“I could never do what you do!”

I try very hard not to shove our decision to homeschool or the lifestyle that flows out of it into people’s faces. You know? It’s just what we do. It’s not a religion. Or an obsession (well, only sometimes). But in a school-centric culture, it comes up constantly. Especially in September, when one out of two people you meet starts any conversation with, “So, the kids back in school?”

And, in nine out of 10 cases, when I say, “Nope, we homeschool” (confession: sometimes, I lie and just nod and smile—cause, you know? I don’t always want to talk about it), they say…

“Wow. I could never do that.”

What do you say to that?

Usually, I just nod and smile and move on—change the topic. But every once in a while, I feel compelled to give them a full answer. Because I could never do what they think I do either.

Generally, they think I… what? Well, sit across from my children at the kitchen table—or in a home-based school room—and… teach. Lecture. Assign. Correct.

Ha. It looks more like this:

Brothers wrestling 4

As we flow into year six, seven or 11 of unschooling (depending on how you count: Cinder is 11 by the calendar and in grade six according to the Calgary Board of Education, and a “preschool drop-out,” homeschooled/unschooled since birth or kindergarten, as you like), I’ve increasingly come to think that all the philosophical angst would-be homeschooling parents go through—how will we do it? what will we call it? what curriculum/philosophy/guru will be follow?—is, although a necessary and unavoidable part of the decision-making process, completely unimportant in the long-term. Because in the end—you homeschool exactly the way you parent.

And so—yeah, you could never do what I do. Never. Not in a million years. Because you’re not me. And your kids are not my kids. And your relationship is different. And your take on life, the universe and everything is different.

But you could do… what you do. What you already do. Just more of it, perhaps?

And you frown and tell me I haven’t answered the question. What do you do?


Or, in words: Read a lot of books. Go to interesting places. Chill and just be home. Be bored. Spend time with friends. Feel lonely and angsty—explore that. Do something about it. Learn. Rest. Run. Obsess about a new topic for days, weeks, months. Drop it like a hot potato.

And, also, this, ready?

I ignore my children.

A lot.

I’m busy. I have to meet a lot of deadlines and client commitments. I have passions and interests. Friends. Stuff to do. Books to read. Books to write. I’m with my kids A LOT—but as far as giving them my undivided attention 24/7?

Ha. I could never do that, either.

This Tuesday on Nothing By The Book, I go all serious with I’m the adult: not burdening children with responsibility for fixing our black moods, and the resulting discussion in the comments is most illuminating.

If you enjoy the Quote This feature on Undogmatic Unschoolers and you’re into Pinterest, you might want to check out the brand new Unschooling Quotes board by Nothing By The Book. I’m migrating the Undogmatic Unschoolers quotes over there, and adding others as I find them.

If you’re a fellow unschooling blogger, I’d like to lure you over to Triberr. I do very little social media outreach with Undogmatic Unschoolers (Nothing By The Book takes up the slack), but if you connect with my tribe on Triberr, it is so easy to share each other’s work, even I‘ll do it.

Happy September!



2 responses to ““I could never do what you do!”

  1. Pingback: Five Things Our Homeschool Lacks | Lazy Hippie Mama·

  2. Pingback: “Want to see how my mom writes?” | Nothing By The Book·

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