A Question of Homeschooling

For the next few weeks, I'm going to post a series of articles answering the typical questions homeschoolers are asked.  Each Monday, I'll post answers to questions about socialization, college prep, and extra curricular events.   I'll also deal with how to handle things when your children are grilled by folks who wonder, (as one anti homeschooler put it) "Does she KNOW anything?" I've been homeschooling for over ten years.  I have taught every grade level and even graduated one student who went on to an elite university.  My children and I have been asked every homeschooling question in the book, but this week I'm going to begin at the beginning. Why?  Why do you homeschool?  Why did you decide to homeschool? It's a very common question asked by many people for various reasons.  You may think it has a simple answer, but you'd be wrong.  How many times have you been asked a seemingly simple question only to find the answer isn't so simple? Folks often ask me where I'm from.  Seems simple enough, but my life is not simple.  I often look for the reason they are asking.  Here's what I mean.  If you are asking where I live, I'm from Arizona.  If you are asking where I just moved from, I'm from California.  If you are asking where particularly I lived in California, I'm from Southern California.  However, if you are asking where I grew up, I'm from New York.  (Spent most of my growing up years in New York.)  If you're asking where I was born.  Then I'm from Colorado.  What if you are asking my heritage?  Well, then I'm primarily from Russia.  Perhaps you're just looking to find out what department I came from in the store.  In that case, I usually am from the purse department! LOL There are four basic reasons people ask why we homeschool and the best answer is going to depend largely on your ability to discern. 1. Public school parents who ask why I decided to homeschool may genuinely want to know, but they also fear feeling like homeschoolers think they are bad mothers because they don't homeschool.  It's important not to overwhelm them with all the statistics about how "homeschooling is so much better than public school" and how you "wouldn't have it any other way."  You don't want to condemn someone for their educational choices just as we homeschoolers don't want to be condemned for ours. It's best just to give a short answer with one of the reasons and leave it at that.  If they ask more about it, you know they really want to hear more, but again, you don't want to make it sound as if you think any less of them because they DON'T homeschool.  Each of us makes the choices we do according to what works for our family.  I know some homeschoolers who only homeschool one of their children and some who homeschool all but one.  I know some who have homeschooled all the way through and some who just started when their son was in Jr High. I usually say something like, "We wanted to give her more individual attention and tailor the subjects to suit her needs." 2. Public school teachers who ask are usually asking because they don't approve of homeschooling.  They are often upset that their school won't get the public funds and that so many homeschoolers put down public education.  I usually tell them that we started off as sort of an experiment to give her more one on one education and then revisited the idea each year.  I let them know that we were apprehensive when we began which tells them that I understand their apprehension now.  I add that it just "worked for us" which tells them that I would understand that it might not work for others and so don't condemn anyone else's educational choices.  If they do become defensive, I may add that my sister's kids are in public school and they are very happy there and doing well. 3. Someone interested in homeschooling usually asks because they are interested, but cannot understand how it might work for them.  I usually find it best to tell them a bit more of the story.  I share how we had moved into a home where the previous owners were homeschoolers.  With my dd going into the 5th grade of a private Christian school, my dh asked me to "look into homeschooling" as an alternative to the expense for private school.  I relate how I talked to as many people as I could and reported back to my dh that I wanted to give it a try, but he said "Whoa!  I only asked you to check it out!"  Then I follow up with how we decided to try it for a year to see how it worked and we never left it.  This allows the person to understand that it was something we, too, had difficulty with and that if we can do it, they might want to look into it too. 4. Someone who is openly anti-homeschool usually asks in order to show me up.  What they are actually saying is, "How could you ruin your kids like this!"  I actually had many in my family ask me this because my dd was so bright and doing quite well in private school.  I used to just say that it's worked pretty well for us and leave it at that.  However, since I graduated my dd two years ago, my answer has changed slightly.  I usually tell them that I guess I didn't do too badly.  My dd is in her second year at Vanderbilt University! ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer.  Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula, including Say What You Mean Defending the Faith.  You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com and hosting her weekly podcast, Communication Comedy Network.  For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com Stay tuned next Monday for more in my article series, "A Question of Homeschooling" when I will share another answer to a typical question homeschoolers are asked. If you have a question you are frequently asked and would like me to include it in my blog series, please post a comment here or email me at jojo @ artofeloquence.com


  • BeckyJoie

    lol, I think a little typo elf is messing up my comments.

  • BeckyJoie

    What a great idea which is so needed these days. I like you answer in nunmber one. It is general enough to cover all the reasons without being offensive or sounding weird. :) Thanks for sharing.

  • creefeEntit

    Great tips! I will try it definitely
    thanks for sharing this!

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