Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Homeschool Humor

I am now going to admit a potentially provocative fact about my sense of humor. I routinely make fun of my homeschool upbringing.

For instance, if somebody is teasing me about doing or saying something dumb (which does happen every once in a while:o), I'll sometimes jokingly offer "Well, I was homeschooled!" by way of explanation. Amongst ourselves, my sisters and friends and I make fun of the "homeschool uniform". The phrase "denim jumpers and hair-nets" is destined to invoke groans. Even my mom (who used to wear nothing but jumpers and denim skirts back in her early homeschool mom days--no hair-nets) often employs the phrase in a teasing manner.

My sisters and I also pride ourselves in our ability to pick out the homeschoolers in any given situation. The Trevor Masselys in the world aren't hard to spot (you'll probably recognize Trevor--the quintessential "perfect" homeschooler--if you ever received Josh Harris' magazine "New Attitude" many years ago. If you missed him the first time around, you can meet him here--scroll down--and here. :o)

So, yes...I am regularly irreverent of homeschooling. And this despite my view that homeschooling is a superior form of education and my plans to school any future children at home. In fact, I think I can make fun of homeschooling BECAUSE I am intimately familiar with it and know it to provide a wonderful and effective education in most cases. I can play up and enjoy all the stereotypes to humorous effect, either because they don't hit close to home at all (such as homeschooling producing ignorance or a complete lack of social skills--the opposite is usually true) or because homeschoolers DO nurture some quirks (the "uniform") that are quite funny at times. We should be able to laugh at ourselves! And so I do...often:o)

P.S. In serious conversation, I am happy to seriously address any concerns or misconceptions people might have about homeschooling. However, if people are just ignorant of the facts and want to assign various stereotypes to homeschoolers because they don't know what they're talking about, I'd rather be able to have a few snickers at their expense than get up in arms about it. A sense of humor is never out of place when one is a member of a small and often-maligned minority!:op


Anonymous Jenny said...

I'd love to home school my kids... but I'm afraid I'd do them more harm than good. I would go completely off my trolley. Sometimes, I must admit that by the end of the weekend, I'm hanging out for monday morning so I can ship Troy off to school and have one less that annoys another. And Thursdays are my sanity savers... the twins go to creche that day, so I only have the baby (who is an absolute delight). I love my kids so much, but I still haven't worked out how to get them to not annoy each other... and thus frazzle me!

6:10 PM, November 06, 2006  
Anonymous Kathryn said...

I truly believe that the national drive to home-school is about prejudice against women, not education. The conservative folks who started it in the 1980's were well aware that some fathers might choose to home-school, but that the vast majority of at-home parents would be mothers, since it is still not acceptable for fathers to be at home full-time. If conservative folks had an agenda to return women to their traditional roles, wouldn't home-schooling fit right in with that? If you home-school and are not guilty, please don't take offense.

12:44 AM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Jenny, I'm not a mother, so I'm not equipped to offer advice on anything related to child-rearing! However, I've known MANY homeschool moms of all different personality types and with all different types of children and family situations. They all have their own special "style" that makes it work for their families.'s definitely a faith- and patience-building venture! I know we drove my poor mom crazy at times:op But I also know that she doesn't regret at all that she homeschooled us.

Homeschooling is really about having the additional time to invest in one's children...pouring good things into them and just building those family relationships. If it appeals to you, definitely check into it, and don't hesitate to get lots of advice and encouragement from all of the homeschooling "veteran" moms out there! Many of them have awesome blogs that I'm sure I'll be frequenting when it's my turn.

I noticed you're from Australia. Are there many homeschooling families there?

1:05 AM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Kathryn, I must tell you that your view is greatly mistaken! Homeschooling involves a large commitment from BOTH parents--not just mothers--to be successful. I have known single mothers who have homeschooled while simultaneously supporting a family, but that's very difficult, and usually involves a lot of help from friends and family.

Also, the mother's decision to stay home and raise her own children usually precedes her decision to homeschool. And from what I've seen, it is many times the woman who encourages her husband that they should homeschool their children...not the other way around.

I don't want the thread to get off-topic onto prejudice against women. I gather from many of your recent comments that you have somewhat of a fixation on that topic, but that's not what this blog is about. Thank God...prejudice against women is something I rarely--if ever--experience, so it's not something that I can really relate to on a personal level.

There are many women all over the world who DO experience the Middle East, in Africa, and in China, just to name a few. I've done a few posts on this in the past and intend to do more in the future. I suggest that we concentrate our efforts on behalf of women on countries and in cultures where they are truly suffering.

1:30 AM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

Oh yes, Trevor Massely. I had forgotten about him!!! I used to get New Attitude as a homeschooled teen, too.

