Mom Real Life

So I Look Like a Homeschool Mom. So What?

I guess it never crossed my mind.  

Not even once.  

Not until my friend mentioned it.

“You look like a homeschool mom.”  

Actually, the conversation went something like this: 

“I was out with the kids the other day, and someone came up to me and asked if I am a homeschool mom.  I thought, ‘Man, do I look THAT bad?'”

My guess is that I just blinked dumbly at my friend when she told me this because, honestly, I’d never, ever thought twice about “looking like a homeschool mom.”

I mean, what does a homeschool mom really look like?  

So I Look like a Homeschool Mom.  So What?

Evidently there’s a label or stigma out there.  Maybe she’s the one with fifty kids, a limo-long van, messy hair, and frumpy clothes… I’m not sure, because I know that doesn’t describe me.  😉

But really?  What does a homeschooling mom supposedly look like?  And why are we afraid of “looking like that”… whatever that is? 

As I’ve pondered the whole “homeschool mom label” thing, I thought about the homeschooling moms in my circle of friends.  We are a diverse group, representing various backgrounds, church affiliations, and personalities.

Some of us have a bunch of kids.  Some of us have one or two kids.

Some of us drive vans.  Some drive SUVs, or sports cars. Or trucks.

Some of us are divas.  Some are jeans-and-tee-shirt gals.

Most of us are stay at home mothers, but I also know homeschooling moms who work from home, work outside the home, or have college degrees and a career history.

Some of us are crunchy conservatives.  Some might be crunchy liberals.  Or not-so-crunchy conservatives… or liberals.  Or a million other things!

I wouldn’t say that any of us necessarily “look alike.”  We live according to our personal convictions, dress according to personal style and taste and, honestly, I don’t think we really even think about it.

We just are, and we let each other be.

And I think that’s exactly how the Lord wants us to live.

As home educators, we all share some common ground, common values.  But we are not all cut out of the same mold, and neither should we be.  There is room for diversity, room for individuality, and room for growth.

Maybe I get that, and maybe you get it.  Maybe your friends and family and the clerk at Wal-mart don’t get it.

Maybe they lump you into a broad category of “that kind of mom.”  Maybe they slap labels on your head.

I say, who cares?

Let people lump and label.  You don’t have to get offended or prove them wrong.  Just be yourself.  

Forget the labels.  Actually, let me rephrase that: REFUSE the labels.

Refuse to label others (your opinions and attitudes toward others do show, and they may affect people more than you realize).

Refuse to wear labels yourself.  

People can think what they want and say what they want, but that doesn’t change who you are.  But first you need to know who you are and be okay with that.  

If you deal with insecurity and feeling like you always have to prove yourself, ask God to help you develop confidence and self-awareness.  Embrace your strengths, skills, and your own unique personality.  God has equipped you to thrive as a wife and mom!

I honestly don’t care if someone thinks I look like a homeschool mom because I don’t believe that is a bad label in the first place.

The other reason I don’t care is that I realize we homeschooling moms have the liberty to be ourselves, to live outside the box, to be original in a cookie-cutter-world, just like everyone else.

Maybe a lot of moms don’t have the confidence to live outside the mold, but obviously you do.  You are.

Live your life confidently.  Live it graciously.  Live it with conviction.

Show the world what a vibrant, fearless homeschool mom really looks like!  

——————

Do you ever get asked if you’re a homeschool mom?  Does it bother you?

About the author

Kristy

Kristy Howard is a pastor's wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time!

Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.

26 Comments

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  • Oh my! We were JUST talking about this today in our homeschool group. We are such a diverse group, some dress to the “T”, some dress for comfort, some vary. Some have lots of kids, some have a few. Some are conservative, a few are liberal. The point is we all have ONE thing in common, and that is being in love with homeschooling. When we stop with the labels and start embracing our common factor, we may be surprised with the results

    And what DOES a homeschool mom look like? It used to be the denim jumper…. now I think it could be yoga pants? 😉

    • Misty, I so agree! The denim jumper and yoga pants have gotten a pretty bad rap, haven’t they? 😉

      My grandpa always used to say, “Live and let live.” I think that wise adage definitely could apply to us homeschooling moms!

  • I love this post. So many times I have felt inadequate as a homeschooler. Not only because I am solely responsible for the education of my 4 children and do not have a college degree or job, but because more often than not I have compared myself to other moms (home educators or not).
    I wasn’t brought up in a Christian home (although now I have been saved going on 15yr), and I have a few tattoos that I try to hide because I am afraid, ashamed of what other moms at the co-op might think (like, what kind of person is She? How dirty or uneducated she looks!), but I have to continually remind myself: this is me-Child of God just like those other mammas; those marks are a part of my testimony (who I was). I have to be confident in my place and in my calling. It’s not always easy to fight the urge to think I am not “cut out” for this, but I realize (with the help of God’s gentle reminder) He has to have control of the ‘shears’. Thank you for posting this, I was greatly encouraged! Keep up the great work.

