if they are not accepted it can shape them in the negative way. Who better to accept them then their family?! My mom tells me all the time she wishes she knew about homeschooling when I was a child. She hated handing her children over to strangers’ everyday. Strangers that could hurt her children.

    You see when you put your children in school for 7 hours a day you are releasing the moral training as well as educational training to the teachers and kids. When we have children we are trying desperately to bring them up to be an extension of us. Right? Well, that extension training gets very muted when you release the responsibility to someone else you do not know. Or worst yet, release the responsibility to about 100 kids you do not know.

    I know I got on top of my soapbox. Sorry! I will never expect you or anyone else to change their minds about putting their kids in public school, however I hope to educate you and others as to why we do it. We do not keep our kids in bubbles and yes we let them fall on their faces too when needed. We just decided that God has given us very specific instructions in the Bible to raise our own children and that home is the best place to do so. Therefore we obey God by not releasing our responsibility to someone else. You cannot blame your children or the school when you child turns out the opposite of what you hoped he/she would.

    I put a couple links to some articles on my blog if you want to read them.

    By the way…Love your name.

    http://nutbugs.blogspot.com/2008/11/socialism-of-public-schooling.html

    http://nutbugs.blogspot.com/2008/09/i-found-greatest-article-on.html

    http://nutbugs.blogspot.com/2008/09/can-homeschooling-public-education.html

  • Kristin

    Oh geeze, You know when the comment came through my email it said it was from a Kristin Sorenson. I even went back to the email to check it and it says Kristin Sorenson. However when I published it, it shows Jamie is the author. I wish I would have known that when I was wrting. I would have been more personal especially about mine and Julie’s childhood. Anyway, Hi there! glad to see you reading. I pop over to your blog to to catch up with the goings on with you every so often. Big hugs!

  • Jamie

    With Alex getting ready to start preschool and me being a stay at home mom, I’m really trying to research all my options. I want to make sure I do THE BEST THING I CAN FOR HIM. People on both sides of the debate telling me THEIR WAY IS BEST. I find, for me, making decisions about my kids, the best I can do is ask questions of people who’s opinions I value and then make my own decision.

    You are a much more social creature than I am Krissie, and I really worry that I won’t be able to do as good a job with socializing my children as you do. So while homeschooling is the right answer for your kids, it’s not as easy a decision for me to make. The decision to public/private or homeschool my kids, I think is a huge one that will shape who they become and I don’t want to make any decision lightly.

    Just glad there really are many options these days!

  • Kristin

    Your right about me being more social then both of my sisters. But you DO NOT need to be a social person to homeschool. I think people get the idea that your kids have to be around other kids for 10 hours a day to be “socialized”. In the Webster Dictionary the word socialize means: TO SUBJECT TO GOVERNMENTAL OWNERSHIP OR CONTROL. (Socialized medicine, socialized government, Social Security, Social Work etc) Me, I am not willing to do that with the precious life I have been given to raise. Beside they grow up SOOOO fast. I don’t want to miss them growing up. I don’t want to miss anything! Think about it yourself. You wrestled with the thought of continue working or being a stay at home Mom. You chose to stay at home. Why? To spend more time with your children and to give them the best care you can. I mean who is going to care for your children better then you and John? Socialization, in the way you’re meaning it, is done on a daily basis. At the market, at the park, at the amusement places we go or anywhere I bring the kids with me. They see people daily of all ages, sizes and race etc.
    When you segregate a child to only his age group that is all they know how to converse and deal with. But when a child is around all age groups they have a much better social disposition. Especially towards adults. They know how to be in a room of all adults and take some part in the conversation. I know that was not true for me. I felt very uncomfortable at holidays around all the adults.

    Funny Story. A few years ago, I think he was about 4 or maybe 5 (can’t remember), we went to Costco. The man boxing all the stuff was from Africa. Anyway, He was so dark, I mean you really could call him “black”. Well, of course Vincent wanted to know what was up with his skin. Well, the man heard his questions and heard all my answers. And he took a few minutes to talk to him and explain about his skin color being so extremely dark and where he was from. He even had Vincent touch his arm. LOL! Since then he has never ever questioned the skin of an African Americans. He does not need to cause he was “socialized” in the store. This month is Black history month and we are learning about all that stuff. He said to me “well mommy, I do not understand why people thought blacks should be slaves. They should be free cause they are just like you and me.”

    Think about you and Julie. Did school make either one of you a more of a social creature? No. Your disposition is what it is. You are either a creature that likes to be around people or not. My son loves people yet Raquel could care less. It showed up very early with both of them. I am sure you already know about your two and whether or not they like to be around people or not.

