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Why do we homeschool? Our story to coming to terms with what is really best for our family – and getting over explaining it to everyone on the street.
Part of our series: 10 Reasons to Homeschool; What’s Yours?
This post is featured on The Homeschool Solution Show podcast with Pam Barnhill.
“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?
A family trying to do what works…
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.
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.
Pros and Cons of Homeschool
No rushing out the door.
They see Dad everyday – even when he’s working evenings.
A natural transition from stay-at-home-mom to homeschool mom.
LOTS of exercise!
No sitting in a classroom all day.
We won’t have to spend hours sitting in a car line.
They can move at their own pace.
They won’t be labeled or classified.
Time to visit museums and study in nature.
Time to explore interests.
I don’t have to collect Box Tops.
I feel confident teaching.
No fighting to get ready on time.
More time outdoors.
Flexible time off.
No standardized testing.
We make our own schedule.
Less likely to be around peer pressure at a young age.
Work toward subject mastery.
No age-inappropriate academic pressure.
They get as much sleep as they need!
No notes about behavior.
Memorable field trips.
I love spending time with my kids.
Cost of curriculum, supplies, and enrichment.
We have to go out of our way to socialize.
It’s gonna be hard work.
Kids 24 / 7 / 365.
Loss of potential full-time income.
When the Pros Outweigh the Cons
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.
Explaining the Pros and Cons of Homeschool… Or should you?
The Hierarchy of Curiosity
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.
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! So I’ll say it this way:
It’s what works for us. It’s what we really want to do.
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.
Clearly, this says more about their frame of mind than it does about my lifestyle.
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.
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.
The questions will continue, at least for the foreseeable future. I have to go to the bank tomorrow, groceries on Tuesday.
What are your pros & cons?
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.
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.
Where to go next?
- 10 Reasons to Homeschool, What’s Yours?
- Unrealistic Expectations Caused Stress & Anxiety in my Child
- Minimalist Homeschool… A Simplified Life
Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.
20 replies on “Why We Homeschool”
I wonder if it’s because of where I live (a progressive suburb of DC) or maybe the fact that I work full time, but by far the most common reaction I get is – isn’t that a huge amount of work? How do you do it? Generally the people I meet seem envious that we can make it work. Of course there are always the exceptions. 😉
That’s a pretty positive reaction! I’d take it!
Thanks for the encouragement! We’ve recently decided to homeschool our kids (4 & 2) because we believe it’s the best lifestyle choice for our family as a whole. But people are NOT happy with us. I know they’ll never appreciate our pro list because they have a different frame of mind but it is tiring to hear the negativity (or eye rolls) especially after we’ve given it so much calculated thought. It’s nice to find some support for our unpopular choice!
Keep doing what’s best for your family, Margaret! Ignore those haters!!! <3
The most negative thing I’ve had said to me was when our neighbor, and a member of our church asked if our then 13 yo son was going to go to the Middle School just down the street next year. I told her no, we were going to keep homeschooling. She came back with, “Oh that’s too bad, how will he ever learn to get along in the real world?” (much better I seriously hope). The same son is a Senior this year, got a 28 on the ACT and plans to go to college to be a church musician next fall. He plays the organ at church 3 weekends a month, and is headed to the state piano competition in level F (the highest) tomorrow. The neighbor has gone to glory since that time, but I wonder what she would think if she could see him now.
Sounds like he’l get along just fine 😉 The best response is to prove the haters wrong, and you’ve certainly done that. <3
I think it’s a fantastic choice. I, too, homeschool my daughter(14y/o), and we are totally normal, down-to-earth people also. It definitely can be challenging dealing with the comments that people ignorantly make. The pros definitely outweigh the cons, but I do feel like finding social activities can be a bit challenging. With that being said, we live in a rural community which doesn’t help when looking for things to do. It is so encouraging to ready your article on this subject, because I find myself questioning “Should we do something different?”. I never have to ponder this long, because I always see, hear, or read something negative that gives me confirmation we are doing the right/best thing for us. Thank you again!