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Stop Telling Me Why You Can't Homeschool


You normally read this blog and things are happy and bright.

Today, however, something is bothering me.


Let me set the stage:

Now that I've been homeschooling several years, people come to me with questions.   

LOTS of questions.

I am happy to talk about homeschooling and answer legitmate questions.  

I am happy to share our story and encourage you on your journey.

People  I randomly meet (or actually already know well) also feel very free, however, to tell me why they CAN'T homeschool.    

I think they tell me these things because they assume some things about me.

Let's talk about those.

Common Assumptions About Me:

I Must Have A Lot of Patience

This one is actually laughable.  In fact, someone we met at lunch the other day told me she could never homeschool because she doesn't have nearly the patience I do.  

I think my eleven year old daughter just about spit her drink out at that one.

I am a very IMPATIENT person.    I regularly lose my cool with my kids.   I get frustrated when something isn't done on time.   I get frustrated if things don't go my way.

But guess what?     Homeschooling is teaching me patience, and I think perhaps God called me to homeschool because I am so wretchedly impatient!

Actually, it's easier for people to think I'm some patient sort of saint, because then they can say,

"Well, I'm not nearly as patient as SHE is.  There's no way I could homeschool my kids."

That's just a load of junk.

Sorry, but it is.

Please stop telling me you don't have any patience.

I Must Be Incredibly Religious

I would say about 90% of people I encounter think our family homeschools for religious reasons.

Guess what?   

That was a motivating factor in our decision, but not THE biggest one.

I just KNEW in my heart I could do it better myself (educate my children).     

When the children at my daughter's school were herded into the cafeteria to watch the president address the school children and pump them full of government speak, that was it for us.

I grew up going to public school.  I taught in public school.

Public school is a beautiful IDEAL.

I cannot, however, sacrifice my children for an IDEAL.

I've found all of our faiths growing deeper because we are able to spend more time together, spend time appreciating and studying God's word and creation, and just realizing our God given potentials at our own pace.

Therefore, while we don't say we homeschool for religious reasons, we homeschool because we feel this is the path God has chosen for our family.

Please stop telling me you would be the only person homeschooling in your church or family.   (I have been in both of those positions, by the way.)

I Want to Shelter My Children 

This is another laughable assumption.

I actually want my children to experience MORE of life and that's why I keep them out of school.

I do, however, want to protect them from drugs, sex, bullies, and ideas that promote a radical agenda.

My husband and I feel that in our home we are equipping them (through lots of conversation, faith experiences, and healthy friendships) to stand on their own two feet when they leave our home.

Hopefully our children will be able to defend their faith, make proper choices, and stand up to the evils of this world. 

I'm sure they will make mistakes, but they make lots of mistakes right now.

Who doesn't?

Please stop telling me you don't want to shelter your children.


It's Easy for Me To Homeschool Because I Was a Teacher 

This is another funny one.

I was an elementary MUSIC teacher.

I never learned to teach a child to read, do long division, or write an essay.

I am really good at singing silly songs, learning about composers, and large crowd control.  

The only qualification I have to teach my own children is that they BELONG TO ME!  

Please stop telling me you aren't qualified to teach your children (this just makes me sad).

You Must Have Enough Money To Stay At Home

Ok.  This one cracks me up, too.

It's all about choices.  

We made the choice 11 years ago to live solely on one income.    

We may not be driving the latest and greatest cars and we don't have a huge house payment.   

When my first precious child was born we KNEW we would sacrifice whatever it took for me to be home with her full time.    I tried going back to work and that lasted for three days.   Three.

We have learned to live well within our means and budget for the things we feel are truly important.

PLEASE stop telling me you don't homeschool because you don't have the money.


Now that we've debunked the myths about me, you don't have any more excuses.

Please stop telling me why you CAN'T homeschool.

You and I are more alike than you would think, and I think THAT is what scares you. 

Because, if I homeschool my kids, then maybe you can, too.


