It’s time for another installment of reader questions This week, Julie asks, “How you handle it when people ask you why you homeschool? I am getting this question a lot right now and I am finding that the people who ask this usually do not agree with homeschooling. Any thoughts?”
I think there are two types of “why do you homeschool” questions. The first is a genuinely curious question that seeks to find out what particular set of circumstances led your family to the decision to homeschool and how that decision has affected your life. The second is a question that seeks to find out what in the ever-loving name of all that is sane made you flip out and decide to do something that is so obviously wrong and why in the world can’t you see that you’re ruining your kids’ lives.
For the first question, I politely answer in a similar, though usually condensed version of the way I answered Gabi’s question about why we homeschool not too long ago. Thankfully, I haven’t run across the second type of why we homeschool question too often. We live in a very homeschool-friendly area and I’ve never really caught too much flack about homeschooling, though I have run into my share of inane comments, but that’s a whole ‘nother post topic.
However, when I do come across that “are you crazy” brand of why do you homeschool, I try to remain calm and answer as succinctly as possible:
The schools were not meeting our children’s educational needs.
We felt this was the best educational choice for our children.
Homeschooling is what we feel is right for our family.
I’ve got a few reasons for keeping it short and sweet. One, I don’t really enjoy confrontation in the first place. Two, even if I did enjoy confrontation, I’m probably not going to change a negative view of homeschooling by going on the defensive. And, three — and maybe most importantly — the educational choices that my husband and I have made for our family are not up for debate. The choice we have made for educating our children is between me and my husband and God, not the cashier at the supermarket, the relative that I see at Thanksgiving and Christmas, or the neighbor who doesn’t particularly like me in the first place.
Yes, sometimes it’s fun to have those snappy comeback in mind, but I don’t think the delivery would come off right for me. I’d probably just sound hateful and that doesn’t help the case for homeschooling or my Christian witness. If brevity doesn’t work, I break out the old bean dip.
How do you field the homeschool questions of the “are you insane?” variety?