6:57 AM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger zan said...


Your responce to Kathryn was spot on. You do such a good job dabating.

I can relate to your jokes about homeschooling. We tried to do the jumper look, but we usually just wore jeans (unless we were having a homeschool family over and we didn't want to let them know we wore pants. lol.) Yes, how do you say hypocrite? We were very isolated in our homeschooling and were uncomfortable around the few that we knew.

And contrary to conspiracy theories, my parents did not homeschool us just to keep the woman down. Infact, my mom continued her nursing job while she homeschooled us. My parents just wanted to give us a better education. There were religious reasons, as well. Last time I checked we still have freedom of religion in this country.

9:01 AM, November 07, 2006  
Anonymous kim said...

You know, Kathryn does have a point ~ my mom worked when I was in junior high, and I took the liberty of a latchkey kid, less accountability, and growing distance in our relationship to make all kinds of poor choices. I don't know whose "conservative agenda" was behind it, but yes! I am homeschooling my children so that I can BE with them, so that I can remain involved in their lives, so that we can work together on the fears & concerns Jenny's comment addressed -- because I lived out, first hand, the "fruits" of the peer-based public school system and "liberated to work" mother, and now I am still trying to unlearn much of the things I put into my life. I believe mothers do some of the most important work there is, and am thankful for the chance to be a mother -- and thankful to live in a place where I am free to homeschool, free to relearn those conservative values and roles.

As far as the sense of humor and self-mocking, I do that too ~ much easier to jokingly label myself an oddball of some sort, than worry about whether others are thinking it. ;-) LOL!

9:29 AM, November 07, 2006  
Anonymous Shelby said...

I would love to comment but, having been homeschooled I lack the proper "socialization", heehee...

Just kidding...
I know what you mean about the ability to pick out homeschoolers. When we were researching a move to Viginia my hubby pointed out a lady with several daughters all in long denim skirts and very long hair flipping through some very feminine and conservative sweaters at Walmart and he told me I ought to go ask her about the homeschooling climate in that city because, "You know thay have to homeschool". :)

10:51 AM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Trevor Massely has remained a household name in my family ever since he made his debut:o)

We tried to do the jumper look, but we usually just wore jeans (unless we were having a homeschool family over and we didn't want to let them know we wore pants. lol.)

hehe!:op I tried the jumper look too...around the ages of 11-13, thereabouts. Now any pictures of those years are hidden away out of the light of day and I'm considering burning them:op

I'm not opposed to the concept of wearing all skirts if people want to or have that conviction...I like skirts and wear them quite often. However, there's nothing wrong with having some sense of style while doing so! Some of the dresses, skirts and jumpers I wore when I was 12 came straight out of the frumpy old ladies section in the department store. I don't know WHAT I was thinking. (And it wasn't even that I was being required to wear that was my choice. I went through a stage where I was trying to be a "perfect" homeschool daughter and I guess that was part of my interpretation of how to achieve that goal!)

As far as the sense of humor and self-mocking, I do that too ~ much easier to jokingly label myself an oddball of some sort, than worry about whether others are thinking it. ;-)

Glad I'm not the only one who does this!:o)

Shelby, I completely forgot! We're supposed to be stuck away in seclusion without any access to the outside world. What the heck are we doing on the world-wide-web???;o)

2:47 PM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

We were very isolated in our homeschooling and were uncomfortable around the few that we knew.

Zan, thankfully this wasn't my experience, as there is a HUGE homeschool community here in the Houston area where I grew up. Sports, musical and art groups, volunteer work, social gatherings, academic classes of all name it...we've got it for homeschoolers to take advantage of. I imagine that it would be much more difficult for homeschoolers in areas where these resources aren't available! Harder to find friends with situation and interests in common, etc. How did you and your family deal with this issue?

3:22 PM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Actually, Zan...I did experience some isolation following a move we made when I was 15. That was more due to leaving all my old friends and activities, trying to fit into a group of friends at a new church (most of whom went to school together at the local public high) and dealing with some hormonal imbalances that were causing me to be depressed. So I do know what you're talking about...just for different reasons. I'd love to read more about your experience and how you dealt with it!

3:28 PM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger Samantha said...

Great posts! Having grown up in public/private schools I would be very hesitant to send my kids away to school. There are so many pressures and hardships faced in going to public schools that kids shouldn't have to face at such young ages. The pressures are most common in the middle/high school age when kids are looking for an identity. Then again, I don't know ANY homeschool graduates with the exception of my dear blogger friends.

Anyways, should we ever have children I would love to homeschool, and I will pray that they turn out as bright as you- and Zan!

