7 Things You Should Never Say to a Homeschool Mom

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You know those times when you wonder if something you’re considering saying is going to come across as rude, offensive, or just upsetting? I’m here to give you a glimpse into the mind of a homeschool mom.

There are (at least) 7 things you should never say to a homeschool mom (or dad) – unless you’re trying to see if you can make her head explode, which could be amusing, I suppose.

1. What about socialization?

Really. We all probably heard this one enough in our first year (or month) of homeschooling to last us a lifetime. We have talked about homeschool socialization ad nauseam. The truth is, we have to work hard to make sure our kids maintain the stereotypical status quo of being weird, unsocialized homeschoolers.

Not one single homeschooling mom is going to look at a person asking this question and, as the sudden dawning of understanding crosses her face, say, “Oh, my goodness. What about socialization? Why did I never think of that? Quick! Let me rush my little darlings right to the nearest school and get them enrolled.”

Seriously. It’s not going to happen. Our kids have friends. Really. Would you like some bean dip?

2. What do you do all day?

The only person who could probably get away with asking this question is a fellow homeschooling mom or a mom considering homeschooling who is genuinely trying to figure out how to schedule a homeschool day.

If anyone else asks, with even a hint of “you must sit on the couch watching reality TV and eating bonbons all day,” it’s probably not going to go over well. Just warning you.

3. Just think, if you didn’t homeschool, you’d have more time to clean house.

Um, yes, because everyone wants more time to clean house. And, really, that comment implies that my house is messy, which it probably is, but, you know what? A pristine home is a little low on my list of priorities right now. They’ll be plenty of time for cleaning once my kids are grown and gone.

The fact is, right now, I don’t try to do it all because I can’t, so I focus on what’s important. Besides, art lessons would be so much more complicated if we were using a medium other than dusty furniture and our fingers.

4. You must have so much patience.

The hysterical laughter that ensues after such a comment could cause a homeschool mom to wet herself and, honestly, after a certain age, that’s really just embarrassing.

We don’t. Really. Not most of us anyway. Self-control? Clearly. Patience? Not so much. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve assured friends who don’t homeschool that getting through homework (and trying to figure out how kids do math these days or hearing 137,875 times “That’s not how Mrs. So-and-So does it.”) requires much more patience than homeschooling.

5. Do you own anything besides yoga pants?

That’s not nice. Of course, we own clothes besides yoga pants, but the other stuff isn’t as conducive to wrestling kids, getting spit upon, being the cafeteria lady/maid/laundry lady, and pouring knowledge into the minds of kids all day.

Do we make fun of your work uniform? Not unless maybe you’re a professional clown or something. Be nice. Yoga pants are awesome.

6. Since you’re home, would you mind babysitting for me?

Now, just in case my sister is reading, I have to point out that I offered to babysit for her and she knows she can call me if she needs me. This question has never really been a problem from me, but I’ve heard horror stories from friends, so just for the general public, um, hello? We’re doing school over here. Would you call up the local elementary school and ask if one of the teachers could babysit for you? During the school day? While she’s teaching her class?

7. We’re out of tea.

Okay, that one might just be me, but you know what I’m talking about. Insert your vice here. Coffee. Chocolate. Whatever it takes to fuel your school day, let’s make sure we don’t run out of it, okay?

So, homeschool moms, what would you add as things someone shouldn’t say to you if they don’t want to poke the bear?

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303 Comments

    1. My 2 oldest daughters home school their children. Our oldest daughter, mother of 4 sons, was once asked, “Well, if they don’t go to public school, how will they ever learn how to stand in line?” Upon hearing this our son, who has always been very quick witted, told his sister that she should have responded, “That is why most of us have more than one child. If we had only one child, we would only be able to teach him/her how to stand in dot.”

    2. I absolutely LAUGHED SO HARD AT THIS! thanks for that! I am a new homeschool mom, was walking into my doctors office with the kids the other day, and for some reason we are talking about socialization and my 13-year-old son says if being “sheltered” keeps me away from drugs sex and alcohol then I like to be sheltered. I used to pay $800 a month to send my kids to private school where they would come home crying from being “socialized” it is no different than public school. I was so grateful when I started to substitute teach there & finally felt the confidence of knowing I could teach my own. I’m so thankful for posts and moms like you that make websites like this for us to laugh and learn from. 🙂 Much Thanks!!
      Alicia

    1. That’s definitely one because when I first read your comment I forgot that I asked what you would add and my heart raced a bit as I got into fight or flight mode to debate homeschooling with the “troll.” LOL Yep! Add that one to the list. 🙂

      1. Yeah, opps. I thought about that after I sent my reply. I should have wrote more pertaining to what I was suggesting.

        1. I’ve home schooled 10 – all my own – yes, one does need to be educated, and it’s not shameful to ask for help. But the best education cannot replace being a mother.

    2. The comment that I have gotten ( because I have taught in the public school classroom) has been, “well you can do it because you’re qualified. You went to school for it”

      No, I went to school and got my credential so that I could learn how to teach 20 children how to multiply and sound out words.
      This die not qualify me or help me in teaching my own 3 –because they just don’t cover how to teach phonics and get messy art done before the baby wakes up and how laundry fits into it all!

      I have learned and gleaned more from my non-credentialed friends than I ever did in a credential class, The credential classes actually messed up some of my thinking and I am daily having to undo some of the stuff that was taught!

      I am currently a substitute teacher because right now that is our income and God is doing amazing things in the hearts of those who watch and facilitate my kids’ schooling while I work, and I must way… I am a little jealous of the really cute job charts they have nowadays, but that’s about it.

      1. Amen to that! I received that one many times, and I feel the same way you do. One of the things I learned in my “Education education” was that the greatest display of mastery of information is to be able to teach what you learned to someone else. In theory, if schools were as great as others try to convince us they are, by having graduated from their institution, we should be qualified to give their education to anyone else, including our children. What draws most of us away is the reality of what we learned, or why we didn’t. If I am able to instill in my children the confidence to learn anything they want, and I give them the basic building blocks to do so, there will be nothing they can’t learn. Having a compass to determine truth was at the top of my list.

        1. I love that point! I never thought about the mastery of information in quite that light with regards to homeschooling, but it makes perfect sense.

        2. AMEN!!!!! COMING FROM A SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER….STARTING MY FIRST YEAR OF HOMESCHOOL WITH MY 1ST GRADER!!!! AMEN……YOU DON’T KNOW HOW MANY TIMES I HAVE HEARD THAT…….”YOU ARE QUALIFIED”…….LOL

      2. I am going through the same things myself. I taught in the public schools for 7 years before having kids. Now that I am teaching my own kids at home I’m having to untrain all the public school mindsets that are not conducive to a productive homeschool day. Its taken about a year of saying things like, “oh yeah! we don’t have to do it this way …” to find our groove. Now I just have to roll my eyes at comments like these. I’ve been on both sides and there is no comparison. If you’ve walked a mile in a homeschoolers shoes you will never go back and if you haven’t you’re really not qualified to make a judgement.

      3. Haha, isn’t that the truth! I went to school for teaching, so people say that to me too. I’ve told countless people of how I’ve had to “unlearn” what I learned about teaching. Teaching your own 5 kids at home is a whole other ball game.

    3. I have a master’s degree in English but was required to take only Algebra 1 in college. Furthermore, I never got any further than Algebra 1 in high school…clearly under-educated in the math department. Let me explain how my kids suffered terribly from my lack of knowledge: My daughter made an A in both Trig and Calculus. My son scored a 32 in math on the ACT. He loves using his trig in his machining class in college.

      I find schooling anyone is more about discipline than knowledge. Can you make yourself figure it out? Can you make the kid who’d rather be playing a video game (or in my son’s case, reading Josephus) do science or math?

      1. This comment is excellent! and yes, we can be “under educated” in an area and our children still achieve highly! It is truly about learning to self discipline, and to desire to learn!

    4. Not long ago I contemplated this whole issue of being “smart” enough. I decided that yes I am smart enough to know when I don’t know how to do something, that I can find out how, or find someone who does. So yes, I am smart enough. 🙂

  1. There’s always “You are going to send them to a REAL school for high school, right?” Uh……no.
    And let’s not forget the one that pushed me over the edge a few years back at the grocery store in the morning hours “Why aren’t they in school, somebody sick?” “No we homeschoool.” “Oh so I guess you call THIS a field trip?” to which my sweet 7 year old responded “No this is called grocery shopping, field trips are a lot more fun and have nicer people.”

    I love that kid.

    1. Oh, that literally made me laugh out loud. Love it! I would have loved to have seen the look on that person’s face.

      1. I don’t think home school parents should condone our children responding with a “smart” remark anymore than a public school parent child should. Just because others are rude does not mean that we should be. In fact, we should teach our children to rise above. That type of behavior is why many others have poor opinions of home school children.

        1. I do see where you’re coming from and I don’t disagree. However, I think this may fall under the heading of “the kids say the darnedest things.” There have been times that my kids have said something that I would not have encouraged them to say (and I corrected them), but I still had a seriously hard time keeping a straight face because they, in their innocence, said the thing I would have loved to have said.

    2. One of the things that always crosses my mind when I hear people ask that is, “Why do complete strangers feel the need to ask me about my children? And why does this always happen in the grocery store?”

    3. There are so many excellent comments on this page! I wish I could click “Like” on them. Thanks for taking the time to share all your stories!

    4. I had MORE than one person say “Do you really think that you can homeschool high school?” I totally understand that they sometimes are feeling like that maybe there is more information than I can present to them, but honestly, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think I could!

      1. I’ve had that same conversation regarding high school. My reply was, “Well, I earned a Bachelors in Science, Cum laude. I can handle the high school work load, again.”

      2. My reply to, “Do you really think you can homeschool through high school?”
        is to say, “They will be in college by that age.”

        And truly they will. It is not difficult for a person to enter college (online or class) at age 15.

        🙂

  2. Excedrine. I can’t get through a day without it when it comes to teaching my kid math.

    Also for the question, “So do you just stay in your pjs all day?”

    Uh no, I don’t. Although flip flops are my go to footwear.

  3. “What time do you get up in the morning?? I mean, you still get up at a decent hour so you can have breakfast and get school started at 8, right?” HA! Um, no. We get up when we get up, unless we have something planned that requires the assistance of an alarm clock. “Then, how do you get school done if you don’t get up early??” *facepalm* People just don’t understand that we homeschool, not school-at-home.

    Then, there’s a response I’ve gotten many times before, and probably will again… “Well, we didn’t do that with our kids, so we must have done them wrong,” or “they turned out just fine.” Specifically, in relation to the issue of us not waking up early, my husband explained that we try to let the kids get all the sleep they need because their brains are still growing and developing (they are 6, 4, and 2). Que the bug eyes and the freak out response, “Well, we must have done wrong by our boys by making them wake up early and go to school.” Geez.

    1. Yes, I have had to remind people that my choices for my family are not a commentary on your choices for your family.

    2. Mine are in 9th and 6th grade and they stay up later (usually reading) than average kids and sleep later than them too, but we still get all of our work done every day. Just because they may sleep in until 9am or 10am doesn’t make me a lazy mom (which I have been called). It just means we are on our own schedule. I have actually lost some friends because they choose to believe that we are not doing enough school work because we don’t work a traditional 8am to 3pm schedule. I had one of my best friends from my daughters former small Christian school tell me that our lifestyles are no longer compatible and we can no longer be friends because she doesn’t think my daughter is really do any work at home. We work about 4-5 hours a day on core subjects and do electives in our leisure time. I am new to homeschooling, but I think that is plenty.

