While homeschooling my children for the past decade, I've heard all the negative comments, condescending questions, and ignorant assumptions about how I choose to educate my children. Out of all the questions, I'm asked, the one that irks me the most is, "you're not going to homeschool forever, right?"
I've always expected certain family members or even unimportant strangers to suggest that my children should join other peers in a traditional classroom as they grew older. Still, I did not expect to be so negatively judged by what was considered to be "professionals." Without asking for an opinion, I've seemed to have received several anyway from therapists, doctors, tutors, and speech pathologists.
Do you want to know what they all had in common? None of them had any experience homeschooling. None of them knew anything about home education without public school involvement, such as online schooling. And they definitely were not familiar with the homeschool laws. They all assumed that homeschooling meant staying indoors, away from any kind of normal peer interaction.
Homeschooling during the middle and high school years was what they were most concerned about. "How will they make friends or learn independence? They will be socially awkward".
The most interesting aspect of how they thought was that they ignored the pros of homeschooling and the cons of a traditional setting.
No matter how high the rate of negative social interactions is in public school as opposed to positive experiences, society is willing to believe that any kind of socialization at the hand of public or private education, is ultimately better than homeschooling. They don't care if your child is involved in extracurricular activities, homeschool cooperatives, after-school clubs, or are more involved in the community. Holding on to this belief that children belong in a regular school and will not be successful otherwise, is far too common.
So if a parent is free to choose to homeschool or not, why does it matter if others do not agree with that choice?
Well, if you've ever been put on the spot by someone who asks in a condescending tone if you're planning on homeschooling through high school, then you most likely remember exactly how that person made you feel.
It is too often that I hear homeschool parents sharing an experience they had similar to this scenario. Many times, they talk about how discouraged they feel as a result. They find themselves asking if they are making the right decision or not. They question their own parenting.
If the script were flipped, the conversation would not be the same.
In what world is it okay to rudely ask a parent if they are making the right choice to send their child to public school?
When does a family doctor ever ask a parent if they are planning to keep their child in a traditional classroom?
When is it okay for a therapist to tell a parent what type of education they should pick?
What gives a stranger, friend, family member, or professional, the permission to cross that boundary and suggest to a parent what choice they should make?
My advice to every homeschool parent is this:
"Choosing to homeschool your child also means choosing to not care what anyone else thinks...not strangers, friends, or relatives. Your children are yours to raise, period."
ABOUT SHELBY from A HOMEMADE EDUCATION
After homeschooling for a decade, Shelby has become passionate about home education. She is the founder of a homeschool cooperative for teens in her hometown, an outspoken homeschool activist for her social media followers, a creator of cozy homeschool curriculum bundles for her customers, and a teacher to her three children. She is currently working on writing an inspirational book about homeschooling children who have learning and attention differences, such as dyslexia and ADHD.
Let's connect at: fb.me/ahomemadeeducation