Homeschoolers Always Never

Homeschoolers are brilliant, hard working, and mature.  They always do well on standardized tests.  They each play at least one musical instrument, beginning at the age of three.  They can each speak at least two languages fluently.  They always graduate early and become neurosurgeons at the age of 22.  They always come from huge families.

Homeschoolers never get enough social interaction.  They never have opportunities to participate in group projects or have class parties.  They never eat Doritos.

Homeschoolers Always Never

I always cringe inside and I never feel like conversations like this build anyone up or glorify God.  So can we stop with stereotypes and generalities already?  Statements about what homeschooled kids always or never do is painful, ignorant, and downright silly.  I’m not just talking about what those who ”don’t get homeschooling” say.  I’ve heard some of these statements from homeschooling families too.

Is it true that public schoolers always get into trouble, do drugs, disrespect their teachers, and slough off during high school?  Of course not.  Just like there are all varieties of students in the public school – ranging from scholarly to bully to godly to needy to athletic to healthy to highly intelligent to drama queen – so it is with homeschoolers.

Can I tell you a homeschooling truth?  Some students are only “average” (which, for the record, is defined as normal, typical, and common – and therefore nothing to be ashamed of).  Some of them struggle to read and write.  Some knock the socks off the ACT and other standardized tests, but some do not.  Some are musically inclined, while some are completely tone deaf.  Some love learning foreign languages and some barely master speaking the English language using complete sentences.  (Like, yeah. I know right? Totally.)

Homeschooling does not ensure that kids will grow up to follow the Lord.  Public schooling does not turn out robots.  Homeschooling does not make kids anti-social.  Public schooling does not provide more opportunities.  Raising kids, no matter how you choose to do it, takes work, patience, and an immense trust and reliance on God - the One who created all of us uniquely for His glory.  I am raising four boys in the same house, feeding them the same food, passing down jeans from one boy to the next, reading them the same books, teaching them the same math, and talking the same talk daily to all of them at the same time.  Would you believe that all four of them are all very different in their talents, interests, learning styles, and personalities?  I’m fairly certain that none of them have any interest in becoming a French speaking, cello playing, neurosurgeon.  Thankfully, I realize that this doesn’t mean I have failed as a homeschool mom.  I see their God-given talents shining in other ways.

Homeschoolers, public schoolers, private schoolers, adults, children, men, and women are individuals with unique talents, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.  Each one of us is always never anything less than God created us to be.  Let us never make a generalized statement that might belittle that truth.

P.S.  I thought it may be of interest to note that last night, our family ate a meal with a group of homeschoolers.  We all shared a bag of Doritos.

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Comments

  1. says

    Loved this. We use public school, but I know quite a few homeschoolers. Yes, a lot of the homeschooler stereotypes do come from homeschoolers themselves, at least in my experience. And I’ve heard my share of public school stereotypes that are irritating, too. Thankfully the internet has shown me that there are all kinds of homeschoolers, and it’s really neat to see what they do, even if my family does things differently. Whatever works best for your family, I say! Everyone is different, and it really does stink to be stereotyped.

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  2. Deb says

    Were they Cool Ranch Doritos? ;) Just finishing up our 17th year of homeschooling and all I can say is Amen.

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    Laura Reply:

    Wow, as a matter of fact, they were. How did you know?!? (Apparently, homeschoolers never eat Doritos, but when they do, they are always Cool Ranch.) :)

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    Donna J Reply:

    Only Nacho Doritos here ~ occasionally!

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  3. says

    Laura,
    Thanks for posting this.
    I am a public school teacher, and mom to 3 boys – we have run the gamut from private school to public school to contemplated-but-haven’t-done-it homeschool.
    I completely agree about the uniqueness of everyone! Every child is different, and it’s our job, as parents, to help these young people make the most of that uniqueness and to celebrate their God-given gifts. Yea for the blessings that are our children!

