Thursday, June 27, 2013

No Such Thng as a "Typical Homeschooler"

It all started with a glance in the mirror and the thought, "My, you look almost civilized, no one would guess you were a muddy, sweaty mess out gardening 10 minutes ago." I realized, incidentally, (since we were out of milk and I was dashing to the grocery store), that none of us had any inkling what the others might have been up to 10 minutes before they arrived at the store. People could have been doing all sorts of things just prior, but now they were cleaned up (for the most part), with their public masks on; and they looked the part of the innocent shopper, just as I did.

Of course, one thing led to another, as it will, and after considering a few of the possibilities of what other shoppers might have been up to just before arriving at the store, all purtied up; like massive water-balloon fights, finger-painting, cleaning out horse poo from the stables, I had an elucidated moment. Homeschoolers are just like this. The only part of us that's showing is what we choose to communicate to the world, and the image they see when we are outside our homes. There is no one recipe or formula for the way our days go "as homeschoolers." Even writing down what happens all day in a home is a tricky affair, since it changes from day to day, from season to season, from sickness to health and from child to child.

A friend may say; "Oh, we did nothing today," but what she is omitting may be life-shattering in the real world. They might have cooked enough food for a week's worth of meals. Perhaps she ran five miles behind a stroller carrying two children. Volunteered at a nursing home, finished reading Narnia aloud to her children. Maybe a pet died and the whole family is in mourning. When we say "nothing," and we have a house full of people, this is a misrepresentation of facts. We can judge ourselves too harshly, allowing for only academic activity to count as "something" worth mentioning. 

No one need start confessing their every whim and burden (some of us do enough of that already), but look perhaps, with more compassion at others, and judge not homeschooling styles.

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