Questions You May Hear About Homeschooling

by Malcolm Ray Robinson

When you make the decision to home school your children, be prepared for feedback and questions. Whether it comes from your family, friends, or daily contacts, someone is going to share their opinion of your decision. Be ready to hear both supportive and negative comments about your decision. Most of all you will be asked many questions from people who are curious about your choice.

We are the blessed parents of two wonderful boys. Our oldest is ten and our youngest will be nine in a couple of weeks. When we shared our decision to home school our children we were met with mixed responses from family and friends. Some of them did not approve at all of the decision. Others just questioned why we would make that choice. One person we came into contact with decided we must be control freaks who wanted to control every aspect of our children’s lives. We also had many people who have been very supportive our decision and that has been a real blessing.

With the decision to home school you will also hear many questions. In this article we will share the three most common questions we hear and our responses to them.

The most common question asked of us is “Why do you home school?” We always like this question because if allows us to share the things that we considered in our own decision. One major part of this choice for us was a concern on how our children might be evaluated in the public school system. Our youngest son has been identified as having a major speech delay. At the age of five (the year he would have started kindergarten) it was very difficult to understand him. Up to the point he turned the age of five he had worked with or been evaluated by several different speech therapist. In their evaluations he was identified as needing to be placed into special needs classes when he started school. It was this evaluation of him (as well as some very critical comments by one speech therapist) that led us to consider homeschooling as the better option for him. As parents you know your children, and we knew that this evaluation was wrong. With material that is available out there for parents with children having this specific problem, we have been able to move beyond this challenge and he now speaks very well.

The reason behind your decision to home school will probably be different. Some other reasons are related to religious beliefs, personal educational experiences, and many other topics. Besides the major concern mentioned about our youngest, there are many other facets to the choice. If you are asked this question don’t be afraid to share your own reasons for homeschooling.

The second question we hear the most has to do with our kid’s socialization. “How will your kids get socialization?” This is usually followed up by a statement to the effect of “without proper socialization your child won’t function in society.” Before responding to this question, think about your own child and the activities they are involved in. Our boys attend church on Sundays and interact with kids in their Sunday School class. They are members of a Cub Scout pack and have activities where they must interact with other children. Finally, there are always the opportunities of playing outside in the neighborhood where there are many other kids.

This question of socialization is usually asked out a misunderstanding of where socialization really occurs. People who ask this must assume that social skills only come from the educational setting. The examples above provide three settings outside of the educational realm where socialization occurs and these are just a minor part of where our own children learn these important skills. As parents they learn skills by watching us. How we interact with other people in public or private settings set the foundation of how they will interact.

The third question that we hear most often is usually asked by people who have never had any experience with homeschooling. The question of “Do you make your children do their school work and take tests?” is common and one that is easy to answer. The answer is simply, home schooled children have very similar requirements when it comes to school work and tests that public school children may have. The number and complexity of the tests will depend on the curriculum you have chosen or put together, but in home schooling, just as in public schooling, testing is the best method to evaluate your child’s progress in a given subject.

Many people who ask this question have a pre-conceived notion that the choice to home school some how places less of a burden to learn on the child. In reality home school curriculums can be very challenging and require the child to make just as much effort (if not more) then a child in the public school system. With dedicated parents supporting the child and managing the home school effort a home school child faces the same challenges as any other school age child their age.

These three questions seem to be the most common that we have heard as home schooling parents. They are definitely not the only questions we hear or that you may hear if you have chosen to home school. If you’ve made the decision to home school your children, be prepared for positive and negative feedback from family, friends and others you may interact with. Most of all, be prepared for many, many questions and don’t be afraid to share your own honest answers.

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