I have always known I was going to homeschool… way before I had kids… even when I was a kid myself…
I was ready for people questioning me, asking about homeschool, wondering about the legalities and the logistics and the myths.
But… I wasn’t ready for the reactions that I have been getting…
Because Xavier is now “school age” everyone asks about school. When I say that we homeschool some ask the questions that I was ready for… but many others surprise me…
they have no idea what homeschooling is… they have never heard of it.
I wasn’t ready for that. How can someone have never heard of homeschooling?
I know that it isn’t popular in french-canadian circles but I thought the concept was at least known. I remember talking to one of the moms in my area that homeschools and she too had never heard of it until she started searching for information on school alternatives for her son who has leaning problems.
It really surprises me each time… I won’t even think about talking about unschooling with them…
Is this common?
Where I live (Connecticut, USA), the concept of homeschooling is very well known (and CT is a very homeschool friendly state), and most people that find out we’re homeschooling are really positive about it. Most do have the usual questions…socialization, legalities, etc…and the vast majority usually comment with some form of “I give you a lot of credit, I wish I was the kind of person that could do that” like it’s so hard! The one thing I do have trouble with is explaining the concept of UNschooling, because most people that I’ve met aren’t comfortable with the idea of allowing a child to be in control of their own learning (my parents especially!) and can’t imagine that a child will learn what they need to know unless they are being formally taught. I usually don’t get into the unschooling thing unless someone is really interested in HOW we homeschool. I usually just respond with “No, he doesn’t go to school. We homeschool.” I can imagine how frustrating it must be for you to have to deal with having to explain the simple concept of homeschooling each and every time someone inquires about why he isn’t in school, much less UNschooling!!
Ahh, I remember those days well, when our firstborn was 4 or 5 years old and i was afraid to leave the house, just the thought of having to deal with every person we met asking her “how old are you? Are ya excited for KINDERGARTEN??????”
It is getting better here, and more often than not, where I used to get quizzical and even aggressive/negative/personal questions, now I get “Oh, my sister does that.”, or, “I heard those kids turn out really smart.”
I don’t care anymore, really. you don’t owe anyone any explanations, and it is up to them to do their research.
There are a trillion sassy comebacks, and I have to be honest and say that I have never used a single one of them. But all you really need to do is to hold your head up high and commit to maybe one good phrase that you will repeat over and over–something that makes you feel good and your kids feel good–maybe something like: “We’re really happy with our decision to homeschool”, or even turn it on the other person and answer every question with a simple, “Why do you ask?” and smile!
Glad I refound your blog….now I gotta go play catch-up!
Here in Toronto it is a bit of a mix. Most people know it exists and are supportive to one degree or another. However, as the first landing place for many new Canadians, we’ve run into several people who had never heard of it and who we had a hard time convincing of homeschooling’s legality.
As for unschooling – I agree- most people find that one a bit harder to swallow – we tend not to bring that one up if it doesn’t come up on its own.
I think what is hard is that the first questions are about curriculum and having to get tested….
I don’t want to lie, but people really don’t get unschooling so I can’t really say the “truth” either…
Todd, yes, convincing of the legality has come up a few times…