This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 13, 11, 9, 5, and 2. That’s Sarah and her husband in the photo.
I don’t think homeschooling has made me poor, but it depends on who you ask. For some strange reason I seem to have people in my life who feel like they must tell me how to live my life. Over and over. You would think after 9 years of homeschooling they would realize I’m not going to listen to them. It always makes me wonder the intelligence I am speaking to when they lecture yet again. Seriously, do you just not know me? Why do you not shut up?
Today, I had a friend (I am seriously reevaluating that relationship) come and lecture me for 45 minutes about how I need to go to college and get a job. A job? I have a job. It’s not the job you want me to have. So I nod my head and say, “That’s nice.” Because I am polite. I once was told this joke, about a southern wife who always said, “I don’t give a fuck.” Well, it embarrassed her husband to no end so he sent her to refining school. After she returned home, she was having tea with the other women, and kept saying, “That’s nice.” The other women commented on how pleasant she was to be around, and asked what she learned in refinement school. She replied, “To say, ‘that’s nice’ instead of ‘I don’t give a fuck.'”
I have homeschooled while being poor and on food stamps, and while having money for nice vacations every year. It isn’t homeschooling that has changed our financial life— it was our overall life choices. If I had worked when we were poor, we would not have felt the gravity of being poor, but we would not have learned the lessons of being poor: the value of money and appreciating the small things, of not needing nearly so many things that you think you need. Your character changes when you have to focus on your survival instead of luxuries.
If I worked when we had money, I would not learn how to stick with something I am tired of doing. As I listen to my friend tell me I need a job, I semi-agree. I would like to change my career from homeschooler to “someone important.” But I can’t, because this is important. This job just has a relatively small group of people who agree that’s it’s important. Homeschooling is more about, “Do you do something even when it’s not the majority view, or do you follow the crowd?”
So, when I am lectured for various reasons on why I should not home school, be it money or my sanity, I just reply with, “That’s nice.”