Will You Send Them to High School & Other Homeschool Questions I’m Asked

I’ve found myself listening to opinions about home education, advocating it, and answering homeschool questions in some of the most unexpected places and times since we began homeschooling in 2009.

Are you going to send them to high school? ... and other homeschool questions I'm often asked

From family and friends to acquaintances to complete strangers, people have plenty of concerns and questions about homeschooling.  Some of those questions come so frequently that it feels like deja vu and some come so frequently that I’ve developed canned answers.  Shameful, I know!  

Here are my 5 most-asked homeschool questions and how I answer them.

The 5 Homeschool Questions
I’m Asked Most Often

How long does it take each day?

People generally stare back in disbelief when I say that we’re done by noon on a typical homeschool day.  I suppose it sounds scandalous if you’re led to believe that legitimate education only happens five days a week, eight hours a day, and nine months a year.

Homeschool Questions I'm Often Asked - How long do you spend on homeschool each day?

We can be done by noon each day because we spread our homeschooling out over an entire year, with only a few breaks and off days.  We can be done by noon because it doesn’t take as long to explain concepts to my two kids as it does to a roomful of kids with different learning styles and behavioral tendencies. We can be done by noon because we’re walking a different path than most.

Another thing to consider is that homeschooling supports a different learning atmosphere than other educational structures.  The lines between school, life, and play are blurred and hard to define.  We’re learning more frequently and in ways that we could never accurately log into our attendance charts.  Who even knows how much time we really spend schooling?

How do you choose curriculum?

Something about having free reign to choose curriculum and customize education is tough for some folks to understand.

There’s a lot of research that goes into choosing curriculum. There are questions I ask and observations I make throughout the year that help me determine curriculum choices for the upcoming year.  Ultimately it comes down to knowing my kids.

Homeschool Questions I'm Often Asked - How do you choose homeschool curriculum?

I’m asked this homeschool question fairly often, but my short answer isn’t always enough.  Some folks I’ve talked to don’t necessarily agree that homeschool parents know what’s best for their kids.  They instead support government involvement.  I’ve had the pleasure of discussing why our government shouldn’t be involved in curriculum selections more times than I’d like.

My (not-so) favorite curriculum Q & A session came from a group of ladies who sincerely believed the government should dictate our curriculum choices because of the tax dollars they incorrectly assumed homeschoolers receive.   Such a fun conversation!

Are you going to send them to high school?

This is probably the question I’m asked most often and the answer is easy.  Hubby and I have no plans to send our kids to school, high school or otherwise.  We believe in homeschooling and see no need to make other plans.

Homeschool Questions I'm Often Asked - Are you going to send them to high school?
That question usually spurs a slew of high school-related inquiries and I address them one at a time:

  • How will you teach high school math?  Um, I’ll read the teacher manual or I’ll outsource it.
  • How will they get into college? If they choose to attend, they’ll apply and work hard like everyone else.
  • Aren’t you afraid they’ll miss out? Nope… (see lengthy explanation below).
  • How will they learn how to get along in the world? They’ll continue to interact with people through everyday life, like they always do.

Aren’t you afraid they’ll miss out?

This homeschool question often comes from well-meaning people who assign value differently than we do.  Sports opportunities, traditional school events like dances, and extra-curriculars can be great, but they don’t equal a thriving student or guarantee an adult who looks back on childhood with nothing but fond memories.

If we’re missing out on anything by homeschooling, I’m happy about what we’re missing.   The good things from a public or private school experience are available elsewhere without the sacrifice of family time, childhood, and parental influence that often happen by default.

Homeschool Questions I'm Often Asked - Aren't you afraid they'll miss out? I wholeheartedly believe that homeschooling keeps our kids from missing out on what matters most to our family:

  • delight-directed learning
  • exploring and appreciating God’s creation
  • time to be kids without pressure to grow up quickly
  • unrushed time as a family
  • truly knowing each other (rather than coexisting)
  • opportunites to regularly “socialize” with kids of many ages and from several communities
  • developing God-given talents (including those that aren’t appreciated in all academic environments)

When the “Missing Out” conversation occurs, I mention these things we gain through homeschooling, but also that we have plenty of opportunities available to us: sports through community sports (and private schools in some cases), “social” events like dances through co-ops, and extra-curricular activities galore through multiple avenues.

I’m not worried about my kids missing out on anything.  Instead, I choose to celebrate what we’re gaining.  We say this frequently in our home: you have to be willing to say no to something good so you can say yes to something great.

What do you have against public schools?

This question doesn’t actually have anything to do with homeschooling, but it’s one we get frequently.  The assumption tends to be that we must homeschool because we have specific criticisms of public schools.  That’s not the case.  Our kids have never been enrolled in public or private schools; therefore homeschooling wasn’t a reaction to something we experienced.

Moreover, our choice to homeschool was never influenced by anything happening or not happening in local or national public schools.   Instead, our decision to homeschool came because we were called to it.  It works better for our family, our schedule, and personalities. It allows us to live with intention and walk our faith fully. It’s who we are and it has nothing to do with public schools or the pros and cons that surround them.

