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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en’s Response To “How to Talk to Others About Homeschooling”…

September 2nd, 2010 · 27 Comments

Earlier this week Jamie at Simple Homeschool asked the question: How do You Talk to Others About Homeschooling? And I have to say that after eight years of it I don’t feel as compelled to justify why or how we homeschool as I once did. We just homeschool and the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. For all the times that we don’t do everything perfectly. We still manage to have grown a couple of avid readers with a broad general knowledge and a couple of kids that are following their passions. They don’t know everything (luckily!!!) and they are not the best ever scholars, and I am far from the perfect teacher… but we get by and we are all getting educated in the traditional sense and learning so much more than that, in the untraditional sense!!!

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I started to comment on her post and realized it was getting a little long for a comment!!! I thought I would respond to Jamie’s question with a post. Since on a typical outing we do get asked: “So where do ALL your kids go to school?” And I will respond: “We homeschool.” And the conversation continues with any one of the following responses:

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  1. I could never do that: I always want to say “sure you can” but inevitably I say you probably could if you felt called to do it. I know I couldn’t dream of any other way of schooling for us but lets face it if you have the organizational skills to get your kids to school in the morning with all their forms signed and their lunches packed, if you can get your head around multiple extra-murals for your kids, if you can read bed-time stories and enjoy doing stuff with your kids then you most likely can homeschool. If you really wanted to!!! Not everyone wants to – and that’s okay, even I have days when the thought of it is less than appealing!!!
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  3. Do they learn anything? This is an interesting question… No one ever quizzes a regular school kid to see if they are learning anything and yet they feel a need to quiz homeschool kids!!! We get this all the time: My kids are asked some obscure question and must come up with the date, the name, the location!!! Seriously, my kids are learning, I know because I am learning and since we are learning together and read aloud and talk about what we are learning we must all be learning!!! I wonder if I asked a couple of kindergarden kids we know about the water-cycle or photosynthesis – what exactly would they come up with!!! Not that it matters really, it isn’t a competition!!!
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  5. When are you going to stop? I am not sure about this one… stop what exactly? Schooling, learning, or having kids!!! I will assume they are asking about schooling and I can honestly say it has never occurred to me that I would send my kids to school!!! I don’t have any teenagers just yet, but I have a feeling that as they get older, kids need your more, not less… and hopefully by the time my kids reach senior school they will be able to be pretty self-sufficient in their schooling. To be honest regular school, which is a total drag for most “on the brink of leaving school” kids, will be more of a drag for my semi-independent learners.
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  7. Will they be able to go to college? Well, wherever my kids intend to study after school they will have to have to get the appropriate school leavers certificate and we will write the relevant exams when we get there. Not next week, mind you, we have about six years to prepare for this still!!! Also I don’t know about overseas, but certainly in South Africa, you have to write entrance exams for every tertiary education spot… and my kids will write what they need to when they need to. If they decide to study overseas then we will have to look at the entrance requirements for overseas… really it is only something you can address when you get there… even if you are preparing bit by bit along the way.
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  9. My kids really need friends. This is true – my children need friends too, some of them need friends just to breathe!!! That’s another great reason to home school… We certainly don’t school in isolation and they have so many opportunities to meet a wide variety of folk that pass through our lives daily that they would never encounter in a class room with forty-same-aged kids. I love my kids friends all sorts of folks in different ages and stages, from different cultures and walks of life – it really helps to live in the Rainbow Nation.
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  11. So your children will finish school really young, like fifteen? When I hear this I wonder of my kids have a special sign that says “super brilliant” in a banner above their heads that only I can’t see!!! Really they are regular kids, brilliant to me of course, doing their school and doing their time. And for the odd lights of brilliance that shine through and I do have one or two brilliant spotlights… they don’t shine in every area by any means!!! I am a firm believer in spreading brighter kids knowledge wider rather than higher… I certainly don’t want to be sending my fifteen or sixteen year old off to varsity!!!
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  13. What about sport, my kids really need exercise? Let’s be honest all kids need exercise, and limited screen time can only help. My kids get plenty of exercise and while none of them have shown any Olympic potential yet, it could happen!!! If and when it does we will approach the relevant local club and sign the relevant kid up for its potential passion, just as I would if my kid was in school. Meantime we will continue to spend lots of time outdoors and get our exercise wherever we can… riding bikes, going on hikes, running on the beach, going to gym… I think we have the exercise thing pretty much covered!!!
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    And the Se7en + 1th Thing:

  15. Are you qualified? This one really gives me an internal chuckle!!! So while I am qualified I don’t really see why I have to launch into my educational experience with a total stranger. Just to prove that I am qualified to Homeschool. How qualified do you have to be to love learning and to want to spend time teaching and learning alongside your kids. Will a school leavers certificate do, a tertiary diploma, and degree, a post-graduate degree? A doctorate? Just what is the magical qualification necessary to be the “Homeschool Parent of the Year Award” ? I just don’t know!!!

