I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and veteran homeschoolers give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things.
Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. Please let me know if you do not want me to include your name in the posting. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and answers. Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.
Everest Academy Administrator
Question: How do you respond to friends, family, or even strangers who ask you weird homeschooling questions or express negativity? Do you think overall that you get a negative or positive vibe from people concerning homeschooling?
My Answer: I don't generally get negative vibes towards homeschooling...probably because of the negative vibes I give off towards public/private schooling. Mostly I just people who are genuinely interested. I did write down my feelings towards the whole "socialization" question. You can see that here: http://www.alabamahomeschooling.com/2010/02/socialization-factor.html . I will say that when folks approach you, they will come at you with all sorts of "facts" about homeschooling that are completely wrong, so make sure you know what you are talking about including what is legal and what is not, the fact that your child CAN go to college, etc. You can find some good statistics here: http://www.alabamahomeschooling.com/2010/01/homeschooling-statistics.html .
It's funny, it seems like strangers and casual acquaintances seem to have a more positive vibe when they hear about homeschooling than my own family does, haha! However, I don't think that family members are intentionally being negative, but it is something different to them (no one in our family has ever homeschooled) and their questions about it probably make me feel more defensive than they should. This is my first year to homeschool, and we started halfway through, when they came home for Christmas from the public school, that was where we picked up. So even I have had my doubts about it, but I am positive that homeschooling is the best decision for us and I feel it is the safest and most fulfilling customized learning environment for the kids.
I have been prepped for this kind of reaction from my family though, because as a freelance graphic artist that owns a sign shop with my husband, I get the -maybe you can find a 'real job' one day ...hahaha! 'Real job' consisting of one where I punch a clock for someone else, and 'real school' consisting of someone else teaching my children...go figure.
That's true for me, too. It seems that strangers and people I've just met react more positively to homeschooling than my own family does. I wonder why that is? I have had several discussions with family members about homeschooling and our numerous reasons why we love it. I guess it's fear of the unknown - we're going outside the so called "box" and doing what we feel is right - and not what everyone else is doing. I'm the first in my family to homeschool. We know this is the right decision for us - and we absolutely love it!
Well, when we first decided to do it, and I talked to my mom about it. She said, 'well do you think that you and Lee are qualified to teach them-I mean teachers go to school and earn degrees to teach...' I really didnt know HOW to respond to that...Nevertheless, we still know that we are doing what is right for us, and our girls are so happy - that is all the proof I need :)
Only once have I gotten negative vibes from anyone - a stranger. He worked at Publix and questioned why the kids were out of school at noon that day. Shopping is one of the easiest ways for the kids to practice their math and reading skills - remember, they're 6. Now store employees know us and actually comment on our "learning" while shopping. Most times people are more shocked to meet someone who WANTS to be with their kids and quickly retorts, "I could never do that. I wouldn't have the patients".
If there are negative comments, I refer to the recent school closings of an already overburdened system, underfunding, drugs and safety issues etc. I think school used to be a great place. Now, the government just does not look seriously enough at the plight of schools when they cut back. They make the decision and hope for the best. Shame, shame, shame.
If someone asks me weird homeschooling questions I usually tell them flat out what it is and what I do. I have gotten some positive and negative reactions. But I also get people that pretend to like homeschooling but they really don't and I can tell they don't but I won't name anyone. They act interested in it but really you can tell by the look on their face that they don't care for it. And its usually the reaction I get from public school teachers.
When I began this journey 13 years ago, I received many blank stares and "you do what?" responses......... Now almost everyone who comments is usually remarking on my children's nice behavior and manners, and that they can carry on a conversation with almost anyone. Our favorite clerk at the local $Tree commented on Katie's behavior again just the other day. She is amazed by the fact that Katie actually engages in a conversation instead of giving monosyllabic answers, ignoring her all together, or actually being rude. Those are the responses she typically sees from ps kids - her words, not mine! The other thing I've noticed is that now almost everyone "knows someone who does that". It has become quite accepted and - at times - seems to be almost envied by many who do not think they can homeschool. I must admit that when someone says "I could never do that!", I usually agree with them and say "No it is not for everyone". :-)
i think i've gotten more positive feed back then negative. maybe it's because i'm positive about it, maybe it's because these days colleges seek out homeschoolers.... maybe it's because i try to surround myself with like thinking folk.
the negatives mainly came from my family in the early days. my older sis is an elementary school teacher and i think she felt like i was dissing the teachers. it's not about the teachers... it's about the system (totally outdated and would take a complete overhaul to fix, imo). my family is pretty conservative, they are used to me by now :), and they have come to accept. but i still see the look in my dad's eye, and sometimes hear his sighs and mutterings of, 'when you finally put them in school....' at this point my sis and i talk about learning styles and strategies... i love that! 'no child left behind' helped these conversations happen (one good thing that came from all that nonsense!!!!)
I was actually expecting it when I pulled Nathan out of school last February, but when I told people they were very positive. Many commented that they'd heard that homeschooled kids finished earlier and learned more. Several people said that they'd thought that might be a good option for him because of all the trouble he'd had. Nathan's therapist who manages his ADHD meds raised an eyebrow at first. He asked if I still worked, and I said yes, but he'd aged out of daycare and would have to stay alone over the summer anyway. I told him my plan and he just said, "Well, sounds like this is a well thought out plan." I was terrified he was going to report me to DHR for working while trying to homeschool.
My response it to usually answer with my distrust of our county school systems and that I feel I know what is best of my own child. Then if they have anything else to say I let them know that I humored them with the first question and after that I will tell them "frankly it is NONE of your business." In a firm voice.