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  4. Lindsey says

    You know, many times it is me telling myself all those things that homeschoolers always never do :) I feel guilty alot because I don’t have my girls in music lessons for money reasons, they aren’t always brilliant and I just haven’t had time for a second language yet. My sincere hope is that having them home will keep them closer to the Lord but unfortunately they have me as their biggest example and I am never as good as I want them to be ;) And then I get to talk to or read the thoughts of other homeschoolers who might be dealing with the same issues and feelings of guilt and while it doesn’t make me feel less guilty necessarily, I do realize it is normal (or many of us are abnormal which is entirely possible :) ) Anyway, thanks for this post :)

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  5. Ann Marie says

    Thank you for writing this! My husband and I are seriously considering taking our kids out of public school and homeschooling. I’ve been against it because I didn’t want to give up my Doritos habit! ;-)

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    Laura Reply:

    Hehe! Well, now you are free from the Dorito burden and make your decision based on whatever you feel God calling you to. :)

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  6. says

    THANK YOU for posting this. You are so right when you say there are stereotypes placed on kids from both sides. It is frustrating and unrealistic. Living in a very small rural community we are faced with serious scrutiny for homeschooling because they want our kids in school badly. They constantly quiz us on whether or not our kids are socialized enough, whether or not I am covering all subjects, what curriculum and on and on. Others are so supportive that they begin to insult public school kids and say they are not getting a good education, they are trouble and all kinds of other things. Pure silliness!!! Most kids I know have super strengths in some subject and have a harder time in others– totally normal. As adults NO ONE is super amazing in every single thing they do…

    What is wonderful is that as parents we have the choice to choose what is best for our own kids and there is no need to criticize others for their decision. We know some pretty awesome public school kids, homeschool kids and private school kids. We even know some awesome kids who aren’t in school at all (because they are too young or have graduated) ;)

    Praise the Lord we have the freedom to make these choices and that our kids can HAVE an education period!!!

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  7. says

    You have boys and can still pass their old jeans down! That’s amazing. Do they ever make it all the way to the fourth boy? :)

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    Laura Reply:

    Well….some of them don’t. But my older boys are growing out of theirs so quickly, they still look brand new when we hand them to the next kid. :)

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  8. Barbara says

    Thank you!!!!! I’m the mother of two grown (26 and 25 year old) children. Consider me ignorant, but I never realized homeschooling was an option until it became the only apparent option for our son who struggled with snowballing migraines and anxiety that led to attendance problems and more pressure. I could go on . . . but I’m happy to report both of my children are happy, productive, unique individuals who continue to grow and amaze me. We all have been created as unique individuals in the image of our wonderful God! What a diverse God we have!!

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  9. Shannon says

    Thanks for this post. I too think the “to homeschool, not to homeschool” debate has gotten way out of control. I was a stay at home mom for 8yrs and chose not to homeschool. We just felt with my son’s personality and his being an only child, that homeschooling would not be the best option for us. Plus we live out in the country with no neighbors, so playdates had to be carefully arranged. Luckily we have a very good, very small public school (with mostly Christian staff) close to us and he loves it (he’s 16 now), always has. He was the kid that cried when I picked him UP from preschool.
    The other thing this did was allow me to make some extra money cleaning houses while he was in school. Without that extra income, I would have probably HAD to go back to work, at least part-time, without near the flexibility I had with my house cleaning business. I was home when my son was home and I was available for field trips and class parties most of the time. I felt I had the best of both worlds. Now I work part-time for a bank and, luckily, am still home when my son is home.

    My SIL who lives in Boston, has 5 children and homeschools. She was a school teacher before she married and the area they lived in didn’t have good public schools, so they felt homeschooling was the best way to instill their values in their children. All of our kids have turned out well. They are smart, creative and well socialized. I don’t feel that our children have suffered on either front.

    Like others have expressed. Do what works for your family.

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  10. Christi says

    Thanks for this! I am just starting out, and I am getting A LOT of pushback from family and friends. I really feel convicted about homeschooling, but all of the nay-saying can really chip away at me!

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    Laura Reply:

    We received a lot of that at first too. It can be discouraging, especially from people you love so much! Hang in there. If it really is what God wants you to do, He will work it all out and show your family the beauty of your choice.

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  11. Jill says

    Thank you for such a balanced and fair and rationale post, Laura. I work for an urban public school district and it is infuriating how many people think that all public kids come from broken homes and parents that don’t care about their education and that all public school kids are destined to become teen parents, go on welfare, and flip burgers for a living.

    Kids and families come in all types with all different needs and learning styles. This homeschool vs. regular school debate is, sadly part of the “mom wars” and part of the “Christian vs. secular” wars out there. Both are so unfair and such a waste of energy!

