Homeschooling? Oh, I Could Never Do That!

“Why aren’t you in school?” Strangers will ask my children when we visit the library or store during traditional school hours.

“We are. We’re homeschooled.”

A pause, and a response. Oh

I can tell exactly what that person is thinking by the sound of the Oh.

If it is drawn out with a slight high pitch at the end Oh, isolated, with no companion words then it means, “Oh-You are one of THEM”. We are sized up as right wing conservatives, backward fundamentalists intent on brainwashing our kids while sequestering them from the real world. Oh the stranger repeats, her smile fades as she walks away.

Then there’s the Oh- said with a tone of shock.

This person is thinking: “Oh, I’ve heard about homeschooling.  You do that?  What about socialization? How will your kids ever adjust in society if they are not allowed the opportunity to interact thirty-five hours a week with their peers and are never introduced to objective, educated, professional teachers. Don’t you agree they are more qualified than you to teach your children?“ She shakes her head and clicks her tongue as she disappears into the crowd.

If the Oh is light and followed by a sigh, then the thought is, “Oh, I wish I could do that.  I would love to homeschool my kids, but I can’t.  I have to work, and honestly, I just don’t have the patience. My kid and I would butt heads.” Good luck is added before she walks away.

Then there is the Oh I long for, but rarely hear. The Oh! is said with excitement and recognition. This time, words are spoken.

Oh, I should have realized you were home-schoolers. I home-schooled my three children.  My eldest is in his first year of med school, my middle one a sophomore at Harvard majoring in political science, and my youngest just got accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. They are well adjusted, flexible, creative adults. I’m so glad I chose to homeschool, they are too!

My hero gives me a hug, wishes us well and waves goodbye.

Imagine that. I can tell what people are thinking by the sound of a simple two-letter word.



Hey-thanks for reading. I’m Kathy, wife to Gary, and mom to three teenage sons. I’ve been a family nurse practitioner since 1991 and currently practice in addiction medicine. I also negotiate clinical placements for APN grad students. We’re home schoolers with a dash of un-schooling. My most memorable celebrity patient: the Munchkin Coroner from the Wizard of Oz.

6 thoughts on “Homeschooling? Oh, I Could Never Do That!

  1. I’m one of the ones who says Oh! with excitement!!!! Yes, what the tone does tell!

  2. Sherry, and you say it with a great big, warm smile 🙂 you happen to be one of my heroes!

  3. I realize that I used to be one of those people who said “Oh,” you are one of those weirdo homeschoolers, one of “them”! Then I became a homeschooler, and you are correct, you can tell how people say that small word how they feel about homeschooling. Even within homeschooling there are reactions like that though. Think about how people react to finding out you homeschool for secular reasons, or use an electronic curriculum (I get reaction to both of those all the time, we use Time4Learning as our core, an online curriculum, and we are secular homeschoolers in the middle of the Bible South.) Anyway, I guess as homeschoolers we just need to figure out what works for our family and hope that by our example we can change the tone of some of those “Ohs”. Happy Homeschooling!

    1. Great points, Linda. I used Time4Learning one year too-great curriculum! Very true, we are all unique and need to be considerate, thoughtful and supportive of one another, even if they do things “differently” than us. That’s the beauty of homeschooling- it’s tailored to different learning styles and families. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I’m a FNP student who wants to homeschool my child. Everyone is telling me it can’t be done, even if I only work part time. Do you have any advice? Words of encouragement?

    1. Hi Krista, it can definitely be done! I worked part-time when the kids were early elementary, but once I had my third son I made the decision to put my career on hold and just homeschool. It was the right choice for us as we had a great co-op of friends, lots of field trips, and classes with other homeschoolers. I returned to work a decade later. Some creative ideas for school/work balance could be flexibility with school hours such as school after dinner, weekends, have dad help teach. Use online academies or curriculum that can be done independently by your child, with touch base/review time when you aren’t working. Involve grandparents if available – maybe they can help teach baking, home-ec, and reading. Use audible books, and read alouds. Instilling a love for reading is soooo important for a good educational foundation! I could go on and on because I believe homeschool is a wonderful, outstanding education and deepens the bond between a parent and child. So, you can make it work Krista, it may be challenging at first but it’s without a doubt worth it. Wishes for success and joy whatever route you choose.

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