One of my favorite things about running this blog is the interaction I receive on the Facebook page. Inevitably, every three months or so, I get a comment that accuses homeschoolers of being weird in one way or another.
Recently, it was this one:
Don’t people want a break from their kids? Having them around 24/7 seems a bit much.
These comments are nothing new to experienced homeschoolers, of course. And after a few years, we all develop some pretty thick skin so these barbs and arrows of outrageous questions just bounce off. But I wanted to address this question in a blog post for those of you who might be new.
So here you go. Arm yourself with these responses if you get asked the same question. (And please contribute your own at the end of this post by commenting!)
“Yes, I do want a break from my kids, but the answer isn’t sending them to a place where I have no rights and they have no freedom.”
Look, it isn’t new information that public school limits parental involvement in a child’s life. If anything, it is the family that becomes the satellite to the school. Not only that, the children themselves have no freedom when it comes to deciding what they want out of their own education. Why would you sacrifice your parental rights and the child’s freedom and curiosity on the altar of needing a break when that can be arranged just as easily by hiring a babysitter for a few hours or making other arrangements with family?
Also, children do grow up, you know. At some point, they are capable of taking care of themselves for a little while. But with the perpetual infantilization public schooling promotes, we would hardly know it.
“Our breaks are built in to our schedule.”
I take a nap every afternoon. My children know what is expected of them when friends come to visit and when I have things to attend to. They do not expect me to be holding their hands all day long. We get mental breaks and physical breaks from each other. We are people, too, and we all want to do things by ourselves. Surprise, surprise… even the children need breaks from being told what to do under adult supervision which they never get at public school.
Homeschooling allows us to get more breaks than you would think.
“Just because we homeschool doesn’t mean we’re attached at the hip.”
It is the culture of constant adult supervision and surveillance that has inured us to this. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the constant reminders to talk to the kids when they’re little and faulty research that says the brain develops during the early years, with the push for more and more academic involvement in the preschool years, people have begun to believe some big lies. These include the lie that children cannot care for themselves.
I ignore my children. And it’s good for them. They take care of themselves for most of the day. I would argue it is only in homeschooling that we can take such a drastic step toward freedom and self reliance. Such independence is impossible in public school.
“No, actually… we’re just fine. We don’t need “breaks” from our family to keep it together.”
The idea of needing time apart is currently fashionable. While I do believe it is healthy to spend time doing something other than being with people all the time, I don’t think all of this obsession with “breaks” is healthy. Look, I get it. I’m an introvert and so is my husband. Interestingly enough, at least one of my children is also introverted.
We all get our needs met at home – even our need for breaks from each other. We’re perfectly fine being in the same room and not talking because we’re all working on something else. That is called being comfortable with each other without someone with way too much power telling us what to do every moment of the day. We’re also free to leave and go into the next room just to be alone. Try doing that in a public school setting and let me know how it works out for you.
“We get more breaks this way than we would were my kids in public school.”
Want to goof off for a day? Go to the park? Go to the museum? Watch a movie? Sick? Birthday? Vacation? Grandparents visiting? Moving? People in public school have no idea how much freedom homeschoolers get and how many more breaks we have – and by the way all this is done with less money spent per child and way more efficient education.
Instead of dancing to the tune that the school plays, we are free to make our own schedules and do what works for us. This keeps the family at the center of our lives rather than the alien institution of a school dictating things down to what we eat.
So, seriously, stop with the siren song of getting a break from our children. As homeschoolers, we get those – and way more.
Thanks, but no thanks.