Monday, November 23, 2009

The unwritten rules about homeschooling.. more than you ever wanted to know!

Since my last post hinted at one of the fundamental unwritten rules about homeschooling and its unique culture, I thought I would give the rest of them, since they are never discussed openly amongst veterans.

1) During the fall semester, the house is not thoroughly cleaned until Thanksgiving week.

We are convinced that having "basic sanitation" is necessary for the first couple of weeks until midterms, then a slow vortex of grunge, paper, dirty laundry and the like starts to accumulate for the rest of the semester. That is why the week "of" Thanksgiving is taken off--so mommies can unearth their precious homes and serve a decent Thanksgiving meal.

2) The entire month of December is lax.

We are subconsciously rewarding ourselves for making it this far, and to be honest, somewhat burned out. No one dares ask, "So, what are you doing this month for school?" in December. Everyone knows that homeschoolers have no money and are making handmade gifts as "school".

3) We purposely do not ask each other the lame questions that strangers feel uninhibited to ask about our children's academic progress, such as:

"Read this outloud for me.." or
"Why doesn't your child spell things correctly?" or
"Add this in your head for me.."

4) It is generally understood that everyone has a mother-in-law or mother who does not like homeschooling.

5) We don't call each other before 9:00 a.m. nor do we ask, "Were you still sleeping?"

6) It's perfectly acceptable and good to expect your children to make you coffee and breakfast in the morning, and get their math going without your help.

7) It's also not perfectly acceptable and good to boast about such children

8) except to your in-laws, who need to always hear something good about those kids

9) When January and February rolls around, homeschoolers talk about upcoming conventions. It's a good idea to go to them, if you are feeling burned out.

10) In the spring is NOT the time whether or not to homeschool your children next year. You need time to recover.

11) June is sacred. No schooling. No discussions about schooling. nothing. zip it.

12) After the fourth of July, you can start thinking about ordering books for next year.

13) You can start school in the summer if you want, but it is perfectly O.K. to wait until after Labor Day.

14) Most of us "dyed in the wool" homeschoolers will never stop teaching our kids regardless of where they go to school, how old they are or how many kids they have of their own. Once a homeschooler, always a homeschooler. It's a lifestyle that lasts a lifetime.

And that is the unique subculture of all that I know about homeschooling. Do you guys have anything to add?


Roxanna said...

Ahhh I love that :) I just found your blog today and that really made me smile this morning. I really love the part about always HSing and how you we will always be HSing them. I get asked probably once a week when I am going to LET our boys go to school and stop teaching them. I made the mistake once saying that we MIGHT be sending them to a private school in Junior/High School and now everyone thinks we will stop teaching them then. I never plan on stopping my children....its something I plan on doing my whole life time :)

Emily said...

I love this. I read several aloud to DH. My favs were #2 and #4. Although we don't technically homeschool yet (my oldest is three), we are a homeschool family and the learning has begun.

sara said...

Imagine! This novice homeschooler was abiding by the rules without even knowing them. ;-) I feel better now though - thanks.

Organizing Mommy said...

Roxanna: nice to meet you! My oldest is a senior in highschool, and we did it. He is well on his way to adulthood--applying for an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy or a full ROTC scholarship at several schools. There's no need to put them in school at 7th grade, unless you want to. I "outsource" the academics at that age, but they are still homeschooled.

Emily: homeschooling starts from the womb, don't you think? It's a mindset from a very young age. When my kids were toddlers, we did not farm them out to daycare or let the maids watch them, because we were "homeschooling" them (training them). We lived overseas where everyone I knew had hired help to watch their kids. I used the maids for housecleaning and did the child rearing myself.

Sarah: So glad you are following the rules--as tongue and cheek as they are!

momstheword said...

Oh I don't know, I still am tired this morning and I just can't think, lol!

Loved them, they were cute, however have to admit that I don't fit the "mold" I guess, at least, not all of it.

We always homeschool in December, but I know what you mean about being lax as I have some friends that were slowing down about that time.

You forgot to mention the one about grabbing your books and homeschooling in the car on the way to a doctor's appointment, lol!

Braley Mama said...

I can't believe people really ask home school kids those academic questions! How rude!

DarcyLee said...

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the fact that learning isn't separate from being at home with the family. Learning and living overlap when you homeschool. I think so many people that have traditionally schooled (like most of us) think that we quit learning when we walk outside of the school building. Great post! There are so many things I miss about homeschooling and so many I don't-LOL

Herding Grasshoppers said...

That is HILARIOUS! Regarding #2, it's called "Christmas School" :0)

I love them :0)

Except for the summer... we do a lot of science in the summer when things are alive, growing, reproducing, and "catch-able".


Ruby said...

LOL! That about sums us up all right!Don't tell our non home school freinds, though. They think we are endlessly patient and dedicated :-)

Deborah said...

I think Canada needs to change their Thanksgiving to November. October is just too early to clean the house! However, I simply must have a clean house before the tree goes up which will be this weekend (?!?)! I guess I'm just a couple days later than my American homeschooling friends then!


Becky said...

Braley Mama - yes it is rude - but unfortunatley, VERY common.
Yup! Gotta add on one about schooling in the car to - everywhere. Ri was reading over my shoulder again, and she was laughing and saying that I might as well have written those rules (especially the one about the kids making the coffee, breakfast, and starting their math). Of course the biggest rule of all is that if you are learning ANYTHING, it qualifies as school!

Roxanna said...

That is great about your son he seems like a really lucky young man! I love to see people HSing older kids 3+ grade. It seems like the majority of families we find are HSing younger kids and stop around that time. We would love to continue to HS all the way through, and I am really looking forward to starting with our youngest....well we already have started signing to him since he was 7 months and he is a year know :)

Hopefully I can learn some organization for you. That is something I am lacking at this moment and I feel like it is 'sinking my ship' if that makes any sense?

Collette@Jesuslovesmums said...

love it!
Collette xxx

Erin said...

Lax in December?! What do you mean? Making batches of cookies and other goodies is "math" because we're dealing with weights and measures and fractions! Wrapping presents is geometry! "Do you think we have enough wrapping paper for this box?" Then, of course, there is the lecture on government policies: "Why do the stamps for the Christmas cards seem to go up each year?"

We love homeschooling, but we have to say that learning never stops!

P.S. Other people's children don't go start their math without their mother's supervision? You mean I'm supposed to watch over their shoulders while they listen to Teaching Textbooks lectures?

Mrs. Parunak said...

The part about never stopping homeschooling reminded me of a time when we were at a Michael Card concert. We were there early, and there had been a huge Midwest thunderstorm, but it was followed by an incredible double rainbow. Everyone, including Michael Card, who is a homeschool dad himself, went outside to look at the rainbow. He started right in with my children, first with the Bible lesson about God's promise never to flood the earth, and then seamlessly into how rainbows work, prisms and the color spectrum. So typically homeschool dad. And so great. We should all be like that I think.

cluttercontotrol said...

My days of home schooling are long over, but it's so nice to know that we're all the same! Even now, it makes me feel like I did a good job to know that I'm not alone in how we "did school". Thanks for this post!