Part of the rites of passage of being a homeschooler (whether you’re the parent or the child) is having to endure a ton of awkward, invasive, and rude questions. Sometimes the people who ask are genuinely curious (albeit misinformed). Other times they are openly expressing their disdain with your choice to homeschool. Either way, it can be annoying – especially if it happens often. It can also be hard to figure out how to respond.
Below are 5 of the most common awkward questions that homeschoolers hear, as well as some simple answers you can use to reply.
How do you meet people?
One of the age-old misconceptions about homeschoolers is that we don’t get a chance to socialize. It makes me think about this hilarious conversation I saw floating around the internet:
This little girl’s response is pretty perfect if you ask me. It does a great job of pointing out that homeschoolers are able to socialize in the same ways as everyone else. Rather than defending your decision to homeschool by listing the many activities your kids participate in, you can simply say “We socialize pretty much the same as anyone else – by getting out and about – whether it’s for running errands, going on field trips, or spending time doing things and seeing people we enjoy.
Do your kids actually do any schoolwork?
For some reason, people sometimes assume that homeschool is code for “no school”. If someone asks whether your kids do any work, you can say something along the lines of “Part of the reason I chose to homeschool is so that my kids can get a quality education where they can pursue subjects that they may not be able to in a public school. Their school days are filled with meaningful learning opportunities.” This is a response that can work regardless of the homeschooling method you choose.
Is homeschooling even legal?
This one is super simple to answer: “Homeschooling has been legal in all 50 U.S. states since 1993. If you’d like to learn more about it, let me know and I can send you a link to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. They have all the details on homeschool laws by state.” This response is clear, concise, and serves to remind them that if they’re genuinely curious about homeschooling (and not just being facetious), there is plenty of information available online.
Is this a religious thing?
Regardless of whether you chose to homeschool for religious reasons, the assumption that that is the ONLY reason a person would homeschool is what makes this one awkward. My response would be: “Some families definitely homeschool for religious reasons, but it’s not the only (or even the primary) reason. There are many reasons people choose home education. Some people enjoy the flexibility so they can spend more time enjoying life. Others prefer it because it allows their kids to learn at their own pace. Many love how it makes customizing an education so much easier. For us, the main benefit is [insert your main benefit here].”
Are you qualified to teach?
This is another question that skeptics ask. Their assumption is that only licensed teachers are qualified to teach. A good response would be: “Though many homeschool parents do have a secondary education, licensure is generally not a requirement. Most homeschool parents, however, go way above and beyond when it comes to buying curricula and planning engaging lessons. And, thanks to the internet, there’s a wide variety of online resources we can use to round out our children’s education.”
These are just a few answers to awkward questions. Of course, you can reword them so that they sound more like you. The key, though, is to not let anyone ruffle your feathers, to give them quick and easy answers, and to encourage them to seek out more information if they are really curious about how homeschooling works.
What’s the most awkward question you’ve been asked and how did you respond? Let me know in the comments!