"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
February 14, 2013
by Hannah Bird

In keeping with my long history of sketchy decisions, I homeschool my kids. I actually really like teaching my kids. They are smart and funny. I get to share my favorite writers and historical figures. There are a lot of real upsides. In fact, it is almost all upsides.

The only downside is when I tell other people.

I make a statement that sounds in my head and my ears like, “We homeschool.” But somehow, that is never what people hear. They hear:

“Because I actually love my children unlike you, I homeschool.”


“I fear the world at large and the gubbermint in particular so we keep the kids at home so we have enough eyes to watch our safety perimeter.”


“We homeschool. Would you like to share any homeschool horror stories because I am super interested in that?”


“We homeschool so the kids can learn to play the banjo and practice advancing dental decay so that they can get rid of those extra teeth.”

Once we get past the basic “we homeschool” misunderstanding, the conversation turns into observations about me.

“You must be so patient.” For conversations like this?

“It must be so nice to not have to get up in the morning and get the kids on the bus.” It’s aces. In fact, that is exactly what we do all day – not get on the bus.

“You don’t seem like a homeschooler...” Is this a compliment? Would you like a minute to think about your answer?

People make assumptions about my kids:

No homeschool kid has ever given their parents a second of grief.

All my children will end up living in my basement, not making eye contact with other people, and call my husband “Sir” well into their 80s.

My children are all going to Harvard. At age 13. On a scholarship. Because they found the cure for cancer.

My kids dress like Napolean Dynamite but lack his social grace and interpersonal skills.

Or, my kids spend all day thanking me endlessly for imparting wisdom.

So I am going to pull back the curtains on the hidden world of the homeschooler. This is what homeschooling is really like:

I own a denim skirt but not a denim jumper.

I have bangs but I got them recently after I convinced my hairdresser that I was as responsible as the First Lady and could handle the pressure. I do not frizz them into a bath pouf because I am not aware that the 80s have a) ended and were b) awful for hair.

I have more books than the average hoarder. I know this because hoarders are one of the better sources of books.

I do not buy paper by the package. Nor the ream. Nor the box. I tell the store how much I need and they put it on a hand truck to load into the back of my suburban.

I am not a mathematician. Luckily, there are the blessed interwebs. There are so many mathematicians on the interweb mathing it for free all day every day.

I keep curriculum catalogs under my bed for reading when I cannot sleep. Seriously.

I buy my clothes at the thrift store but I will spend serious money at an office supply store. I sincerely believe that I am just one perfectly sized sticky note away from order.

Mostly, homeschooling is a good life. I get to make my own hours and I like my co-workers. The pay is lousy but my kids have read Plutarch and make A Modest Proposal jokes at the dinner table. I think that all kids should have access to the education that suits them. If they go to public school, great. If you homeschool them, great. But honestly, neither should be used as an excuse to own a denim jumper.

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About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

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