    • Bless you, Bianca. Don’t compare yourself and don’t be ashamed! Like every other Christian mama out there, you are covered by the blood of Jesus and equipped by the amazing grace and power of Christ.

    • Please dont hide your tattoos, they are no different than the makeup the other women are wearing, or their acrylic nails, or new hairstyle, their dyed hair, pierced ears, jewelry, or even their clothing. Tattoos are simply a body adornment. You liked them when you got them, if they need work then get thwm updated, if you still like them then pls dont be afraid to be yourself. A tattoo is just body art. Its ok.

      • I agree with lois! I have four 😉 will I get more? Probably not, but I’m through hiding the ones I do have! I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with tattoos (the verse says not to tattoo yourself unto the dead) and as has already been said it’s no different than the other adornments that we add on.

  • Since we’ve just started our homeschool journey, I haven’t heard this yet, but back when I was teaching I was told all the time (and I still am) that I look like a teacher. I think that mostly that had to do with the fact that I always had Expo marker down my hands and usually somewhere in my face and hair.

    • I have been told a lot over the years that I “look like” a pastor’s wife (and I am a pastor’s wife). I haven’t taken the time to think that one through yet! 😉

  • In our little town my reputation has proceeded me. Whether I have a chance to present myself. In appearance or not a person’s opinion has already been formed. Small town where a lot of people are teachers or work in the school. I apparently am not ‘on the same team’ as everyone else. I have chosen not to worry about it. I am involved at the library and other groups. If someone actually gets to know me they know my opinions and reasonings for home schooling is not an attack on anyone.

    • I grew up in a small town and my husband pastored a church in a small, rural community for seven years before we moved to a large city. I totally relate to what you are saying. Just love your life and love people… being misunderstood isn’t easy, but let your life and attitude do the speaking for you. 🙂

  • And now I am dying to know “what does a homeschool Mom look like”? I have 4 children, I DO drive a minivan, I recently sold my SUV. I am military veteran, a jack of all trades (a master of none), I have a college degree, I currently teach elementary school and will return to homeschooling this year after a 1 year hiatus (teaching other people’s children), oh yes I am also a military wife, I love to fish. Lets see….. What AM I suppossssssed to look like? HA! I have never really thought about it. Maybe homeschool Moms look confident, calm and like we have it all figured out…. In fact I am certain that MUST be what your friend was offering up. 😉

    • Most definitely, HappyBunchof6! That definitely sounds like me… you know that part about “confident, calm, etc”… hehe. 🙂

      And, yes, I would agree that you don’t seem to fit a mold… good for you! 😀

  • Was it the middle of a weekday that you were out with your kids? If I go anywhere during the day before 3pm (when school is usually out) and I see a woman out with a child or children who look Older than 6 years old, I wonder if they are a homeschool family. I wonder this not because of how the woman looks but because it’s during “public school time” that they are out. So the kid is either sick or they homeschool.

    • Very true, Jenn!

      Personally, we try *not* to be out and about with our school age kids during public school hours, simply because a lot of people may not understand how homeschooling works and could assume that we are truant. We live in a very urban area, so it’s not as laid back as, say, a smaller, more conservative community. I try to keep that in mind and not take any chances by running around town with my kids when people assume they should be in school.

      • What does it matter if they assume you’re truant? You know what they say about assuming right? I take my kids out when it suits our family, that is part of why we homeschool, I believe that it is God’s design for families to be together to learn, grow and go about our lives together. If we all stay locked up in our homes during school hours (unless that is convenient for YOUR family) then we aren’t taking full advantage of the freedom we have as homeschoolers. I personally can’t stand grocery shopping in the evenings or on the weekends, I don’t like going to the library after the “go school kids” (as my kids call them) are out, I like being able to go during the quiet times! I know I probably sound fanatical, cause I kind of am! The idea of locking kids away during the brightest part of the day is a relatively new one and I know it is embraced as normal, I’m doing my best to change that 🙂 ! Please hear this in love, if that is what truly works for your family do it, but if the only reason you stay home is because you are afraid of perception please reconsider!

        • A. Agree totally, Tracy.

          B. How kindly you spoke…sometimes a single post doesn’t fully explain a point of view. It’s so good to remember that, and to be kind in our different opinions. You shared your opinion but did so with recognition that you might not have heard the full explanation, and with acceptance that everyone makes their choices based on what they think is best. Not always the case for online public forums.

  • I haven’t been asked this one….yet. (It’s our first year.)
    Looking at the moms who come to the homeschool gymnastics class, I guess we all look very similar. But it’s a very small group.

    Love your response!

    • Thank you! There’s certainly nothing wrong with a close-knit, similar group. 🙂 Like minded friends are a huge support for homeschooling moms! Diversity brings an extra dimension of growth and challenge.

  • So…… I also live in a super small town where everyone has am opinion about homeschooling (or not, of course! ). Just a few weeks ago, a teacher at the local elementary school made a comment like, “Oh, she’s that homeschool mom.” Then she looked at me and said, “Oh, that’s not how I think of you, though. You’re just Sarai.” I wonder then how does she think of homeschool moms? She certainly doesn’t know us. I told her it was good she felt that way because I am just Sarai. The same as always. The thing I have the hardest time being patient about is why do people think they get an opinion, and why would they think I want it? I would never go to her and say, “Would you like me to tell you how I feel about the public school system?”

