“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

September 29, 2010

I'm sorry, but this "Homsechooler's Wish List" rubs me the wrong way

Deborah Markus, the woman who wrote this, may be a very nice lady, a fantastic writer,  and a joy to be around in person. I don't know, as I've never heard of her before I saw her "wish list" posted today on the New Advent super site. But speaking as a parent who has home schooled 11 children for 20 years now (actually, it is my lovely wife Nancy who has done all the work in that department, but since the Bible says that in marriage "the two become one," I guess I can qualify for  some double-billing on this), I found her wish list  list of demands tiresome and mildly irritating.

It appears that she was aiming to capture all the standard hangups, misconceptions, and prejudices that many non-homeschooling people have toward homeschooling (I get satire, I really do), but I'm afraid it comes off as simply querulous and captious, rather than clever and funny. Who knows? It's possible that she didn't intend it to be humorous, in which case she succeeded. The title, after all, is "A Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List."

But, come on. What's to be bitter about? Who cares if some people don't understand and ask lame questions? I don't. Over the last 30 years or so of raising children, I've heard plenty of awkward and even disparaging comments from people who don't understand why anyone would have more than two children, much less 11. But so what? True, their silly comments have at times astonished me and even made me laugh at the absurdity of what was being said, but they never angered me or made me bitter. The reason is that I just don't care if they don't like large families. I just don't care. And practically all the couples we know who have large families don't care either.

Similarly, Nancy and I and the many homeschooling couples we've known over the years aren't a bit bothered by (much less bitter about) the various deprecatory comments and attitudes which Mrs. Markus complains about in her list.

Maybe someone should write a "wish list" for the things homeschooling parents should and shouldn't do so as not to give the world the impression that homeschoolers are bunch of defensive, cranky, complainers. Most of us aren't.