What to Say to the Homeschooling Critics

Whether you are just starting out homeschooling, or you’ve been homeschooling for years chances are you’ve been met with a critic or two. Often they present you with a question that immediately puts you on the defense concerning your choice to homeschool. Such homeschooling critics are often misinformed or ignorant to the realities of homeschooling. 

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Does that mean you have to answer their critical questions? What should you do, or say, when faced with someone who finds your choice to be a less than ideal for your children. What if those concerns are legitimate?

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These are questions that homeschooling moms, and dads, have been asking themselves for generations. The more mainstream homeschooling becomes, perhaps, the less we’ll be met with such critical thinkers. Yet, criticism isn’t always bad. Sometimes, we can use it to shore up our own thinking regarding the decisions we are making. In this way, we’ll be armed with answers the next time a homeschooling critic begins to ask the tough, or sometimes no-so-tough, questions.

If you are a homeschooler you’ve probably experienced that dilemma and you wonder should I keep my mouth shut, or should I respond? Often we feel like it’s our duty to defend the cause. But, do we really need to respond?

10 Common Critical Questions about Homeschooling

Many times homeschooling families get asked the same questions over and over again. Sometimes these questions stem from curiosity because the lifestyle is foreign to most people. Other times the questions are from caring friends or family who feel that their concerns for your children’s development are warranted. While still others simply ask questions out of disdain for anything that is an alternative to the cultural and societal norms.

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Here are the most common questions asked of homeschoolers by critics. 

  1. Is that legal?
  2. What about socialization?
  3. Don’t you want them to go to college?
  4. How will you know what to teach them?
  5. Will they graduate, and what about a diploma?
  6. Are you qualified to teach your kids? Or, are you smart enough to teach your kids?
  7. But, what about the prom?
  8. Won’t they miss out on playing sports?
  9. You’ll surely send them to high school, won’t you?
  10. What about the school tests?
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How to Answer the Homeschooling Critics

Here’s the thing. You really don’t have to answer the homeschooling critics. Yes, that’s true. 

You can simply choose to ignore the questions altogether. You, the parent, have both the moral and legal right to make decisions concerning your child’s education. Of course, your goal should be to provide the best possible education for your child. And, most likely you’ve done the research to determine that homeschooling is the choice you want to make.

Therefore, you can simply own your decision. Be confident in the choice you’ve made and realize that you do not owe an explanation to anyone.

Now most likely you are thinking, it’s not that easy. And you are right because often those homeschooling critics are well-meaning family and friends. Sometimes it’s the check-out clerk at the grocery store, but generally, it’s from someone you know. 

Because you have a relationship with them, you feel that you need to explain your decision to them. Perhaps, you even want to educate them for the sake of their own children. Yet, we often approach these questions from a defensive position, rather than, an offensive one.

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5 Ways to Answer the Homeschooling Critics

▬ Have a good understanding of why you chose to homeschool.

Be on the same page with your husband about the choice.  Then, gently and lovingly explain your reasoning to those who ask. 

Here’s an example: 

Thank you for your concern. It’s such a blessing to know that you care and are concerned about my children’s well being. Please know that no one cares more for them than my husband and I do. No one is more eager to ensure that they are well educated, socially adjusted and thoroughly prepared to live and function in the community as adults. Because of that, this is how we have chosen to educate our children. 

▬ Develop a thick skin.

Sometimes when we are on the defensive end of a discussion we can grow a bit snarky in our response. But, we need to remember that our children are watching us and learning about how to interact with the world. So, yes, maybe that check-out girl is being nosy, or, she might be wondering if homeschooling would be right for her own little ones. Instead of being defensive and snarky try being informative and kind.

▬ Know your Goals

Understanding the educational or societal goals that you have for your children will go a long way when being put on the spot of having to answer the critics. Explain that you are choosing to guide your child throughout their childhood in the hopes of directing them toward being productive members of society as adults.

▬ Be proactive

Invite them to sit down and explore options with you and be ready to present valid reasons why you chose homeschooling. Listen to the reasoning for alternatives and be ready to explain why those options are not right for your family. Put them on the defense by having them give reasons why their choice is better than your own.

▬ Listen Kindly

When a critic makes statements, and/or questions your decision, listen kindly, smile and thank them for their opinion. Then, walk away. As previously stated, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for the life choices you are making on behalf of your children. You can be kind in your response and assured in your own heart about the choices you’ve made for your own family. 

Don’t let homeschooling critics stand in your way.

Discover even more ways to answer the critics. If you are a homeschooler you’ve probably experienced that dilemma.

The best thing you can do to handle homeschooling critics is being confident in your own choices. Whether your facing critique from someone critical of your choice or someone curious about your choice being assured of your decision is the best possible answer. Why? Because over time those who know your family will begin to see the results of the work you are doing.

They’ll see how your children grow and develop and they’ll come to realize that this homeschooling thing isn’t such a bad idea after all.

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