      1. It sounds like plenty to me. Our state requires 4.5 hours per day. We do at least that, but my kids most definitely are not up at 8:00.

    3. My kids are early risers and like to get schooling “out of the way,” so most days we are done school by lunch. That gives us the rest of the day for chores, playing, errands, or whatever we want. Then they usually start dropping around 8pm; early up, early down! I feel like you have to take advantage of the time of day at which you and your kid(s) work best- it doesn’t matter if that’s 7am, noon, or 7pm- that’s the beauty of homeschooling!

      My most common question when we started homeschooling– How will your kids make new friends?! There came a point where I realized I had to start turning down invitations by friends/groups so that we could stay home enough to actually “home”school 🙂 Now I just show concerned friends/family our jam-packed calendar!

      1. As the mom of late risers who work best in the late afternoon (or even late night), I completely agree with the comment about taking advantage of the time of day your kids work best.

    4. People ask us if stay in our pajamas all day. ;P
      My older two are 13 & 15, and they have to be up by 7. If not, they slip into staying up and sleeping in later and later. For us, learning to get up when you don’t want to seems like a good discipline to cultivate. Saturday they can sleep until lunch if they’d like. My 7, 5, and 1 all go to bed around 7pm and wake up on their own between 6-7.

  4. This is awesome! Made me LOL! I ran a daycare for 7 years, 3 of those while homeschooling. I quit last year and STILL get asked to babysit (even though I made it clear, I quit to focus on homeschooling). It drives me nuts!

    1. Me too, talk about annoying! My favorite is, “So, do you have the proper certification to be homeschooling your children?” I usually reply with something along the line of my two college degrees qualifying me to teach my kids and if I didn’t have them, I’d STILL choose to homeschool.

      I have one friend who continually brings up how weird homeschool student are and that she can’t believe I would keep my kids from being socialized in a normal school environment like that. Um, Hello? One, she’s never even MET my kids and two, they have a lot of great friends. Ridiculousness. Lol

      1. And three, the whole phrase, “Normal School Environment” is laughable…..When in their life will they be continually socializing in a homogenous group? Only people of their same age, from their town, with their same interests….it’s a completely artificial environment.

        1. My kids are high school now, but when they were younger we got a lot more of the socialization/”normal classroom” questions and my go to was “really? Do you REMEMBER middle school?” Why would I want to put my kids though that? Why do people think that the best people to teach kids how to act are kids who don’t know themselves how to act?

  5. I just love when people instead of asking questions make statements like: you know they’ll only Go as far as trade school?

    As if… whatever they set their minds to they have the most invested teacher on the planet willing to help make their ambitions reality. How many public or private school kids can say that?

    I personally know 3 mathematicians
    4 successfully self employed college graduates.
    2 lawyers
    6 nurses
    5 TEACHERS
    Countless programmers
    And a surgeon who were all home schooled.

    1. We’d all agree there’s nothing wrong with trade school, but homeschooling is the perfect place to foster a love of learning and challenge academically minded students to reach their full potential. I’d love to add my son to your awesome list, Janet! He just submitted his dissertation for a PhD in theology.

    2. And smart kids CAN choose trade school because that’s what they WANT to do. My son, who at 9 years informed me that he wouldn’t want to be Woodrow Wilson because he didn’t think his League of Nations was a good idea, and who had to be punished for reading Josephus instead of getting some math done at age 12, and who scored a 33 on his ACT, chose to go into welding and machining. And he’s very good at both. Furthermore he got lots of sleep during the required English and math classes in the community college while he still made easy A’s.

      I spoke with a recruiter from Auburn University who told me that he’d actually have more job security than if he had gotten an engineering degree. He’s happy with what he does, and I love that and couldn’t be prouder of him!

    3. And if they want to go to trade school, that is fine too. We need that sort of people in this world too. 🙂

    4. My four grown but home schooled daughters are now:

      1-Manager of the master control department at a high market television station,wifeand mother of 1 with one on the way
      2-Talent scout and model at a talent/modeling agency, wife and mother of one
      3-Recently personal assistant to the Speaker of the House in a state legislature (BS in PolySci) now a wife awaiting the birth of their first.
      4-Property manager of a small investment company (mine) and investing in her own properties

      They are 27, 25, 22 and 20. Each is an individual on her own path, pursuing her own ambitions.
      Whew! It’s pretty great to be on this side of it and see them becoming so successful in their own ways!
      Hang in there, all you home schoolers! It is SO worth it!

  6. I haven’t heard too many comments to my face, but when my friend’s son said “Bullying is a part of life.” I figured I was the topic of conversation at their dining room table one evening while they were doing their usual three hours of homework after they got out of school .
    Some people have insinuated that I may lose my sanity if I’m a homeschooling mom. Some days this is indeed a fact, but it’s all just a part of life. Ha! Eventually, I come around.
    When push comes to shove (no, I’m not talking about my boys here) I love homeschooling.

    1. I actually had another mom who was, against homeschooling because she couldn’t wait to have the days to herself, tell me that kids NEED to be bullied so they can succeed in life. I gave her the bug eye look and shortly after cut ties after I found out she was calling CPS on another local homeschool mom because her kids were outside playing during the day when the rest of the kids in the neighborhood were at school.

      1. Nice. So you either get accused of locking them in the basement all day or get CPS called because you let them enjoy some fresh air and sunshine? That’s crazy.

    2. I have had the bullying comment to my face; my answer has always been “um… no it’s not, we have laws against bullying in the workplace!”.
      I then ask them why they believe that it’s ok for adults not to have to put up with bullying, but kids should be forced to endure it and be told that it’s a normal part of life?
      (I mean face it, we would press charges, get a restraining order or remove ourselves from the situation.)

  7. OH! I love it!! When I read these kind of post, I like to see other moms vision about homeschooling and how to “debate” with comments and judgment from friends and strangers.
    Few months ago, I got pregnant of baby #6 and EVERYBODY I know, told me to send my kids to school “just for this year at least”, so I don’t have to deal with homeschooling. “It’s gonna be easier for you” they said. Easier??? How??? By rushing everymoring to get everybody ready? Running for making lunches? Killing myself with 5 kids with homework, DURING SUPPER TIME? (when they are exausted and hungry)and having to be part of the field trips because I’m one of the rare stay-home-mom here? oh! and I don’t talk financialy with school supllies, clothes and the 3 pair of shoes they need (indoor shoes, outdoor shoes and rainy boots (and I don’t talk about the snow boots…) (15 pair to buy at once!!!!)…just thinking about that, I was exausted!
    So with you question, You must have so much patience…yes we have…we have patience with all the strangers and even friends and family members, that we LOVE to be a homeschool mom and to be part of their education!! Cheers (with my warm and strong cup of coffee!!) 😉

    1. Oh, wow. I can’t imagine how anyone would consider sending the kids away for school to be easier during pregnancy. Like you said, having to deal with someone else’s schedule – or schedules since you have five kids and I doubt they all would attend the same school – would be so much more challenging.

      1. The same exact thing happened to me this year while pregnant with baby #6!! How funny. Apparently, I need a break although I’m not quite sure how that would be giving me a break, to me it just seems stressful!

    2. If you send them away all day, you just sent all your helpers away! My 7 children are spaced 12 years apart from youngest to oldest. The older ones loved playing with the baby or rocking her or whatever she needed while I was teaching the little ones. Not near as stressful as the scenario you described with sending them to school! People just don’t know! LOL

    3. I only have 4, but my friends will joke that they don’t have the patience to homeschool, but they’ll load their kids in the car and wait for an hour in the pickup line during naptime to pick up kids, then drive them to extracurriculars, then help with 2 hours of homework every evening. Compounded by the fact that our little country school district has 3 elementary schools within 2 blocks of each other. Because K-1 go to one, 2-3 go to another, 4-5 the third. Since my children are 2 years apart, I would have 4 separate pickup lines and there is no possible way I consider that “easier’ than homeschooling! Being in charge of my schedule is so nice! Especially on days like today when the baby is sick and hubby has the car and I can still push through and get most of the schooling done between laundry, cleaning up puke, and trying to comfort a cranky baby.

  8. “Is that even legal?”
    “So you are allowed to be out of the house during school hours?”

    Oh and “What about prom?” My kid is in 1st grade. Are you planning for prom with your 6 year old?

    Our area has lots of homeschool families. I am always surprised by questions like that.

    1. I thought I was the only one asked “Is that legal?” That is so funny. I just told them very quietly not to tell anyone. I did not know if it was legal

      I have been told that I was not qualified to do the job and I was not doing my job by my SIL. My recent grad received a full scholarship.

      1. {snort} I am totally using that line the next time someone asks me if homeschooling is legal. I’m going to say it in my best conspiratorial whisper. 🙂

    2. A few of our area Homeschool Co-Ops come together and have Homeschool dances that sell out each year!! My 3 boys have gone to these dances at least twice, and they have even taken dates!! They are catered dinners with bands and all the bells and whistles. The kids have a blast!!

    3. Are you allowed to go out side during school hours? lol I heard that one a while ago by someone that was genuinely curious… I was so confused. Why on earth would they not be allowed out side?

  9. I’ve been homeschooling my 5 year old for less than two months. So far my favorite comments are:

    “Are you homeschooling because you don’t want to vaccinate?” -Seriously, none of your business, but that actually hadn’t even crossed my mind. I guess there are no other reasons that a mom would want to teach her child.

    “Homeschooling is fine as long as your kids have a group.” -Well we don’t have a group…and no, I don’t lock my daughter in a closet, just in case you were worried. 🙂

    I can already tell this is going to be a fun journey. I’ll just concentrate on keeping my sense of humor so I don’t blow up!

  10. This week I got the “Do you have to be a licensed teacher” – but it was from a caring person from Holland, and she was trying to wrap her mind around the choice/freedom we have of allowing our kids to stay home. A conversation we were having while paddling a river on a monday morning while the boys salmon fished on shore. She was saddened that we needed to have to pull our kids from school as she loves her system over seas so much.

    The cousin to the “socialization” question is the defensive answer – My child needs kids to be with all day, they’d get bored with me after a while. Like I spend my day as a circus monkey looking for ways to entertain my children. My kids would only thrive with other kids. My kids wouldn’t obey me. My kids would never want to be around me all day. And they look at me as if I must be some sort of child myself, like I’m the bad one for letting this happen – I mean – who would want to choose to be around kids all day?

      1. My 13-year-old is weekly reminding me that next year she can go to the homeschool prom. Because we are awesome enough to let ALL high schoolers go to the prom. I don’t think her 9th and 10th grade friends can say that.

        1. Lol My girls attended proms at the high school, but maybe I shouldn’t say that out loud? 😉 It’s against the homeschoolers code or something. I just know it. Oh wait. I don’t really care about that! 😀

  11. When we go to the store, we are inevitably asked if school is out that day. My kids have zingers:

    *I’m in afternoon kindergarten (this from the 12 year old)
    * I was expelled.
    * I’m supposed to be in school today?