4:44 PM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...'re a sweetie...and I'm not just saying that because you called me "bright";o)

Homeschooling doesn't ensure that kids won't be subjected to pressures. We homeschoolers still have plenty to deal with...a little something known as "sin" makes sure of that!

However, homeschooling gives families more time together, which can give parents more input-time and relationship-time with their kids. I'm very thankful that I had this time with my family growing up!

Oh...and I'm thankful that I didn't have to waste time on unessential busy-work and such. I'll have to do a post on that aspect of homeschooling soon.

6:10 PM, November 07, 2006  
Anonymous kim said...

hey Erin, does your mom have a blog?
there's a lot of homeschooling moms blogging, but I know fewer who have grown & graduated (and married!) children.

6:13 PM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Kim...yes, she does! It's:

She only started it a matter of weeks ago, so she doesn't have too many posts up. However, I've been trying to encourage her to start sharing some of her lessons learned from 17 yrs of homeschooling experience!

6:31 PM, November 07, 2006  
Blogger zan said...

We just dealt with the isolation. I don't know how we did it we just did it. Living in nowhere, VT was hard. We had a lot of animals and a huge veggie garden. I had two sisters and we played all sorts of silly games. We would have a few homeschool families that we would fellowship with, but we would always end up having a disagreement with them concerning something really retarded like dresses only or headcoverings and then we wouldn't fellowship anymore. I think because of the many divisions I have seen among Christians regarding minor issues makes me recoil, initially, whenever I see someone preaching dresses only or homebusinesses. If you feel that you are honoring God by doing one of the above mentioned works than fine. However, something that is not so biblically clear should not be held at the same level as what is clearly written in the Bible such as the ten commandments.

I have learned from my isolated upbringing to be so thankful for Christian friends and to recognize our unity in Christ no matter what your denomination. I don't think it made me liberal, but I have learned to exercise more grace when dealing with Christians who I don't see eye to eye with.

8:28 AM, November 09, 2006  
Anonymous Diane said...

This is a fun thread! Ahhh yes, sweet memories… home school “uniforms”, “unsocialized children” and our favorite icon…Trevor Massely. :-) But Erin, under home-school uniforms you forgot to mention the versatile and fashionable skirt that was popular in our circle of friends. You remember... button down the front, banded wasteline in front-gathered in back. I think I owned at least 4 of those skirts in 4 different colors! They were an acceptable alternative to the ever popular denim jumper, especially for the nursing mother. Yes, and do you remember how hard it was for me to retire my collection of denim jumpers and skirts last year when I finally cleaned out my closet?? I’m sure some lucky home-school mother felt like she hit the jackpot that week at our local Goodwill Store!

10:12 PM, November 09, 2006  
Anonymous Diane said...

Kathryn, I am interested in your thoughts on home-schooling when you say: “I truly believe that the national drive to home-school is about prejudice against women, not education.” In the myriad of the comments I have heard about home-schooling, I’ll have to admit this one is new to me. In the scheme of things I would consider my self “conservative”, however, not once in my 24+ years of parenting have I ever felt that home educating our children was “required” of me. Nor do I feel that it is the proper choice for all parents. It was a career choice my husband and I freely made for the benefit of our own family. I am so thankful we live in a time and place that allowed me that freedom! I would agree with you that the decision to home educate involves much more than academics. As Erin stated: “Homeschooling is really about having the additional time to invest in one's children...pouring good things into them and just building those family relationships.” I am curious in what way do you feel that the prejudice is “against” the women? It is true that in most families it is the mother who does the majority of the teaching; although, among our friends, it is not unusual for Dads to share the load. In my thinking, if there was a “prejudice”, I feel it would actually be “against” the men. My husband and I often commented that because he was away at work, he missed out on so much!! I have always, well almost always, :-) felt that it is an unbelievable privilege to be in a position to be at home raising our children. My husband and I decided before we were married that when we had children, he would become the sole wage earner and I would leave the work force to raise our children full time. Our feeling was that if we chose to have a family, my time would be infinitely and eternally better spent investing in our children than paying someone else to have that privilege. What you call a “traditional role” allowed me time to instill in them the values, morals and world view that we thought would give them a firm foundation as they moved through childhood and into becoming responsible adults. Our personal feeling is that job is much too precious to turn over to someone else that may not have the same vested interest, the same faith or the same love for our children as we do. Understandably, every child reaches a place in life where they have to make their own choices and formulate their own world views. Hopefully, sooner or later in each child’s life the time invested will reap rich rewards. So, in one sense, you and I agree… I made the choice to be home full-time to raise and nurture our children and, yes, home-schooling pretty much fits in with that line of thinking. For many home-schooling families, home taught or home directed academics are only one facet of a holistic approach towards learning, growing and life in general. Thanks Erin for the opportunity to share!

