So far in my article series, "A Question of Homeschooling
," I've shared four of the most common questions homeschoolers are asked: Why do you homeschool?
, Is homeschooling legal?
, What about socialization?
and Do you KNOW anything?
. This week I want to share something that happened to me recently.
My son has been taking a gymnastics class once a week this year. Since they had no classes during the middle of the day, they were willing to allow homeschoolers a significant discount. My son loves it. His favorite thing is the trampoline.
They had two full classes during the school year. Unfortunately, most of the kids were taking the summer off so they reluctantly combined the two classes which ended up including just three students: my son and two brothers.
So on the way out two weeks ago, the coach was aggressively trying to recruit the moms to contact any homeschoolers they knew who might be interested. However, since most of the moms came from one homeschool group where everyone already knew about the class, he wasn't having much luck.
After telling the coach that I didn't know of anyone who would be interested either he asked, "How about you? Would you want your son to add a second class? I would guess homeschoolers don't have very many activities going on. Why not have him come twice a week?" After running ragged through all his activities this year, I was actually looking forward to not having to be out so often during the summer when my dd is home from college. I chuckled a bit and told him that I was most definitely NOT looking for more activities. So then he looked me innocently in the eyes and said, "Oh, really? I guess I just don't know what homeschoolers do. How many activities did he have? What do you do all day?"
Here it is. The stereotype of what some think homeschoolers do all day. We teach. We sew our own clothes. We teach. We read. We teach. We engage in wholesome creative play with two tin cans and a string. We teach. We bake. We clean. We teach.
I have run into more people in my 10 years of homeschooling who think homeschoolers have no outside interests whatsoever. He asked; so I told him what we do all day. We school in the morning and typically have 4-5 outside activities each week. He was shocked. He said he didn't think there were that many things for homeschoolers to do and he was curious as to what kinds of activities we did other than church activities. He asked, so I told him what activities my son had done just this year: golf, fencing, theater, Young Marines, track, choir, chess, PE day, and, of course, gymnastics.
He stood there dumbfounded and then suddenly he had a thought. He was sure we were an exception the the rule and asked about other homeschoolers. He was amazed (and somewhat disappointed) to find that most homeschoolers have 4-5 outside activities while most public schooled children have only about 2-3. I shared with him that most homeschoolers were swamped with community and family events in the summer that they were simply too busy for some of their regular classes, which is precisely the reason many of them took the summer off from gymnastics!
Why do some have the mistaken believe that homeschoolers don't do anything all day long and have no fun? Well, it comes from two places:
1. The idea that homeschoolers are ONLY interested in academics and church and believe anything that isn't educational or church related is a waste of time.
2. The belief that homeschooled kids are in desperate need of socialization because they are home all day with nothing to do and aren't allowed to 'mingle' with non homeschoolers in extra curricular activities like karate or dance.
The most effective way to answer the question that boils down to, "What do you do all day?" is to calmly, and as quickly as possible, rattle off all the activities your child has done this year! For extra effect, it's always a nice touch to stare into their eyes and say something like, "And boy are my arms tired!"
By the way, my son is the Young Marine in the picture with Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona. He's the one kneeling down just to the right of her. His squad worked the Memorial Day event, where she spoke, handing out bottled water and programs to all those in attendance. Things like this...are what we do all day!
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer. Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula, including Say What You Mean Defending the Faith. You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com and hosting her weekly podcast, Communication Comedy Network. For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com
Stay tuned next Monday for more in my article series, “A Question of Homeschooling” when I will share another answer to a typical question homeschoolers are asked.
If you have a question you are frequently asked and would like me to include it in my blog series, please post a comment here or email me at jojo @ artofeloquence.com