    The one that bothered me the most was a friend who works for the school district telling me that homeschool kids typically score less on SAT’s. I told her that if a score on an SAT was my primary concern, that would be a concern, but it’s not.

    1. Oh, those first two are awesome! My 14 year old son is over 6 feet tall, 180-ish pounds. I’m going to tell him to start using that one. 😉

    2. I don’t mean to be snarky, really I don’t, but you might want to look into your kids taking the SAT or ACT. Most colleges require one or the other, or some other standardized test, for admission. As much as I dislike it, it is true. However if they plan on attending community college, trade school, or a college that doesn’t require the tests, then there is no need to worry about it. Of course if you prep and take the practice tests at home, there is no reason a homeschooled kid won’t do well. 🙂

      1. I have a friend who home-school her kids through grade twelve they all took the Sat and ACT and all were awarded scholarships to ivy league schools. Home school kids are smart.

    3. Actually, on average homeschooled students have higher SAT scores than public school students. They are ranked just under Catholic schools I believe and may even be higher than a private school education. I may have flip flopped those 2 but I do know their SAT scores are better than public schools. Just a tid bit for your friend 🙂

    4. *LOWER* SAT and ACT scores?! That hasn’t been my experience. Most of the homeschoolers I know ace those. My mom used those tests to make sure we stayed on track and we always did above average. It’s important to take them as college entrance exams…

  12. I LOVE this entire post AND all the comments! We are not alone in fielding crazy comments and questions. Thanks so much…this made my morning!

  13. One question that I have been asked that hurts to think about is ” How can you stand to be around your kids all the time? I look forward to shipping mine off!”. That made me want to ask “Why even have kids if you can’t stand to be with them?”.

    1. I too get that & I just honestly reply back “Oh, I’m sorry you feel that way. I LOVE & ENJOY my children & nothing makes me happier than being home with them where I know their happy, thriving, learning & able to be themselves”!!

    2. A homeschool dad I know was told this same thing by a person who said he/she couldn’t stand to be around his/her kids all day like that. His reply? Well, maybe if you homeschooled your kids they’d be better behaved and you’d like them more.

    3. Yes! Most frustrating are the parents looking for all day PDO programs 4-5 days a week for a 2 year old. Why have kids at all? Just get a dog! Sorry, that’s mean and kids are such a blessing, even if you only see them 5 hours a day. I love my kids but don’t like them some of the time, and still get comments on how well they’re behaved regularly. Me, I think they behave like little heathens, but it’s nice that comparatively, we’re not so bad 😉

    4. I have four boys, all within 4.5 years. Some people would say, “Oh, I am so sorry.” I never understood that. I loved being home with my boys, and now that I have to work (some medical bills), I almost resent not being home with them.

  14. the 2 I get ALL THE TIME … 1. really, you homeschool but you only have 2 kids. As if only large families are “permitted” to homeschool. And 2. “but you’re going to put them in school once they get to high school … RIGHT?” Because clearly this is just a fad and screwing up elementary years is perfectly normal.

    I have had a church acquaintance ask me for a few favors “since, you’re home all day” was her attitude.Yup – home all day not doing a thing.

  15. My favorite, or should I say least favorite, question that you listed is about patience! How do explain to strangers, or not so close acquaintances, that no, I don’t generally have any more patience than you or any other mother, since I believe homeschooling is best for my children to “give in” and make some other choice just because of mynlack of patience feels like a cop out? Especially without making them feel bad?!

    My other “favorites” are “So how long are you going to do this?” And “you do belong to a group or co-op, right?” This one goes along with the socialization question, just worded differently, I guess.

    This is a great list! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Because 4 hours a week of co-op apparently magically socializes our kids 😉 I love our co-op and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it’s not a magic pill for socialization!

  16. While on a homeschool co-op field trip, I overheard one of our kids say that she is always asked “how do you make friends?” and she says she tells them she waves and says hello just like everyone else.

  17. We had a children’s pastor who said within earshot of me, “Since Dawn doesn’t have anything going on during the day, she can handle the hot dog feed and carnival rentals” (in preparation for a family day with over 500 people). I very strongly explained (through head exploding anger) that my 3 kids have schook work and since I’m their teacher, he would need find another stay at home mom with “nothing to do”.

    1. Wow, I might have been tempted to reply, “Since pastors only work on Sundays and Wednesdays, maybe the pastor or you could do it.”

  18. My pet peeve is the “I would love to homeschool but don’t have time” comment. I work a ful-time job. I care for elderly parents. I participate in community events. I don’t homeschool to fill up empty time. I homeschool because it’s important.

    1. How do you fit in homeschool with a full-time job? I would love to homeschool, but I am also our primary breadwinner and I work quite a bit. I know I couldn’t homeschool and do my job effectively, but I’m curious as to how you manage it!

    2. Yes, how do you homeschool while working so? I homeschooled my children until they were 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders. Then my husband left. They have all asked to go back, but I have no idea how I could possibly do that. (They are now 3rd, 5th, and 7th graders.)

    3. I am not saying it is for everyone. But I will give a quick list of what helps me manage working full-time with our homeschooling commitment.

      1. Freezer meals. Sounds small. But it saves my life. And my pocket book. Seriously.
      2. My husband and I work opposite schedules so that there is someone available for the boys at all times. It eats into our time together. And I have no idea what date night is like. But we have both decided this is the sacrifice we needed to make for our boys.
      3. I work second shift. And I keep my boys on our second shift schedule.
      4. ALEKS math. No planning, no grading, no worries. Worth every penny.
      5. I gave up the idea of trying to recreate public school at home. We do school work when it suits us. If that means Saturday evenings, then so be it.
      6. I work a job I really hate. Working is not optional. But I can do telephone customer service from home for HSN, and while I do not love the work itself, it allows me more time to do what I need to do for my home. I can grade papers between calls. I can load dishes on breaks.
      7. We make material sacrifices so that I can work a less-demanding though still full-time job. All of our cars are 10+ years old. I only get my hair done every 6 months. Our house is a fixer-upper. Our computers still use Windows 95. You get the idea.

      It is really not easy. And there are some genuine sacrifices. But my oldest (the dyslexic one) just aced the reading portion of his college entrance exam. Something the schools said he would never be able to do. My youngest is learning and thriving. He had grown to really hate school while in public school. And now he has made the full-circle to loving to learn again.
      It is not for everyone, and I don’t criticize those who feel they can’t do it. And sometimes I just want to run away and be a drunken clown with the circus instead. But it has been worthwhile for us.

      1. Cyndi,

        I’m a mom of 3 little ones, almost 3-year-old boy and almost 1-year-old twin boy and girl. Sometimes I read stories about other moms’ devotion that really blow me away. Yours is one. I work full-time and my husband stays at home. He has no interest in home-schooling (and in fact falls into the same category of some of the uneducated people who ask the questions in this article), but I think it would be absolutely perfect for our children. I don’t see me ever doing it. In fact, I’ve never really seriously considered it because of the roadblocks I feel like I have, but your example gives me hope. Your kids are so lucky to have you!

      2. Wow, I am impressed! I’m new to homeschooling, but it takes up most of my day (including planning). But, our kids are totally worth every minute.

      3. When my kids were in first, kinder, and newborn I worked 32 hours a week and homeschooled. My husband and I worked opposite schedules and we did have a sitter/tutor at the house for a few hours a day five days a week. The tutor would work on a math and science with the kids and I taught them all the other subjects. We did that for two years and then I quit to stay home and have baby number four. There are a lot of sacrifices when you have to work as a home schooling family. But remembering that you don’t have to ‘do school at home’ and realizing that you have flexibility in your school day that traditional schools do not have is quite freeing. I had several friends tell me it could not be done. But our kids thrived. It was hard, but it was worth it!!!! We did it because it was important, not because it was easy.

        Also, when people see me out in public with my school aged kids, some times they make comments like ‘So you are off school today.’ My response is typically something close to, actually they are in school ALL THE TIME (I usually have a smile on my face). We try to make every part of our day a learning experience. For example, we have bought and sold houses and cars with our kids in tow. They have a better understanding of some things in life than high school seniors – and my kids are still in elementary school.

      4. I, too, work full time. I work outside the home and while I have a partner now, for several years after my divorce I did not. I have a 14, 12, 9, 6 and one last one on the way.
        Sundays were always prep days and cleaning. I prepped fresh foods ahead, precooked chicken and hamburger and put everything into portions as making fresh dinners was very important to my kids after I went back to work 7 yrs ago. [I asked them what was most important to them in our routines as I was getting into the swing of working. I still ask them what I am missing or could do better. I’m always surprised at what I need to adjust to meet needs!!]
        Routine went like this: up at 5 am, put breakfast in oven and get ready for work. The older kids helped the younger ones get ready, then we ate a hot meal (quickly!! Lol). Off to daycare/neighbor’s (different places at different times of our lives), mom to work. I have a pretty demanding job, so I would set an alarm on my phone to remind me to leave on time. Get the babes, home and while dinner is cooking, kids were doing the packets I laid out during their breakfast. I created my own curriculum. I would keep weights in the kitchen and work out between stirring food haha!!
        During dinner, it was ‘my’ time. This was my weak spot. I did not eat at the table, although the kids did. 4 people asking questions while you try to eat after a long day!? Try and keep your patience. I dare you!
        Kids took turns w dishes while I would start working with the wee ones. If we did well, we were all tucked in and snuggling at 830 pm.
        That’s when I would look ahead for ideas, etc. Saturdays were for beach time and park after working through the more challenging concepts for the next week.
        Now, I only work 40 hours a week and have worked myself into the position that allows me much more flexibility with those hours. We volunteer a LOT as a family unit and play hard on Saturdays now!! My husband is home with them during the day and we work opposite hours. I feel lazy, often!
        I’ve always run a tight ship. But, when we left my ex my youngest was 1 and I had no child support, family around and I won full custody that phrase took on a whole new meaning. I stressed that we were a TEAM and I could not do it alone. Their education is their future, not mine. So, they took on a lot of responsibility. It wasn’t perfect!! I was always doubting whether it was all good enough. My house was never pristine.
        However, my 14 yr old just finished his first semester of dual enrollment in college w 3 As and a B (darnit) and he’ll graduate with his bachelor’s at 18 and no debt thanks to homeschooling. I can’t afford to put 4 kids through college alone, but I can darn sure give them the best opportunities out there. I expect a minimum of a master’s degree from all of them with little debt.
        They all recognize the hard work and they feel the love that knows no boundaries. And, shockingly, they are happy and very well adjusted! They’re even social!! Haha!
        It can be done. Your priorities=equal the sacrifices rhat you’re willing to make happily. You never want to regret and you never want to resent your loved ones. 🙂
        Sorry for typos. I have two wee ones sleeping in my bed at the moment!

    4. I’m a working homeschool momma too. I am a dentist and my hubby runs our small farm. We work together on homeschooling but I do the planning. it is actually less stressful than when they were in public school. We have much more quality time together. It is sooo worth the sacrifices. We are in a classical conversations community for the first time this year and it has been amazing.

