For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Friday, January 12, 2007

How can you stand it?

I think just about every veteran home schooler out there has had this comment. They'll be talking to someone, a stranger or an aquaintaince, and hs'ing happens to come up, only to be told, "how can you stand being around your kids all day? It would drive me crazy!"

I always found this the most bizarre "reason" to no hs I've ever heard. It truly amazes me. Especially when the people saying it do so right in front of their kids!

Back when I was still working at the grocery store, I was on break and in line to buy my lunch when one of my co-workers came by. I can't remember why kids came up in such a short conversation, but he asked me a question about my kids and school, and I mentioned that we home school. His immediate response was "I don't believe in home schooling."

What a strange response to give!

This guy doesn't have any kids and never intends to have any kids, so that might have something to do with it, but I've heard similar comments before. I just wanted to laugh out loud when he said it, though. I just finished saying I hs my kids. Why on earth would he think I cared whether or not he "believed" in what I do with my kids??

More recently, I was in the grocery store and happened to go through this guy's till. As we were chatting, he asked me what I was doing, now that I didn't have a job. I told him that my days were often busy running around, doing stuff with the kids - things I wasn't able to do due to time contraints because of the number of shifts I was getting before. When he heard me, he remembered that we hs and started to make comments along the lines of "wouldn't it be so nice for the kids to be in school right now and have the days all to yourself?"

Uhm. No. It wouldn't. How boring that would be! I happen to *enjoy* being with my kids.

He then started telling me about someone he knew (ah, of course...) who tried hs'ing, but after 6 months, she sent her kids back to school because they were driving her crazy.

As soon as he said 6 months, I told him right out that that's not long enough to know if hs'ing works or not. That's especially true if the kids have been pulled out of school. Since my kids have never been in school in the first place, we've never had to go through the de-schooling period of trying to figure each other out. You can't be sending your kids to school for years, then pull them out and expect everything to be hunky dory. Neither the parents, nor the children, know each other - or themselves - well enough yet. They need to get to know each other and themselves all over again. Life is so very different when you control your own life.

Coincidentally, this subject has come up recently on an email list I'm on. A common version of the "how can you stand it" comment is brain rot. People think that staying home with the kids rots your brain. It's boring, they think, there's a lack of stimulation, and so on. They honestly seem to think staying home with our kids makes us stupid. I'm not sure what these people think we do all day, but it isn't any less boring that most of the jobs these people have. I have some pretty intense conversations with my kids. Sometimes we have some incredibly silly conversations. Sometimes, we all disappear in different areas of the apartment, working on various things, and barely converse at all. There's just so much to learn and do - and lots of time to just sit and think, to "do nothing," as it were, which I believe is just as important as anything resembling academics.

What I've discovered by this is that I have some very interesting kids. While I may not understand them all the time, I enjoy being around them. I like their company.

"How can you stand being around your kids all day?" people ask me...

How can they stand to be away from them all day? is what I want to ask them.