Homeschool Myth #4
As the concept of homeschooling continues to ease back into the mainstream, where it began, more and more questions and myths seem to follow. There is a great deal of controversy and confusion surrounding everything involving homeschool. One subject that is often brought up to homeschoolers is the "know-it-all" syndrome. Some people tend to feel that those who homeschool are know-it-alls who think they know everything. For most homeschooling families, this couldn't be further from the truth. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule in any group of people, but many homeschool parents are not this way. Watch us bust this common homeschool myth.
One reason people might feel that homeschoolers have a know-it-all attitude is because many of them never miss an educational opportunity. Most homeschool families understand that education never ends. There is always something to be learned from everything. Homeschoolers tend to delve deeper into learning about subjects simply because of the fact that they homeschool.
While from the outside, a parent of a homeschooled child that explains each situation to their child in great detail in every situation may seem to be showing off, this may not be the case. It is simply the nature of a homeschool parent to teach their children about everything, no matter where they are or who is around.
I have encountered many instances of others assuming I felt I was smarter than them or knew more. To me, education has no true measure because different people are educated on different things. While one person might know more about Civil Rights, another person may know more about fixing cars. This does not make either smarter than the other.
There is one particular incident of a know-it-all accusation that sticks in my mind for some reason. When we first started homeschooling, I also would care for other children from time to time, either as a sitter or nanny. This care often included homework help, as many of the children I cared for attended public school.
One little girl I cared for was having trouble in math class. She happened to be a public school student. That fact doesn't matter to me, but it does help in describing the situation. Being that I was her caregiver at the time, and responsible for helping at homework time, I decided to go a step further with the help. She was frustrated every day during her math homework and I wanted to help change that.
Anyhow, I worked with her after school for 3 days straight, aside from the time on her assigned homework. There was only one area where she was struggling. After our last session, she was very excited and had worked very hard. She was so proud of herself. I let her make the announcement to her mother of her achievement.
When she announced to her mom that Math was now her favorite subject (she had despised it before) because of what I had done with her, her mom responded in a negative way, instead of cheering her on. She glared at me and said "You think you're smarter than me just because you homeschool. I could have taught her that, you know".
Perhaps she could have. However, for me, that was not an issue at hand. I was not trying to insult her intelligence or her parenting skills. I was not attempting to take over her role, nor did I presume myself to be smarter than anyone. I simply saw a struggling child who I also cared about and chose to give a little help. Also, as her care provider, her mom had entrusted the after school study slot to me.
I think perception plays a big role in this particular myth. Things are not always as they may appear. Sometimes these misconceptions are based on people's insecurities. Other times they are based on rumors or misguidance.
The bottom line is that just because someone takes up an educational opportunity, it doesn't necessarily mean they feel like they are better than anyone. They may just see an opportunity to teach or learn and there is nothing wrong with that.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Advice for Parents Facing This Difficult Transition
After many restless nights (or not), you finally come to the decision that you are no longer going to be a homeschool teacher. Whether that decision came easy or not, there is likely something related you'll need to deal with. For me, the decision to start homeschooling was easy and natural. The decision to end that path and return two of the kids to traditional school, even though it was only for a while, was anything but.
Recognize your reasons for the choice. Perhaps, like I did, you have too many hats on your head and need to add another. I am a freelance journalist with several clients and am founder and co-owner of a media company. Because I cannot halt either of these related businesses (can't pay the bills without a career), the homeschooling was unfortunately the major task that would make room for me to have enough time to work to pay the bills. Once I got into a better routine, I was able to go back to teaching the kids. But at that time, I had to transition two of them back into traditional school.
Don't be too hard on yourself. I have had to repeat this advice to myself several times on this journey. No matter the reason for your decision to end your homeschooling journey (whether temporary or permanent), you made the choice for a reason. Sometimes things happen in life that are out of our power and not our fault.
Feeling guilty won't help you adjust. As long as the new schooling situation is a positive environment, there is no need to feel guilty for this choice. Again, I remind myself of this one. It's true that no one will care about your child's education more than you. However, that doesn't mean you are doing something wrong by sending them to traditional school. Remember that what you have taught them will follow them. Also, you can (and should) still help with some aspects of education, even when they are in traditional school.
Cry if you need to. The feelings can often get overwhelming. That's understandable. After all, these are your kids and their education means everything to you. Crying can help get out those built up emotions and sometimes you just have to. This is a natural coping mechanism and if sending the kids back to school invokes tears, let them roll. Just try not to do it in front of the kids to keep their experience as positive as possible.
Get some exercise. Yoga often helps reduce stress, as does running and many other types of exercise. If you need to relax, opt for stretching and yoga. But if you need to release pent up feelings in a more active way, go for running, bike riding, or even power yoga.
Get involved in the school. Maybe you don't have time to teach the kids all day anymore. But you can still volunteer to commit some time to school activities. Join the PTA, chaperone field trips, help with a bake sale, and more. Whatever you can assist with will likely help both you and your child cope with the fact that you will no longer be the teacher. This shows your child that you do still care and it also may help relieve some of the guilt associated with dropping the teacher role.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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