    5. I love this one. I’m a single mom who homeschools my 11 year old Jules Verne crazy daughter. She is learning a 2nd language, 3+ instruments and choir plus her core classes. I also have a son with severe brain damage and an 18 year old with mild brain damage. I’m moving from Mo to Tx to help care for an uncle and my dad. WE cook from scratch and are going to be building a house. As has been said ‘what spare time?’

  19. You know this is mostly a female thing. I would LOVE nothing more than to get into these conversations….I have so many potentially condescending retorts, so many zingers ready to fire back at them but for some reason (my prickly exterior?) no one ever challenges me. It really bums me out.

    Perhaps I will dress up as a “homeschool mom” for Halloween so I can enjoy myself…

    1. {snort} Oh, that could be so much fun. Now, I’m rooting for you to dress up for Halloween and take you kids to every grocery store in town. 🙂

        1. I LOVED my denim jumper…was just thinking of making another, but with sleeves because it would pass as an all-day robe. How comfy is that?

    2. Can I take lessons on being prickly and intimidating?? Even my mom worries about “that one distant cousin who…. ” seriously mom??? She knows my kids aren’t wierd and unsocial….. Oh.. Hehehe… They are… And it’s GREAT!!!!

      1. I must have that same prickly exterior because I was seldom asked any of those questions. I remember the “You must have your hands full” comment, but that was just because I had four kids with me at the grocery store. I have a friend who has seven children and when asked if they were all hers, she would reply, “Yes, and this is our middle child” while pointing to the baby. Priceless!

  20. Love this list! I get asked all the time “How long are you going to do this?” or “They are just so smart, we would hate to see them fall behind”. Like homeschooling is going to dumb them down or something.

    1. My response to that one? “Ummm…. we actually homeschool because we DON’T want our daughter to fall behind. She’s in kindergarten & reads at a third grade level. She does math at a second grade level. She NEEDS to be at home so she doesn’t get held back by other kids.”

    2. Ha! Oh, I love that!
      We actually pulled our daughter out of public school because she IS SO SMART. The school wouldn’t move her up a grade and they didn’t offer a gifted program at her age. When the teacher stopped teaching her and used her to teach the OTHER kids we decided to pull her — a move even her teacher said was for the best.
      I work part-time at a grocery store (a sacrifice because we need the money but it’s not as demanding as my previous job as a newspaper editor) and knew that a regular customer was a teacher at the local school in the area we moved to. I asked her what grade she taught and she said she taught gifted elementary. I said, “Oh, my daughter would probably be in your class if we sent her to public school.” She looked at me and said, “You pulled her out because she was too smart, didn’t you? Very wise.”

  21. I’m not homeschooling yet (my daughter isn’t quite yet 2) but my husband and I are planning to do so. I love reading all of these posts – especially anything about “socialization.” As a teacher (yes, an ‘in-school’ teacher), I’ve seen the good, the bad, and everything in between – which is WHY I’m homeschooling. As for “socialization,” I don’t understand how being stuck in a room with 20 other kids of the same age, being told to sit down and be quiet, and not interacting with any other age groups or the outside world all day, is considered good “socialization.”
    But that’s just my 2 cents.

    1. That is my reply to socialization! I also tell them that I always got in trouble for socializing in school.

    2. The friends that told me they didn’t homeschool because they didn’t want their child to miss out on the social aspects are the same folks that now complain because their child is bullied, wanting inappropriate books/music, using bad language, wanting to dress inappropriately, or has friends the parents don’t like. Sounds to me like they got exactly what they were going for.

      It cracks me up that people think children have to be around like-aged children to learn how to behave. They think they should learn math, science, reading and history from an adult. Isn’t it better to learn how to behave socially from an adult as well?

    3. In my college level sociology class, “socialization” is defined as “the lifelong process in which people learn appropriate attitudes, values and behaviors.” I think it must be a malapropism when people state concerns about the socialization of children who learn their attitudes, values and behaviors from their parents, not to mention that I surely hope “lifelong” doesn’t end when they graduate high school! We also learned in this class that homeschoolers consistently score higher on standardized tests than public school children.

  22. I love when people quiz my kids. When we are out and about, people ask where they go to school, then proceed to quiz them. Like a while back when a clerk asked them where penguins live. Luckily we had just read Mr Poppers Penguins so they knew the answer! We get random questions like state capitals, moon phases… You name it. I’m pretty sure our public school friends don’t get quizzed every time they leave the house!

    Another pet peeve, “you have your hands full!” What do I say to that? No fuller than anyone else. It just depends what people choose to do with their time, everyone has their hands full!

    1. Oh, wow. The quizzing is a little over the top. I mean, hello? They’re kids, not trick ponies. Of course, having a really good trick or two up your sleeve can silence the naysayers. For us, it was when my then eight year old would ask the blessing – in Latin! 🙂

    2. OMG we had that happen once after swim lessons my oldest daughter (7 and tall) and another homeschooler who was 9 or 10, were in the hot tub relaxing while their little sister did their lessons. When this guys just started quizzing them mostly in math after a series questions up through fractions he said they were doing ok for 3rd graders. My daughter just looks at him and says,” I am in 1st grade I just turned 7 my birthday was last week.” He didn’t say anything else and left pretty quick. The look on his face was priceless.

    3. My daughter gets quizzed, too! She shuts them up pretty quick when she starts talking to them about ancient Mesopotamia…. Did I mention she’s only 8? LOL

    4. My MIL would quiz my kids. ALL THE TIME. Drove me crazy. Now that my oldest is about to graduate from New York University this month, you would think it was HER idea for us to homeschool. lol

      1. Ha! We get tons of grief from my FIL about our decision to homeschool (my hubby’s late mother was a teacher, so apparently we hate her so much we keep our kids home). But he loves to brag on how smart my oldest is, just conveniently leaving out the part where she is homeschooled… 😉

    5. My children have been asked where they go to school when we are out and about during “school hours” and then quizzed by perfect strangers, too, who then, usually, turn to me and say that I have delightful children and that I have made the right choice.

      Actually, to me, this is just another proof of the good socialization homeschooling provides because I don’t see this happen when we are out during “after school hours.” I think people see a difference in the behavior of home schooled children, and they aren’t afraid to talk to them. Since there is a difference in the time of day this happens to us, I am forced to conclude that people anticipate that children will talk to them earlier in the day when they obviously stand out as different and assume they won’t talk to them when they appear to be “just like everyone else.”

      This is good socialization, when children are learning to speak respectfully back to their elders (with their parents permission) rather then shy away from them. During the rest of their lives they will always need this skill called “communication.”

  23. We’re homeschooling for a variety of reasons: wanting our kids to love learning (instead of just memorizing to regurgitate for a test), wanting to foster self-reliance & confidence (instead of throwing them to the bully-state that is traditional school), wanting them to be nourished by a classical education that fits our schedule, lives, and activity-levels (instead of school schedules that adhere for work hours for a parent’s convenience & hours of mind-numbing busywork). Also, we love them and want to actually see them instead of having someone else raise them to take tests, sit quietly, engage in group think, and follow rules.

    Both of our kids (4 and 6) are very active and very bright. They’re usually among the best behaved children in any gathering, have no problems making friends, are ahead of the traditionally schooled kids their age (and older), and love reading and learning. We’re pretty sure that if they were in a traditional school, they’d constantly be in trouble (or “diagnosed” with ADHD) for asking the why behind most things (which can be exhausting but is wonderful), needing to be active (since we “make” them actually play outside! every day! in dirt! with non-electronic toys!), and wanting to focus more in-depth on random things that interest them while still doing the stuff we plan. They also both have extensive vocabularies for their ages and are very good at expressing themselves since we talk to them like they’re intelligent and can reason (which they are and do!), and they tend to talk a lot because they’re always curious about the world around them. We don’t school during set hours because sometimes they’re too excitable to focus, and we’d rather not punish them for being active kids by forcing them to sit down and look at paper when we can just as easily have them enjoy the beautiful weather now and get back to work after they’ve run off their energy. There’s nothing wrong with being curious and active, but at their ages, schools seem to think there is.

  24. I recently started homeschooling. I get these sometimes from family. The one that gets me is because my daughter wanted to cook breakfast when my grandma stopped by while she was cooking and said she should be in school. No way is she learning anything that way. Our day had not even started yet. I even got asked how I manage my day since I am in school as well. Hmm I do my work while she is reading or anytime I get the chance.

  25. Shoot! I was going to ask if you could babysit and homeschool my little darlings, lol! I could bring you sweet tea 😉

    1. I could probably do that for your kids – and the tea. Don’t forget the tea. A gallon from Chick-Fil-A, please. 🙂

  26. Excellent blog post and excellent comments. I’ve had many of the same questions and comments. Even from a friend who homeschooled her kids for a year (or less). She’s asked me more than once about groups, socialization, and what time we get our day started. :-/

    We had several reasons for homeschooling. (We began in 2012 when my son was in 9th grade and my daughter was in 6th.) Some of those reasons included bullies (classmates and teachers!), a school counselor telling me that I should send my daughter to school sick and they’d decide if she should be at home instead, bad influences, etc.

    I just got tired of all the nonsense that we personally experienced with public schools. If public school is working fine for others, then I’m not going to tell them that they should homeschool. And I’d appreciate the same treatment – don’t tell me that my kids should be in public school when it wasn’t working for us and homeschool is.

  27. I’m no longer able to homeschool, but I understand now, having done both, why people talk about not having patience. When we were mostly together everyday, we knew each other’s rhythms, and we could sort of ebb and flow, sometimes working closely together, sometimes me cooking while they were up in trees, whatever. Now that we don’t see each other for at least seven hours everyday, it’s much harder to have that intuitive connection. When August rolls around, I really am ready to send them off to school again to get them out of my hair. It makes me sad, but it’s reality.

  28. Probably the two most hurtful comments we’ve heard over the years have been : 1.from the preacher at a church where we were visitors, “You homeschool? I threaten my kids with homeschooling when they complain about (public) school!” 2. from a “friend”, “If they made a law saying we all had to homeschool, I’d go to jail first!” I hadn’t even suggested homeschooling to her. Not really sure what triggered that remark.

  29. Ok, slow down everyone. While I see the humor in the sarcastic responses, try to remember that our generation didn’t have as many homeschoolers, and most people asking questions are just trying to make conversation or understand how it works. Many are just surprised to hear it! By responding sarcastically or harshly we risk the reputation of acting self-righteous. It’s not right or wrong to make a personal decision about your child’s education, and just like other parental decisions, it is each person’s decision to make. What would happen if we accepted the questions and answered kindly, opening eyes and hearts to the fact that there are many people choosing to educate their own children, and that we are not high and mighty and we don’t hate everyone else’s choice to not homeschool? Just saying, if you pick on them, they will pick on us. If you open their eyes, acting like the professional you are, they can tell the next person something positive about homeschooling families, and the word can spread for people to accept it as a valid, respected option. Plus, being kind is setting a good example for your kids.

    1. I get where you’re coming from, but I think everyone is just having some fun and blowing off a little steam. I doubt most of us are truly unkind to people who are sincerely just asking questions. I have never been intentionally rude to anyone – even the folks who were clearly being rude and judgmental. Though I can’t say that I wouldn’t, in that situation, if I could think of a snappy comeback quick enough. I probably still wouldn’t, though, because I’d feel guilty later.