Homeschool Questions I'm Often Asked - What to you have against public schools?
That said, I know more public school teachers than I can count and all of them care deeply about what they do.  I appreciate them and all they do for students and families.  They are in the thick of it, doing the best the can to teach according to the environments and standards they’ve been given.  It’s not for the faint of heart.

As a home educator, I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must be to be told what to teach, when to teach it, and how to teach it, all while knowing that it’s impossible to teach in a way that reaches every student.

I also can’t imagine what it must be like to parent a roomful of kids by proxy simply because you often spend more time with those kids than they typically spend at home.

So yeah, most public school kids are in great, loving hands.  Even so, we are beyond grateful for homeschooling and encourage as many people as possible to explore the gifts that homeschooling brings.

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What questions are you often asked about homeschooling? I’d love to read your FAQs and answers in the comments.

New to homeschooling or just have questions about it? You can leave those in the comments as well.  I’m happy to help!  You can also check out my Considering Homeschool series and find help for getting started with homeschool.Homeschool Questions I'm Often Asked

Be sure to stop by iHomeschool Network’s Questions I’m Asked About Homeschooling Linkup.  There’s plenty more of this conversation happening over there!

15 thoughts on “Will You Send Them to High School & Other Homeschool Questions I’m Asked

  1. I just turned our homeschool evaluations in to the school district today. While there, a new homeschool dad was talking to the secretary and asking her all sorts of questions about homeschooling. When I walked in, she looked relieved and said, “She homeschools!” Apparently he had been asking her about how to find curriculum and she was telling him to hire an out-of-district teacher to help him. I wanted to scream, “No!Don’t” because people who have never homeschooled have no idea how different from school it actually is. He asked for my advice, and I was dying to explain to him that homeschooling doesn’t have to look like school, but with the secretary standing there I thought I’d better not. Instead, I gave him a “canned” answer (as you put it) and told him to find out what his kids were interested in, Google homeschool curriculum, and make good use of the library. I also wrote down the address for my website and the address for a PA homeschool website that explains everything about our laws. I wanted to tell him so much more but felt that the school district building was probably not the best place to do it.

    1. Wow, Shelly … It sounds like you walked in at the right time! I think you were wise to not mention too much in front of a district employee. Some of those folks can’t wrap their minds around what homeschooling actually is!

  2. Ugh! The classic, “How do you know they’re at their grade level?” I want to say, “I don’t because they’re advanced in every subject and I Have No Idea what year of high school my middle schoolers would test into.” But I don’t say that because that seems arrogant. Lol Usually a quick run-through of what we’re studying suffices, but then you get those who are convinced your tweens have the education of a preschooler. They get my first answer. 🙂

    1. I completely understand!

      Grade levels just complicate things anyway. Who decided a fourth grader can better understand physical science than a third grader? Why is a fourth grader less capable of understanding medieval history than a seventh grader? None of that makes any sense.

  3. OK, wait, there are people who believe homeschoolers get tax money from the government to buy their curriculum?! What is this program and how I sign up? LOL. You pretty much covered all the silly questions homeschoolers get asked. All. The. Time.

    1. Let me tell you, that was a tough one to address without getting snarky! It was just so ridiculous. 😉

  4. “If we’re missing out on anything by homeschooling, I’m happy about what we’re missing. The good things from a public or private school experience are available elsewhere without the sacrifice of family time, childhood, and parental influence that often happen by default.”

    This is brilliant! I feel the same way–we can deliver more student-centered learning and opportunity than a school district can, hands down. It makes me love what we do and want to do it for as long as possible!

    1. Yes Heather! Student-centered learning is an easy choice over the things we “miss” from a public school experience. It’s great motivation for continuing as long as possible!

  5. Yes, a thousand times YES to all your answers to those pesky “Oh, you homeschool” questions. And I your simple stated facts about why you will NOT send your kids to high school. Exactly my thoughts that are all jumbled in my head : )

    1. I still don’t understand why it’s such a surprising thing that we plan to homeschool our kids through high school. I mean, why would that be in question anyway? 😉

  6. Great post, I like the thoughts about helping children to develop talents not appreciated at school. Also the ability to know kids and not just co-exist. Good job on this piece. Good luck in the journey.

  7. We’ve been asked multiple times about all the books our local town supplies… which of course they don’t and then I am inevitably asked “well, in that case, how do you know what to even teach them?” I just love this.. so very, very true!

  8. Believe it or not, in California you can have the government give you taxpayer funds to purchase non-religious curriculum. Our public charter system works this way and the vast majority of homeschoolers here go that route. The new homeschoolernquestion here is “how do I get my homeschool funds?” Drives me nuts because they don’t seem to get that the govt then holds sway over your curriculum (I.e. the stipulation that to receive funds curriculum and work samples must be non-religious, required monthly meeting with a charter facilitator (currently it’s monthly, there’s a bill in the legislature seeking to make that weekly), etc. No thank you. Keep the funds. I’ll pay my own way.

    1. I’m with you, Jodi. There’s no freedom in homeschooling when there are strings attached to the government funding.

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