Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of homeschool, how it fits in with doing what’s best for YOUR family, and the fine line between explaining your decisions and defending your life choices.
“You’re homeschooling? How lovely. WHY would you want to do that?”
Going against the mainstream opens the door to big questions about big life choices to random strangers at the post office.
You’re so brave. I could never do that. Is that even legal? Home all day with your kids? Do you think your kids are too smart for school? Do you think you’re a better teacher than real teachers? Do you not trust schools? Do you hate teachers? Are you teaching everything? What makes you qualified to do that? How will you know your kids are learning? Are you going to do this forever? Are you completely insane?
For us, homeschooling is a lifestyle choice. A big, life changing decision. We put a lot of thought into it, talked it through, and decided that this is the direction we want our lives to take. The pros seriously outweigh the cons. There are sacrifices, but they’ll be well worth it.
Finding What Works for Your Family
We don’t fit the typical homeschool stereotypes. You know what they are. We are your completely average, right down the middle class, suburban family. There was no big event that pushed us to choose homeschool over public school. We aren’t anti-anything or pro-anything in particular. We are just a family trying to do what works.
When you’re thinking about the pros and cons of homeschool, think about what will work for you. What is best for your children? Leave the stereotypes behind and consider what would be best for your family.
Pros and Cons of Homeschool
I’m a list-maker. When I started thinking about homeschooling my oldest son, then only just turned 4, I wrote a massive list of all the pros and cons of homeschool.
I was shocked when the pros flowed right out of the end of my pen. The cons were harder to come up with, and after just five in the con column I was out of ideas.
When the Pros Outweigh the Cons: Making the Decision to Homeschool
The decision was fairly easy to make after a little research and a lot of getting-over-myself. The pros of homeschool greatly outweighed the cons, after all.
I’ve found the most difficult part of homeschooling has been a “con” I hadn’t expected: Explaining – sometimes downright defending our decision to homeschool.
I understand the curiosity. Before I started this journey I knew exactly one homeschooler. The majority of people I talk to know zero. None.
It’s new. It’s strange. Outside the norm. Something you hear about on TV – and not in a good way. Only around 3% of all school aged children are educated at home.
I may be the first weirdo homeschooler you’ve ever met, but I won’t be the last. Alternative schooling is on the rise, whether it’s traditional homeschool, virtual school, a hybrid, or something in-between.
Related post>>> What to Say (and what NOT to say) When You Meet a Homeschool Mom
Explaining the Pros and Cons of Homeschool… Or should you?
It would be impossible to explain all the pros and cons of homeschool to everyone you meet. Besides, what you feel is a pro might be a con to someone else.
Not all curiosity is created equal. Not everyone is owed an explanation. I’m looking at you old lady in line behind me at Pack and Ship. Did she just? Did she say? Oh no she didn’t.
Family and Friends
People close to you will range from passive to confrontational, but whatever their reaction, know they care and only question us out of genuine concern. These are the questions I don’t mind.
When family and friends approach you out of genuine concern, take a few minutes to patiently explain the pros of homeschool and answer their questions about the cons. (Be prepared for the socialization question. Everyone asks.)
Everything is gonna be okay. I promise, I won’t screw up the kids any more than I was going to five minutes ago. I’m just doing it a different way.
People you sort-of know who feel like they knew you before you completely blew their mind. Oh-my-god-you’re-homeschooling-I-can’t-believe-it-you-of-all-people-why-would-you-ever-do-that?!? Then quickly, How nice for you.
Look Acquaintances, you didn’t know me as well as you thought you did. I didn’t mean to startle you with my odd behavior!
Your acquaintances aren’t trying to attack you (well, not in most cases), they’re just confused. They don’t understand. Keep your answers short and to the point.
When in doubt, use the answer that no one can argue with: It’s what works for us. It’s something we really want to do.
Haters. You’ll get those. The eyebrow raise that says, “I’m surprised you’re not in denim bib overalls, wearing a bonnet, riding a goat.”
How to identify a Homeschool Hater: They don’t call you by name. Your new name is “The One Who Homeschools.”
They say things like, “Sometimes I’d like to keep my kids sheltered, too.” Or they hint around that it’s nice that you can “afford” to do something like this.
This says more about their frame of mind than it does about your lifestyle. You are not a stereotype.
You might find homeschool haters in your circle of friends or even in your own family. You won’t change a homeschool hater’s mind in one conversation. But they also can’t change yours. Be strong in your decisions.
Embrace your haters. Let them spur you on. To them I say, Oh yes, we homeschool. We homeschool so hard it’ll make your head spin.
The only thing that will change a hater’s mind is showing them that homeschool works. That it works for you, for your kids, for your family. Show ’em how it’s done.
People you run into on the street, at the bank, in the toilet paper aisle of the grocery store… they’re going to ask a lot of personal questions and will see a lot of resting bitch face.
I’m just here to buy some stamps. Stop questioning me and my kid and mind ya business.
Not everyone is so combative, but meeting people outside of education and homeschool that are both knowledgeable and accepting is infrequent at best.
I’ve only been at this for a short time, and I’ve already had some thrilling experiences with the public.
Be prepared. Don’t let them surprise you. Shut them down and go on with your day.
The questions will continue, at least for the foreseeable future. I have to go to the bank tomorrow, groceries on Tuesday.
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