  • Maybe it’s the way you talk to and listen to your kids! Maybe it’s the way they talk to and listen to each other or the people around them! It might not have anything at all to do with your denim jumper! Teehee! I know we aren’t perfect and neither are our kids, we also aren’t cookie cutter communicators but homeschool families tend to talk and interact differently more than we dress or appear differently just a thought. 🙂 Mind you I’ve also noticed our kids are allowed to express their own “style” more than the average child, maybe it’s our kid’s sense of self that tips them off!

  • loved this post! Yes, homeschool moms are diverse! But, unfortunately, a lot of people like to pigeon hole us into this narrow view… and some of it is just not flattering. Haters! Or maybe just ignorant or wishing they could and a little jealous they don’t have the guts to do it themselves! I do it because I want to give my child the best childhood experience, and as his mother, I kinda think I know best what he needs. Some might do it for other reasons. Whatever the reason they are all valid because if you care and are doing your best and with love then that is all that matters. I think we should support each other as mothers whether it is homeschool, public, private.. It’s all about respecting choice in motherhood.

  • I have to laugh at that. I have a 39 year-old and the youngest is 10. No accidents or surprises, we raised one set and decided to adopt a sibling group. All but two of 8 have been homeschooled at one time or another and the ones that are home we plan to keep at home until they are finished with high school.
    Now in 39 years, I have been a dance mom, a baseball mom, soccer mom, gymnastics mom, member of the football team, marching band, and many other kinds of moms…never been called a homeschool mom. It is just what you get called when your kid is in something that not everyone is doing. No big deal. Actually, when you are called a dance, soccer, or football mom, that puts us in a special category because we are supporting our child in whatever endeavor they are undertaking at the moment. So, cool, I am a homeschool mom, that means my kids aren’t doing what the majority are doing and I am being recognized for supporting my child in their educational endeavor. I have never been called a public school mom, probably no one has.
    This topic just sent the wheels in my mind spinning. Sorry for such a long rambling.

  • “We aren’t all buns and skirts. Well, we have a few but there’s also a couple tattoos and piercings floating around too.” That’s how the lady who runs the co-op we joined described their group, when I called for more information about their program when I was considering taking my daughter out of public school. I was hinting around to find out how heavily religious the group was (I was raised Catholic, my husband Presbyterian, we go to a Methodist church, and we’re surrounded by Baptists) and she TOTALLY summed up what I imagine homeschool moms to look like….buns and skirts. Denim jumpers and curled bangs. When I hear “homeschool mom,” I see Michelle Duggar. Obviously there are plenty of moms out there that do look like that, but when I went to visit, I was shocked at how normal and diverse the crowd of moms were.

  • Before my husband and I started homeschooling (Nov. 2014), our kids were in public school. I volunteered in the classroom of 35 kindergarteners in jeans and a T-shirt. I went on field trips and tutored the harder to reach kids, in jeans and a T-shirt. Now that I am at home with my munchkins, I still wear jeans and a T-shirt. I live in Chicago and there aren’t many parents homeschooling on the southside of the city. I don’t believe its how homeschool moms dress or wear our hair, I believe its how we treat our children and others. Its the light of Jesus in me, that others cannot understand. Society has proven, anything they don’t understand, they “try” and label. I am a God fearing, homeschooling, video game playing, Bible toting, ballet and karate mom, loving wife, who can bowl a pretty good game, with my bubblegum Zoom ball (most of the time)Ha! And loves pit bulls. Labels belong on clothes not on people!

  • If its during the week and the kids and I are running errands I will always get asked…… Most of the time I don’t care what they ask but a few weeks ago at dollar tree the attendant asked my kids if it makes them sad to be homeschooled and not have friends….then she proceeded to tell me that once they hit 6th grade it would be best to put them in school because that way they can go to college. I smiled and told her my 3 adult children were all homeschooled and never had trouble attending college……she was surprised….(I am that home school mom with a zillion kids and the limo sized van LOL…but Im not frumpy) That day it did bug me that she would assume my kids would be sad to be home educated…..but we moved on!

    • Isn’t it amazing how so many people feel like they should have a say in how we educate our children? One thing I usually say when folks make incorrect assumptions about homeshooled children (such as the one you mentioned–that our homeschooled children don’t have friends) is something like, “Well, lots of people who aren’t well informed about homeschooling think that, but the truth is just the opposite! I have trouble narrowing down my kids’ social and educational engagements outside of the house because there are so many great opportunities available to us!” That’s a nice way of saying that they really aren’t informed enough about homeschooling to make those kinds of judgments, and it usually causes them to stop giving advice on a topic they don’t know much about. 🙂 I love that you were able to let that person know that you have adult children who were homeschooled and who attended college! Thank you for sharing your experience!

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