Dear fellow homeschoolers: Quit it with the unsolicited parenting tips

I would suspect that homeschoolers spend more time than average thinking about what it means to be a good parent.

Part of this is because being a homeschooler means that you spend a lot of time around your child and your child spends a lot of time around you. Every rational parent wants to provide the best example for their children that they can, and the homeschooled child has more “data,” if you will, about what makes their parents tick.

Homeschoolers also spend a lot of time trying to engineer an education experience. Unless you are a traditional school teacher or an “after-schooling” parent, this is probably not something most people can relate to. Because homeschoolers are not constrained by the same public policy concerns as traditional school teachers, what constitutes a good education for homeschoolers often melds with what constitutes good parenting.

I am seeing a lot of “advice” posts from homeschoolers during the Great Shutdown that are directed at parents working from home and trying to keep their kids’ academic lives on track as politicians are actively sabotaging them. Ladies… Other parents do not need this sort of shaming from you! They are doing the best they can, just like you.

I have been a strong critic of many trends in public education. But all the homeschoolers out there who are treating their traditional-schooling peers as if their kids are space aliens that they’ve just met by accident thanks to the coronavirus are being insulting as hell. These parents don’t need your tips on how to “discover” and “explore” how their children want to spend their free time. These are their own kids. It’s clear to them what their own kids like and do not like to do. And, while we’re at it, micro-managing your kids’ time and giving them mandatory virus reading lists doesn’t make someone a very good parent at all.

Chances are, you are not going to convert someone to homeschooling as a “lifestyle” that was not already seriously considering it before all this coronavirus nonsense unfolded. Homeschooling is not an easy and carefree choice for families that cannot afford to live on a single income or that is so highly ranked among the professional class that they can work anywhere, anytime. Some parents are not confident that they received a good education themselves and want their kids to receive a better education than they did. Some people live in neighborhoods with elite public and private schools that offer excellent opportunities. Homeschooling is a grand thing if you can do it and are committed to it, but it’s legitimately not an ideal fit for every family or every child and it’s not the end of the world for children if they are not homeschooled. That’s why we support school choice and not merely homeschooling. Parents know what’s best for their kids.

I understand that a lot of this boils down to there are a lot of stay-at-home mothers who are trying to build a business selling homeschooling advice via lifestyle blogs and cutesy worksheets. I don’t consume a lot of this myself because, even as a practicing homeschooler, they don’t offer much of value to me when it comes down to the real business of educating our daughter. But I understand there’s a hustle there for some people and that’s cool.

Shaming parents over their education choices is not respectful behavior, however. For the love of God, give it a rest already!

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