I've read your blog, and wonder how homeschooling is an option for parents who are not well-off enough to have the mother (or father) stay home. I'm putting my husband through full-time studies, so work full-time. My son will be going to public school because we are not rich, and I can't be home.
I appreciate that you are a champion for homeschooling, but I feel hurt that people like you make the rest of us, not of sufficient means, feel lousy for doing the best we can under the circumstances.
I love my son no less than a homeschooler loves her/his children. I'm glad you have the opportunity to homeschool -- you and your kids are blessed. Don't judge those of us who have to struggle, rent apartments instead of buy houses, live on a shoestring, and love our kids dearly. I participate in my son's learning, and feel that he'll do well because of it.
Don't underestimate the power of a parent who cares. It can make up for a lot that's lacking in the world. Your kids will not be superior to mine. They are just blessed in a different way.
And this is what I responded with:
Thanks for letting me know how you feel, what you think about my post. I can understand how you might feel that homeschoolers (especially the more vocal of us) may have an attitude of doing better for our children. I'm certainly not judging you or your choices or situation. I don't think most of us are trying to make others feel bad for not homeschooling.
I recognize that most parents are doing their best for their kids. We certainly aren't "well-off" and have made lots of sacrifices in order to have me stay home with the kids. If something were to happen to my husband's wage-earning (accident, illness, death), I would probably be forced to put my kids in school, at least for a while. But lack of money isn't really the main reason to not homeschool.
I'm not trying to imply that homeschoolers love their kids more. I do think that we tend to think more about the kind of education we want for our kids and we do try to do it ourselves, so we really do have to put thought into it. We don't always succeed. Not every hs'ed kid will go to Harvard or be a Spelling Bee champ. Most won't. That's not my goal, and that's perfectly fine with me. I just want them to come out ok at the end of their time with us.
And I agree that a parent's care can make a huge difference, all the difference, in a child's life. If I said or implied my kids will be superior, that wasn't the intent. A child in public school who has a parent as their champion, to make sure they are being educated to the best of the school's ability, not being pushed aside or labeled inaccurately and/or harmfully, not only gives that child a better education, but it tells the child they are important to their parents. Schools aren't always right.
I think that one reason homeschoolers tout (or brag about) hs'ing so much is because we're in the minority--maybe just 2% of all school-aged kids are hs'ed. We've got to be vocal, and we've got to support each other. The rest of the world doesn't do things our way and that can be hard.
I don't even think homeschooling would be the right or best choice for every parent or every child. I just wish there were more educational choices out there than there are now. I hope you understand where I'm coming from, and why I post about homeschooling. It's what we do, it's important to us, and I want to support other homeschoolers, and really other parents who are looking for ways to help their children with their education. Not all learning is done in a school.
Anyway, I hope you'll visit my blog again and maybe take something positive from it.
I think there's more to be said, but that was a lot for a comment.
To expand on Cathy's first sentence, sometimes people ask the question of affording to homeschool because they really do want to know how to make it work so they can consider it, or sometimes just to assuage their feelings of guilt (and I'm not making any guess as to Cathy's reason, just generalizing here) at not looking into homeschooling more seriously. Sometimes it can be an easy excuse in their minds to just say it's not something they can afford.
In her second paragraph, my expanded response would be to say that nobody can make you feel anything you don't want to feel about yourself. Or, as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." The majority of the industrial countries' children are in some form of government school. Should I feel lousy because I'm not doing that? A lot of homeschooling parents do worry that they might not be doing the right thing by homeschooling their kids. Every parent worries about the choices they make for their children. It's just the choices that are different.
Responding to the third paragraph, I don't consider myself and my children blessed by the opportunity to homeschool. I consider us to have made the best choice we felt we could make. Nobody gave us money and said, "Go homeschool your kids." Many homeschoolers rent an apartment or house, live paycheck-to-paycheck, work extra jobs, just like other families do. There are families with kids in school who also feel it's important to them that one parent stay home, rich, poor or in the middle. Are they judged in the same way as homeschooling families?
Every parent is in some way choosing to be involved in their child's learning, whether they are conscious of it or not. Choosing to help them with difficult homework or letting them struggle on their own; talking to teachers and guidance counselors about their child's progress, potential difficulties, or areas of great strength and how to deal with these issues, or not doing this; recognizing their learning style and seeing it doesn't mesh with how the teacher is teaching, and doing something about it, or not; encouraging their strengths outside of school, or not. You get the idea. Whether you like it or not, you're always involved. You can choose to leave it all to the schools, or you can pay attention and put your child first, fight to get them what they need. Again, generalizations, not directed at Cathy.
As to the last paragraph, I wouldn't even know what you mean when you use the word "superior." I think just about every child has areas of great strength, realized or not. "Superior" is a competitive word, and I'm not competing. I just want my kids to have fun, learn about themselves, have a love of learning, and become independent, thoughtful, caring and responsible adults.