A few months ago I was at a family function chatting with a very sweet member of the family I don’t see very often. She was very curious about homeschooling, which made me happy because it’s obviously my favorite thing to talk about. After conversing for close to thirty minutes, she asked me a series of questions that I’m sure other homeschoolers have heard often, but still surprised me and, frankly, frustrated me. I didn’t let on, of course, and answered as politely and honestly as possible, but that one conversation really made me aware of all the false notions circulating about this educational choice that just don’t seem to go away- even when the answers are right in front of you.
While I’ve heard dozens of homeschooling myths, today I’m sharing my list of the:
10 Most Frustrating Comments About Homeschooling
(and why they frustrate me!)
1. “How are your children going to learn to play with other kids?”
This was one of the questions asked by the relative. I was a bit flabbergasted when she brought it up because the entire time we were talking, we were watching my children playing and having a good time with their second and third cousins that they never see. I pointed that out to her, but I don’t think she equated it to “school socialization” which so many people seem to place on a pedestal for reasons known only to them.
2. “How do you know your children are smart enough?”
As opposed to….? I have to admit, I really didn’t get this question because school doesn’t make children smart. Children considered by society to be “intelligent” are generally born that way. I replied that I know this by interacting with my kids on a daily basis, but come on. Smart enough for what? To be doctors? Lawyers? Chefs? Moms? And I hate to point out the elephant in the room, but public schools aren’t exactly known for pumping out kids who are “smart enough.” Their precious standardized test scores are evidence of that.
3. “How will your kids learn if you only use books from the library?”
I almost spit out my drink when I heard this one. Really? Really? What’s wrong with library books? They’re colorful, interesting, plentiful, and cover a huge variety of subjects, as opposed to textbooks which are dull and are written only to teach- not to induce any genuine interest. I think a better question is, “How will your kids learn if they only use textbooks?”
4. “How do you know if your kids will do well on standardized tests?”
Okay, first I’ll tell you how I answered that:
“I don’t know that they’ll do well per se, but up until this point they’ve consistently scored an average of two grade levels above where they should be, and this is without test prep. Keeping them interested is so much more valuable than drilling them continuously.”
Here’s what I wanted to say:
“I don’t care how they do. Standardized tests are a useless waste of time. I’m more interested in giving them an education that means something.”
5. “What makes you think you know more than a teacher would?”
I never said that I do. What I do know is that not even the best teacher knows everything, and I have the gift of working on a much smaller teacher-to-student ratio. I also happen to love to learn right alongside my kids.
Besides, does anyone else see the insinuation behind that question? If school didn’t make me “smart enough” to teach my kids, why would I send them there, too?
6. (To my preteen daughter) “Do you know how to read?”
Yes, we actually had a neighbor who asked my then-12 yr.old daughter that question. The funny thing about it is that my much younger kids used to sit outside reading aloud to each other all the time, right within his earshot, and he still felt the need to ask my older daughter that. When she told him that she knows how to read, he gave her a chapter book and instructed her to go home and read it and come back and tell him about it. Three years later, we’ve never once opened that book.
7. (Again, to one of my kids) “You can’t go to college.”
The mother of one of my daughter’s friends said this to her. I truly wish that people who don’t know what they’re talking about would just not say anything at all. My daughter was upset for quite a while after this comment, and she was only 9!
8. “Someday your kids are going to have to enter the real world.”
Oh. My. Goodness. Do people not see the irony in this statement? Institutionalized school students must sit in a building for 30-40 hours a week and learn about “the real world” from the pages of their textbooks and power point presentations, while homeschooled students are out experiencing the real thing.
9. “If you let your teens sleep until noon, how will they learn to get up for work when they have a job?”
I can answer this one with experience now because my oldest daughter who happens to be my latest sleeper now has a job for which she frequently has to get up bright and early for. She uses this wonderful invention called…an alarm clock.
I’m being silly, but this is another question I just don’t get. People learned to get up early waaay before compulsory schooling ever became a “thing.”
10. “Letting your kids stay in their pajamas all day is going to teach them to be lazy.”
Ummm, I’m pretty sure it’s only going to teach them how to be comfortable. Sheesh.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned as homeschoolers, it’s keeping our senses of humor, so- even though comments like this make me shake my head- we really do think they’re funny and have a good time discussing them.
Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear what odd homeschooling remarks you’ve heard. Leave a comment below!