How to Answer Questions about Homeschooling

questions 3People will ask questions. Expect it. Some are curious. Some are concerned for your child’s well-being. Some are defensive against homeschooling. Some are thinking of homeschooling themselves. But, people will ask.

Most of the questions are the same. They may be worded differently, but at the core, the same questions are asked over and over again.

Be prepared. If you know you are going to be asked the same questions over and over again, it seems only logical to have a response ready. I like to have two responses – depending on whom the person is and why they are asking. I have a short, to the point answer – which will suffice for most people. A buzz phrase, so to speak.  Few people really care about your educational philosophy, what curriculum you use, and an hour by hour play list of your day. If it is a relative, close friend, or someone interested in homeschooling themselves – someone who really cares and wants to know – I can give longer, more detailed answers.

Answer politely. Do not get defensive. Don’t be argumentative. The fate of homeschooling does not rest on your shoulders, but public opinion might. This is one reason I believe it is important to have a response prepared. You are less likely to get irritated and confrontational when asked. Though, I have to admit – sometimes I resort to sarcasm.

questions 17Why do you homeschool?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. It’s what is best for our kids.
  2. It’s cheaper than private school.
  3. It’s what my husband and I think best exemplifies our family’s worldview.
  4. It is a personal conviction (God called me to homeschool)
  5. It’s cheaper to take vacation off season.
  6. I don’t like to do housework alone.
  • For Those who Need to Know

This is as varied as the people reading my post. For me it is because it is the best way to teach my children on a day by day basis how to glorify God. Homeschooling allows me to go at each of my children’s individual pace and meet their specific academic level of learning. I can teach in the way that my child learns best. We love having the time to develop each child’s personal interests and talents. We want the family to be the core of their world, and it gives our kids time together to develop lifelong relationships with their siblings and parents. And, I love spending time with my kids – I simply can’t imagine them being gone all day five days a week. I simply love it.

questions 18What about socialization?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. My kids spend time each week with people of all ages.
  2. Children are best socialized by their parents, not their peers
  3. I’m simply not worried about socialization, it will happen naturally.
  4. We socialize so much with other homeschool families – sometimes I have to remind myself to stay at home and do school.
  • For Those who Need to Know

When people ask this question they want to know if your child is going to be able to get along with others and be a productive member of society – or if they are going to be a recluse who doesn’t know how to relate to others. The assumption made in this question is that spending time with peers teaches you how to get along with others. It does not. It simply displays the social skills you already have. Socialization is the ability to get along with others. It involves meeting new people, having manners, the ability to share, the ability to compromise, conflict resolution, the ability to lead, and the ability to follow.  I believe the best way to teach these skills is at home. A small child first learns by watching his parents and older siblings as they interact with others. Then they imitate how his parents and siblings act. If the people in this imitation game say “please” and “thank you” the child will too. As a child sits on grandpa’s knee and listens to his stories he learns to respect the elderly. As he helps mommy with the new baby he learns to care for others.

Along the way, it is a good idea for families to get together with other families who have children similar in age – and allow the kids to play together in a completely supervised manner -supervised in that there is one on one adult to child ratio. If a child takes a toy away from another child – the parents can address the issue immediately and teach both children how to resolve the conflict. Around the age of five through seven, children can be left more and more on their own to play with each other – with parents still close by to help with conflict resolution when the need arises.

In a homeschool setting, children are also exposed to people of various ages. When you get together with another family each family has children of various ages and all the kids play together. The older ones help nurture the younger ones, and the little ones imitate and try to keep up with the older. All of the parents interact with the children, and sometimes there are even grandparents thrown into the mix. From this mix of ages, children learn how to respect their elders, they develop mentors and people they want to follow after, and how to contribute to the good of those in need who are following after them. As they grow, they get to experience being in different positions – one who needs others and one who is needed – a follower and a leader. Children learn they have a place in society and they are able to interact wisely within that society.

A school setting – whether private of public – cannot teach the same level of social skills. First, the adult – child ration limits the teacher’s ability to teach conflict resolution well. Secondly, the people group the child is placed in is fabricated – surrounded only by children his own age. When one is only surrounded by one’s own age, a hierarchy develops – one must set himself up as leader and one as follower. It is breeding ground for bullying and for the “queen bee” mentality. The leader-follower is not a natural result of experience and age, but rather personality and aggression. The biggest personalities win, instead of each contributing in his or her own way. Nowhere else in society do we relate only to those of the same age as ourselves, so it is not the best training ground for socialization.

Homeschooling socializes children better than does a school setting.

questions 20What do you do all day?

  • Shore & Sweet Answers
  1. Sleep in, academics, house and yard work, play, pursue our interests
  • For Those who Need to Know

Show and discuss your own personal schedule.

Is it legal?

  • Short & Sweet Answer
  1. Yep in all 50 States
  • For Those who Need to Know

If you are interested in the laws, google homeschool laws and the state you are interested in. Each state has different requirements, but it is legal in all of them.

Will your children be able to go to college?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. Colleges love homeschoolers.
  2. There are homeschoolers in community colleges, private colleges, universities, Ivy League Schools, and the Military Academies.
  3. It’s easier to get your child into college than public high school after homeschooling.
  • For Those who Need to Know

Every college is different. All want a transcript, with an official graduation date from high school and the required classes needed for college entry. Ask the college you are appling for what the transcript should look like.

