If you’re active on social media but new to homeschooling, you may wonder how much to share about your journey with family and friends.
Discuss curriculum choices on Facebook? Share field trip pics on Instagram? Or maybe don’t post anything until you’ve figured this homeschool thing out?
The answer will vary for each family, but the good news is you have a lot of company!
Some people have found huge benefits in sharing about their homeschool on social media. For example, they posted something only to discover some of their friends were homeschooling too. Sometimes their posts led to interest from relatives who were also considering homeschooling and wanted to learn more.
Unfortunately, others have faced negative feedback. One mom caught flack from work colleagues who said her posts made them feel bad they weren’t homeschooling. She says that was never her intention.
If you decide to share about homeschooling on social media, here are homeschoolers’ advice from their experience:
Consider the audience.
Unless you’re a homeschool blogger, you’re probably thinking only about your own network of family and friends. Do you want to share this with everyone, or a small subset?
Facebook has options where you can choose which of your friends will see your posts. You should also make sure to update your privacy settings so that all your photos, especially of your children, aren’t publicly available.
Other social media channels have different options. Instagram allows you to remove photos from your map, which takes away location information (although the photos will still be on your profile). Twitter can make your tweets private.
Whatever you choose, remember to exercise caution on everything you post to social media, including names and contact details.
Consider the content.
Are you posting photos of your kids at the kitchen table, or links to an article bashing public school? Some moms have guidelines about what to post – for example, only positive aspects without judging other educational systems.
“I do refrain putting anything on my wall about high school vs. public school and how test scores are better one way or another,” one mom wrote. “I think that helps because there is no line in the sand for friends and family who aren’t homeschoolers.”
Other no-nos from area homeschoolers include bragging or comparing your child’s education to others.
A homeschool mom who is also a schoolteacher says, “I work very hard to make it clear that homeschool is right for us, that each family needs to do what is right for them, so I’m not bashing or implying we are better.”
Instead, one mom advises, keep things real but also positive.
“By putting pictures up or mentioning those fun “aha” moments you have with your kids, it provides exposure to your friends that this IS your new normal,” she writes, “and it can also provide a positive impression to those who otherwise don’t know what to think of it.”
Consider follow-ups to negative responses.
Several families who have chosen to share on social media have featured a “why we homeschool” announcement to explain their reasons. Often the response is positive, and people can take steps to help ensure it stays that way.
“I announced it, and made sure to say that I didn’t want to hear any negative or disparaging remarks,” one mom wrote. “I said that I know what the common perceptions are of homeschooling, such as socialization, and that often those are wrong. … And that I had thought it through carefully, researching any pros and cons. Because I had stated all of that, I didn’t get any flack. … I encouraged legitimate questions, just not judgment.”
Another good tip: Be confident and don’t feel pressured, at any time, to defend your decision.
If someone insists on using your Facebook wall to advance their anti-homeschool agendas in a way that isn’t constructive, one homeschooler suggests the “remove comment” button.
“If they get in a tizzy about having the comment removed, you can always send a private message about keeping things very positive on your wall,” she writes, “or you may just find out who you really want to have access to your wall anyway!”
Consider screen-free times and avoid ‘phubbing’ in homeschool mode.
Phubbing is the term for snubbing someone in favor of engaging with your phone, or mobile device of choice.
As busy homeschool parents, we can find it very tempting to pick up a nearby device and share a funny or cute moment on social media – but excessive use can also lead to some negative, unintended consequences!
Check out this MSN article on phubbing and how it can affect parent-child dynamics:
Research suggests that children raised in supportive environments, receiving undivided attention from their parents, are more likely to thrive. However, parental phubbing can disrupt this essential support system and lead to feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, rejection, and dismissal in children. When children believe they are being ignored, they may experience anxiety, and depression, and resort to attention-seeking behaviors.
Additionally, children who feel emotionally neglected due to phubbing may struggle academically, engage in substance abuse, and even experience suicidal tendencies. Short and long-term, this can have profound negative consequences for children’s well-being and overall development.
In addition, this ‘technoference’ (as explained in this article) can hinder our children’s emotional, psychological and mental development:
Essentially, children whose parents are frequently distracted by their phones (and let’s be honest, that’s most of us) are hindered in their development. This goes both for emotional development as well as psychological and mental. While technology is a huge part of our lives and is pretty inescapable at this point, it is important that parents unplug during family time.
Social media should be a tool, but not an obsession. Sometimes the best moments in homeschooling are never recorded for posterity in the form of a quick video or snapshot, but that’s totally fine! Your children (and you) can still enjoy the memories forever.
This blog post was originally published in September 2015. We have updated it for timeliness and detail.
Have you got any other tips about sharing your homeschool experience on social media? Let us know in the comments!