17 Aug 2009

Not supermums, just mums.

It seems that I was the topic of much discussion at the communal dinner at the ski lodge last week. It went much like this, I understand:
You wife works, keeps house AND homeschools Jemimah? She must be supermum! I could never do that...
Hubby was forced to answer more questions on homeschooling from this room of strangers than he ever has before. Topics ranged from how and when and why, to (surprise surprise) socialisation and religion. It wasn't just for one night either. For almost the whole week homeschooling was discussed, analysed and dissected.

It was almost as if he and Jemimah were from another planet!

Why is this so? Why is it that homeschooling families are so stereotyped as hypereverything hippy weirdos instead of just parents who want to give our children the best education possible while wanting to be a part of their daily lives?

What we want for our children is surely not so very different from what all parents want for their children - is it? We all want the best for our kids. We all want them to be happy; we all want them to be successful; we all want them to achieve their goals. As Christians we may have specific desires for our daughter that non-Christians would not, but that would apply whether she were educated at home or at school.

I personally like spending time with my daughter. I like hanging out with her. I love learning with her too - and I learn new things every day. Surely this is fairly normal - don't most parents like spending time with their children?

I'm not saying here that homeschooling is for everyone. Clearly it is not, but any mother who really wants to school her kids can. They don't need to be university educated teachers; they don't need the patience of Job; they don't need perfect time-management or even perfectly behaved children. They don't need to be the beneficiary of a significant inheritance. They don't even need a denim jumper and Birkenstocks (although they would help). What they need to be is loving mothers who want to educate their kids at home. That's all. No more; no less.

Not supermums, just mums.

Oh and if you do want to be a homeschool supermum then this list is for you:
  1. Wear a denim jumper and Birkenstocks. Wear your hair long and parted down the centre. No fringe.
  2. Bake your own bread.
  3. Have perfect well mannered children - no ADHD or Aspergers, please. Especially no genetic abnormalities.
  4. Have highly intelligent children. Learning difficulties will not be tolerated.
  5. Have lots and lots of children. It is okay to adopt or foster, but they must be perfect and highly intelligent.
  6. Never, ever buy takeaway. Especially not McDonalds. Never even say the name McDonalds.
  7. Have a spotlessly maintained country styled home with pine furniture and floral fabrics. Squashy cushions are optional, but if you do choose to have them ensure that they're perfectly plumped at all times. And down filled. No synthetic batting please.
  8. Be happily married and take care that he is always fully employed. Always. Preferably as a pastor.
  9. Never be ill. Perfect children can't be ill but you shouldn't be either.
  10. Do not vaccinate your children.
  11. Be a craft whizz. Knitting, embroidery, crochet and scrapbooking are de rigeur and always sew your own denim jumpers. And knit your own socks.
  12. Speak many languages. One must be Latin.
  13. Never have a bad day. Never raise your voice in anger. Don't even get irritated.
  14. Don't have a television, and don't listen to modern music.
  15. Always achieve everything on your curriculum's list. Never leave out nature study, poetry or art. Ever.
  16. Smile and keep smiling!
If this is you, don't expect an invitation to dinner chez nous any time soon. Don't invite Jemimah to play with your children either. She can't come. Sorry.

You see, I'm not supermum. I'm not anywhere near it. If you are then I probably don't have much in common with you. I'm just a mum. An imperfect mum who happens to teach her imperfect daughter at home.

And I'm doing okay.

Not supermum, but I'm doing okay.


  1. lololol.

    It is so hard to understand why people think that home schooling is not an option.

    I just had a conversation with my mother about home schooling a couple of weeks ago. She thinks that we should send our children to school since we are having the new baby and said it will be much easier.

    Really I don't know that it will be. She doesn't even realize what our days at home are like and just how relaxed home schooling really is. Even if she came and stayed for a short time, I don't think she would get the full picture because it is something different in the house. When I had one diabetic at school I was going there at least once through the day to give injections. Now with two diabetics in the family, I could imagine being called in for both of them at different times. It would drive me insane.

    At least if they are home, I can plan my day and have a routine. I think that is the key though. Having a routine makes us get through the day.

  2. the floral upholstery is really, really important.

    i'm glad we can still visit you ... ;)

  3. The list made me laugh as I do read the blog of a homeschooling mum in the US who would seem to fit it perfectly!

    The homeschooling option keeps popping into my mind. My husband keeps rubbishing it, though, as he says it would be too much work for me. I have to admit when I think of homeschooling mums I imagine someone who is very well organised.

  4. Lol, Mum-me - you really do fit the mould, you know...the homeschooling mum one, not the supermum one, though you may also fit that as well. Not really sure there.

    Anyway, you wouldn't need to worry about Melbourne's fine or otherwise schools if you homeschooled now would you?!!

  5. Just popping in to say hi! ..And i don't there really are any supermums, homeschoolers or not! lol!

  6. I am sure your husband and daughter handled everything with much grace.

    Just one out of sixteen on the list here so, thankfully, you and Jemimah can still come over.

    People here certainly do feel the freedom to discuss the socialization of my children directly in front of them. I usually just smile and politely thank them for their concern.

  7. Hilarious list--sooooo accurate! "stereotyped as hypereverything hippy weirdos" sadly here it's sterotyped as reactionary, far-right, religious nuts [no offense meant to anyone here]" Add to that--don't want Daughters to go to college or do anything except marry and have lot of kids. Art is not really a subject, poetry is suspect, music had better'd mean hymns and the Bible needs to be in every single subject. That's why I was happy to find Ambleside--I didn't have to support Abeka or Bob Jones. Did I forget to mention that in the American midwest homeschool is too often a right-wing political statement? In the cities you get the other extreme--radical unschoolers and anything in the middle of the spectrum.

    I think Jemima will be fine--she'll probably go through a phase where she hates it all, but in the end she'll see what a magical childhood you gave her!

  8. What? I'm NOT a supermum? I thought I was...... Do you know how much work I put into all this mummy business? LOL. Ok - going back to my mediocre just mummy business.......LOL

  9. Mrs Adept, I think maybe you are supermum. Seven kids and you keep your girls in beautiful dresses. And you eat out - together as a family. Oh my goodness - that's supermum, if you ask me! Plus you plan to travel together...makes me tired just thinking about it.

    Oh, and now thanks to Chelle I know your name - which I'm happy about - I wondered whether you'd been baptised Mrs for a little while there!!

  10. Hi Jeanne,
    I'm definitely not a supermum, by that job description - not even close!

    German got dumped today in favour of planting Lomandras in my daughter's garden. :P ☺

  11. Who wants to speak German anyway? Gardening's far more important in my scheme of things.

    You can come and stay anytime, Jillian!

  12. Thank you for validating me. :)


  13. Lol!
    I am guilty of having called you super woman on one of your earlier posts I believe! sorry, sorry, sorry!

    By the way, nice to know I'll be invited to your house:)

  14. Quite a bit of chat happening today. It's great.

  15. Hey Joyfulmum, you can call me whatever you want!! Well within reason.

    I can't wait until you feel a need to visit dh's fam and come and visit me! You'd be welcome no matter how supermumish you are :)

  16. I find it more unusual that a parent would send their child to an institution/school for many hours a day! I think homeschooling seems VERY normal!


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