WARNING: Just so we’re all on the same page, the following post is facetious and dripping with sarcasm. Please read it with this in mind.
If you’re looking to anger, alienate or distance yourself from the homeschooling family down the street but just don’t know where to start, look no further! Here are 7 easy ways to judge them unfairly and really annoy them in the process!
7 Foolproof Tips for Judging Homeschoolers
Tip #1 – Don’t Get to Know Them
First things first – and this is a CRITICAL first step – DO NOT attempt to get to know them better. Learning more about them and their unique situation will only make you question your already-established opinion of them. Nobody needs that kind of confusion, right? So just assume you already know all there is to know about them.
Tip #2 – Bring Up Socialization First
Homeschoolers are typically not asked about socialization. In fact, they’ve probably never even thought about it as a potential issue. So, before you pass judgements in any other area, definitely mention something to them about them not having any friends.
Don’t worry if you don’t know them well enough to know anything about their friendships, schedule or social life. If they homeschool, you can safely assume they are awkward and incapable of normal human interaction.
There are a number of directions you can take this. You might point out that their co-op isn’t a substitute for normal peer relationships at school. Whatever happens in those strange gatherings is probably different than public school and, as we all know, different is bad.
Or, you could focus on the additional time they spend with their parents, siblings, extended family and people of different ages. Again, not normal.
***Bonus Tip: Use words like ”normal” and ”usual” often, but don’t waste any time thinking about what you mean when you say them.***
No matter which way you go about it, just be sure to bring up socialization. If possible, make it the first thing you say to them. They’ll definitely appreciate it!
Tip #3 – Judge their Academic Approach
I really recommend this idea, even for novice judgers, because it’s just so easy to do. No matter what methods or curricula homeschooling parents have chosen to use, you can deem it as ineffective or inferior!
First, anything that’s not Common Core aligned can be dismissed outright – I mean, come on – get with the program, right?! Next, if they use any religious curricula, you can deny its validity based on the fact that it’s brainwashing propaganda. Also, be suspicious of any methods you haven’t experienced yourself. Unusual methods like “Charlotte Mason” or “Eclectic” or “Child-Led” sound creepy and unconventional so just assume they aren’t effective for any child.
If all else fails, you can always pick apart their day-to-day academic decisions. For example, if they wait to begin formal schooling until later than whatever feels right to you today, they’re clearly irresponsible. Of course, if their three-year-old is already reading, they undoubtedly pushed academics too hard and are super-overbearing parents. See how easy this is?
Tip #4 – Point Out Their Lack of Opportunity
Home educators do not provide academic opportunities identical to those that kids have in real schools. That is a fact. Even homeschoolers themselves admit it’s not the same. Logically then, it follows that there is NO WAY kids can learn science or experience gym class or have any of the opportunities a public school provides. There’s simply NO OTHER WAY.
As you make your judgements about homeschoolers, be sure to point out obvious things like how their kitchen doesn’t even have bunsen burners! Also, ask them how they plan to play Red Rover with only two kids and a mom. Ha! I’d like to see them try!
Tip #5 – Remind Them of Their Inadequacy
Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit here. I think we can all agree that if a homeschooling parent doesn’t have a college degree, clearly they’re not fit to educate anyone, ever. After all, history proves that only people who’ve gone the college route ever influence others, start their own company or invent things. But even if the mom or dad does have credentials, don’t worry. You can still judge them unfairly! Just let them know how wasteful they are to throw away their degree and career in the real world just to sit around at home.
***Bonus Tip: ”Real world” is another good phrase to toss around without defining first.***
Also, when they make a typo in an email, be sure to express concern about their ability to teach language arts. If they have a bad day or confide in you about their son’s dislike of handwriting, jump on that opportunity to blame their choice to homeschool. In fact, I’ve found it effective to link every little detail of their life back to homeschooling.
Does their son button the top button of his dress shirts even when not wearing a tie? Some boys don’t do that. It’s probably a direct result of homeschooling. Does their daughter enjoy cooking? It’s due to the fundamentalist, antifeminist brainwashing she’s subjected to in her homeschool. Any unique hobbies (i.e. not sports)? Blame homeschooling. Hereditary birth defects? Definitely homeschooling’s fault.
Tip #6 – Question Their Motivation
Always question their motivation. Of course, I don’t mean literally ask them a question about it out of genuine curiosity – that would undermine your progress with Tip #1! No, I mean be suspicious of their motives. If their educational path doesn’t line up exactly with yours in any way, see that as a huge red flag and proceed with your snap judgements.
One popular way to express your doubts about their motives is to label the family in question as either overprotective or negligent. Many times you can even use both labels for the same family!
For example, if they pulled their kid out of school to protect them from anything (think allergic reactions or a knife-carrying bully) or if they have some “reasons” they think homeschooling would benefit their kids (like giftedness, special needs or religious instruction) then they’re clearly just overprotective, control-freak, helicopter parents. On the other hand, if parents claim they homeschool to give their kids “time to find their unique gifts” or “more time with family” or “opportunities to travel and volunteer” – well that’s obviously just code for negligent parenting.
Tip #7 – Assume the Worst
In general, it’s usually easiest just to assume the worst about homeschoolers! If you’re not sure how to do this, I’ll walk you through my favorite method.
First, read a couple of news articles about extremely negative situations involving homeschoolers (two should be plenty to form an accurate judgement). Then (and this is the key), extrapolate what you’ve read from those two articles and assume the following two things. First, take it for granted that everything you read in those articles is true and that homeschooling is the root cause of whatever the problem was. Second, assume that those fringe stories represent the other 99.5% of homeschooling families. As with any helpful stereotype, you really need to believe that “if you know one, you know ‘em all.”
To sum up, if you can cover even a few of these topics in your next conversation with the homeschooler next door – or, better yet, with some other person behind the homeschooler’s back – you’ll be well on your way to destroying a potential friendship and perpetuating outdated stereotypes! Judge on!
Homeschoolers out there, don’t worry about the naysayers! Focus on what God has called you to do for YOUR family. Consider helpful advice and ignore the rest. And – a friendly reminder – don’t think we’re free from being unfair judges ourselves! I’ve heard one-sided public school assumptions and judgements discussed in homeschool circles, too.
All of us – individuals, families, school groups and society as a whole – are at our best when we “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thes. 5:11, NIV). So, don’t get caught up in passing snap judgments on anyone who chose a different way to educate their kids. Instead, be curious, ask genuine questions, and seek to understand. You might just learn something and find a new friend!
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