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Monday, November 19, 2012

Should Homeschoolers keep a Low Profile - A Response

At the end of September, Happy Elf Mom of Home School and Etc. had a guest post entitled Should Homeschoolers Keep a Low Profile?  I have been wanting to respond to it for some time now but have had so much on my plate, have not gotten around to it

Well I am enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon/evening and Lo and behold I got one.

I will be responding to parts of the original post which I have italicized.

The author starts out . . .

We're really proud of the local school. It's part of living in this town: we root for the Falcons.

So far so good.  Nothing too objectionable.  I understand how a school can be part of living in a town.  Especially when that school has successes to enjoy.  I've seen Remember the Titans and October Sky enough to understand that.

The author continues . . .

  If you homeschool, it's like saying you don't want to be part of the social fabric of the town. Your children are not participating in something that is important to all of us. 

So much for so far so good!  Or as Marlin says in  Finding Nemo, "Good feelings gone!".

I have many problems with these small sentences.  First of all just because I homeschool does not mean I do not want to be part of the social fabric of the community.  My children have been  active in athletics, library, park district and scouting  programs and even volunteered at the local public school.   In what way does that say we don't want to be involved?

Also, I wonder if the author would say that parents who sent their kids to private schools or parents who sent their kids to other public schools that better met their childrens'  need rather than her public school, did not want to be part of the community.  Or is it just us homeschoolers?

  She continues to continue . . .

You're also unintentionally hurting the feelings of some very nice, dedicated people who work hard to keep our local school one of the best in the region. And you're basically saying that my school isn't good enough for your kid . I know you don't mean it that way, exactly, but that's how it comes across to a lot of people."

I don't have a lot to say about this part.  Except to say as I am working on this post,  my wife is e-mailing a local radio host applauding the staff of a local  public school for the exemplary work they do in our community.  No doubt, because she feels so guilty about hurting their feelings.

Speaking of guilt, the author continues her thoughts . . .

There's also the fact that not everyone can homeschool like you. People feel guilty or obligated when they hear about the good things that you are doing with your child. You don't have to say one word about them homeschooling for them to feel judged. I know you don't want to hear that, but that's just human nature.

By that logic, parents of honors students would not be aollowed to have those bumper stickers cause other parents would feel guilty or obligated about the good things others kids were doing.  I know they don't want to hear that, but that's just human nature.

After one last closing salvo regarding some home school parents saying it is God's will that they homeschool.  She concludes by saying . . .

I know you really enjoy homeschooling, but I think you should just tone it down a little.

 But that doesn't seem to be at all what she's saying.  If people can feel guilty  even if we say nothing, how does toning it down a little help?  I really think she's giving reasons (not good ones) why people shouldn't home school.

Now we know people who proudly send their kids to private schools, some just as proud about their local public schools.  We don't feel guilty when they brag on those institutions.  We know they are really just bragging on their kids.  We see no problem going on about our home educated children in the same way.

As one of the comments on the original post said.

Why would I keep a low profile on it?

It's legal and we are awesome at it! :P

I wouldn't say I am  exactly awesome at homeschooling, yet.  But I would say it is awesome to live in a country where parents can choose what's best for their children.  Now we just need to learn to be more tolerant of other people's choices.

If you have entered here by way of the Carnival of Homeschooling, consider this link your breadcrumbs back to the gratitude fest.


  1. Yep! My guest isn't a horrible person (though obviously I disagree with her) but I've come across this "you are hurting our feelings/think you are better than us because you homeschool" idea so many times. And I do know other homeschoolers (especially in small towns!) who are practically underground because of this attitude. :/

    In my conversations with this person, she doesn't really have a beef with private schools because they are part of the community in a visible way that homeschoolers are not.

    I have no idea if her attitude is prevalent, but like I said she's not an all around bad person.

    PS Thank you for the link and the kind thoughts.

  2. Great analysis! Thanks for sharing!
    (I found you through this week's Carnival of Homeschooling.)

  3. With my daughter still attending the same school that I pulled my son out of I constantly get the question of where is my son. I always answer honestly that I am homeschooling him but rarely go into the details of the bullying. I have only had one negative comment and that turned out to be from a teacher on maternity leave. Her view was so far removed from reality that it probably deserves a blog post. A few have talked to me in depth about it and I'm sure left with a more positive attitude.

  4. original post: "There's also the fact that not everyone can homeschool like you. People feel guilty or obligated when they hear about the good things that you are doing with your child. "

    Not everyone can afford music or dance lessons, but that doesn't stop me from talking about my children's recitals. In fact not everyone can have a baby in the first place, so maybe in order to be sensitive to those dealing with infertility, we shouldn't take our children out in public at all.

    1. That point about infertility was something I thought about putting in my original post. I had trouble putting it as eloquently as you did, so I left it out. I do heartily agree.


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