I’ve been officially homeschooling for almost 8 years now. Official as in required by the state to submit paperwork, though I really believe homeschooling begins at birth. It’s a lifestyle and a state of mind, not something confined to the hours of 7 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. That’s probably a topic for another post, though.
Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Homeschooling
So what are the questions I’ve been asked most often over the past few years? I don’t know if there are 10 different ones! They all seem to have a similar theme one way or another, but here are the top 10 reactions I’ve gotten when making the statement: “We homeschool.”
1. Stunned silence.
Does that count as a question? Awkward!
2. Do your kids participate in any activities outside the home?
Yes, they have participated in ballet, art classes, Gymboree Play & Music, field trips with homeschool groups, Christmas parties, Valentine exchanges, Vacation Bible School, and probably more things I’m forgetting. We don’t live in a cave or howl at the moon!
3. How do they socialize?
My girls are not the shy type. They are able to jump in and start talking and playing in just about any situation — at the park, at VBS, wherever. Big Sis especially can relate to kids of almost any age, as well as talk politely with adults. She does much better than I did at that age.
4. Don’t you get sick of them? I’d go crazy if I had to spend all that time with my kids. Don’t you wish you could just put them on the bus?
No, I don’t get tired of being with my daughters. I enjoy their company. I can’t imagine putting them on a bus and leaving their care, well-being, and education to strangers. That seems strange to me, though I know it’s the norm and it works for most people.
5. How do you know what to teach when?
There are many ways to determine scope and sequence, the World Book guidelines being one of them. I also like to look at the Core Knowledge series for ideas based on standard grade levels. I’ve read Home Learning Year by Year. I think homeschooling takes a natural progression in learning and you can trust that process when you know your child and you know your basic goals. Sort of like someone asking, “How will you know when it’s time to push when you’re giving birth?” Trust me, you just know!
6. What grade is she in?
This one is tough. Based on age or based on ability? In all subjects or her most advanced? I don’t like the grade level question. Too artificially limiting!
7. How do you know she’s learning?
Seriously? Talk to her for more than 2 minutes and you’ll know she’s learning! She’s smart as a whip and can talk intelligently about many different topics. We don’t need a standardized test to tell us that.
8. What kind of oversight is there?
Plenty in our state. It really depends on where you live. We file a letter of intent at the beginning of the year, along with a year-end assessment from a certified teacher, or a standardized test if you go that route. We’ve lived in states with more regulations than that, but never less. I know there are some states with little to no requirements.
9. Aren’t you worried about college?
More and more colleges recognize the achievements and the dedication to learning of homeschoolers. I plan to learn all I can about making a transcript for my girls when the time comes. I have no doubt they will be able to attend college if/when they choose. What I worry about is how to pay for it!
10. What about prom?
What about it? Not everyone who attends public school also attends the prom. Sometimes they don’t have a date or they can’t afford the expense involved. Homeschool groups often host proms, as well as graduation ceremonies. When the time comes, if my girls want to attend a prom or be part of a graduation ceremony, we’ll surely find something to participate in nearby. If not, we’ll organize one ourselves! Homeschoolers aren’t afraid to take the initiative!
I realize that some questions are asked just to be nosy or disdainful, while others clearly want more information because they are really interested in homeschooling. I’m always glad to answer those who are really interested!