      That being said, if one of my kids ever replied like Joesette’s daughter did, I’d probably buy them an ice cream on the way home. 😉

    2. Actually, I haven’t seen anyone on here saying anything unkind to anyone’s face… sounds more like a bunch of people biting their tongues! Better to laugh it off in a “safe” setting than respond in kind. Actually, sometimes people’s responses are unjustified ignorance, but mostly people are just enquiring genuinely, and it’s also always nice to get positive comments occasionally, like “it must be wonderful to spend so much time with your children” or “your kid has really come out of his/her shell since he/she started homeschooling”…

  30. I love being asked or hearing the comment “dont you want a break? How can you be around your kids all day! ” We have 4 kids and I normally respond with: I can’t imagine life any other way! 🙂

  31. I don’t know. People are annoying, but how can you find a thing out without asking questions? So yesterday, when the doctor’s receptionist asked if we had to do special testing to change grades; I explained very nicely that each state has different standards, and explained how it is in our state a bit. So, I cut ignorance and maybe presumption slack; but not judgement. You judge me? I judge you back; you noisy, intrusive busybody.

    1. I completely agree that if people are genuinely interested, it’s important to dialog with them. But some folks — whether out of ignorance or testiness or defensiveness or a sense of superiority — like to imply that we’re living on the edge and making morons out of our children. Others just plain want to get a rise out of us, and they ARE being judgmental with their rudeness. I’m long retired from homeschooling (my youngest is 29), but I found it especially offensive when friends and family who know me well asked some of these questions, as if I would intentionally choose a route that would turn my kids into lazy, socially inept, academically challenged adults.

      1. More than ten years ago I had an out of town family member write me a long letter (two pages, typed!) telling me how seriously concerned she was that my children would not be able to go to college, etc. because of our choice to homeschool. She said she felt she had to speak, because she felt so close to my kids and didn’t want them to be handicapped by our educational choices. After I spent several days venting to my longsuffering husband (the culprit was his family member), I wrote her a very nice letter (but I confess I was seething inside), full of citations and clippings of homeschoolers doing very well in college, thank you very much. My two oldest successfully completed college and a third is finishing up. So I don’t get much commentary anymore about homeschooling my fourteen year old through high school.

  32. My BIL got a taste of the Homeschool Questions today. He had arranged for a “play date” with my two younger teens to get his garage cleaned out and some fall clean-up done. He has Tuesdays off, so he took them this morning. He tells me that one of the neighbors, an older gentleman, stopped over and wanted to know “why those kids weren’t in school?” BIL just shook his head at me when he told me. I said, “It must be my sons–they look like delinquents wherever they go.” We got a good laugh out of it.

    I personally get a lot of “I could never stay home with my teenagers all day, every day. How do you do it?” Usually I’m pretty glib about it–“I drink.” or “I lock them up every afternoon for some peace and quiet.” You know, something for shock value. It makes me sick though, like because my kids are older they are less deserving of my time and attention than they were when they were little. And let’s be perfectly honest, we are NEVER home all day, every day, together. Oh…that’s right…they go out for a little socialization a couple times a week! LOL

  33. The comment I hate the most, because I just want my kids to be themselves is; “But aren’t you afraid that your kid won’t be normal?”.

    Recently my 12yo started dealing with this saying “there is no such thing as normal for a human being “. When I asked him about it he told me about documentaries he had seen, and books he had read (we are natural learners). He told me that there are differences between religions, cultures, and social groups and what is considered normal. He also told me that it also changes over time, what was ‘normal’ 100 years ago is different to what is considered ‘normal’ today.

    Let’s just say it was one of those moments when something your child says or does truly amazes you. Recently he has also become far more vocal about equality for ALL.

  34. “I could NEVER do that, I’m not (insert adjective here- patient, calm, teacher-y, blah blah blah) enough.”
    We’ll I’m not either, but we do it, and it’s SO worth the extra effort to make sure my girl ets exactly what SHE needs, not what 24 other kids plus her need; along Wih a myriad oher reasons!

  35. When asked why I chose to homeschool I replied the last straw was my son going to the hospital because ofc bullying. I was told I was sheltering him and he would never make it in the real world.

    1. Lots of kids who are left in bullying situations don’t make it in the “real world” either. They’re either killed or commit suicide because they can’t take it anymore. I realize those are extreme circumstances, but if your son was already hospitalized due to bullying, I’m sure you get where I’m coming from. If adults were that severely bullied, they’d file criminal charges.

  36. I think the most difficult comment I have gotten (outside of those already mentioned) was from my Pastor. I was president of our county’s homeschool organization at the time, and I asked for the church to pray for our homeschool group’s upcoming year (during a regularly scheduled church prayer meeting). I just meant it to be a very general, let’s-start-the-year-right, kind of prayer. Instead, he took a moment to talk about how difficult homeschool families are because they are “mavericks” and always want to do their own thing. His tone implied #1 that homeschoolers are choosing that educational option because they have problems with authority (did he think that’s why we chose to homeschool?) and #2 that there was no hope for a pleasant school year. Very discouraging. After a lengthy conversation with my husband, we decided that he was simply uninformed, and we needed to have some grace about his behavior/attitude toward homeschoolers. However, I never asked for prayer for the homeschool group in our church’s prayer meeting again.

  37. I haven’t read much about the reason you have choosen to homeschool other than it saves you time of getting up and getting ready and having to abide by time limits. I understand that you meet the required criteria of the State in which you live for education, but why not send them to school, why choose homeschooling, what do you find wrong with the schools?

    1. One major reason we chose homeschooling is to disciple our children. We feel a child’s most important influence should be his parents, not his peers or the prevailing culture. Homeschooling permits that. Plus childhood passes very quickly and we didn’t want to miss it! We like our kids. 🙂

    2. My reasons for homeschooling:
      There are SO many, but a couple reasons that I know are true for a lot of us: Oldest son has a genius IQ and was BORED to death in a private school, which was considered well advanced over our public schools. He is 21 and graduating from NYU this month. I doubt he would have finished high school if he had to stay in school.
      One son needed extra time on certain subjects and was very advanced in others. When you homeschool, you can spend extra time where needed and move ahead quickly when they “get” something. Bullying was another reason. And yes, the school knew about it, but still did NOTHING to even try to stop it. Initially, I pulled out the one child who needed a little extra help to get caught up (on the advice of the private school administrator). He did SO well, that I kept him out and eventually homeschooled all of them. Who doesn’t do better with one on one tutoring, especially with the person who probably knows their learning style better than anyone else in the world??? The better question, in my opinion, would be “Why NOT homeschool?”

  38. The worst is, “I knew this one kid once who was homeschooled and he was awful/disrespectful/weird/hyper/didn’t know how to make friends.”
    I wish I was witty enough and ballsy enough to reply with, “I knew this one kid once who went to public school and (repeat what they said.)”

    1. {snort} That would be very funny. I bet, depending on the person, you’d even get a laugh out of them because most people know that’s a statement that’s true for any number of kids no matter where they go to school.

  39. Loved this post! I am sort of a wanna-be homeschooling mom with tons of friends/family who homeschool. I am our family’s breadwinner, but I could definitely see a day in the future when we have dif’t circumstances and I homeschool for a season.

    This post made me laugh out loud! Thanks!

  40. This was such interesting reading, including all the comments! We are the parents of five wonderful children (one mentally handicapped). I finished homeschooling last year, and the proof is really in the pudding. Three completed college and the last is attending. All are successful at what they do, two are married, and all four are happy and involved in church and their communities.

    My least favorite comment was from a checker in a grocery store who made a snide comment about how damaging it was to the environment to have more than two kids.

  41. A family member once tried to force my boys to take the practice SAT behind my back!!!!! Fortunately, I expected it to happen and told them to refuse!!!!
    Boy, was I proud when I did have them take the SAT test and my seventh grader scored 11th grade and higher on his. And my sixth grader, who has reading comprehension issues, scored average!!!
    My husband took the scores to this family member! She NEVER has said another word!!!!!
    One other problem we face is this! “Can your boys(teenagers)help me with some yard work today???? ”
    Why do they not realize that we do homeschool!!!!!! My high schoolers also have deadlines I expect them to meet ON TIME!!!!! We don’t homeschool just because we are too lazy to send them to school!!!!!!
    I literally have to fight to keep my boys home! Also, keeping my calendar clear is another major issue! There are times that I avoid answering my phone because of who is calling! They are ALWAYS trying to ask for my boys help! 🙁

    1. While I certainly understand your frustration, on the bright side, your boys must be considered worthy of those asking for help. 🙂

  42. I am constantly getting the comment that I am holding on to my children too tightly. That I am not letting them grow, that I am smothering him. I need to let him have experiences. First off I have to say that I adopted my child a year and a half ago. He started going to the local public school where he was bullied, taunted, teased, and was behaviorally out of control. Since we have been homeschooling he attends coops, activities that would never have happened in the public school due to behaviors, has progressed through academics that were too difficult (in reality were not taught correctly). So don’t ever tell a homeschool mom that you are holding your child back, too tight, you are smothering them. Most homeschooled children have more opportunities that public educated children because we have the ability to differentiate and adapt to each child’s learning style!

  43. My favorite (besides those listed above)…….

    “But, you will put them into a real school when they get older and it is more important, right?”

    Or

    “How do you know they are learning what they should be learning if you don’t have the state testing?”

  44. I am no longer homeschooling, my children are now in college. However, I once had a pastor’s wife tell me “I could never homeschool, I want my children to be smart.”. Ouch.

  45. My children are all grown, and I always felt that it was a full-time job for me to be a mother. My hat is really off to anyone who can do the homeschool thing. My comment is regarding something else that has come up in the above comments: The people who should have large families are the ones who have the patience, money, and energy to handle them. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case. We are being overwhelmed with one-parent families that need public assistance. So, if you have ignored the “save the environment” thing and had a large family that you are loving and taking care of – Good for You!!!

  46. I have had people comment that their reasons for making sure they send their kids to school it so they can have a well rounded education and get into a good college, as well as play sports and get a scholarship for that good college. Along with that, they want their children to have more options in life.

    After spending various times, over a length of time (years), talking deeply with a dear friend who started out with the above statements, she is now seriously considering the idea of a home-based education for her children. She is at home with her babies right now and has been a teacher and middle school principal. She is from a family of teachers and her husband is a vice principal of a middle school as I write. The concerns she has brought up to me regarding what happens in the public schools are severe.

    There are so many more things I could say on this subject. Even though I do get tired of all of the questions, comments and quizzing, I try and take a deep breath and assume the best intentions of the person asking and give them as kind an answer as possible. But it is definitely tiring. Usually my answer solidifies,. even more, why I am doing it in the first place.

  47. One I hear a lot is:
    Do you have your kids tested or something to make sure they are learning what they need to know?

    1. I do test mine though it isn’t required by the state. I do it for my benefit to make sure I’m covering what I should be covering, for her benefit so she can get practice with standardized tests, and honestly for a little pat on the back because she does well. She never knows her scores, I just tweak our curriculum a little for the next year and move on. But I don’t have to, but that little pat on the back makes the next 180 days of instruction a little easier 😉

  48. One thing that really upset me when I started homeschooling is being faced with the obvious lack of respect and faith in me that my family and friends have. Essentially being told that I’m NOT capable of properly schooling my kids because I’m … too lazy, not consistent, too messy, have too little self-control, etc, etc, etc.
    Also, I have a lot of educators in my family, and they always have to give me horror stories about “this one home-schooled child I knew …” and they seem to take my lack of faith in the public school system personally.

