If you homeschool, you have encountered people with their preconceived notions of homeschoolers or people that are just curious about the homeschooling life style. The thing I find odd (and annoying) is that they always seem willing to share their opinions of our choice to homeschool. I don't understand why people feel that this is O.K. If we questioned their schooling choices or parenting skills, they would be extremely offended. Some are just curious but too often they are criticizing our choice.
So when we encounter these wonderful people, we just answer the best we can. Sometimes we are gracious and sometimes we are not so gracious. It just depends on my mood for that day.
So here are the questions/comments we hear most often.....
1. What about socialization?
Yup, we keep them chained up in their rooms and never let them out. That's how I want to answer this question, but I'm afraid we'll be turned into the authorities. When asked this question, we just fill them in on all the wonderful activities homeschoolers have available to them. We have co-ops, social groups, sports, field trips, music lessons, varies clubs, 4-H, running errands, etc. Heck going to the library is socialization! I wish I had a $1.00 for every time we were asked this questions. I could buy my homeschool books until the kids went off toe college.
2. Doesn't the state tell you what to teach?
This question annoys me. It's like the public school system is the most amazing thing in the world. I won't say that all schools are horrible, but the testing scores do show us that American schools are not up to par with our foreign neighbors. I find it funny that people would think that the state should tell us how teach our kids. Heck if we do that then they'll want to tell us how to raise our kids too. Oh that's right, they are trying to do that.
3. Aren't you worried they'll miss out on school parties, sports, and prom?
I thought school was about education and learning. When did sports, clubs, and prom become the main focus of schools. Kids should be able to learn without having to worry about peer pressure, bullying, etc. We hear too often about young girls playing dumb to impress boys or smart students doing poorly so they won't be made fun or called names. I want my kids to focus on learning not spend their time worrying about what shoes they should have.
4. Do you have a teaching degree? Are you qualified to teach?
Oh that's right, I can just give birth to a baby with no classes or knowledge, but I suddenly need a degree to be able to teach them anything. Who taught this sweet bundle of joy to crawl, walk, and talk. I did! I know with the help of the Lord, we will be just fine.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
5. Do you plan to do this all the way through high school?
When we first started, we were doing it year by year. We were new at this and unsure if it would work out. As the years have passed, we realized that this is the right choice for us. We now believe we will continue through to high school. My kids do not want to got to school. They enjoy homeschooling and have their friends that they would miss. We also have heard not so nice things about our local middle school and high school. So for now, we say yes. Could this change? Sure things in life are never certain.
6. What about college?
We have a few years before we have to worry about this. Thankfully there are plenty of colleges and universities that are actively recruiting homeschoolers. Many homeschoolers start taking college classes during their high school years. So are we worried? Nope, I know my kids will be just fine. Right now, they are still trying to narrow down their choices for a career. Right now, one child wants to go into robotics engineering, the other wants to be a veterinarian and both want to homeschool their children.
7. What happens if they fall behind?
Well, we don't stress about! We just keep working until the kids master the concept they are struggling with or they get caught up in the subject they have fallen behind in. I don't think this is something just homeschoolers worry about. I know plenty of young kids in the school system that fall behind. Parents hire tutors to help children catch up. We have all heard about children falling between the cracks. I saw this in college. Many young people I was in college with couldn't do basic math. Somehow in the 12 years of schooling no one seemed to notice. It's sad and a disgrace to children everywhere. So am I worried not really. The nice thing about homeschooling, we can decide to spend more time on subjects the kids are struggling in. It's a lot easier to make sure that they have mastered a concept.
8. What grade are you in?
Ugh! Do your kids get that deer in the headlight looks when people ask them this question? My kids always stand there trying to figure out how to answer it. Do they go by subject? If they did we would be there for a while. I recently just started telling them to tell people what grade they would be in the school system. It's so much easier.
9. No school today?
This was one of my favorites when my kids were 5 and 6. They would tell people "we don't do school!" Inside I would just groan! We sure got a lot of funny looks when they would answer that way. Of course, I would have to explain that we homeschooled. Now both kids just tell people we're homeschooled and really don't answer the question.
9. How do spell ......? What is 24 + 54?
I hate this!! It bothers me that people feel like that they have the right to quiz my kids. I have had family members and strangers do this. I don't question your "public schooled" kids. I know you think we are sitting at home watching TV and eating chips, but we really are learning. A lot of times, we spend more time learning because I don't have to stop and reprimand other students.
10. How will they ever have friends?
Well, they do have friends. They make friends in their co-ops, sports teams, religious education classes, church groups, etc. Kids really do not have to go to school to make friends. We have had a few friends return to school or move away, but with all the activities available to homeschoolers there are always more friends waiting to be made. The nice thing about homeschooling is that kids get to learn how to interact with a variety of ages.
11. Do you homeschool for religious reasons?
Not that this is any one's business, but yes we do. We didn't start out homeschooling for religious reasons, but now it is a big part of our reason for continuing. I want my children to learn about their Catholic faith. There is no way they would learn about that in the public school system. Faith is a big part of who we are.
12. Wow! Your kids are so smart/friendly/outgoing/talkative/etc.
We like to venture out of the dark cave every now and then. It amazes me how many people have preconceived notions of homeschoolers. We don't live in a dark cave somewhere sheltering our children. We are pretty normal. My kids play videos games, watch TV, listen to music, and even go to the movies. Do we monitor what they watch and listen to. You bet! My kids talk to people at church, the grocery store, relatives, friends, teachers at co-op, and stores. We do educate our children. We do expose them to other people.
Homeschooled children are really not that different from other kids. Some are smart, some are average intelligence, some act up, some are well behaved, some are shy, and some are loud. Homeschoolers come in every shape. size, and style!
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Till next time,