Reader Comments (79)

Great post, Mary. I can relate to it, as I've heard all of the above said to me by random strangers too. :-)

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHwee

Wonderful, and about time!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

Thank you! You hit the nail on the head. How many times have I heard each one of these? Too many to count. Another I've heard is that they will miss out on all the fun school stuff like cheerleading, sports, prom, graduation, etc. Or that their kids would not be happy if they took them out of public school. I do know that we were called to educate our kids at home. Some may not feel that calling and that's fine, but you are right. We are not perfect parents. Our kids are not perfect. Yet we feel called to educate them at home and with the Lord's help (constantly) we've been able to do it for all these years. My daughter, who is now a wife, mother and nurse, is preparing to homeschool her children. It makes my heart happy to see another generation of homeschoolers in our family.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSouthern Gal

I hear these things all the time about Homeschooling AND Adoption. My favorite about adoption is "I always wanted to adopt, but my husband was against it" so not only are you throwing your hubby under the bus, you're telling me - to my face- that your hubby thinks my family isn't quite the same as yours....
Here's a secret, I'm not patient either ;) Great post Mary and I think a lot of people feel the same!!

Well said my friend. I had to chuckle when you mentioned the President's address. Grace was still in school for that. I was going to take her out of the lesson they had planned: to watch the speech and then address what they can do to be "good citizens" which on paper sounds innocuous but I don't agree with one thing this President does or stands for. People thought I was crazy. Now my children listen to the President speak but they also hear my viewpoint so they can form balanced, defendable viewpoints.

Love this post Mary!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Oh. My. Heavens. TESTIFY!!!! yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!!! THANK YOU for having the guts to post this!!! I get this regularly, and #1 thing I hear is money. Seriously? I think, " I don't know your money situation, and you CLEARLY don't know mine." Patience is another one. whoo boy, they should be a fly on our wall sometime. And the fact that I taught school -- even my mother and mother in law have gotten me with that one. I am not sure that my degree or time in class did all that much to help me (but my time was extremely limited -- one year!)
THank you for posting.!!!

I love this Mary! I have many of the same feelings. I don't mind helping moms navigate their way into the crazy world we call homeschooling, like you said, when they have legitimate questions and concerns. I really go crazy when moms act like my choice to homeschool is an affront to them. I always want to say, "well you really didn't come to mind when my husband and I were deciding to homeschool our children." Thank you for sharing!

Now, I won't that this goes for every person who gives me these reasons why they can't homeschool, but for some, I strongly believe that they are giving me these reason (one or more) so that I can validate them for NOT homeschooling. You know, they need me to say to them (homeschooler to non-homeschooler) "It's OK not to homeschool." It's like they need a homeschooler to give their seal of approval so they can accept it? Again, it's not for everyone who has come by, but a few, this is CERTAINLY what the case it. In my early years, I gave them what they wanted, but lately, I don't. I try to smile and share a little of my journey, of when I myself said, "THere is NO WAY I would homeschool!" and how it took God working on me, over time to come to this place of homeschooling. If God calls you to homeschool, the way might not be easy, but He will provide a way.

Awesome post, Mary! I could have written it almost word for word! Especially the " patience" part and that my teaching experience as a music teacher taught me "large crowd control"! That was actually a motivating factor for me homeschooling. I had so many students, I didn't even know all their names! I never wanted my children to be in that situation.

I always say that the only requirement to homeschooling is a desire to do it. If that is there, you'll find a way to make it work. So, all those people should just tell you the truth: that they simply don't want to take on that responsibility, and it's usually for a selfish reason.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGena

Fantastic post, Mary!! Very well said!! I experience so many of the same frustrations in our community. I'll be sharing this post ;)

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Wow...great post!!! I've encountered lots of those as well. I fail in regards to patience every single day. It makes me frustrated, sad, and angry with myself. But then I ask for forgiveness from God and my children and we grow and learn together. I'm humbled and my children see that...they need to see more humbleness. I was a public school teacher as well. I have heard lots of times that I can homeschool because I was a teacher. But being a teacher is the one thing that has probably made me struggle with homeschooling the most. I had to let go of a lot from that time. Homeschool is not going public school inside your home. It's an entirely different animal and it's been hard to truly learn that lesson.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Hi! I agree I could add u must be sooooo organized! Hehee ;)

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Yes. Just....yes. And you really got to the bottom of it. The reason people assume they can't is because they are assuming so much about us. Should we take that as a compliment? HA! The one I always hear is "I don't think I would be SMART ENOUGH to homeschool." Yeah. Because I'm a certified genius and never have to look up ANYTHING. :) Great post, Mary. Tweetin' this one up!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Dingmann

I was nodding my head the whole way through, great post! I also get the "I couldn't homeschool because I'm not good at _____." It's just not true, because now days there is plenty of curriculum options to help you teach your weaknesses and shore up your strengths. It's easier than ever to homeschool, you just have to take the leap :).