  49. “They get tested by the public school right?” Unfortunately….it’s required.

    Many times, after someone learns that my 2nd grader is homeschooled, the interrogation begins…..”So…..do you like school?!” Seriously? Then comes “Do you like your teacher?!” SERIOUSLY?!

    And for the record, my 7 yr. old son has better social skills than a lot of adults I know. So glad I’m not alone in this adventure and that there are other “patient, unlicensed, sweatpant wearing” mommas who are in this with me (besides, we have nothing better to do;)!

  50. I was homeschooled for all of school. My parents still have one at home. Two of us have college degrees and are happily married with careers. The third is working on a degree in chemistry now. My favorite question was always “Do you know how to read?” Even now, when people find out I was homeschooled, they tell me “You’re pretty normal for a homeschooler.” I would never trade my experiences in school or life for going to a public school. If we were interested in something, my parents made sure us girls got to try it out. As for socialization, there was Girls Scouts, gymnastics classes, basketball, youth group, you name it. Who wants to be “normal” when you got to do all the stuff we did?

  51. I love when you go to the grocery store during school time hours. Once people find out you homeschool, they proceed to quiz your child with a bunch of math or spelling questions. Would they do that to a public school child? We have also have also had a teacher ask me if I homeschool the right way? The teacher heard of a homeschool family that had their children CLEAN HOUSE!!! LOL!!!

  52. The main reason I homeschool is to honor God and to raise my kids fully in God’s Word choosing Christian curriculum that incorportes a biblical world view. That being said, if someone asks me a stupid question about homeschooling, I cannot as a Christ honoring educator, reply rudely with some snide remark. I don’t think that a Christ honoring educator should be teaching her student to relpy rudely either. When people ask questions, it’s a wonderful opportunity to share homeschooling and possibly the Gospel with them.

    1. I don’t think I ever suggested that anyone reply rudely about anything. This was meant to be a humorous look at the questions homeschool families are often asked. We are a Christ-following family, as well. I do, however, like to have a little fun now and then with a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek post that pokes a bit of fun at the homeschool stereotypes.

      1. Sorry Kris. It wasn’t the article I was commenting about. I was mainly addressing some of the other comments I was reading.

        1. I think most people are just blowing off steam in a safe environment and aren’t necessarily looking for opportunities to be snippy. I agree that it’s really easy to blow your witness with one thoughtless comment. However, it’s also a great stress reliever to think of what you’d like to be able to say sometimes.

  53. I was at the community college bookstore last month with my 17 year old(he’s asenior at home this year)as he was in line to get his books for his second semester at college. The lady in front of us and I got into a discussion and i told her we home school. She flat out said she just didn’t believe in home schooling. She didn’t “see how a kid could learn anything with the parent just tossing them a text book and telling them to read it” WHAT? Oh my! If it were only that easy! lol

    1. It’s too bad it’s not that easy. I’d have a lot more free time – you know to clean house and all. 😉

  54. Many people see the problems of the public school system, so I often got the “Homeschooling is not a bad option IF you can’t afford private school (or Christian school).

  55. I have only been homeschooling my two children for 6 months! And here in Sydney I have already had all sorts of comments! 1. Socializing comment!
    2. The bullying comment!
    3. Are you qualified comment!
    4. Will they return to real school!
    5. I have had lots of schools suggested to me as an alternative to homeschooling!

    The number one thing that irritates me is when someone asks my kids where they go to school and they answer “we homeschool”! Then the person has a look of shock and disgust and turns and walks away as though we have some contagious disease.

  56. Great list and fun commentary! My other “favorite” question is “What qualifications do you have to teach your children?”

  57. At the grocery shop:
    Stranger (50 year old woman): Why are you not at school?
    10 year old: not everyone at school and not everyone at work, but I will not ask you for your reasons.
    It was not too polite, but it made me smile 🙂

  58. Yeah I hate the socialization question too. I tell people, it’s easy to pick your friends in a classroom of kids all the same age. You can get along with chosen friends. It’s harder to live with 9 people all day and have to get along with all of them.

    I also dislike the grocery bill questions. like “wow because they are home all day it must cost you so much to feed them” or “how can you afford that, kids are so expensive”

    kids are not expensive, lifestyles are….

  59. I also want to say that we are representing homeschooling to others, so I try not to be critical of public school or even comments people make to me. I feel uncomfortable when other homeschoolers attack public school teachers and schools in general. I know so many teachers that are doing wonderful job, many in spite of rules and bureaucracy. I even hate mentioning homeschooling to someone who teaches sometimes because these teachers have often heard more criticism from homeschoolers than anyone else.

    1. I agree. I have never and will never be critical of public or private school teachers. The vast majority of them are doing a wonderful job and making a difference in the lives of the kids in their classrooms. I might not always be favorable in my comments about schools in general, but that stems more from government bureaucracy and red tape that the teaches hate as much as anyone else.

  60. My least favorite comment is one I still haven’t thought of a witty reply to: “I worry about what your kids will do when they go to college and can’t take classes at home anymore.” I barely even know this person, yet she apparently worries about my children’s college success. Maybe she would like to contribute to their college fund?

    My favorite comment of all time though is “Homeschool kids are always socially awkward.” Why is this my favorite? Because of the 40-something, never married, lives with mom, Trekkie who said it to my face.

    1. I am not trying to be snarky here, but it may come across that way. Did this individual go to college? I did, in fact I have a master’s degree. And, I find that the way my kids learn as a home-schooled child is MORE comparable to what my college professors required of me than what my public school education prepared me for. My kids have to be more self disciplined (in some regards) than I had to be at their age. Also, I teach my kids that they need to UNDERSTAND the material, not just regurgitate it. And, quite frankly that is what is expected at a college level. Self-discipline and a love of learning are what is required at the college level. So, if that is what you are working on in your family, then have faith. They will do fine in college!

  61. I just want to comment because I have graduated my oldest son. The biggy for me was, “How will you ever get them into a good college?” I am afraid people made me very scared that my homeschooled children would not make it in college. I don’t know why, but they did. My son is in the honors program, has a full tuition scholarship, and has a 4.0 his first semester at college. He is making friends and getting tons of work experience. My other son is playing Varsity basketball and he will start on his AAU team if he decides to play this year, he is in the homeschool national honor society and Key Club, he participates in dance class and he will be going to the prom for the second year in a row.

    Now I don’t stress. I know my sons are talented in some areas and other kids are talented in other areas. The child who will be a great mechanic may never need to go to college and the kid who has been earning great money as a videographermay not ever go to college but could get an internship with a movie producer. The great thing is homeschool allows them to take time to explore other areas as they are interested in them. For instance, my older son was at one time sure he was going to be a basketball star, then he was sure he would run track and be a physical therapist, and his senior year he began studying music in earnest and now is at college with a music scholarship in additon to his academic scholarship.

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Jennifer. What a wonderful encouragement to the many moms still worrying in the trenches.

  62. “Wait. You have a teaching degree and you homeschool? Don’t you feel like you waisted all that time and money since you don’t use it?”
    I stare at them with raised eyebrows long enough so they can hear the ::crickets:: too.

  63. My son was in a camping accident last weekend (yes, apparently those do exist). He was accidentally hit in the back of the head with a softball size rock that knocked him unconscious and caused him to fall down a 15ft ravine into about 3 feet of water. I got the call that he was being taken by Care Flight because his injuries appeared very bad. Praise God he only has a few cracked bones in his foot, a deep bone bruise in his knee, a couple of cracked ribs, and a mild concussion. Because of the concussion, he has been ordered by the neuro to stop school until he is re-evaluated. Someone had the nerve to say to me on FB, “how hard can school really be sitting in your pajamas on the couch all day?” That’s one of the stereotypes that gets under my skin!

    1. If there were an award for most insensitive comment, the person who made that comment to you would be in the running. Sheesh! What a rude thing to say.

  64. I am one of those people who says, “You must have your hands full,” when I see a large family. I mean it as a sincere compliment. I would love to have a large family (right now I am pregnant with number two) and I have the up most respect for parents of all sizes of families.

  65. It’s very important to education people. Some people have zero understanding. I try my best not to come back with sharp remarks to, what I think are crazy questions, so that they know we are not crazy and rude! I rather enjoy having someone ask questions. I would rather hear that then the remarks like “I am totally against homeschooling!” That’s a hard one to recover from. Obviously they already made up their mind and no amount of explanation is going to change that. Moms feel so threaten when I tell them I homeschool. It’s sad.

  66. We were at a Presidential Museum. One of the people who worked there was talking to my children. She started to tell me how impressed she was with how well my younger children carried on a conversation. She asked me if we were on vacation & how were we able to get our kids out of school. I told her we homeschooled & were traveling across the country. She told me how homeschool children just do not know how to socialize with other kids.
    “Oh,” I said, “how many homeschoolers do you know?”
    “None,” she answered, ” But my daughter is a teacher in the local schools & her friend is in charge of checking up on homeschoolers.”
    “So you have never met any other than mine?”
    “No, but your kids must be different.”
    She is going by third (or fourth party) info ! She has just finished commenting on how well my children behaved & conversed with her & less then 5 minuets later telling me how homeschoolers are not properly socialized!”
    Sigh.

    1. That’s a different one. So, you’re kids are great. Oh? They’re homeschooled? I take it back. Um, okay, then.

    2. I had a similar comment/conversation at the zoo one day when we were on a field trip there. One of the volunteers started chatting with my boys about the turtles and commented how they knew a lot about ecology. Then she asked them where they went to school. When my middle son said he was homeschooled, all of a sudden she went on this tirade about how bad homeschooling was for kids and how unsocialized homeschooled children were. Then she proceeded to tell me how I should structure my day so that I wouldn’t “ruin” my children. (all this in front of my children and two other homeschool families). Awkward. I certainly didn’t want to be rude but we left rather abruptly. I don’t think we have to be rude to people genuinely curious or ignorant but there are people who are neither who feel it is their duty to tell others how to live their lives and actually are rude. (I won’t get into the adoption comments of strangers who ask inappropriate questions right in front of my children as if they aren’t really there). It’s a challenge at times but I love my boys and love that we currently are free to educate them at home!

  67. Oh yes! I would also like to add ” Don’t make her work to hard and get to far ahead.” I will let my daughter learn as much as she wants. If she is 6 years old and in 3rd or 4th grade then so be it. I will not hole her back but I also don’t make her do anything she isn’t ready for.