    I don’t think there is really any one way of doing things! Public, Private, Homeschool, Boarding whatever. If you decide to put your child in school, you also need to decide to be a HUGE part of your child’s life and prepare for some of the habits and personality traits that they can pick up on. Personally the hugest problem with any school, public and private, is that some parents think it is the schools responsibility to raise and teach their kids (Socialize). It is not. It is the parents! They are our kids and we need to take part in their life!

    I feel for you. I was in your shoes 7 years ago, well actually while I was prego with Vincent. The school where we use to live was BAD and I knew private was the only option. But the $$$$ was too much. A friend mentioned to me about homeschooling. You know what I said? “Oh My Gosh, no way! That is for hicks, people who live in the boonies and people who are hermits.” So, trust me, I really understand your dilemma.

    Keep doing what your doing. Keep you mind open to every option and pray about it! It took only a couple months of research on homeschooling and I realized my opinion of homeschooling was DEAD wrong. And look at me today. Full time homeschooler!

    Good luck honey! If you have more questions, do not hesitate to ask. I can direct you to web sites and books. Being you are Utah though, I do not know your laws for homeschooling. You for sure want to check on that. Go to http://www.cheaofca.org/. They will have that information.

    By the way…. can you believe how grown up Alex and Raquel are? Seems just like a month ago we were up there and they were nursing babies. Boy how times flies.

  • Kristin

    Oh, I forgot to answer your question on friends they hang out with. Just like in school, your kids will click with certain other kids and dislike other ones. Not every homeschool kid is perfect. There are rough ones, etc. Not every homeschooler has the same values as you do. So the diversity is there. The good thing is you are also there to watch over it instead of leaving it up to a teacher who has to watch over 30 other kids. As far as the bubble….Haha. You got be joking! My kids probably see more of what’s around them in a week then schooled kids see in a month. We do field trips, park days, his friends come over or he goes to their house, some do co-ops (not me) etc. some belong to ISP’s, they go everywhere with me, shopping, hair cuts, visit my friends, as well as we do school outside of the house at different places now and then. Etc. The opportunities are realistically endless because they are not bound to a chair and desk for 6-7 hours a day. So bubble…no way!

  • Jamie

    Thanks for answering my questions Krissie! I have two homeschooling neighbors, so I am lucky to already have some resources to tap should I decide to go that direction.

    Our schools here are…ok. Not great, but not bad. Private school is expensive, but affordable if we really want to do it.

    I’m with you in that I don’t like the idea of handing my kids over to someone else for the majority of their day. I mean I’M their mom. I want to raise them, not some underpaid teacher who may or may not care about them.

    Anyhow thanks for the discussion. Sometimes it can be scary to ask questions because homeschoolers can be kind of defensive, maybe because people can have a bad attitude about it if they don’t understand. I say we all have one goal in common, we want the best for our children. I don’t make any big decisions for my kids without LOTS of thought and research and I’m certainly not going to do something I’m uncomfortable with. So far, the jury is still out, still waffling on what I want to do. He’s only 3, so I still have some time to solidify my decision.

    Thanks again!

  • Kristin

    You are more then welcome. I am so glad to hear that we agree on the fact that something is not fully right with handing our kids over to strangers all day long who will never care for our kids like we do and in some cases can be worst torment then the other kids in school.

    It is a very hard decision. I know…..been there. I know you well enough to know what ever you decide to do, you will still remain a huge part of their lives and always put them first.

    As far as being defensive, you got the reason why correct. We get beat up, told we are not good parents, that are kids will be stupid and social out casts etc. even though all the research shows that homeschoolers OUT SCORE public schooled kids and socially they are MORE INVOLVED with their community. So it is hard to not be defensive sometimes when people do not have their facts right about us. But when someone shows *genuine* questions, not ones to be-little like my example of the lady at the park, I love to help out and answer every little tiny question they have. Because they are genuine!

    Please keep asking those ???? and researching you options. I’ll keep you in prayer that what ever decision you and John come to will turn out to be the right one. I love ya! Hugs and Kisses to you all! Oh, and please let me know what you decide on, when you decide!

  • Kristen,
    Thanks for sharing this with me. I read all the comments as was suggested. Wow! You had quite a conversation going. What I really love was that you looked up socialized in the dictionary (what a homeschool mom thing to to!). I look forward to using that sometime!

  • I am so glad it helped. It still amazes me how people can thing that being homeschooled would make you un-social, but people do. Good luck to you!

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