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaige

Amen, sister! Great post!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Oh you sound like me! The patience one especially, my daughter would have done the exact same thing and then explained just how wrong the friend was in a rather poliet but straightforward way. :-)

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Yes, I have heard them all, too!

Right on! Maybe next you could write one titled "Stop Telling Me Why I Shouldn't Homeschool!" LOL

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFredonna

OMG- It's like you put everything I have ever heard or thought here in this post!!! We chose to homeschool for the same reasons. I get these comments all the time. I have come to the realization that when people say these things it's their justification actually to themselves more than to me- as to why they are not doing/giving/ sacrificing more for their kids. Yeah, I could put my kids in school & work outside the home & we would be a lot better off financially. But really- what am I teaching them by doing that? Right now they are learning that I value their education so much, I value my time with them so much that we are sacrificing the ability to buy "things" so that we can give them the intangible. We are teaching them how to budget, how to do less with more & not put so much value on having to have everything everyone else has. I hear parents make comments about how they can't wait for their kids to go back to school after being off for a break. I just think that is so sad. I truly enjoy being with my kids. I have raised them & taught them to be really cool people that I like to spend time with. As they get older & start spending more time away from the house & myself I really miss them. I absolutely cherish these times that I have been blessed with. It really is a blessing that I have the chance to do this during this time in their lives because our time with them in the home is so very short. I will have plenty of time for all the other things out there when they move out & start forging their path in life. At the moment- this is the most important thing I can be doing right now. Thank you for doing this post & saying what we all have thought at least a time or two.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGina

What a wonderful post Mary. I can see already by the comments you have struck a chord with so many people. I just hope that the people who actually think things like this read it. I have heard so many of these things before too. As a single Mom I get it a lot. There have been times that I have hung on by the grace of God. I KNOW He wants me to homeschool Keilee so He provides.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Thank you for posting this. I haven't encountered these statements very often from others as most people I know either don't have kids, already homeschool, or know me well enough not to say anything like this. ;-) The comment I most frequently deal with is how can I homeschool and work outside the home. I don't have the option not to work - i have always been the primary breadwinner. My husband works his tail off, but in the part of CA where I live we would be barely subsisting at poverty level and could only afford to live in one of the most crime infested areas of our city with only my husbands paycheck. I just cannot do that to my boys.

I have been homeschooling for over 10 years now, and have worked nearly the whole time. However, I chose to work as a law enforcemt dispatcher and that allows me to work nights (swings and graves) and weekends. It is not ideal, and I don't really get enough sleep, but it is what I feel I have to do to allow me to keep my kids home. It's rough as my hubby works opposite hours, but we feel it is important enough and do whatever we can to make it work. My husband sometimes says I need to get a day job, but I've told him that I will not put them into our failing local schools for everyone else's convenience (now if I could just slow down long enough to get my business up and running this would no longer be an issue). So, I guess bottom line to all this babbling, the money excuse doesn't hold much water with me either. You can work and homeschool, it is difficult at times, but if you're creative it can be done.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKris B-T

I get the "you must be so patient thing " all the time. It is a little alarming when my kids fall to the floor and roll around laughing! However, I'm probably more patient than I used to be - partly because the older kids have graduated and I'm only homeschooling half as many as we used to. Lots of people, especially homeschoolers, assume we are doing so for religious reasons. We are not a religious family. As for the money - we've never been able to go on family holiday (that would be my biggest regret), sometimes didn't own a car and only sort or own our house through a co-ownership model with a family member who was running it as an investment (and now wants to pull out - potentially leaving us without a home). In most cases if people want to homeschool they can make it work. And if they don't want to homeschool so what. I never claim to be superior because we homeschool or that homeschooling is perfect , just that homeschooling was the right choice for our family.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Thank you, I enjoyed reading this post.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErika E

You go girl! You pumped me up to be able to stand proudly the next time someone looks down at me for doing ONE of my jobs as a stay at home mom. Homeschooling. Thank you! Seriously. Thank you.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

YAHOO! AMEN! We're just in our 2nd "official" year, and I am already hearing tons of this too! THANK YOU for this post! :)

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle S.

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