  68. Well, I must say I have heard all those things.
    When asked about socializing, I explain why I took my 11-year-old out of school a couple of years ago. Kids standing on desks yelling at teachers, bullying special needs kids, convincing other little girls that they are fat (my daughter, I have to buy slim skinny jeans and they are still to bag.), stealing in the classroom, horrible language. Yes, now about those social skills, why would I want my child to learn those skills?
    We have quit answering the phone, no texting, no emails and no face book, we are in the middle of math, or language or reading. We are busy. We have learning going on here.
    No one ever asks what I do all day. I post on face book, our projects, about the books we are reading and what the girls think of the books, etc. Everyone knows and lots of friends want to come to our house for school.
    Why would I want to have a clean house, we live here and besides we save household chores for discipline.
    And patience or self-control, well…ok. tell me about it, I would rather deal with my children all day rather than adults in the work place. They can be scary and hostile.
    Am I educated enough, where I lack there is incredible curriculum out there to help in those areas and incredible people to help us. And I have been educating my children since they were brought home. Seems to me if I can teach them to use a fork, talk, go to the bathroom, walk and many other things, I can probably teach them reading, writing and arithmetic.
    And we start our day with chocolate chip muffins or pancakes with chocolate chips just to make sure we get what we need first thing in the morning.
    Bottom line, I love watching my children learn and am thankful God gave me the opportunity to do so.

    1. I’ve had that one. It was from a very concerned family member, and she meant it in love because my husband was a basketball star in high school and played Division 1 in college. So I get it. But if he doesn’t feel like they’ll miss out, then who am I to disagree? But from other people, it’s just annoying – ha!

  69. After 15 years of teaching and giving birth to 3 children and adopting two more, I homeschooled one year with one of my kids. Before you judge me for only homeschooling one of out of the five, I had cancer and she wanted to come home. It was by far the most eye opening experience. She learned more in 4 hours of school than she did in 3 days at public school. She returned to public school about 2 years ahead in some areas, one year ahead in others and confident. I was re-diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer so she needed to go back to avoid hearing doctors and treatment schedules, etc. It was the best thing I ever did! EVER She and I both agree that homeschooling her that year was something we will not forget. My only regret is that I don’t have time to do with with the other four still at home.

    1. You should never feel like you have to explain the educational choices of your children. Only you know what is best for your family. No outsider has the right to question your choices. I pray type health improves.

  70. I do not homeschool my daughter; however, I am a product of being homeschooled for high school. It was exactly what I needed. Both my parents worked, but because of my age they knew they needed to give me guidance more than face to face teaching. They gave me a guide of what was due for the week, and I could work ahead. They would grade my papers at night, after work, and give me my tests. It was a great prep for college. I have a bachelor degree in business, and have been employed by the same company for almost 13 years

    I enjoyed the article very much! I have heard so many of the same things & have tremendous respect for the mothers teaching their children.

  71. One of my in-laws is always on my case to put my daughter in public school. She agrees that public school would not be the place for my daughter. There are a million reasons why I choose to homeschool. But top of the list is my daughter said her first word at 6 months. At 10 months she was talking in complete sentences. At 18 months she knew her alphabet and could identify numbers up to 30. I caught her reading when she was 4. A couple of days ago she had to go with me to my Dr. appointment. The Dr. said, “Your bronchitis has not gotten any better. I need to put you on strong steroids.” My daughter said, “What is bronchitis?” Then she said, “Wait. I think I can figure it out. You listened to my mom’s lungs. You said she needs steroids. She is coughing all the time. So bronchitis must be inflammation of the bronchial tubes.” She is 6 and that is how she reasons.
    So this certain in-law freely admits public school would be harmful to my daughter, but I should still put her in it so “She learns to dumb down her way of talking so she can relate to other children her age.” And the sad thing was, this person was totally serious when she said it.
    My daughter finally had enough and announced, “I want to be homeschooled because I want a REAL education.” (public schools around here are ranked among the lowest in the nation)

    1. How sad that it would sound reasonable to someone to try to “dumb down” a kid instead of allowing her the opportunity to grow and develop at her own pace.

  72. This is awesome! I’ve had a couple of memorable experiences with this.
    The first was in my first year of homeschooling, at the grocery store, and I was already feeling weird being out with my kids. So, when the cashier asked, “No school today?” I was ready with all my homeschooling defenses. It turns out she was concerned because she had sent her kids to school, and she was afraid they would be waiting alone outside her house. I learned to not be so defensive that day!
    The other was the “Are you qualified” question. Not being one to keep my mouth shut, I blurted out, “Their teachers sure think so, given all the homework and projects they send home for ME to do with them.”
    However, the most annoying question I get is from other homeschool moms, which is something on the lines of, “How can you use THAT curriculum?” As if we don’t second-guess ourselves enough…

    1. That first story is funny – and a great reminder not to be so quick to take offense. 🙂 The second one gave me a chuckle, too. I never thought about it like that, but that’s a great point because one of the deciding factors when we first began homeschooling was the fact that my first grade daughter was bringing home 2-3 hours of homework every day. It was crazy.

      And, finally, yeah, we homeschool parents need to encourage one another, not tear each other down and add to the insecurities that are already there.

  73. What I usually get the most is “I would have NEVER guessed your children are homeschooled! They are so polite and well-behaved!” So I always wonder where they get the idea that homeschooled kids are wild hooligans, and all the public school kids are polite. Really?

  74. My brother actually said this to me: “how is B supposed to meet a girl and fall in love if he isn’t in public school?!? What about his first girlfriend, how’s he supposed to meet her if he is homeschooled?!?”. I just kind of looked at him…you know, like a dog listens to a high pitched sound?!?….head cocked to one side thinking: SERIOUSLY?!? THIS is what concerns you?!? I didn’t say anything, just shook my head and went home!!! I will say though, that my brother is actually very supportive of my choice to homeschool, he’s been the one to say, “you CAN do this” more than once…but he’s like his big sister…no filter!!!

    1. That actually sounds like a plus to homeschooling to me. 😉 I could do without having to deal with the boyfriend/girlfriend thing for awhile. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), none of my kid have had trouble finding their first boyfriend/girlfriend. And, for the record, I totally get the “super-supportive relative with no filter” scenario.

  75. I really enjoyed reading your post and all the comments.
    I’m a homeschooling mom of 3. A few weeks ago (Friday morning), I went to a friends house (whose kid goes to private school) so that our kids could play together. That day he didn’t go to school because they had a Halloween party, and he wasn’t allowed to go (by administrative orders) for unacceptable behavior. Anyway, my friend begins to ask me all these “common” questions about homeschooling (socialization, curriculums, grading, etc.) which I politely answered. And finally she asks me: “So what is your kid learning right now?” As if I was wasting his “learning” time because I was letting him play with her kid at “school hours”. To which I replied: “Well, what is your’s learning right now?”

  76. Once in Walmart my kids were asked after telling him they were not in school because they were home schooled, by an older man, “How will you ever learn calculus?
    For once I was brave with my reply. I asked him, “Did you take calculus?” he said, “No.”
    The end.

  77. I told my grandma how proud I was of my 1st grader for how well he was learning. It was awhile ago now so can’t remember what it was about, but her reply was, “well think how good he would be doing if he was in school!”
    Needless to say I was in tears after I hung up with her.

    A month or so later…. She starts in on my parent’s choice to homeschool me. Told me she understood I didn’t have a choice in the matter and just think… If I had gone to public school I wouldn’t need to be going to college at this stage of my life!

    I would like to know where she gets her facts from cause a lot of public school students don’t go to college right away either and I see some taking classes right along with me.

    Background of me:
    (I am 31 years old with 4 kids. I went to a tech school after high school and am now taking classes at a community college along with homeschooling. Oh, and I was homeschooled from 1st grade through 12th)

    1. Everyone always says that kids say the darnedest things, but I think grandparents say the darnedest things sometimes, too. 🙂

    1. I hate that all these Pastors are making rude comments. I’d be pretty upset if mine did, he IS the pastor!

  78. This is our 12th year homeschooling! We are in the homestretch down to one eight grader! We’ve been asked all these questions before…some multiple times! The year before my youngest started kindergarten we were out buying groceries in late July and of course the store had exploded in all the school supplies that kids absolutely have to have! The lady at the register asked him what school he would be attending. My son excitedly said he would be home schooled….then she leaned over and gently asked me…..”are you going to deny that child the fun of buying a backpack and all the neat school supplies?” This one caught me off guard….didn’t know what to say other than…what?

    1. I would have been ever so tempted to lean over and say in a gentle, conspiratorial tone of voice, “No. Homeschoolers use pens and pencils, too.” 😉 Except, I probably wouldn’t have thought about it until I was on my way home.

      1. I have to admit that cute lunchboxes are my weakness. I will never put my kids in school, but I have thought about buying them a lunch box for no reason. I did buy them cute character tupperware containers for co-op lunches 🙂

  79. This post is so true to life! I homeschooled our three children through high school with the blessing and support of my public school teacher husband. I had all of these listed comments from non-homeschoolers and even lost friends because we were homeschooling. Now our children are all college graduates and my daughters both teach their children at home. Our children are all smart, funny, well-adjusted human beings. What more could a parent really want? Kudos to all you homeschooling Moms and Dads!

  80. I’m a 77 year old great-grandmother. My g’daughter home schools her children. (She has four) The oldest is 9 the and the youngest is just few months old. They are all smart and well behaved. She regularly takes them on field trips and they participate in church activities. It makes me wish I could have home schooled my children. In addition, I have friends who are home school moms. One has 7 children, one has 6, another 4, plus others that have one or two. They are very busy, but their children are respectful, happy, resourceful wonderful children. In comparison to those children who are not home schooled, with a few exceptions, the children who go to public schools have more social problems and are more undisciplined. God bless the home-schoolers.

  81. I loved you list. At a birthday party my son was attending another mother who was inquiring my homeschooling asked if I assigned them grades. I replied no. Her response, “Well, how do you know if they’re learning anything if they don’t get graded?”

  82. My oldest daughter is 4. I get asked all the time if I’m going to send her to real school when she’s ready for kindergarten. Also, “what are you going to do when she graduates? She won’t have a real diploma.”
    One thing that crack me up is when people tell me they couldn’t homeschool their children because they couldn’t stand spending all day with their kids. I love my kids. I love watching them learn new things!

  83. We ALWAYS get asked by concerned acquaintances, “How do you know your children are learning what they’re supposed to be learning?” Well, it’s a complicated process for us: I buy a curriculum that says “Fourth Grade” and assume that the material in that curriculum is for fourth graders. Do you know if your child is learning what he’s supposed to be learning?
    When I get the, “I could never do that!” (which is somewhat complementary) or the “I would never do that!” (which is downright insulting), I’ve been responding with my own, “I would/could never do what you do! I sleep in, we’d never make it out the door on time!” Yeah, traditional schooler moms may get to go the grocery store by themselves, but I get to sleep in and ease into my day!

  84. I understand the sillyness of the questions and the need to inform people, but I think I’m seeing some “superiority complex” shining through too, and that troubles me. I home schooled for a long time and also taught in and sent the children to school-school. I’ve seen successes and failures in every method of schooling.

  85. While I think it can be helpful to find comraderie of shared experience, I wonder if a question that can be asked together is how to graciously respond to these comments? We have many homeschooling families in my community, so I often see the opposite problem of hurtful questions being asked to families who don’t choose homeschooling. It seems that unfair assumptions will be expected in any differing parenting decision, and while I certainly want to be mindful of not saying what will hurt a particular group of people, I also want to employ answers to their questions with grace and kindness, not sarcasm that alienates. That being said, I certainly validate hearing comments over and over and the weariness of explaining a way of life that is so deeply personal. Just chiming in with a different angle!

