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« My Autodidacts and Me: Unschooling with a Curriculum | Main | So Do You Get Bored with Me? »

November 23, 2007



I get the same thing with a six year old, and a four year old. Now that mine is 6, people ask her what school she goes to, and when she tells them she is homeschooled, they look at me like "she didn't mean that, did she?" Sigh. It is getting better though, and I am taking their discomfort at trying to "bucket" my child with a little bit of joy now, as I know they just received a cold splash of water in the face from their attempt!


Not that it helps in every situation, but when you go to a museum or similar and someone says "No school today?", you can reply "This is school today."

And really, don't feel judged. Most of the time, people just have no idea. Their only way of engaging with a child is to talk about school. They think they are being nice. And your response breaks the spell. They have no idea what to say next. (There are some who get a bit nasty, but most are just baffled.)

Maybe that "this is our school today" response works for lots of things...


I'm a new reader here and have loved your blog so far! I had to comment, first to agree with everything you said, but second to thank JoVE for the "this is school today" comment. We've homeschooled eclectically for 5 years now and my girls are starting to get weary of saying, "no, we're homeschooled". I love this new response..."this IS school." Very clever and so very true!


I love this post! Teaching him to side-step those buckets ... now that's a gift to him that is immeasurably valuable.


Yup, I agree with Jove, the questions do come from adults relating to children and parents on the school-level only. It is frustrating and I remember squirming under all the questions for the first few years. I felt like I didn't measure up as a parent.

But, now 6 years later, I kind of like the shock value of it. I've never been a person out to shock people, but I have to admit it is a little fun. I also have 6 kids which brings another load of uncomfortable questions--I am finally at the point where I can enjoy the shock value of that as well.

And mostly people are just interested and want to know how it all works. I will admit that we've had one or two mean-spirited exchanges. One woman, in particular, told my husband in front of our children that she is opposed to homeschooling because she is a college professor and believes strongly in education. I was steaming mad when I heard about the comment, but what can you do--that particular woman had already closed her mind to the idea. (I'd hate to be in her classroom!)

My kids used to mind all the questions, but now the older two at 7 and 10 most often volunteer the information before they are even asked. They enjoy "educating" people about their lifestyle.

Wonderful post Laureen--rants are needed and we as homeschoolers need to read more of them. This is not always an easy lifestyle. The positive posts are nice and uplifting, but sometimes we just need to gripe and complain and see that other homeschoolers struggle with the same things we do.

Nance Confer

Oh, yes, they will try to "bucket" you. And what a clever way to describe it.

DD and I have been enjoying watching the wheels turn in strangers' heads as we have recently been babysitting my 17-month-old great nephew.

People see us out and about together during the day. They look at the cute baby. Then they look at me -- nooo, I don't think she's the Mom but is she old enough to be the grandmother? Then they look at just-13-yo DD and -- nooo, unless she is "a poor unfortunate girl" or, as DD calls it more plainly, they are thinking she may be "a slut."

But none of it quite makes sense. . .

And then we let them off the hook with the "he's her cousin" info and you can see, they can get on with their days now. They have an explanation that fits their "buckets."

It's fun, really. If you're in the mood for it. And, if not, children can answer for themselves -- and often do. :)



I homeschool four girls ages 15, 13, 11, and 8 who have never been to school and believe it or not we have never received a negative response to our, "we homeschool". We have had lots of rude ignoring behavior though when the girls try and interact in public with adults where parents normally do all the talking.



Thanks for participating in the December 3, 2007, edition of the Carnival of Family Life, hosted at http://www.imaginif.com.au!

I agree with you about not pigeon-holing people. Everyone should do what they feel is best for their family.

However, living in California my whole life, as well, I think you are in a state where homeschooling is not as common as other parts of the country, so that is part of the reason why it doesn't occur to people that your children would be anywhere but school.

California is also a state with a high cost of living and I'm sure that many parents are working who would rather be at home with their young children.

Megan over at Imaginif

Dear oh me. How well I know this situation. We home schooled in Australia and were just about crucified for our efforts.
I reframed the frowns as teachable moments and would launch into a "benefits of home schooling" tutorial.
Good luck with it all and thanks for submitting to the Carnival of Family Life.


hey, i'm kate in New Zealand, i lurk at sandra's Always Learning list, and read your post which directed me here
*takes a breath* lol

i know exactly what you mean, have been deflecting these kind of comments for fourteen years, at which point i sometimes say, "yes: we love it when all the kids go back to school cos that means we get the beach all to ourselves.." and then i get to see the perplexed look on someone else's face.
and then they say, "oh i could never homeschool..."
every time a coconut. sad really. cos it's so. much. fun.
love X

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