All colleges, other than community colleges, require either SAT or the ACT scores. That’s pretty much it. I’ve gotten one into community college at age 16, one into a private college at age 17, and one into a major university at age 17.

questions 9What if your child wants to become a doctor /lawyer?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. Then they’ll go to college and medical/law school.
  2. Then they will be.
  3. Homeschooling affords us the ability to delve into that interest while they still live at home.
  • For Those who Need to Know

All of my kids have interned in areas they are interested in pursuing while they were in high school. My oldest interned at our church and now serves in full time ministry. My middle interned as a special needs therapist and now volunteers with families affected by disabilities and nannies children affected by disabilities. My younger son volunteered with the media department of a ministry and served as a sound tech for the church throughout high school, now he is in college pursuing a career in film. Homeschooling can nurture these interests rather than push them off til college and graduate school.

questions 6How can you handle spending all day with your kids?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.
  2. I can’t image life any other way.
  3. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out, but all the other days make it rewarding.
  • For Those who Need to Know

I find it sad that I have to answer this question. I love spending time with my kids. I really can’t image what I would do if they were gone all day every day. But saying that, I do realize it is frustration and sometimes parents need to get away. We do that by going on dates –without the kids. Someone else watches the kids and I go out for coffee with a friend. I like to read a book outside while the kids are playing. Yes, I need me time – but the me time is the treat, the daily interaction with my kids is the majority of my time. I have grown so much as a person because of homeschooling. I have learned all the things academically which I had forgotten or never really learned the first time around. I have learned patience and organization – which do not come naturally to me. I have been able to use my creativity and love of books in lesson planning. My kids challenge me to become a better person – on a daily basis. I can’t image sending them to school every day. I love to be with them.

questions 21Are your children allowed to go to school if they want to?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. As a parent, I make the decision as to what is best for my child.
  2. Why would they want to?
  3. Yes, I allow them to choose.
  • For Those who Need to Know

The answer to this will be personal. We made the decision when the kids were little then allowed them to choose when they were older. Only one of my four who have graduated chose to go to school He went in 7th and 8th grades then came home. The others have chosen to stay at home, but after we discussed it as a family we would have let them go to high school if they had chosen to do so.

Why aren’t your kids in school right now? (Usually ask when you are out and about during school hours)

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. We homeschool.
  2. They have a teacher in service day
  3. They already finished their schoolwork today; it takes much fewer hours at home than if they went to public school.
  4. Because they’re too busy learning about life
  • For Those who Need to Know

There isn’t a long answer for this one – but it gives me an opportunity to share one of my favorite stories.

When my oldest kids were little my husband worked a lot of nights and weekends, so we took time off from school and spent time with daddy when he was home. This was in the early 90s, so homeschooling wasn’t as prevalent. One morning we went to a local donut shop. A lady asked, “Why aren’t your kids in school.” I answered, “We homeschool.” In a sarcastic tone she replied, “I can see you do.” Without missing a beat, my husband replied, “We’re training them to be police officers.”

Questions 15Aren’t you really just brainwashing your kids?

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. Yep – just like every other form of education.
  • For Those who Need to Know

More than reading, writing and arithmetic are taught in school. Energy conservation, smoking and drugs, sex education, bullying, tolerance for other religions, races, and sexual orientations – are all taught in schools. Not saying these are good or bad – just saying that education advocates for a social agenda. I as a parent choose to address these issues with my child from my worldview. As a Christian I will address social issues from a Biblical worldview. I want to brainwash my child to love the Lord and to serve Him only – this is my greatest Biblical command as a parent. I would do this even if my child were attending public school – the difference is I would have to address it as a debate and not as fact. I believe children’s brains are ready for controversy around 6th or 7th grade – before then, my child takes what I say or what the teacher says as fact, unable to logically deduct if it is a fact, theory, or opinion. To give a small child multiple points of view and choices is silly and not age appropriate. The public school does not give choices either – they teach from a specific mandated point of view that has been agreed upon by those in power. I choose for my children to learn my set of facts first, and as they get older talk over other points of view and how to deduct the “truth.” So, yes I brain wash my kids into a Biblical point of view and pray that it will stick when they are older and can choose for themselves.

questionsAre you trying to exclude your kids from the real world? (of Aren’t you just trying to shelter your kids?)

This one can go both ways – depending on your personal philosophy of homeschooling.

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. Yep – and happily.
  2. Nope – in fact, they have more “real world” experiences.
  • For Those who Need to Know

Yes: We don’t want our children exposed to bullying, violence in school, offered drugs on campus, or exposed to ideologies our family does not believe in. This is a conscious choice, and one that we feel is best for our children.

No: Our children are exposed to more real life experiences. They learn culture through travel. They spend time with friends and family of all ages who are from different races, political leanings, and sexual orientations. We take them to five star restaurants and we volunteer with the homeless. Where kids in school read about “real life” we experience it.

questions 16Why can’t your kid read yet? (Or any other question in which the questioner asks why they are not doing the same academics as public schoolers their age.)

  • Short & Sweet Answers
  1. I haven’t chosen to teach that yet. (This answer states that I am the responsible party, and my kids are not to be blamed for not knowing)
  2. They will learn that eventually.
  3. I don’t believe in early academics. (You had better be prepared to answer why if you give this response.)
  • For Those who Need to Know

This question will come from one of two types of people – your response should be based on who is asking, and why they ask. People that love your children and are worried about them, and people who want to judge you and tell you that you aren’t doing a good job. The first set of people you will truly have to explain why you are not teaching this and why you believe it is best for your child. You also want to reassure the asker that your child will be ok in the long run. Don’t bother with a complete answer to the second questioner – they just want to argue.

These are just a sampling of the questions that I’ve been asked over the years. What are some questions you’ve been asked and how did you answer? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s