  86. I could NEVER homeschool. What makes you think that I can?! I really should start replying with “How long do you plan to keep your kids in their current school system?” There’s also the proverbial “How long do you plan to homeschool?” but I understand that this statement is recognizing how hard it is to homeschool.

    1. OH, you have hit on my pet peeve … “I could never do that!”

      I have heard this at least twice — both from people with degrees in education!! Sheesh. What does that even mean? Do you think I’m deluded because I think I *can* homeschool? Are you in awe thinking I am some sort of super mom who (thinks she) can do everything?

      When I am in a good mood my standard is either “It’s all about finding the right curriculum” or, more often, “I can’t either — but where God guides, He always provides. It’s all about grace!”

      I have SO much more respect for the response (I have gotten at least once): “I reallyl don’t want to homeschool.” Which is basically what the other remark is saying when it comes right down to it.

      Ellen

  87. My favorite is, “I could never homeschool MY kids.” My reply is, “You could if God told you to do it. I’m not supermom. I don’t have some special patience, talent, degree, etc… I just have a mighty God who told me to do this and promised to help me with whatever He tells me to do. Don’t you?”

  88. I would have to add this one…

    “Oh, you must be worried that they’re behind.”

    I used to wonder if I should burst into laughter or if I should say, “Yes, yes absolutely. We were hoping to raise a bunch of “mediocre at best” kids…so behind is definitely our goal.

  89. I am a certified teacher and I home disciple all 3 of my kids (right from the beginning) and I work with a DL school supporting home educating families. As a teacher, 2 questions I get are:
    1. Are you a REAL teacher? My response is usually something like this: If you are asking me if I have my university degree in education, then yes, I am a REAL teacher. The moms I work with are all real teachers, too. They all do a fabulous job educating their children.
    2. How do you know moms aren’t doing the work for their children? This one just astounds me. I wonder if the type of person who asks this question actually thinks before asking. I usually respond with something like: Well, it is highly unlikely that a mom is going to be willing to work on 4 levels of math, 5 different LA programs, various topics in science and history or work on 3 different foreign languages everyday. Doing the work for their children really defeats the purpose of home education. I am confident that mothers do not choose to keep their children at home and then just do their work for them. By the way, I wonder how many parents do their child’s homework for them.

    Someone else above mentioned about how being an ‘official’ teacher makes home educating easier as one of the comments made to her by some folks. I agree with her, my having a bachelor’s degree in education does not make home educating easier. Most of my training is more in the area of classroom management…

    Anyway, I have enjoyed your post. Very clever…no wonder you are are teaching your kids!!

  90. As a homeschool mom of over 20 years here, and yes I have heard all of these.
    20 years ago it was denim jumpers, glad those are dead (but the were comfortable)
    I don’t have any yoga pants, guess I need to go shopping and get with it! 🙂

  91. My remaining 2 homeschoolers are older teens-we are almost “done”. 🙁 At this stage I am working part time; ironically, I am a school bus driver! Works pretty well around our school schedule. I drive 30-50 kids from preschool to 12th grade&I run a really tight ship. Assigned seating(they HATE it) and rules enforced with consequences freely distributed for breaking them. Nevertheless the reality is I can only catch so much stuff when I’m driving a 40ft bus with 50 kids onboard at 60 mph down a busy highway. When people talk about the need to attend school for proper socialization, my mind goes straight to the latest “socialization” I’ve observed on my bus. I care about my bus kids and it breaks my heart to see and hear what I observe each day. Socialization…not all it’s cracked up to be!!

    1. Thank you for this comment. I am a bus driver and considering homeschooling next year. I wondered if my job would help or hinder the home school process.

  92. What about sports?
    What about prom?
    What about dating?
    What about the experiences that all Americans have and can relate too?
    These are the questions I get for my two high schoolers. I pulled mine out of public school starting in 6th grade for health reasons. When people find out that there was an underlying health issue, they are more lenient with us homeschooling, but when they find out I have no intention of sending them to school even if the health problems are gone they are appalled. I get these tricks types of questions as if these things are even important. They also question if it is safe because I’m a veteran, to which I tell then the only ones in danger are the ones asking stupid or disrespectful questions.

  93. What about homeschooling Dads? I’m an at home Dad and I homeschool my five (soon to be 6) children. What’s the point of giving the titles of articles like this a gender bias?

    1. Certainly the point isn’t to annoy or exclude homeschool dads. I’m a homeschool mom as is the majority of my audience, so that’s the perspective from which I tend to write. The post is applicable to all homeschool parents. No need to take offense. None was intended.

  94. I love the one I get from my MIL. But they aren’t going to be able to face the real world. Really? Our 3 girls (17, 13, and 4) are in the world more any child sitting at a desk all day long. Our 17 year old works as a CNA at the nursing home part time and handles it better than I could.

  95. How will you find a boyfriend/girlfriend?

    We hear this question every time the kids great grandparents are over! Seriously?! Our kids are 10, 8, and 5. I don’t think finding any of them a significant other is high on our priorities list at this point in time! I’m trying to think of a witty come back the next time they ask this ridiculous question! Suggestions welcome! 🙂

    1. Oh, that made me laugh out loud. Seriously? You’re not trying to find significant others for your pre-pubescent children? What’s wrong with you??

      1. I know right?! There must be something completely wrong with our parenting style! I’m shocked that people in their 60’s/70s would even be concerned about it. What happened to old-fashioned grandparents?!

        1. My husband recently overheard a dad complaining about a homeschool family he knew whose 15 year old daughter had never dated. Both of us were really confused as to when it became horrifying for 15 year olds not to date. When we were growing up (not that long ago), it was not uncommon for 16 to be commonly held as the typical age to start dating.

          1. We were allowed to date at 16 too, although I didn’t. Didn’t care to at that age as I had way more fun things to do to pass my time. 🙂

  96. I’ve heard all of these, but the one that upsets me the most and that I’ve received a few times when it’s revealed that I homeschool is, “Well, I don’t (didn’t) have that luxury.” I don’t teach my children at home because I’m bored and wealthy.

    1. Yes!!! I get this snide comment all the time. My husband makes decent money, but I could have a million other ways to spend it if I didn’t have purchase my kids’ educational materials! Sacrifices and lots of them!

  97. The one I love is when somebody says “It must be nice to have all that free time.” Yeah, because with three kids (10,8, & 2) at home 24/7 I have sooooo much free time.

  98. Two questions I’ve been asked are, “What college is going to take a diploma written in crayon?” & “So-and-so homeschool mom has a college degree in teaching. What makes you think YOU are qualified to teach your children?”

    Both of which were from family members! Ouch! Fortunately, they have seen the results and hopefully have realized that there is more to education than a piece of paper (for teacher and student). A loving, intentional, disciplined parent with a sound mind and educational resources is exceptionally equipped to teach her own children.

    1. A diploma written in crayon? Ouch. I loved your last line. I may have to quote you on that because that really sums up my feelings about homeschooling.

  99. My favorite comment was from my older son’s 6th grade teacher when she found out we would be homeschooling both of our sons the following school year (they would be 3rd & 7th grade): she was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to teach both sons and told me that my 2:1 ration would be too much for me to handle and that their education would suffer. With my eyebrows raised about as high as they could go and the bug eye look going full on I asked her how my 2:1 ratio was worse for my kids than the 27:1 ratio in her class. She didn’t have an answer for me. She retired last year and I really, really wanted to point out to her the huge progress my older son made in the 2 years he was homeschooled. He went from a 2nd grade level in written language (he has an IEP for written language) to the 9th grade Honors English class at our high school. Tell me again that my 2:1 ratio was going to harm his education. He is a junior in public school this year and excelling in all of his on campus classes. We are homeschooling him for math (with the principal’s blessing) after 2 disastrous years of math on campus. And while math is slow going, he is learning what he needs to learn.

    1. That’s funny. Yeah, that 2:1 ratio is pretty rough. 🙂 It’s wonderful to hear that he’s doing so well now – and that the principal is so willing to work with you on the math. To my knowledge, that would be a very unusual situation in our area, so I love that you’re able to work with your son’s school to continue to provide individualized instruction in math.

  100. I just got the other day from my cousin, “You homeschool your kids to isolate them and I send my kids to public school so they will experience the real world.” Face palm.

  101. My daughter’s girl scout troop leader always asks me to do projects, and extra assignments, and crafts, and asks me to pick up things. I noticed that she doesn’t ask all of these things of the other mothers to do these things… Her response, “Well, you’re the only one who homeschools and is home all day.” GGGGrrrrrrr. I’m always so busy! Not to mention I have three younger kids under five too! I thought that was really rude, and I finally said “no” this week without feeling bad.

  102. Oh my, I loved reading this so much that I will call it the highlight of my day (and it’s been a pretty grumpy day for all of us here).
    This is our 2nd year homeschooling and I’ve already heard them all (from above) 🙁
    One I would add to the list would be ” Do you guys ever leave the house”? LOL We are gone more then we are home (in my opinion) but somehow my family and relatives think I have the kids locked up in the house doing schoolwork 24/7. It’s annoying !!!!!!!!

    1. I’m always happy to know I’ve improved someone’s grumpy day. I’m all too familiar with those. 🙂

  103. My brother in law sat me down, 6 weeks into my eldest son’s first grade/year and said that he was a qualified teacher and had 3 years of training and 20 years of experience. He also informed me he was not observing me doing any planning. And did you know that grade eight math is really hard?!? What was I going to do then?! This was just before Thanksgiving and he was making these comments as my father in law, (not related) had expressed his concerns. Oh my. Family! Well, the visit with father in law was a none starter with comments from Papa inlaw, and now I am in my second year, still struggling to come to terms with my son not reading yet as others perceive he should be. But we are doing well. Especially when I consider the alternatives. Do I have my challenges and mother guilt moments? Heck yeah! But am I interested in sending my kids to the public school system? Homeschooling is such a personal decision and there are just such a myriad of reasons! Exciting!

  104. Thank you for this! I am on the teetering edge, deciding whether to start homeschooling next year. I have a thousand and one questions and it is great to not only read the humorous points given, but to read the many replies.

  105. How about things not to say to a homeschool kid:
    1. Is there something wrong with your sister? (with the implication that if not her, than you?)
    2. Do you just get to play all day? (Nope, if you have ADHD you might just still be doing your work when the school bus honks at the end of the street)
    3. You’re so lucky, you get to wear PJ’s (Nope, my friends do, but I have to be dressed and ready to go)
    4. You’re so lucky, you get to sleep in! (Nope, I start school when you guys get on the bus…well, if a 1/2 hour of Magic School Bus counts as homeroom…)

    GAAAHH and the socialization one…as my dad once put it “Sometimes, I think you two were too socialized…”

  106. What always got me was when I was pregnant and had to go for monitoring for my blood pressure, I took my kids along – it was TWICE a WEEK! – and the kids would sit and do some coloring and snacking in the meanwhile and I always got the odd look. Once I was asked, “Are they going to take care of themselves?” Um, yeah. They’re right next to me. Sheesh. And, no, I’m not going to put them in school so I can make it to prenatal appointments!

  107. The last one is my favorite. I have been asked to watch other people’s children because I am “home.” They have no idea that we are working and doing school when we are home, not just “hanging out.” 🙂 thanks for the article.
    Tiffany

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