Why Don't I Fit In With Homeschoolers?

Friday, April 23, 2010
We've just come back from our first swimming lesson.
It was with a local homeschooling group.
I do not do well with homeschooling groups.
Actually, I question my sanity when I am with homeschooling groups.
I question a whole lot of things when I am with homeschooling groups.

I am ranting - yes I know. I am about to make huge generalisations here - yes, I know that too.

I think I am a friendly person. I don't have any trouble saying hello to a stranger, and striking up a conversation. But when I am with homeschooling people I suddenly feel like a fish out of water. If my child has a temper tantrum (and my baby did today because she wanted to walk into the pool and I wouldn't let her), I suddenly have a million eyes looking at me, and because I've been around homeschooling people for a very long time, I know exactly what they are thinking.

I had to take one of my children to the toilet, and when we came back our seat was taken. Ok. No big deal. We'll just move down here a bit where there's a space. Good. We only took up half of the little bench. Along comes homeschooling mother number 1 with her to-the-ankles-skirt, and her hair tied up in a very tight bun on her head. She said, "Could you move down to the other end of the bench. This is where we are sitting." Ok. Wasn't aware there were names on the seats. Wasn't aware that we were still in primary school, either! I had no idea the seats were owned by you! Then she sits down and starts talking to homeschooling mother #2 all about her anaesthetic that she recently had, and every single little detail about it, and how she slowly opened her eyes, and what she saw, and what she thought and....... give me a break.
And what about the poor swimming teacher, who was late in starting because she was waiting for the other 6 children enrolled in the homeschooling swim class to turn up. They never did. The class of 3 went ahead without them.
And what did I think of the two young homeschooling boys who were in the lobby throwing their wet swimming bags at each other and running around unsupervised? Well, I know what the receptionist thought - and it probably wasn't nice.

These are not the sort of people I want to be socialising with. My children either.

I'm a snob. I think. I'm certainly a snob when I'm with homeschoolers of a certain type. All the nice homeschoolers that I know, and are friendly with, do not like homeschooling groups. What does that mean? What does that say about me, and them?

It is sad, but I actually prefer my non-christian, go-to-school, never-in-their-wildest-dreams-would-they-ever-have-considered-homeschooling friends.

I am disillusioned with New Zealand homeschooling. I am disillusioned with New Zealand homeschooling families. I let my kids watch cartoons. I let my daughter wear shorts and jeans. I even let her do ballet and play netball. And oh my goodness me - she has a bathing suit on! My son watches MacGyver! He even plays tennis! And my other son plays Soccer! Sometimes we don't go to church on Sunday. Sometimes we even eat sugar. And most of the time we just have plain jam sandwiches for lunch and not muffins or soup.

We are seriously thinking of putting our children into our little local country school. The kids I know who go there are nice. They are normal. They are polite. They have nice friends. Their mothers are friendly. That's what I want for me and my children.
My daughter might wear a bathing suit and like Barbie, and my baby might have the odd temper tantrum, and my sons might like guns and cartoons and sports, but I know for sure that they are polite. They love God, they know the difference between right and wrong (they know it - doesn't mean they'll always choose it). They respect adults. They obey their teachers. They are friendly and smart and interesting. 6 years of homeschooling might have helped them to become like this, but I am not convinced that it is the best thing for them for the next 6 years.
We'll see.
But school is looking more and more attractive.


Leanne said...

Oh Honey!

I wish I lived closer to you.

I wish we had pulled away from home schooling groups years ago. We have had awful experiences with religious home schoolers, we have found them judemental and non tolerant. Role models we have not wanted for our children.

A lot of friends who hs also are not involved in groups & get contact with other groups eg swimming just local club - not an organised hs one.

I admit it gives a very wacky view to home schooling and many home schoolers are also walking away from groups - especially as more families are choosing home schooling for other reasons than religious views.

Home schooling is an awesome life style. It does work!

I'm not sure what curriculum/ style you use .. I'd love to give you a call & a chat - email me your phone number I have free calling in NZ.

Wish we could pop into Jo Seagar & have a cuppa with you - I'd bring Cate & Nikki along with me too.


Love Leanne

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel - what Leanne said!!!!

Even though - as you know - we are a Christian family, we also have not got involved in any homeschool groups as (speaking generally from the ones we have interacted with) they are soooo odd! My kids have watched Simpsons, travelled the world with and WITHOUT their parents while competing in sports, play in bands, and hang with.....*gulp* other kids who are NOT church goers or homeschoolers! This sooo doesn't fit with the groups that we have encountered.

In fact Leanne's kids would have to be the only ones that they really have felt are on their wave length in the homeschooling world.

I get so sad when not only homeschooling, but Christians are tagged by some of the very non-tolerant, narrow-minded people that Leanne has encountered down her way.

Which ever way you jump, I know that your kids will do great as they have such supportive parents, but, like Leanne says, homeschooling does work - especially in the teenage years if you do keep going,

Either way, like Leanne said, we are here for you, so give a yell if you'd like another chat

C x

Jackie said...

Yay! Rachel. Entirely my experience, on this side of the world too.
My kids are happy in their little christian school, and I so don't miss self righteous homeschooling mamas.
I wavered just a little this week, but God sent me a christian homeschooling mama to berate me on my facebook page, for one little slip, in public, because clearly , being a homeschooling mama, she has no plank in her own eye.
You go where God leads. Homeschoolers do not have a monopoly on God. They just think they do.

Anonymous said...

from me (Ginny)

"They" say that the number one element influencing how well a child does in school is their parents' involvement/support - not homeschool vs other school. Homeschool just lets you control what and when.

I'm sorry that's your experience with other homeschoolers. As Leanne said, I wish we lived closer. Our support group has both "skirts only" to "never put a skirt on" in it. Our only commonality is our Statement of Faith (very generic). I feel very much for those you described because I've seen the devastating effects of such concentration of 'outward appearances" (as you have too). We homeschool to have freedom in control our own classrooms - and to give others their freedom. Support groups are suppose to be just that - to support each other in their efforts and not tear each other down.

God will lead you down the path of His choosing. There are both benefits and problems with both sides. It's deciding which ones are of most value.

I do love homeschooling, but I think the States is a much more supportive environment than NZ.

You're in our prayers.

Clara Van Nattan said...

I've never joined a homeschooling group because of this exact problem... I have seen some homeschooling families and I am afraid of getting involved with them!

Anonymous said...

Homeschoolers do not have to become involved with groups. I homeschool and we don't "do " groups at all. We do just fine and dandy without them. My children play with the neighbors and we take them to many places. You can still homeschool! Just forget the silly groups!

Marilynn said...

Hi there - a fellow homeschooler who can relate to much of what you have written,

Would you mind emailing me at Marilynn (at) as we are doing a feature about mum bloggers and would love to include your blog.

Ali said...

A about 11 years ago I traveled to NZ...I LOVED it there! Beautiful!

I'm a Christian. I've H.S. my kids this year (in the USA) and I too have experienced what you wrote. It stinks! I'm seriously considering enrolling my kids in public school for the following year. I have run into a lot of legalistic superior Mom's with external lists of do's and don't do's! I laughed about the "no sugar" "only skirt wearing".

When you have time will you follow up a post on what you decided for education and how your kids are doing! I found your comment on clover land blog!

~ Ali

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