Everything You Wanted to Know About Homeschooling But Were Afraid (Or Not) to Ask

I’ve seen the looks you give me.  You know those looks I’m talking about.  When I say that I homeschool, you look at me like I’m crazy.  You might not voice it, although sometimes you do.  And sometimes there are things that I know you are just dying to ask me.  And sometimes you do ask me.

So for all of you that are too afraid to ask (or those of you who are trying to be kind and not imply my craziness), here are the top five questions that I get about homeschooling and my answers.

Homeschooling information
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1. “What do you do about, um, socialization?”

There is always at least a pause here.  Because, unless you live under a rock, you know this might be a hot button for homeschoolers.
I’m never quite sure how to answer this because I don’t want to assume you are clueless.  But, honestly, if you ask me this at a sports event/gymnastics event/play practice; and I have been at said event with you for the past several months, several days a week, watching my child participate along with yours (and a whole herd of others) and you still need to know if my children socialize, well….
Let’s suffice it to say that for us to even be hanging at the same events must mean that we crawl out of hibernation to mingle with the general population at least once in a while; so you can cease your worry about the ability of my children to “socialize” with their peers.

2. “But, will your children really listen to you when you teach them?”

This question takes me by surprise.  Are your children with you for any part of the day?  Do they learn from you?  Who taught them to brush their teeth, tie their shoes, eat with a utensil?  It was probably you (or your spouse).  Teaching them math really isn’t so different.
Sure, there are times they don’t listen.  But those would be behavior problems, not academic problems.  And, since I need to deal with those no matter who is teaching my child math, I’ve just got a head start.

3. “Are you really qualified to teach your children?”

I must insert here that I seldom encounter this question asked so bluntly.  But, I know what you really mean when you say, “But, can you teach algebra?”  The answer to this one is a little more complex.
If you are talking about my first and second grader and wondering about my qualification, I’m quite insulted.  You are implying that I lack basic reading and math skills. Hmm, thanks.
If you really are asking about upper level math, that’s a little different. To be fair, this one kind of concerns many of us as homeschoolers.  That’s why we have co-ops and DVDs and online courses and dual enrollment at technical colleges and good homeschooling friends who are good at math, etc.
In other words, yes, we’ve thought it through. Thank you for your concern.

4. “How can you stand to be with your kids all day?”

 I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at this one.
If this is an over exaggeration, yea, I’m right there with you.  There are days we’ve all had enough.  There are days I think that if I am with these people one more minute, I’m going to scream, or explode, or cry, or…
But, if you are serious, and you really can’t stand to be around your kids at all, I am sad for you.  Moments of intense frustration aside, being with my kids all the time is one of the greatest blessings of homeschooling.  I absolutely love the time we spend together.  And, best of all, I am there for all the “little” unplanned moments as well as the big ones.  So, when they sound  out a word they’ve been struggling with, or they finally have a day of missing no math problems at all, or they finish a really good book they loved, I get to be there!  And that makes all the “I’m going to melt down now!” moments worth while.

5. “Are you going to do this forever?”

This is one of my favorite questions.  Because everybody expects some really thought out answer. Something definitive.  And I always say something to the effect of, “Well, maybe.”
The fact is, we have a great conviction to homeschool.  I am absolutely sure that this is where God wants us to be and what He wants us to be doing. For now.  But, God can change our best-laid plans.
Kids in public school can have a horrible year with a bad teacher and a physically threatening bully, and parents might need to consider different schooling options.  Kids in private school might have a parent lose a job so that the financial situation in the family changes, and parents might need to consider different schooling options.
I don’t know what God has for our future.  If it is up to me, I will homeschool forever.  If God has different plans, who knows?
Homeschool information
I hope this has been informative.  Now you know.  Next time you meet a homeschooler, don’t be afraid to ask.  If you really are curious and considerate, I usually don’t even mind answering.

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