Snarky homeschooling moms

I have blogged about my bad experiences with homeschooling groups before, but I thought I’d revisit the topic because…

  1. It’s been since May of ’07 that I last posted on this topic, which I think is an important one.  IOW, it’s time.
  2. I have the new hope of a potentially wonderful homeschooling group that I’m looking forward to participating in, so it’s just on my mind.
  3. My friend since we were in the church nursery together — as infants — Lori, asked.

Specifically, Lori said:

In the reading of your description of the homeschool groups, the only thing that came to mind was, Good Grief!! What the heck kind of homeschool groups are out there? And why are they snarky? I always wonder when I hear about people like that why they don’t have better things to do in their life than make other peoples miserable.

Though, now as I revisit my post from May ’07, I don’t have many NEW thoughts on the subject.  But, here goes:

Why are homeschooling moms so snarky?  Well…

  • Virtually none of us are the “go with the flow” kind of women.  By nature of homeschooling, we’re the sort who have an idea about what’s right, or what’s best for our children and families, and are willing to make a stand to make that happen.  In other words, we’re mostly leaders.  Not many follower-types.
  • And, there are a LOT of overachievers amongst the homeschooling community (though I do not count myself one of them) who think it’s important to impress others and prove their “worth” as a homeschooling family, so they do things like, while studying the history of Hawai’i, they dig a pit in the back yard, roast a suckling pig, and have an ethnically- and historically-correct luau (seriously).
  • Also, you have a lot of homeschooling families who are doing it for religious reasons alone, so there are the Christian zealot type of women, too, who are super-dogmatic and who think that their church, their beliefs, their opinions are the only way.
  • Plus, many homeschooling moms are already on the defensive because they’ve taken so much flak from their friends, in-laws, parents, society, other teachers, even their husbands.
  • And, many homeschooling moms were in positions of power before they started schooling — they were bosses of their own companies, managers, lawyers, nurses — just used to being in positions of power, and now they’re simply at home.

So, you put these women together — defensive, overachieving leaders who think they are right, who have a need to be in power, put them all in a “support” group, and it’s just a recipe for disaster, 98% of the time.

Then… you have women like me, who are just like, “Hey, can my kid just play with your kid?  And, by the way, anyone use Spelling Power?  What do you think of it?  Anyone have any suggestions for a good fifth grade math program?  What are you using for history?  And, oh, my 2yo did the silliest thing the other day…  Hey, you guys wanna go to the zoo in a few weeks?”  In my seven years of homeschooling, women like me are in the extreme minority.

So, I’ve resorted to finding support elsewhere — my husband, my Stepdad (who is a public school teacher), other bloggers, occasionally an online homeschooling forum, and simply spending time with the few other homeschooling families we know personally.  Plus, time with friends and family who don’t homeschool.

But… I’ve long held out hope that, somewhere out there (can you hear the song???  It will now be stuck in your head the rest of the day, along with visions of animated mice and Linda Ronstadt) is a group that I’d really love to participate in.  Thanks to my friend Allison, I may have found it.  More on that in the future, I’m sure…


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on January 7, 2009, in Christian Living, Friendships, Homeschooling, Introspective Musings, Sad Things. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I am in the same minority as you but tonight while picking the kids up from AWANA a nice mom that I have interacted with before invited me to a homeschool co-op New Year’s Brunch this Friday so I am going to go out on a limb and go….

    By the way, I am giving away some yarn if you feeling crafty…

  2. We’ve had so many of these experiences… even with close friends who homeschool. It’s such a hard world! Hubs won’t allow me to homeschool all the children (and I must concede because the Bible says we should obey our husbands, though I’m not always submissive.) We’ve been homeschooling TeenGirl in an attempt to get her caught up from her severe illness, however it appears she had neurological decline from the illness and is now going through Sp.Ed. evaluation. It’s a frustrating world!

    My husband doesn’t think that one person can give the adequate attention for schooling to four young kids at different levels. I’m all “but you think a school teacher can give the needed attention to 25 kids at one time?” That argument makes no sense to me. Our children would be far better served by learning at home… but until I have my husbands support it can’t happen.

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve found a supportive outlet! That is so vital! Good Luck!


  3. As I was typing my comment, in my mind I was picturing the very women you described. SCARY MONSTERS!!!! EEEEKKKK! Run for your lives!!! 🙂 I know that I personally look forward to our yearly roasting of the pig in the back yard. NOT! 🙂 I am all about doing what you feel is best for YOUR child, at any point in their growing years. That is what God entrusted us with, the ability to make decisions, after much prayer, thought, those are the reasons that we are their parents. But it saddens me that there isn’t any joy in these groups. It’s a competition to see who is doing what and who is doing it better. And I would think that the whole point of homeschooling is to invest in your child and to do your best to prepare them, not only educationally, but emotionally and physically for when they are on their own. I am so proud of my friends, you being at the top of my list, who know that this season of their lives is going to be spent one on one with their kids. There are many reasons that Mom’s come to this decision, but it should ALWAYS be about the best interest of the child and NEVER about impressing someone. I love you and I love that you love your children the way you do and have chosen this path for your them, because you love them. It is evident in all you do.
    Love you.

  4. I like your blog. It’s the only homeschooling one I have bookmarked.

    I can’t say I’ve experienced the snarky, crazed super homeschool mom that makes up 98% of us. Most of the ones I know are fun, laid back types who just want to hang out between school days. I guess I got lucky. The local homeschool group has been such a blessing to me — really generous, gracious, wise women — decidedly UNsnarky, but maybe the snarky, elitist ones shy away from a group like this? I’d never given it much thought before.

    Thanks for sharing good stuff with us!

    Denelle in TN

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