What NOT to Say to a Homeschool Mom

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what not to say to a homeschool mom . . . and what to say instead!

There are moms of all kinds around Birmingham — new moms, moms of multiples, expecting moms, breastfeeding moms, not breastfeeding moms, moms of an only child, moms of lots of kids, adoptive moms, moms of kids verycloseinage, and moms of kids with a w i d e age gap.

And chances are, you’re going to encounter most of these kinds of moms — on the playground, at the library, getting coffee, in the checkout line — and one day, one of these moms might be . . .

. . . a homeschool mom.

Here’s what you definitely, absolutely, should NOT say to a homeschool mom . . .

“My kids are waaaay too social to be homeschooled.”

Ugh. Socialization. The thorn in the side of every homeschool parent. There is not enough space on the internet for all my thoughts on this. Blurting this out when you meet a homeschooling mom is basically saying, “My kid has more friends than your poor child that is stuck at home all day.”

Homeschool kids have friends. They attend co-ops. They have play dates. They participate in extra-curricular activities. We do not hide in our houses all day. In fact, we sometimes have to say ‘no’ to some social outings and events because, well, we do have to squeeze in our school work. 

“I don’t have enough patience to homeschool” or “You must have the patience of Job to be able to homeschool.”

Good heavens, no I don’t. I get frustrated. I get exasperated. I yell and dole out consequences for bad attitudes and incomplete work. I’m not perfect, but that’s okay. Homeschooling is shaping me as much as it is shaping my son.

“But he will go to school for high school, won’t he?”

Well, that’s not the plan for us. For some homeschoolers, that might be their plan. Some homeschoolers play it year-by-year so they couldn’t answer that question for you.

Regardless, it’s a bold, none-of-your-business question that you’d be better off not saying. Unless you want to appear to be questioning the intelligence and ability of the homeschool mom you just met. I promise you, she’s probably done far more research on homeschooling high school than you have.

“But what about prom?”

Please don’t go there. If this is your main concern about what a homeschool kid would miss out on, keep it to yourself. Prom is not the experience to end all experiences.

Oh, and homeschoolers do have proms or prom-like events to attend if they wish to attend. A lot choose not to.

Prom is not everything.

“I could NEVER homeschool my child(ren).”

Please don’t say this. If you HAD to, you could. If your child were being bullied, falling behind, not getting the education they needed or in some kind of danger, physically, mentally or emotionally — you would dig deep and find what you need to get it done.

Side bar to my fellow Southern, Christian mamas — if God was calling you to homeschool your child — you would dig deep and find what you need to get it done.

“I couldn’t spend all day with my kids.”

I really have to bite my tongue when I hear this. Yes, my son drives me crazy sometimes. But I have no desire to ship him off for 8+ hours a day for 160+ days of the year. Childhood is really so short. I treasure the moments we spend together, whether it is doing math, taking a walk, or doing a science experiment. I love watching him learn and discover. You know when your child was a baby and a toddler and you were so excited when they waved, said a new word, took their first step? Yeah, it’s that feeling. I get to feel that multiple times a week.

“What’s wrong with ___local school name here__ ?”

Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. But if you’re asking me to dish on the school your kids are in because you think I know something you don’t (or because you want to get defensive about your child’s school/principal/teacher), please don’t.  Homeschooling isn’t always about something wrong with the local school. And I’m not going to badmouth any of those while I’m sitting on a playground.

“Shouldn’t you be at home doing school right now?”

If you see a homeschool mom out with her kids during “school hours” on a weekday, absolutely, do not ever ask why they aren’t at home “doing school”.  There is no rule that says school work has to be completed between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to count.

It’s possible when you see them out at lunch, they’ve already finished their lessons. Or if you see them out in the morning, they had an errand to run and they’re going home to finish school up in the afternoon. Maybe they don’t usually start school until 2:00 p.m. (*gasp* yes! Some homeschoolers do their work in the afternoons/evenings). Maybe they have the day off (we do that sometimes!) You don’t see the school days going on over holidays (we don’t take President’s Day or Columbus Day off school) and you don’t see the lessons finished and experiments done on Saturdays. So if we’re out at 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, I don’t need you to question why.

Here’s what you SHOULD say to a Homeschool Mom!

So that was a (brief) list of what not to say to a homeschool mom. It’s a lot to remember. So here’s what you SHOULD say — and it’s much easier to remember. So just say this and you don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing.

“You homeschool? Awesome. That’s so great that you’re advocating for your children’s education and doing what you feel is best for them!”

Because that’s what momming is. Am I right? Being a mom is waking up every day and making the choices that you feel are best for your child and being their biggest advocate for their success in life.

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Tabitha has spent her entire life living in various parts of St. Clair County . . . small town life but close enough to the city to enjoy all it has to offer. She's been married to her high school sweetheart for 13 years. Tabitha spends her days as a blogger and homeschool mom to Gavin, a 5th grader who loves animals, books, geography, LEGO, Disney, roller coasters, museums, pirates and karate. Indeed, he keeps her life interesting! Part of what makes it interesting is homeschooling an only child - it's a unique journey! Tabitha loves libraries, good books, history, traveling, coffee, Disney, sometimes cooking (but never cleaning up), being a "karate mom", more coffee, scrapbooking in her free time (ha!) and naps. Around town, you're likely to catch her "field-tripping" with her son at one of the libraries, a park, the Birmingham Museum of Art, McWane Science Center, the Birmingham Zoo, or one of the other dozens of interesting places in the city - and she'll probably have coffee.