You will meet people that question your decision to homeschool and you will meet people who support your decision. I think the point is that it is your decision!!! I guess like all parenting decisions that we feel very strongly about, home birth or hospital birth, nursing or not, vaccination or not… homeschooling or not… there is a time in our lives when we feel really strongly about advocating our decision and there is a time when we just accept that that is what we do and soldier on!!!

This Post is part of The Thirty Minute Mom’s Challenge at Steady Mom.

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Tags: HomeSchool Questions · Se7en at School

27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Karen // Sep 2, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Great answers!

    So, tell me how does one talk about homeschooling (what we did today, general conversation type thing) with friends who say “I can NOT homeschool”?

    My fear is that when talking about my day, homeschooling is a big part of the day, and sometimes exciting things happen, you know? And I’m afraid that when I’m talking about those things I’ll make my friend feel inferior or bad.

  • 2 se7en // Sep 2, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Hi Karen, That’s a great question!!! I keep in mind that every parent is intending to do the very best they can for their kids. So the fact that our days are a lot of fun and we do have time for a whole lot of things that a regular school goer doesn’t have time for doesn’t mean I think any less of them, we just do things differently to them!!! I have slowly but surely realized that friendship means more to me than agreeing on every single thing… If I am friends with someone then there must be some common ground and I focus on that. We have many friends, whose kids are in school… and I rapture on about homeschooling… they on the other hand might be a two income family and they rapture on about their latest overseas holiday. I don’t feel inferior to them – different, yes… wish I could take overseas holidays – sure!!! But it isn’t going to change our friendship or our families priorities. With friends I would hope it is more about sharing each others joyful moments than judging them!!! Hope this helps!!!

  • 3 Kimberly // Sep 2, 2010 at 4:48 am

    I totally relate to #1 – “I could never do that!”. That seems to be the most frequent comment I get as a homeschooling mom. And my response is something like “you could if God called you to do it”. I think they think it’s such a huge cross to bear when in reality I don’t think that’s true. Sure, some days are difficult, but honestly it’s such a joy and privilege to be with my kids and teach them to love learning. And there’s just nothing like seeing their faces light up as they learn! Priceless! And our qualification for teaching our kids is just this simple – they’re OUR kids, given to us by God. The fact that I have a master’s degree is not what makes me qualified to teach them any more than that piece of paper qualifies me to be their mama. God Himself equips us to parent, teach, and disciple them. What can be more qualifying than that? :) Great post!

  • 4 Aunty Muffin // Sep 2, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Great Post!
    And I can tell your readers that you are qualified spiritually, emotionally, physically and educationally!!!
    Keep up the great work!

  • 5 se7en // Sep 2, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Hi Kimberly… Thanks for the great comment!!! I guess “I could never do that” is one of our top comments/criticisms… and I have to say like most jobs in this world there are great aspects and less great aspects and we have to get on with our day – whatever it sends us!!! But only we can know that the great moments are really great moments and make it all totally worth while!!!

  • 6 se7en // Sep 2, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Oh Aunty Muffin, I know you will kill me if I don’t publish your comment!!! SO thanks for the great encouragement you always are to me!!! Hope you have a fabulous day!!!

  • 7 irene // Sep 2, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I know I can really sarcastic, and in your case on the se7enth+1 thing, I would probably reply…”do you have to be qualified to be a parent?” you only want what’s best for your kids, I suppose (not that I can relate, cause I don’t have any), but I do understand why I became a teacher in the first place. You really want to make a difference in the lives of these children, whether in a school set-up or at home.
    I sometimes don’t know HOW you do it, but I understand that it is important for you and that is all that matters.
    It’s about the support you get as a homeschooler that makes all the difference in whether you CAN and WANT to do it.
    GREAT POST.

  • 8 se7en // Sep 2, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Hay Irene, Great comment!!! And you are so right it is all about getting the right support!!! Have a great day!!!

  • 9 S // Sep 2, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Your web address gets a mention today in this blog! I’m sure you’ll be delighted!

    http://theonlycin.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/spring-bounty/

  • 10 Luke Holzmann // Sep 2, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Good stuff, Se7en. [smile] And based on the papers my wife graded in college and the funny responses to tests easily googled, I think it’s safe to say that homeschoolers aren’t any worse off than those of other educational persuasions [smile].

    Homeschooling is a fantastic option!

    ~Luke

  • 11 se7en // Sep 2, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up S, have a great day!!!

  • 12 se7en // Sep 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Hay Luke – You bet they aren’t any worse off!!! I agree homeschooling is a fantastic option…the only option for us!!! Have a great weekend – nearly there!!!

