Hi fellow mom! Welcome!
Can I just start by reminding you that I’m just a mom who wants the best for her kiddos — same as you? Keep that in mind as you read. Especially when you start realizing just how many hilarious homeschooling stereotypes are actually true!
I just finished writing 10 Things Homeschooling Moms Want You to Know. While I was writing, I felt a little disingenuous, as if I were pretending to be transparent, and yet hiding the not-so-pretty things.
So in the name of integrity, I thought I’d record some of my failings and post it on the internet, ha, ha! I’m coming clean!
Things Homeschool Moms Don’t Want You to Know:
1. We finish school by noon.
Once upon a time (before we bought our farm) we had neighbors. And my neighbors frequently asked me if we ever did school, because they would see my kiddos playing outside at all hours of the day. I explained that we completed all we needed to before noon every day, but it must not have sunk in, because they kept asking.
It’s the truth, though! Rare is the day when school lasts beyond noon. One time, we were really into a unit study about electricity, and we completed the entire semester’s-worth of material in a week. That week we worked past noon.
But we typically start school around 9 am and finish before noon. I don’t have to waste time keeping order in my classroom, or lining up for lunch. And none of us have to wait for the slowest kid in the class to catch up.
Homeschooled kids can work at their own pace and have a teacher all to themselves for questions. So it really isn’t difficult for them to complete a day’s worth of work in only three hours.
2. Some days we don’t do school at all.
Yep! We like to reserve Fridays for field trips to our local museums, the zoo or aquarium, and the planetarium. We also attend organized field trips with our homeschool co-op, to amazing places like a tortilla factory, and candy factory, the water treatment plant, and a beaver pelt farm.
Mondays are swamped with music lessons and community classes. So this year, we only do school three days each week. But if you think my kiddos are suffering academically, you are mistaken.
We can accomplish a whole semester of science in two intense weeks, when we buckle down. And we do! We are currently finishing up a very thorough, year-long, high-school-level Biology course, and we’ve covered everything in a month.
Even my 5-year-old can rattle off the components of the skeletal system, the nervous system, the respiratory system and the circulatory system, plus their functions. It just takes less time to learn in a homeschool setting.
3. And there are even months that go by
without any schooling. I wasn’t brave enough to bold the entirety of that sentence. In my defense, my children were born close enough together that I was pretty much never not nursing or pregnant for over 16 years. That takes a toll on a body!
At one point, I had three children in diapers, and with a new baby I was barely sleeping at night. During that time, my kiddos may not have learned much math, but they sure learned to pitch in and help.
Neighbors and family members were always impressed at the maturity and capability of my children. They had to learn to cook and clean, because there was no way I could take care of everything myself. It was do or die at our house!
I used to worry about it. Until at age 15 my oldest scored near perfect on the ACT and breezed through her college classes. My second also aced the ACT, and earned his associated degree at age 17 with a 4.0 GPA.
My two oldest are on full scholarship at a prestigious university. I don’t worry about skipping school anymore. In fact, we feel like traveling is more educational than school, so we skip school all the time to travel and worldschool.
My 3rd will ‘graduate’ this spring, at 18-years-old, with his associate’s degree and is already raking in the scholarships, due to his excellent ACT score and 4.0 college GPA.
***When I say graduate, I mean graduate our homeschool. My homeschool isn’t accredited, and my college kiddos don’t have high school diplomas.
4. My kids don’t know what grades they are in.
Recently, the cashier at the grocery store asked my 8-year-old what grade was in. She incorrectly answered, “8th”. I corrected her that she would be in 3rd grade (which required mental gymnastics for me, because I don’t keep track of their grades any more than they do) if she went to school, and she argued that she was in 8th grade math, which is true. She is in Saxon 8/7, which is typically used for 8th graders.
No wonder my poor homeschooled children are confused!
Homeschoolers work at their own pace, so it’s perfectly normal for them to be way ahead of grade level in subjects they enjoy and at the same time, behind in subjects they don’t enjoy. It’s kind of beautiful!
