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