Thursday, October 10, 2013

Things I Do Not Care For: Homeschool Edition

I really like homeschooling. I do. It's an entire lifestyle, a community, and I'm glad every day that we have chosen it.

However. Like all communities, it comes with its rude neighbors, shady businesses, and dogs barking way into the night. Let's talk about some of those things in the homeschool community.

Things I Do Not Care For: Homeschool Edition

Dads as "principals"

Oh, HELL, naw. Nothing. NOTHING. NOTHING sends me fleeing from a blog or website faster than seeing a homeschool mom refer to her husband as The Principal. I absolutely hate this. I mean, okay, I can laugh when she makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to sleeping with the principal, because that's kind of funny when the dad has only been cast as the principal for the purpose of the joke.

But this is not so in many homeschool families. I believe every family is different and blah blah blah. But damn, I find this so demeaning. It's sexist and it diminishes the role of the mother to subordinate rather than equal partner. Sure, I do most of the formal "teaching" in our house, but Husband and I make many of the administrative decisions together, and the rest mostly actually fall to me because I am the one in those homeschool trenches every day.

Husband certainly imparts his skills and knowledge to our kids whenever he can, too. But like I said, we are equal partners in this house, and while I consciously try not to judge other people's family setups, this husband/principal crap really pisses in my proverbial Cheerios.

The labeling wars

I have never seen more, abbreviated labels in my life. Everyone's super-special kid has twelve disorders coupled with seventeen various gifted labels. It is not uncommon to see a homeschool parent talk about their "DS, 12, PKD/ESPN/ADHD/OPP/ICP/TTYL/LYLAS with giftedness in LMNOP/G6/PBS" or some shit.

I'm not saying all the various disorders and learning abilities/disabilities don't exist. I'm also not saying that these kids don't have these various things. What I am saying is that it kills me to see how snippy moms can get, trying to outdo each other with the labels. There is legitimate competition to see whose kid is a more delicate (but also more brilliant!) flower. I roll my eyes daily. It goes well beyond discussion about special needs or learning and devolves right into competition/virtual hair flipping, and it's maddening.

The over-achieving, hyper-stressed Mom

You know her. She is on that committee. She can organize and supply that bakesale. She knows all those people who are Very Important. She is pretty in a whimsical, thrown-together-but-somehow-still-cute way. And oh, yeah—she's a huge, snippy, passive-aggressive bitch.

I thought I left her behind when we left the public school, but I was wrong. She is alive in the homeschool community and she is THRIVING. She plans all the outings and activities and co-ops and answers every question in a clipped, bothered tone on any and all of the fifteen online groups/boards she runs. She rolls her eyes and rushes around, screaming about how busy she is and that's why she has NO TIME for your shenanigans, yet she cannot stop her compulsive need to volunteer for every, tiny thing that crops up.

The thing about her is, she is actually not a bitch at heart. She is also not like the Annoyingly Perfect Mom because she is not chipper or perfectly put together. She is stressed and grumpy because she cannot say no, because she is a perfectionist to a fault, and because she genuinely wants to be more helpful than humanly possible.

So yeah. She drives me insane, but she's also misunderstood. It's due to her own actions, yeah, but still. You know if you need anything, OAHSM will jump over a semi truck to help you. She'll be frazzled and irritable and brash, but she will help. So while she is one of the most maddening, confusing, illogical people you've ever met, you know she means well and you simply thank her while biting your tongue and then shaking your head in private. She's a mess, but she's good people. And aren't most of us?


  1. OAHSM sounds a bit like me - except I've never thought of myself as over-achieving, and I hope I don't come across as bitch.
    Also, I'm down with OPP. Yeah. You know me.

    1. Not even remotely, Missy. Do not mistake "involved" for "OAHSM". OAHSM has something to prove for some reason. I have never gotten that vibe from you.