Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just curious

Since I was writing about comments that we receive (or don't receive) about our family yesterday, it got me to thinking about other sorts of comments, the ones we receive about our choice to homeschool. I will say that of all the family choices we have made, our decision to homeschool still receives far more comment than anything else. (Family size comes next.) It's not the fact our choice to homeschool receives comment that I find interesting, but it's the type of comments it receives that I've been interested in. I'm a little curious if other people have noticed the same thing as well.

When we first started homeschooling, lo these many years ago, homeschooling was just picking up in popularity. There were plenty of people homeschooling, but it was still pretty fringe. While some of the general public had met an actual homeschooler or knew of one, it was far more common that some people I came across had never even heard of such a thing. It was a little 'out there'. I was far more likely to field questions such as, "Is it legal?" or "Do you children have any friends?" (sigh) or "How will your children get into college?" (My child was five.) And then there were the occasional egregious individuals who would turn to my children and start quizzing them on basic facts. (If you know my eldest in real life, you can imagine the look of death that she glared at these types.) While the conversations weren't necessarily negative, they often involved a lot of education about the philosophy of homeschooling.

While it is still not the majority choice of educational method, homeschooling has gone much more mainstream than it was 15+ years ago. Most people have heard of it and the majority of people I meet have a friend or relative who homeschools. Marketers have found us and like to cash in on our proclivity for book and material buying. It has been a long time since anyone has asked me if it's legal; the comments have changed.

In the past year the comments have changed a lot. Far more often than not, the comments I hear go something like this, "Your kids must be smart," or some variation there of. This is such a complete turn around from strangers asking my daughter is she knows what 1+1 is, I take notice. And it's happened more than once. I also wonder if it is an adult-thing. When I asked A. and P. about it, they shared the comments they have heard recently from peers and they tend towards the same old thing. They haven't noticed a shift.

So, I'm curious. Has anyone else noticed this? Is it a thing? Do tell.


Amy Gozelski said...

By far, most of the comments we get have to do with "socialization". I do get ever so weary of hearing that word and ever so weary of trying not to be snarky and "unsocialized" myself when I explain "socialization" yet again. Do they even know what they mean when they say it?

Lucy said...

By far, most of the comments we receive are positive - as in "that's great, I wish I could have done that". One person did note "you must be a saint", and I noted (quietly to myself) that she was a schoolteacher :-)

It is also worth noting that in my little group at my large corporation, there are 6 of us - two with grown children, two without children and then us two homeschooler!

I agree it's either going mainstream, or it's a fad, but until the government makes some improvements in their schools, I suspect it will be a lasting fad.

Danielle said...

Granted this is only our second year, and it's Kindergarten, I don't have tons of experience with questions. However, I do get the "I would never have the patience" or the "Are you kidding? I can't wait for them to go back to school after Spring Break" comments a lot. Every once in a while though there is that other mom who is mulling over the idea herself and has very interested and practical questions.

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