  • 13 Christine // Sep 2, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Great post!

    (Sorry, I don’t have anything to add to that. . . you did it so well.)

  • 14 se7en // Sep 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Oh Christine – Thanks!!! My friend with many words!!! I hope you have a fun weekend with all your visitors and to-ing and fro-ing!!! Lots of love…

  • 15 Chantelle // Sep 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    My friend over at
    http://theonlycin.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/spring-bounty/

    blogged a link to your blog!!! I am shattered that I have never read your blog before (subscribing to it has rectified that!) You are AWESOME!! I don’t homeschool (could never be that brave) but I have spent most of my day reading your posts and have picked up SO many ideas that I am going to use with my 8 year old – yes, I only have ONE :)
    I look forward to reading the rest of your blog and your new posts!

  • 16 se7en // Sep 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    HI Chantelle… So glad I could give you something to read all day!!! Hope you had a fun trip round our blog!!! Hope you have a great day!!!

  • 17 sherrin // Sep 3, 2010 at 4:57 am

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts :). My husband likes to say “as for me and my house” and I find that a great way to focus on what is important. We don’t need to justify our decision, or sell them. We have to concentrate on being faithful with what we’ve been given, knowing that we are accountable to God.

  • 18 se7en // Sep 3, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Hi Sherrin, I love your comment!!! Just perfect… In my head I have the thought “As for me and my house…” going ALL the time!!! I owe you something – big time!!! Thanks for commenting again!!! Have a great weekend!!!

  • 19 KDL // Sep 4, 2010 at 6:57 am

    We do not homeschool *yet*. I like to think that we “semi”-homeschool in the sense that we are very aware every day of what has happened at school, we encourage reading, art, writing, math in natural ways and we work constantly with our daughter’s teachers to help them understand her learning strengths and challenges. This is all necessary because of her specific needs due to autism. When she was a baby we discussed homeschooling and I am willing to do it, but it became clear with our personality dynamic and her special needs that she would fare better in a traditional school…for now. We have friends who pulled their kids out of middle school to homeschool, and we may consider that option when the time comes; or if our schools continue down the path that is so contrary to our moral views we will be left with little choice since we could never afford private school. Your post reminds me of the conversations we have with almost any big decision we make on behalf of our children…we just have to choose as wisely as we can and press on. What is sad is that we are so quick to judge another’s decision that was made with the same careful consideration.

  • 20 se7en // Sep 4, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Hi there KDL, You are so right about not judging folk for their decisions!!! What’s the point, when most people agonize over all their parenting decisions. Really what works for a family, whatever the reason, is their own business. I often find that people really need support and encouragement with their decisions rather than quick judgments!!! On that merry note – hope you fabulous weekend!!!

  • 21 Rebecca C // Sep 27, 2010 at 1:03 am

    What a fantastic post! I really loved reading all the response and your answer to them. We don’t have kids yet, but have already decided that we will homeschool. Stuff like this goes into my notebook of future advice. :) Thanks!

  • 22 se7en // Sep 27, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Hi Rebecca, Good to meet you!!! I am glad we could help you with filling your notebook!!! Thanks for stopping by – hope you have a good week!!!

  • 23 Jenn @ Beautiful Calling // Sep 27, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Oh, I enjoyed reading this. Chloe is three and everyone is always asking her when will she start school. She tells them she is in school and they find this very confusing. When I say, we’ll be homeschooling her, they often get a funny look on their face and simply reply, “oooh” in that ‘tone’.

    I haven’t had anyone really ask about it yet but it’s good read about others’ experience so I can be {a little} prepared :)

  • 24 se7en // Sep 27, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Hi Jenn!!! Thanks for stopping by!!! I know that spacey look and they say aha… but they mean “you will come to your senses really soon!!!” or they will understand but only until your child is school age and then of course you will send your child to school!!! It is a mad, mad world!!! I hope you have a fabulous week!!!

  • 25 Keilah // Sep 27, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Great post! I am just starting Kindergarten with my daughter and she loves it. Thank you for such an encouraging post and I love all of your answers, especially “I could never do that” I get that or the “Wow, that is great, YOU can do that” with the look of you must be crazy. I just have to chuckle and think about how much time I spend compared to traditional school time. The schools deal with constant discipline and the kids most of the time are waiting for instruction. So doing school at home is a fraction of the time and we get to go to the museum, library etc for “school time” too. Glad I found you through Simple Homeschooling link!

  • 26 se7en // Sep 28, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Hi Keilah!!! Nice to meet you!!! Thanks for visiting… I totally love Simple Homeschool!!! Have a fabulous day!!!

  • 27 Se7en's Complete School Collection... - se7en // Aug 8, 2013 at 4:11 am

    […] Se7en’s Response to “How to Talk to Others About HomeSchooling”… […]

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