10:20 PM, November 09, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Zan, I think those are some wise observations. I'm sorry you guys had to deal with a bunch of flack from other homeschool families...when fellowship in Christ is so much more needful and encouraging. It's horrible that some Christians put non-biblical injuctions above the ministry and friendship they could be having with other Christians and non-believers alike.

I'm not setting myself up as never doing that, by the way...I know I will always have to work on finding the balance between having a gracious spirit while still standing up for what I believe in where I need to! I think the first time you commented on my blog was to disagree with some posts I did on home businesses. They (the posts) were probably a bit too forceful or whatever, because I was so frustrated with my job outside the home at the time. However...I'm glad you gave me a second chance and continued to visit over here! I really appreciate reading your frank and honest comments!:o) I always love it when people are "real" if you know what I mean.

12:38 AM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

But Erin, under home-school uniforms you forgot to mention the versatile and fashionable skirt that was popular in our circle of friends. You remember... button down the front, banded wasteline in front-gathered in back.

You mean the ones most often found in navy blue with mottled brown plastic buttons, hits about mid-calf length, and should be worn with flat pumps with little tassels on top???:op

Your response to Kathryn was very good. See why you need to write about these types of topics on your blog? You lived on the teacher/parent side of it and so have a whole different perspective to offer that I won't have for many years to come!

12:50 AM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger zan said...

I remember those posts. I think I was a bit of a jerk to you. I hope I have learned to criticize a little more graciously. : )

I just wanted to point out that homeschooling is not for traditional Christian families. I want all those conspiracy theorists to know that a lot of very UN-traditional families homeschooled. We knew one family in VT who never heard of razors and thought letting their 8 yr old girl run around nude in the yard was a wonderful freedom of expression. This bizarre, yet typical, hippie, Dean-loving, kill my baby but don't touch my cat, Vt family thought that homeschooling was great. The mother in that family was not in submission of her husband by any stretch of the imagination. lol!

I get a chuckle that people think a bunch of white domineering men got together to divise a plan to figure out how to keep their woman down. That plan: homeschooling!

8:59 AM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Or how about some of the homeschool families I've seen on Wifeswap (Haven't seen too many epidodes, but I know I've seen more than one involving a homeschool family): One of them was into goddess worship, and the mother was definitely the head of that household. Another one was into medieval recreation. If I remember right...the mother wore the pants in that family too. She sent the husband off to earn the money, but she controlled everything else.

While I think homeschooling used to be mainly the domain of white Christian conservatives and a smattering of hippies, I think it's now becoming much more--shall we say--"diverse". In fact...I recently heard that many minority and low-income families are now looking to homeschooling to give their children an educational edge since they're not able to have school choice in any other way. (thanks, dems!:op ) Good for them! I hope it works out...

12:01 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

I get a chuckle that people think a bunch of white domineering men got together to divise a plan to figure out how to keep their woman down. That plan: homeschooling!

You mean you haven't heard of the CSWMWSCS, short for: "Council of Superior White Males on Wifely Subordination through Childcare and School-teaching"? The group is now defunct, because the Superior White Males realized that their purposes of subordination would be better realized if their wives' mental capacities weren't fully developed through the continuing education that homeschooling offers. Some of the members have now founded another group known as the "Council of Superior White Males for the Non-education of All Females".

12:26 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger zan said...

LOL! Those clever men. They are gonna get us somehow! Now I know why my husband is late all the time. It isn't his job it is all those meetings he attends with the other white, Christian, Republican males who think women have too much power. Not only do they want to keep us down, but they also want to jepardize their children's education.

I have always thought that the most powerful position a woman can have is being a mom. I am the sole teacher of my boys.(My husband works long hours and I don't expect him to help me with teaching.) These boys are going to be men someday. It will be my job to shape them into good citizens (God-willing). If I let some other people raise them I put the power into their hands.

One more thing about the homeschooling uniform. I have some pretty awful pictures of myself in unflattering dresses with headcoverings. I keep them to remind myself to never "go there" again. Don't thow your pictures away. You may need the reminder. ; )

I have seen those wifeswap episodes. It is one of the few reality shows that I enjoy (sometimes). My husband hates it because he can't stand bratty kids.

1:41 PM, November 10, 2006  
Anonymous Diane said...

Don't worry Zan...even if Erin discards her photos...she forgets who has the negatives!! ;-) They may come in handy some day?! (evil grin) Diane

8:53 PM, November 10, 2006  

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