Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Homeschoolers Who Don't Do Anything

We occasionally hear complaints about homeschoolers who are goofing off, playing outdoors. And it crossed my mind today that the neighbors are seeing Andrew outside on a scooter. They don't know that he's doing schoolwork, memorizing chunks of the Augsburg Confession, rehearsing what he's learned. They don't know that Maggie, when she's out taking a walk or shooting hoops, is not just getting her exercising, but may be conjugating Greek verbs in her mind or making sense of the chapter of the story we read. A kid who's mowing during the schoolday is not being put to menial use as a child-slave, but may actually be writing a story while he's shoving the lawnmower around the yard. Just because it appears that a kid is "doing nothing" does not at all mean there's no schoolwork percolating in his head.


  1. If I couldn't be creative in my head while at work, I would never be able to deal with that level of menial work.

    There is ALWAYS something to think about.

  2. Unfortunately the people who think the kids are goofing off won't accept this explanation :( I've often wondered if it is because they aren't able to do 2 things at once themselves.

  3. nathan fischer9/24/2009 9:06 PM

    I agree with everything you said, Susan. The one thing I'd point out is that to people who aren't and weren't home schooled, appearance is everything. If we appear to be goofing off, then we must be. If we appear to be anti-social, then we must be. If we appear to be geeky kids with no understanding of how the real world works, then we must be.

    I've fought against that stigma my whole life. People don't really view me that way anymore. But they always assume I'm the exception to the rule, for some reason. All I can figure is that I cared (probably more than I should have) about how I appeared to others. I didn't want them to see me a certain way, so I fought as hard as I could so they wouldn't.

    Not that we ought to do what *I* did. Like I said, I probably cared too much. But if appearances are everything to the voting masses, then keeping up appearances so that those same voting masses don't see us as geeky goof offs with no social skills who need to be integrated into some sort of communal school system (public or private) in order to function in normal society... well, I'll keep up appearances a little bit so that I can continue home schooling my kids.

    Because as much as I believe I have the right to home school my kids (an inherent right, NOT one *granted* by the government), that's not what anyone else believes. Which means they believe that they can take away that right the second they think I'm doing something I ought not be doing.

    I know that eventually, one day, we won't be able to home school anymore. It's coming... sadly. I'm just hoping to stave it off for as long as possible...

    Not saying, of course, that shooting hoops in the front yard or playing in the back is a bad thing. Kids in school get recess, even. But, for example, we get a lot of home schoolers up at the theater during the day down here... and... well, my coworkers and managers have fairly low opinions of those people. Mostly just from the fact that so many home schoolers come to the movies during that time.

    "Shouldn't they be doing school?! What is wrong with these people?! This is why home schooling out to be outlawed." Things like that get said often.

    It's always different families coming up, too. There's just a lot of them... which gives my coworkers the impression that ever home schooled family out there is just off doing something other than school every day.

    And I find myself, once again, put in a position where I'm *constantly* fighting to get others to see us in a different light... sigh.

  4. nathan fischer9/24/2009 9:12 PM

    Oh! And if the neighbors do ever ask, I find the simplest way to explain things to them is like this:

    "Oh, they were just having recess."
    "Oh, they were just doing PE."
    "Oh, they were just practicing for a sport."

    Those are things that people in the public and private school world understand and accept. I figure... just better to keep it simple for their sakes. ;-) (And, I suppose, in the end, yours as well.)