When Your Homeschooling is Questioned

“I’m bombarded with questions I don’t feel are appropriate to answer and I would never ask someone with a child in public school. But they feel it’s totally okay to ask me, leaving awkward conversations for myself, my family and my child.”

A homeshooling mom recently asked us this question. Her problem is one that faces virtually every homeschooler at some time or another. It’s rude, it’s none of their business, and it’s hurtful to the child. And yet they persist, because they don’t trust homeschooling and feel they must intervene. Or maybe they’ve always been this way, but we’re more sensitive when it’s about homeschooling.

Sometimes the person remembers back when the homeschool parent was a kid and was bad in math. Or they remind the parent that they don’t have a teaching credential, and declare that their homeschooling is illegal.

Family dynamics can play a big part in the level of interference, but it can also come from a total stranger. And our children are listening and perhaps believing what they say!

Every homeschooler is supporting you and understanding! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Consider a blunt and private discussion with anyone who repeatedly is criticizing your choice to homeschool and doing it in front of your child.
  • “Why do you want to know?” can be an effective way to respond to a rude question.
  • Tell them that this is what is working for your child now, and you’re taking it year by year. 
  • It’s definitely ok to tell them that this isn’t an appropriate topic to discuss in front of kids, and offer to privately respond to their concerns later.

After an unpleasant encounter, consider discussing it with your child. Our kids are listening and may need support and reassurance. It’s a lesson in learning how to deal with the unpleasant situations they’ll be facing throughout their lives. 

“Thanksgiving Survival Tips for Homeschoolers” has more information and support that applies all year long.

Karen Taylor’s always homeschooled son attended a local community college after graduating from homeschooling, transferred to UC Berkeley as a junior, and is currently a neurocience grad student at UCSF.  She shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog.