Your Burning Questions Answered

We are gearing up for another year of school.

Home. School.

Which means we pull off the incredible hat trick of depriving our children educationally while still teaching them too much (making them socially awkward, because, as we all know, if you’re smart you MUST be socially awkward).

In honor of this auspicious time, I will answer your burning questions. The next time these questions are asked, I will have a handy link to text to you, whether ye be an insecure public educator, a concerned social worker, a well-meaning stranger, a police truant officer, a “considering it” fellow mother.


How do you know what to teach ? Are you even qualified?

How did you know to teach your kid to poop in the toilet?

To tie his shoes?

To speak?

Are you even qualified?

If you know how to do something with a halfway decent level of competence, you can generally teach it to another human being. Unless Nanny has been raising your kid and only bringing her to you at tea time chances are, you’ve been teaching her since birth. If you didn’t know how to potty train another human, you Googled it, and were sooner or later successful. I have been successful in homeschooling so far. Unless one (or one’s child) is severely handicapped,* you both are capable of learning. If you are capable of learning, you are capable of teaching, even if you haven’t shelled out the exorbitant amounts of time, money, and paperwork to become a ‘qualified’ teacher.

Seriously, you can google “Kindergarten Curriculum” and get all of it PLUS endless blogs explaining how to do it well. It’s like there’s an alternative to teachers unions and politics. Weird, right?

Seeing as how I managed to graduate from college, I (hopefully) have a solid grasp of elementary level Language Arts, Math, Science, etc.

My mother, with almost no college, was a far better teacher of early elementary for me than many certified teachers I have encountered since.

An education degree does not a competent educator make.

Lack of an education degree does not an incompetent teacher make.

I could vomit my many pedagogical thoughts onto you, but it may or may not get your vote of confidence. That’s OK. I didn’t ask for your vote of confidence, neither do I need it, unless you’re making policies about this stuff. In which case, the shady bribe money is in the hobo tent under the underpass at 32nd and Main.

Thanks for the random audit.



Oh no! My kid isn’t spending 8 hours a day with peers who all fall between two capriciously chosen birth dates, with the expectation to sit when everyone sits, stand in line (a straight, quiet line) when everyone stands in line, and raise his hand for permission to speak or urinate. WHY AM I DEPRIVING HIM OF PREPARATION FOR REAL WORLD SOCIAL SITUATIONS???

Unless my child has aspirations to grow up and become a full-time DMV client, I don’t think the social structure found in school will prepare her well.

My short answer to this is that the most important social training happens in the home. I think a lot of teachers will agree with me on this–particularly teachers who are compelled by their students to spend more of their time teaching social and emotional skills rather than literacy and math skills.

My long answer: My children start their day with hugs and validation from their teacher, who also birthed them, breastfed them, and knows them pretty darn intimately. They spend their whole school day in the safest space they know. After school, they spend time playing with the most important peers they have (siblings), followed by time with lots of different kinds of humans at:

-A  diverse music program

-The homes of immigrants and refugees

-Nursing homes, both private/rich and government/poor

-Our church

-The homes of our fellow church goers

-our front yard. Where many of the public schooled neighbor kids tend to congregate when we’re home. Because we raise chickens, bees, plants, and are always willing to outsource labor to eager young hands.

To recap: They have church friends, refugee friends, music friends, neighbor friends, old people friends. They have cousins and aunts and uncles with whom they have long distance relationships. They have their mother and father. They have each other. I would submit that they’re doing just fine. And if they’re not, I’m sure they can get therapy as adults.

I know of a homeschooler who was horrifically NOT educated/socially awkward/ a serial killer.

Cool. I know of a public schooler who was horrifically NOT educated/socially awkward/a serial killer. Takes all sorts to make a world, doesn’t it?

Are you going to homeschool him all the way?

Are you going to public school him all the way? I mean, really, you should think about that, because I know of a public schooler who was horrifically NOT educated/socially awkward/ a serial killer.

It is a big commitment. I can’t tell the future. Maybe my breadwinning husband will die a horrible untimely death at the hands of the teachers’ union and I will be forced to enroll my children into Dark Satanic Education Mills where they learn how to worship dinosaurs and use contraception, while I go and work in the cafeteria, tearfully slopping mashed potatoes onto endless trays, missing the patriarchy that kept me in the lifestyle to which I was accustomed. Where art thou, vaccuum and pearls???

We re-evaluate every year. If there comes a time when it seems like the better option, we will freak out and lock our children up forever enroll them in a school. We do our best by our kids, as you undoubtedly do, too.

What are you afraid will happen in schools?

Drugs, sex, rock and roll! Also, they might be exposed to ideas that are not ours, religions that are not ours! ATHEISM! COMMUNISM! THE DNC! APPLE PRODUCTS! We can’t have that. No siree.

We’re not trying to shield our kids from anything. We’re trying to prepare them for everything. HOWEVER. If you want a strong plant, do you drop a seedling in the middle of a desert, or do you give it some time in a greenhouse first? Some seedlings can survive deserts, some can’t. It’s a crapshoot.

Greenhouses are designed to provide the best start for young plants. We’re trying to give them our best greenhouse. Plants raised in non-haphazard circumstances, and carefully “hardened off” to the wild caprices of nature, have a better chance at growing strong and well into a long and fruitful maturity.

So you think I’m a negligent parent by sending my kid to school.

Nope. I have trust and faith that you are capable of making wise and good decisions for your kids, even if they’re not the decisions I would make. You and your kid are different people than me and mine, and God’s grace is the only real thing that gets any of us through this in the end. Our choices matter as per our circumstances, and our circumstances alone.

I could NEVER homeschool!

That’s true if you believe it.

I would hate homeschooling.

Than you probably shouldn’t. That being said, I thought I’d hate brussels sprouts, and I was pleasantly surprised. Broiling them in olive oil goes a long way. Similarly, in homeschool, setting things on fire goes a long way. Just saying.

I couldn’t homeschool my kids because they never do anything I tell them to.

You have my sincerest sympathy. Also, there’s a lot of books on this topic. I feel shy mentioning this in case you’ve read them all already. I just want to be friends, and I’m not here to judge. Godspeed, fellow child-rearer!

*And even then, by gum, you can learn.