Homeschool Taboo? Q & A

Since I’ve written my first article about deciding to homeschool, I’ve gotten a lot of questions while out in public from people who’ve read the article and from people that I or my son mentions it to in regular conversation. I’ve grappled internally with some of the questions, so I’ve decided to answer some of the more popular ones here.

A question I get asked a lot is “How is homeschool going?”

Answer:

Well, for one it’s summer, and we are both on break! Lol! But even before the schools went on summer break, I hesitated to answer this question. It felt like pressure. I literally withdrew my son at the end of April with only one month of school left. We weren’t “doing” anything. I felt like I would be judged for that. I felt like I was judged for that. Maybe it was just my own lingering insecurity about it.

But then I wondered why the hell I even cared what anyone thought. My child went to school all year. By the time May rolls around, no one is at school because they want to be- teachers included. So yeah, no school work for the last month of “school.” Hopefully everyone’s ok with that. If not, I am!

Next questions. . .

Question: So what/how are you teaching him?

I’m teaching him whatever I want and whatever he wants to learn! And sometimes he’s teaching himself. And sometimes he’s learning without “teaching.” Like when he was three and learned that Walmart was Walmart before he could read because he paid attention.

I’m teaching him the same way I taught him the alphabet and how to count. The same way I taught him his name and how to write it. I’m teaching him the same way I taught him baby sign language when he couldn’t talk. The same way I taught him to look both ways before he crosses a street, but not to cross a street without a grownup.

I’m teaching him the same way I taught him to potty. The same way I taught him to brush his teeth and bathe. I’m teaching him the same way I taught him to iron his clothes. The same way I’m teaching him to drive.

I am his first and best teacher.

Question: What curriculum are you using?

Answer:

We’re not using a curriculum. In the beginning, I felt shameful about this answer, too. I made the decision in confidence, because I know what is best for my child. But I felt like we would be looked at as a delinquent family. I have gotten a couple of weird looks about it, but guess what? I got over that, too. I don’t know if or when we will use a curriculum. It won’t be soon, as far as I know. I have other plans. When we are come off of our break, we will focus on reading and identity/self-discovery. There is no curriculum for how I want to teach it. The foundations of this may take six months or the entire year. I am okay with slowing down to speed up.

Question: How will you know if he’s on par?

Answer:

With whom? Allowing children learn at their own pace is a huge reason for homeshooling, whether your child struggles or is advanced. What I do know is that lots (most that I know or have read about) of homeschooled children matriculate early. Being “on par” is not one of our concerns or focus.

Question: What about socialization?

Answer:

Your children aren’t socializing at school. If they are, you’re probably getting calls or notes sent home. They are not allowed to talk in class except to answer questions or when they work in groups. They are not really allowed to talk in line when changing classes or going to lunch. Teachers take up precious minutes of eating time to get students to be quiet before they proceed to the cafeteria.

If your child, like mine, is getting bullied, he or she is not learning socialization skills. They are likely trying desperately to find coping skills that work.

My son is an only child and the oldest grandchild who spent the majority of time during his formative years with family, which means 98% adults. It’s why when he did start talking, his vocabulary was advanced. And even before he could talk, his comprehension was always well beyond his ages and stages.

He also has friends and activities he does outside of school. I promise you homeschooled children are not hermits.

Question: What are your hours? How do you have enough time to teach him?

Answer:

If you’re asking whether I have set hours for my child to sit down and look at books all day, the answer is no. School is not from 8 – 3. That method wasn’t working for him.

Question: What about when it’s time to graduate?

Answer:

We’re not there yet. I have a lot to learn. I don’t know everything, but we’re committed to the process. What I do know is that homeschooled children successfully graduate every year, and that a lot of the child prodigies you read about in the media are homeschooled children.

Question: Have you thought about private school, charter school, or Montessori?

Answer:

He’s gone to two different charter schools. I liked different things about each. However, homeschool is not a last resort for us. It is a first choice. In fact, public school was a last resort. If I’d realized years ago that homeschool really was a viable choice, I never would have sent my son. I thought putting him in school was something I “had” to do. Homeschool is first choice for us.

Question: Are you going to put him back in school later?

Answer:

No. See previous answer.

There is a world of options and support out there for parents who want to homeschool. It’s not right or wrong or good or bad to homeschool or to put your children in regular school. Decide what works for your family and when. Maybe you want to homeschool and can’t right now. Make a plan for it and stick to it. Whether two-parent or single-parent household, talk to your children about it, and involve them in the process. If you’ve just been curious about homeschooling and puzzled about how it works or why people do it, I hope I’ve been able to shed some light.

If this post has helped you in any way, please share it with others you think it would benefit. Leave a comment to let me know how it helped. If you have more questions, hit the contact button. I do reply to comments and emails.

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