Last time we looked at the private life of a pastor's wife. Today we're taking a peek into the life of a homeschooling mama as Kristen shares her thoughts and her own past judgments of homeschooling moms and families.
Have you met the typical homeschool mom?
You know, the one who has far more children than the average family, all of whom are fluent in three languages, wear skirts, have won multiple spelling and Bible bees, and perform as a small orchestra at local senior centers?
Wait, maybe that’s not her.
Maybe she’s the one that is up every morning at 5am so that she can mill fresh flour and have homemade sourdough pancakes on the table when her children enter the spotless dining room at precisely 7am, all dressed with neatly combed hair and smiling faces?
Perhaps you have her confused with someone else.
She must be the one that stays in her pajamas and robe until the afternoon, along with her disheveled crew. They kind of get around to a little bit of work after the morning’s cartoons are done and after everyone has had their fourth bowl of Fruit Loops.
The typical homeschooling mom is actually the one who has a high and mighty air about her when she’s with other moms who have chosen to use the public school system or have their children in a private school. She may not say things out loud, but everyone knows she’s thinking less of them.
Actually, the typical homeschool mom oozes with patience, love, and immense educational understanding. She’s like the perfect preschool teacher combined with the most brilliant university professor, and nothing that her children do or say could ever stump or exasperate her. She never yells at her kids or loses her calm demeanor.
Or is she?
What exactly makes a typical homeschool mom?
Any, all, or none of that might make a homeschooling mom, and there’s clearly no perfect combination. If you know one homeschooling mom, chances are, the next one you meet will be very different. The mom that has a schoolroom set up in her home, complete with desks and a chalkboard, is probably quite opposite from the unschooling mom that chooses to provide her children with an unstructured learning environment. Just like there is a wide variety of moms in general, there is a wide variety of homeschooling moms in particular.
Though I am a homeschooling mom, I’ve been guilty of stereotyping homeschooling families. I saw a homeschooling game day event on our local library’s calendar, so I went with our children. I walked past the room that I thought it was in, but when I saw the family in there, I thought “That must not be it.” I double-checked, and in fact, it was.
The family used a very different style of homeschooling and parenting than our family does, and because they looked different, I assumed they must not be home educators. I forgot that families choose to homeschool for many different reasons, and there are many varied approaches to teaching them. I was caught in the “typical homeschool mom” mindset, and I was wrong.
So who is the typical homeschool mom?
She is a real woman, like any other mom. She gets tired. She gets frustrated. She doesn’t know all of the answers, and she asks a lot of questions. She doubts herself and her abilities, but for one reason or another, she feels committed to educating her children at home. She might be a Suzy homemaker, a crunchy granola-baker, an outdoors trail-walker, or a library book-stalker.
I am a typical homeschooling mom. I don’t wear a cape, and I can guarantee you that I don’t have any super-mom powers. I want our children to get a superior, Christ-centered education through our homeschool, but I don’t expect to be able to do it all myself. I will need help. I’ll hit dead ends. I’ll make mistakes. I’ll be impatient. Just like all of the other typical homeschooling moms.
We're really pretty normal people.
There's nothing wrong with making homemade foods, seeking alternatives for health, or sewing your own clothing. But you can be a homeschool mom instilling a love of learning in your kids while eating a box of Oreos and wearing Prada if that's what fits your family.
Have you had a wrong idea of what a home schooling mom does? What changed your mind?
Kristen is a homeschooling mama who enjoys whole foods and living naturally. She blogs at A Better Way to Thrive.