The other night I had the opportunity to attend a homeschooling seminar led by a well known publisher in the homeschooling community who shall remain nameless.  I attended because some of my friends led the charge to put on the seminar and I wanted to be there because they did a lot of hard work.(They also did a beautiful job.) That seminar will be my last one.

Let me tell you the main points that I learned from this seminar.

  • All children learn differently. – This was not new information for me. Maybe it was for some there. I don’t know. It is good information for those who need it. Freckle Face likes to bounce around. I know that about him. It helps to let him bounce around.
  • All children have different intelligences. – This goes along with the first point. Great. No harm, no foul. I get it. I know that my kids are all different people with different interests.
  • We can’t teach our kids, but we can help them learn.- That is a nice thought, but she was starting to lose me because I saw in my crystal ball what was coming next.
  • We must be a facilitator not controllers.- She put up two pictures on the screen. One was a mom yelling at her kid through a megaphone and the other was a lovely mom baking cookies with her 7 year old daughter. What message is she trying to get across? I facilitate learning by baking cookies with my kids? We all know how I feel about that.
  • Controlling mom are nags.- She didn’t say this, but she implied it. I am a controlling mom. Do you ever use manipulation to get your kids to do their work? I do. All. The. Time.  I admit it. I yell at my kids when they are being lazy, and I tell them that they are being lazy because THEY ARE. Apparently, I am supposed to say, (in my best June Cleaver voice.)  “Now, Johnny, what isn’t that you don’t like about this? Let’s sit down together and we can work through this.” I guess that it is always my fault if the kids aren’t learning quite right or they don’t want to do their work. Whatever. Sometimes they just need a kick in the pants.
  • Learning should always be fun. – I whole heartedly disagree with this one, and it is a mantra I see with homeschoolers all the time.
  • If learning isn’t fun and you are a controlling witch, you can buy my expensive curriculum and all your troubles will magically disappear. -This is my biggest problem.

If you made it through all that, thank you. I just need to show you the pattern that I am starting to see from all these curriculum writers. It isn’t just this person. She is not unique. This is why I will never again attend a homeschool seminar.

What they are doing..

They are beating you down. Seriously. They tell you that are an awful mother if your kids do not enjoy learning or that you just don’t know their learning style. It must be that nasty choice of fill-in-the blank workbook that you are using. They tell you to stop taking all the joy out of learning. You are killing their joy.  They give you a list and ask you if you have done certain things. Have you done them? Of course you have! We are all imperfect mothers with limited amounts of patience and our kids are imperfect, uneducated human beings who most of the time don’t see why it is important to be educated because their mother and father are providing everything they need for them. Whew!

After beating you down, they tell you how they are going to fix all the problems in your homeschool. How they are going to bring back the joys of learning at your house. They lift you up, but only a little bit. They tell you that you aren’t a worthless homeschooler. You can do a good job. You just don’t have the right tools. You don’t know about all this because you aren’t as smart as they are. They have already done it. Look at their awesome children. Don’t you want your children to be as awesome as theirs?

Next comes the hard sell. Their curriculum is going to make your life better. It is the end all be all. And if you buy it all your problems will magically disappear. They tell you that of course you can do it, but you need to buy their stuff.

I am going to keep going here, because I think this needs to be said. I am not sure when homeschool seminars became long commercials and less about building up the homeschool mom. Let’s face it. Sometimes homeschooling is hard and sometimes it  can be lonely. The last thing we need is some person beating us down. We do that enough on our own. I would prefer to be encouraged. 

This is the last thing. I promise. (If you have read this far in my little rant, reward yourself with a piece of chocolate and come back for the rest.) Learning can not always be fun. Sometimes it is hard work. My last piano teacher told me that if it was easy to learn the piano, everyone would play it. I think that is true of most everything. Some things are easier for others, but they still have to put in the work. I think we do our kids a disservice if we use all our efforts to make everything fun for them all the time. It isn’t realistic. There is a lot of fun in life, and I am not saying that school can’t be fun at times, but let’s be real here. How many of you have fun cooking dinner every night? There may be some of you that love to cook.  It is fun sometimes, but it isn’t fun every time because you are tired or there is nothing you want to cook. You still have to feed your kids, right? That is what I am saying.

This is why I will never again attend another homeschool seminar. I know who I am. I know what my kids need.  I don’t need to be beat down again. I don’t need to be told that I am not as good as they are. I will surround myself with those who will let me vent and tell me that it will be better tomorrow. I have more to say, but it will wait for another day.

One more thing: I just want to say that I lumped all the experiences that I have had lately with vendors in this post. My intention was not to slam this poor woman who spoke the other night. It is a pattern that I am starting to see, and it is the pattern that bothers me. I am really not quite so horrible in person. At least, I hope not. I would also like to thank my dad for pointing out to me that I forgot to spell check. Thanks, Dad!