One thing I've noticed since we first decided to homeschool two years ago is that others will frequently try to pigeon hole us. If they've just learned that we homeschool they immediately want to know why. Often it seems like they are trying to discover whether to mentally label us as anti-social weirdos, religious nuts, over protective parents, or hyper-parents who want to create little geniuses.
Or, if they are in favor of homeschooling, they want to place us in a sub-category of homeschoolers. They want to know what curriculum we use and what outside activities our children are enrolled in. I love discussing our homeschooling, but I don't like the stereo typing or the implied idea that we "must" do certain things to be considered homeschoolers or good parents. I say, if you are going to homeschool, be yourself. Don't try to be a certain kind of homeschooler, duplicate someone else's home/school life, or conform to anyone's expection of what you should be doing within your family. Go your own way! Swim against the stream!
For the record:
1. I don't use a pre-packaged curriculum. I use whatever I can afford at the moment and whatever looks like it might be enjoyable for my kids and me.
2. I don't turn off the phone during school hours to protect the "sanctity" of our school time. Nor do I avoid all use of computer games and movies. This refers back to #1.
3. I don't need time in the evenings to grade papers because I work with my children so that I can correct problems immediately before they've done it wrong on 20 different problems.
4. I don't "get sick of my kids", and do you realize how bad that sounds when you ask me that in front of your own kids?
5. My kids are not each on a sports team or enrolled in an outside club of some sort. We only participate in activities that have a unique and long term value and we closely guard our family time. Driving to various activities, practices, and games every night while we scarf our dinners in the van is not my idea of fun. We'd rather play together as a family, talking, laughing, encouraging, and exercising together instead of most of us at different events and sitting on benches watching the others play. Also, our money is better spent elsewhere. No, I don't think my kids have a high likelihood of becoming professional athletes, so why invest their time in that?
6. We can't participate in your homeschool co-op classes because it would consume too much of our family time and add unnecessary stress for me. This is related to #5.
7. I don't think my kids need to be bullied or ostracized in order to prepare them for the "real world". No, I don't believe my kids should be "exposed" to other ideas by spending five days a week with kids who are acting completely against our family's Christian values.
What many people don't seem to understand is that while we share ideas with other homeschoolers, we don't fit a certain mold. Most homeschoolers are very independent. That's why we are homeschoolers. We want what's best for our children and are determined to give them the best; the best of ourselves, the best of our time, the best of our resources, and help them become their best. So if you must label me or categorize me, here's what you can know for certain. I'm the kind of parent who absolutely loves my kids. My husband and I love spending time together as a family and our family comes first. The only real "plan" we follow is to love them, teach them, guide them, play with them, protect them, encourage them, and give them the freedom to become the wonderful, amazing, thinking men and women that God designed them to be.
Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."