Explaining Homeschooling to Skeptics

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Explaining Homeschooling to Skeptics

Postby Splungeman » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:04 pm

Sorry if this is an oft-discussed topic...

We have just decided to homeschool our son, who would have started kindergarten this year. The first reactions from our family have not been favorable. They feel we are depriving our son of friends and that we just don't want to "let him go". Every negative thing you can imagine is being thrown at us as though we haven't already considered these things.

Nevertheless, we are committed to our course and know we are making the best decision for our son. We are quite surprised at our family's lack of confidence in us. It is as though they think we made this decision on a whim and that we have suddenly become backwoods ignoramuses who have no business teaching a child anything.

Here are the things they question followed by our responses. I am sharing this because I am wondering if anyone else is going through this and might offer advice:

THEM: What about friends? He needs to be around kids his own age!

US: We are joining a 40 family strong homeschooling co-op who has two get-togethers a week for the children to play. Also, when he is old enough, our son will go to Boy Scouts and countless other outside-of-school activities.

THEM: How can you possibly teach him everything?

US: We are going to purchase good curriculums and do our best. There are countless examples of homeschooling parents without a higher education who have successfully homeschooled their children. Those children now attend ivy league schools. If they can do it, so can we.

THEM: He is not going to learn how to defend himself against bullies or how to deal with difficult people if he is not in school.

US: The point of school is to learn how to read and write, history, mathematics, etc. It's sad when people assume our public school children are so unsupervised that they are a good place for kids to learn how to deal with bullies. Perhaps schools should add Krav Maga or Kung Fu to their class requirements if this is the case. Some kids don't learn how to deal with bullies at all and show up to school wearing black trench coats and armed with semi-automatic weapons as a result. Besides...if someone bullied our son, we would encourage him to just whack the offender in the nose...which would lead to our son getting into big trouble for defending himself. Call us old-fashioned...but getting into trouble for defending yourself against a punk is ridiculous.

THEM: Homeschooling is only for religious fundamentalists.

US: Not all homeschoolers are religious fundamentalists. Some are. Some aren't. Not all curriculums are religiously based. Many are. What does that matter to us anyway? 2+2=4 regardless of whether or not you believe in some sort of religion. Plus, I went to public school with very religious people and got along just fine with them. Who cares? The point is WE get to teach our child what we want to teach him. It's not like we're atheists anyway.

THEM: You can't afford to do this. You both need to work while your son goes to school.

US: We are willing to sacrifice anything to give our son a good education. If we have to sell our house and live in a small apartment, we will.

THEM: Your son will not be like other kids.

US: With the school drop-out rate as high as it is, we consider that a good thing! (Okay...we didn't say that...but we wanted to...we actually said the following) Studies have shown that homeschooled kids are no more or less "normal" than other kids.

THEM: Homeschooled kids are quiet and socially awkward. The Smiths have a homsechooled daughter who wears black and doesn't talk to anyone.

US: You're right...there are no kids in public school who are quiet and socially awkward. Every child who attends public school is outgoing, engaging, and wears bright, colorful, non-goth clothing. They spout philosophy and poetry on command while unicorns and cherubs follow them wherever they go. :)

Anyway...these are but mere samplings of the things we've encountered. Anyone have any better answers? I know, ours were a bit snarky. That's probably wrong. Actually we weren't that plain snarky in our responses. We backed it all up with statistics and studies. But some people are just so resistant to anything against the "norm" that they just don't listen to that.

Anyway...this is my first substantive post here. Just looking for some support. Since it seems our family will not provide much, we must seek it from others. :)
Seek the truth, come whence it may, cost what it will.

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Postby Lily » Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:02 am

Bean dip, honey. It's a life saver.

It's not your job to discuss or convince them. YOUR family is making the decision, they can choose to support you or not have you discuss it with them.

And on days you're really feeling down, take a look at The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List. There's so much truth in there!
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."
- M. Montessori
Proud non-member of the HSLDA

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Postby ncmom » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:36 am

Don't worry about what they think! You do what is best for your son. I have been HS for 5 yrs now, have proven to my family it is better than PS and that my kids have improved, and can prove that their test scores have skyrocketed. None of it matters I still have about half of my family insisting that I am in some way harming my children by keeping them out of the PS system. In fact the older kids are told, by a certain relative, on a regular basis that ALL children should receive a FREE public education (this person is a college professor, imagine that :roll: ). I just ignore them, my kids ignore them, and we move on with our lives. We have lots of friends that support us and don't need our family to like what we are doing, just respect that it is our decision and we decided to HS.

I told a relative this week that I respected the fact that they had an opinion about it, but I was the parent and I was going to do what I felt was right for my kids. If they didn't like the way I was doing it then if/when they have children they can do it their way. It shut them up pretty quick.

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Postby Splungeman » Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:51 am

Thanks for all the nice (and helpful) replies. Our approach to announce our decision was to send an e-mail to all of our family communicating that we have made the decision in the best interest of our son. It was a nice, positive letter without any studies cited, statistics, etc. It was positive and encouraging "bean dip" :)

So far my parents responded with (unexpected) messages of unwavering love and support. We were so happy about that. There are others in our family who are just the opposite and unfortunately they happen to be the grandparents who live closest to us an are the most frequently around us. We are hoping that our process and my son's development will ease their fears.

Their main fear are that he will be lonely. Our plan is to invite them to one of our homeschool co-op functions in which usually 30 families attend with their children. I think once they meet other homeschooling families and interact with them, they will calm down a bit.

Thanks again for your responses!
Seek the truth, come whence it may, cost what it will.

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Postby JoshCHS » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:16 am

Unfortunately the stereotypes of homeschooling worry relatives that your children will be "weird". Nothing could be further from the truth. You will have the time to instill excellent character values in your children.

I really feel like there are a lot of resources now for socialization for homeschooled kids. In the past, when fewer people homeschooled, this may have been more of a problem, but these days it is easy to get involved homeschooling groups and coops.

Stay strong, you may a great choice to homeschool your kids!
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