Speaking of grades…
5. Grades, schmades!
Our state doesn’t require any documentation of anything, whatsoever. Thank goodness!
So I don’t grade my children’s work, and I don’t keep records. I make it easy on myself. That’s not to say I don’t look over their work, because I do.
As they complete an assignment, I check it, then hand it back to them. The child corrects the missed problems and I check it again. We do this, back and forth (I also explain concepts whenever necessary) until the work is perfect. We call it mastery learning.
Since I require mastery, if I did give my children grades they would all be A’s anyway. That’s kind of pointless, and it’s the same reason I don’t give tests.
I’ll say it again.
6. I don’t give tests.
Oh, joyous blessings — no tests! No standardized tests, no end-of-year assessments, no DIBELS or SAGE tests. No tests!
Now, if I were going to move my kiddos from one curriculum to another, I would probably give them a placement test. And I did recently give my 13-year-old a test because she finished a really hard textbook (Saxon Advanced Mathematics) in less than a year.
That textbook took each of my older kiddos about 1.5 years to complete. So I just wondered if she had thoroughly understood all of the concepts. I didn’t want her going into Calculus unprepared.
But other than that, nope, nope, nope!
7. I don’t teach my kiddos to write.
My kids don’t mind playing grammar games, and they absolutely love literature of all types. But my kids abhor writing!
They don’t just kind of hate writing, they hate it worse than I hated laundry the month my washing machine was broken. My normally sweet children, who never even threw tantrums as toddlers, turn into screaming, writhing monsters.
I tried all sorts of different curriculum, and I tried writing classes, and I even hired a private teacher. Nothing helped. And nothing is worth enduring the torture of a monster, screaming and writhing on your kitchen floor. So I gave up!
I considered it among my worst failings. Until my oldest enrolled in a required writing class at the local University when she was 16, and wrote a 40-page research paper with no problem. She earned one of the highest grades in the class, and received compliments from her professor.
I now shout from the rooftops that we homeschool moms don’t need to teach our kiddos every single thing. Instead, we need to teach them a love for learning, and how to learn, and why, and then kick them out of the nest and let them fly.
It’s a good thing that my kiddos all love math like I do! Because math is my favorite, and I don’t know what I’d do if I had to let that go!
8. We only go out in public M-F before 6pm.
Homeschoolers are spoiled! We have the library, the museums, the art galleries, the parks, the zoo, the aquarium, the skating rink, the pool, the movie theaters and pretty much everywhere all to ourselves all week long, during school hours.
I’ve occasionally forgotten that we don’t venture out on weekends or holidays, and we’ll arrive at a venue, only to remember why we don’t venture out on weekends and holidays, and turn around and go home. My kiddos are always amazed and somewhat disconcerted to attend crowded functions because they are so used to having everything to ourselves.
9. I roll my eyes at the whole ‘socialization’ question.
Just ask any homeschooler and they’ll tell you that the questions they get more than any other is, “What about socialization?”
Who better to teach your children social skills than a gaggle of kiddos their exact age? Kiddos who intuitively know all about social hierarchy and how the meanest, most exclusive girls wield all the power. Kiddos who lack empathy and maturity. You know, ‘Lord of the Flies’ and all that?
10. And yes, we do it all in our jammies.
If you follow me on social media, and you look very closely at our photos, we’re practically always in our jammies! And if it looks like we’re not in our jammies, just look closer.
For the sake of appearances, I’ll sometimes have my children at least put on a shirt, so it doesn’t look like we’re wearing our jammies day in and day out. But look real close and you’ll probably see pj bottoms at the very least.
Heck, if you could live in your jammies — wouldn’t you?
I’d love to hear all about your homeschool mom idiosyncrasies in the comments below! Because we all love to share our foibles on the internet, right?
Don’t forget to read >>>10 Things Homeschool Moms Want You to Know!<<<
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