Topic | Answering the question: "Why are you homeschooling?"

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  • Meri Gerik
    Participant

    Has anyone found a brief, yet effective response to the question, “Why are you homeschooling?”

    My fourth grader has been in public school up until now. When I tell my friends and family that I’ve decided to homeschool, I commonly get a blank stare, followed by a resounding “Why??” The question tends to sound more like an accusation. In other words, “Why would you take your child away from the social interaction he receives at school?” or “You’re not qualified to teach!” I find it strange that so many people think it ludicrous that a parent would take their children’s education into their own hands.

    Although I am 150% sold on my decision to use Charlotte Mason’s methods in my homeschool, I find it increasingly difficult to answer this question. I cannot possibly sum up three months of research into a 60 second response that will appease the short attention span of my inquisitors.

    I’m curious to know if anyone has come up with a brief, thoughtful, no “twaddle” response that would not only answer the question, but carry the great weight of Charlotte’s philosophy, and hopefully inspire others to reflect on the education of their own children.

    If it helps, the reason I chose to homeschool, as well as use Charlotte Mason’s methods, is that I want my sons to have first hand, in-depth knowledge of science, history, literature, arts… I want them to be inspired by the ideas of great men and women, and I don’t believe this can be achieved through text books, or a teacher’s retelling of important events in history, etc. For my part, I did not receive any such inspiration from my schooling. I want something better for my children.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    art
    Participant

    It took me 15 seconds to read your last paragraph. I timed it. I would commit it to memory and be ready with it. No one could possibly argue with you. And if they did, the argument would be ridiculous wouldn’t it?

    Karen
    Participant

    “I find it strange that so many people think it ludicrous that a parent would take their children’s education into their own hands.”

     

    YES.  And, in our local paper, just two days ago, was an article about Kindergarten Academy – summer school for children who lack the social skills and or the math & language skills to do K work.  And one teacher was quoted as saying (paraphrasing, b/c I can’t remember the word-for-word), “It’s awesome that parents are so invested in their kids’ education.”  (Because parents were attending some classes with their children and the children were actually present, instead of absent.  And because the parents allowed the kids to go in the first place.)

    AWESOME.  Yes, but let one of those parents cross that imaginary line and become 100% invested and all of a sudden the parents are weird, etc.

    Talk about annoying! *L*  I regularly read the newspaper articles about education, just b/c I’m a former public school teacher, and I can’t tell you how many times I give my hubby a little rant about it! Embarassed

     

    Monucram
    Member

    FWIW, I remember wanting to have a quick answer for interested parties. For me, the more people asked me, the more it became solidified in my brain and then it came out better and better through the years, as well as sometimes more brief than I thought. Just my .02

     

    I would commit it to memory and be ready with it. No one could possibly argue with you. And if they did, the argument would be ridiculous wouldn’t it?  This. Well put by both ladies 🙂

     

    AWESOME.  Yes, but let one of those parents cross that imaginary line and become 100% invested and all of a sudden the parents are weird, etc.  So, true, so true.

    nebby
    Participant

    I think part of the problem (for me at least) is that the other person’s feelings are usually involved. People seem to be very defensive about homeschooling as if you choosing to do so is a judgment on them. So I think it is good to frame your choices as you doing what works best for your child, not to make generalizations. So maybe say “we really feel a more hands on style of learning will work well for Johnny. He doesn’t do well with textbooks.” You don’t need to add your opinion that no kid can do well with textbooks 😉

    Nebby

    http://www.lettersfromnebby.wordpress.com

    HSMAMA
    Participant

    I respond similar to what nebby suggested. A lot of times you can tell what response you will need just based on how people ask. I get a lot of “oh, man! How do you do it? I couldn’t be around my kids all day.” These people don’t really care WHY I homeschool, they just want to feel better about busing their kids out every morning. I give them a generic response and 9 times out of 10 that’s the end of the conversation. Same goes for the people who start in with the “aren’t you worried about socialization?” If someone is generally interested in the why’s of my choices, the don’t typically lead with that question. We are usually having a polite conversation where they ask about our day, our activities, etc, as opposed to just requesting a “why?”

    jmac17
    Participant

    I usually reply that homeschooling enables us to individualize our children’s education to meet their personal needs.  If they ask more, I briefly explain that each child is at different levels in different skills, such as my DD8 who reads almost as well as I do, but struggles in math, as opposed to my DS6 who is several grades ahead in math.  They can each do what’s best for them.  The person asking questions usually agrees that individualization is great.

    The next comment is usually about how they couldn’t do it, it would take too much time, or their children don’t listen to them.  I respond by listing all the ways my life is easier because I’m homeschooling.  I don’t have to wake kids up early, pack lunches, and get them ready for school.  I don’t have to deal with homework with a child already burnt out from school.  We can take swimming lessons and do other activities early in the day, so we can be home as a family in the evenings.  I get to teach my children when they are at their best, not their tired worst, so they actually do listen most of the time. Usually the person nods and says “I hadn’t thought of that.” 

    I think all of these reasons are fairly non-threatening.  They don’t imply criticism of schools or the other person’s decision to send their child to school.

    Now, if they ask, I can also get on my soap box for hours talking about John Taylor Gatto’s and John Holt’s books and about how I REALLY feel about the school system after working for years as a tutor who saw all the kids falling through the cracks.  But that is rarely useful. Tongue out

    Joanne

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