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  12. Sarah says

    Thanks, Laura! As always, your posts are always right on! I think it’s important to say that God doesn’t call us all to the same thing!(Praise Him!) Homeschooling might be His will for one family, & public school for the next. Over the years, I’ve struggled with knowing what was “right.” I would often say, “my good, Christian friends all homeschool, that MUST be what we’re supposed to do.” But, He has made me see that “my thoughts aren’t His thoughts, & my ways aren’t His ways.” We’re all here to glorify His name in whatever the circumstances He puts us in. I’m thankful for the opportunities He gives us in our public school to be a shining light in a dark world, & for the wonderful, encouraging homeschooling friends that He provides along the way. We all serve the same God!

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  13. Fletcher says

    You can pass jeans from one kid to the next? I couldn’t do that with my GIRLS!! My son’s jeans are ready for recycling – burning or the scrap/quilt bag even before they are too short for his forever growing legs. You live a miracle!!

    I appreciate the reminder that it’s okay not to play the cello or aspire to neurosurgery.

    Of course, you do know that EVERY homeschooler worth their salt has their own milk cow, right? :)

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  14. Rita says

    Thanks for the chuckles!!! That was great!!! I love homeschooling, but can’t blame anyone for their choices – whatever works for you and your family! For us, I’m glad my girls have the extra time to work on their violas/violin (only one per child, and I must have missed the boat because two started at 4 and two started at 5! I’m behind again!!!) We’re we supposed to be milking our own cow too?!!! I failed again!!!!

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  15. Roma says

    My daughter got her B.A. at 20 and now she teaches in a home school co-op. She now hears from people asking when she will get a real job with the school system. She has tried to tell them that God has guided her in this area but people still tell her she needs to go get a REAL job. She smiles but it really bothers her that others don;t seem to value her choice. We encourage her to follow the Lord first and foremost and to pray about her decisions. She really enjoys teaching. She is in the place that God wants her to be at and that is all that really matters. I guess the stereotyping continues.

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  16. Sheila H. says

    My three homeschooled boys disrespected their teacher today. I, the teacher, had to take a deep breath and begin a discussion about respect and what had just happened. Just when I am running low on patience, you post about the good/bad, or just differences involved in homeschooling. I am good to go now. Thanks. Can you get them to remember what a proper noun is?

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  17. ann says

    Yes, amen. It often feels like, especially online, while I am expected as a Christian public schooling mama to be nothing but supportive of others choices and opinions, those who do choose to homeschool do not feel a need to be as considerate. So often I want to scream, “I don’t make assumptions and judgements about your kids and parenting, so please give me the same grace!”

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  18. says

    Amen. I wish parents everywhere would just realize we are all doing the best in our view for our kids. Sadly many of the homeschooling parents at our church turn their noses at those who send their kids to the church’s school. :-(

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  19. Laurie says

    I have loved reading these posts! So much diversity and yet all with the shared theme of wanting what’s best for our children. I have five children between the ages of 15-32. Our three oldest attended public schools, our fourth child has always been homeschooled, and our fifth was homeschooled until he started high school this year.

    While our oldest , I believe, would have benefited from homeschool, he made it through and I am happy to report that he has grown into a wonderful, hardworking, husband and father to our two granddaughters! Our next son graduated with honors and loved public school. Our daughter graduated from public school with honors and loved every minute of it (although she has decided to homeschool her own children). Our fourth daughter has loved everything about homeschool and has worked with great diligence, as unto the Lord! Our youngest, while he truly loved his homeschool days, decided that for the purpose of the sports he so dearly loves, would attend the public high school to be eligible to play.

    I want to thank you, Laura, for your words. We can read them and feel free to follow God’s call on our individual lives :)

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  20. says

    I love this post! My friend and I do some homeschool things together sometimes and I occasionally tease her about her jumpers. Because all homeschool moms wear jumpers too, right? We alway have a great chuckle over it. BTW – she looks great in her pretty jumpers!

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  21. Rebekah says

    Laura, i just had to laugh when i was reading this because, it is so true. i was homeschooled my whole life, and growing up i and my sister’s were shy around other people and we would hear things like “well they are homeschooled, they are not around other people that often” I was shy because…. i was shy, not because i was homeschooled! Thank you for the post

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  22. says

    This is so well said! We homeschool, but we have also worked with many public and private schooled kids over the years. People are unique. How a child is schooled is far less important than whether or not they have enough parental involvement in their lives. Thank you for reminding us all not to make generalizations and to allow kids to be who God created them to be.

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