11 responses to “Why homeschool?”

why homeschool

Extended family, neighbors, doctors and pediatricians, even random strangers at the mall … suddenly anyone and everyone wants to know, “Why homeschool? Why did you choose this?”

Of course, your answers are going to vary from situation to situation. Sometimes you need an in-depth explanation, and at others you just need that profound but simple one-liner as you continue whatever you were doing!

Just for fun, we’ve compiled a list of responses used from real-life homeschool moms around the Kansas City area. We’ve listed some pros and cons of each and even rated them regarding Time and Detail:

“We homeschool because it’s huge fun, and we love it!”

Time: Short (1 of 3)

Detail: Not much (1 of 3)

Pros and cons: While true, it may make people think homeschooling is a cakewalk or all day, every day at the park <ahem!>. There will be some tough times, too, just like with anything that’s worthwhile.

“Well, why do you choose public school/private school/etc.?”

Time: Short, but it depends on the answer (2 of 3)

Detail: Not much (1 of 3)

Pros and cons: Answering a question with a question is almost always thought-provoking! Be prepared, though, to take some time listening to the response and really encourage discussion, so they realize you’re not being defensive or out to get them. 🙂

“Nothing beats the one-on-one tutoring for effective education.”

Time: Short (1 of 3)

Detail: Not much (1 of 3)

Pros and cons: This is absolutely true, and as a homeschool alumna, I think it one of the best parts of my experience! However, it may sound a trifle defensive or even insensitive, given that not everyone can afford one-on-one tutoring.

“We think it’s the best choice given our family’s goals.”

Time: Short (1 of 3)

Detail: A little, but it can leave room for more discussion (2 of 3)

Pros and cons: Rose Gerringer suggested this response in the recent “How to Homeschool” workshop. By leaving the answer open-ended like this, it does mean people can then ask what your family’s goals are. It’s also a gentle response that doesn’t have to sound defensive.

“I know my kids better than some stranger who has to take care of 30 other kids.”

Time: Short (1 of 3)

Detail: Not much (1 of 3)

Pros and cons: Hard to argue with this one! 🙂 However, some people may think it a little snarky. Just sayin’.

“Homeschooling is like parenting. You can’t know what it’s like until you’re actually doing it.”

Time: Longer (2 of 3)

Detail: A little, but it can leave room for more discussion (2 of 3)

Pros and cons: A lovely response! How could anyone argue with that? Just as every parenting style varies, so does every homeschool style. Notice that it doesn’t really answer the question, but sometimes your answer can be so brilliant that nobody really minds …

“Because we live in a country where we all have the freedom to choose the best type of education for our kids.”

Time: Longer (2 of 3)

Detail: A little, but it can leave room for more discussion (2 of 3)

Pros and cons: The beauty of this answer lies in a positive spin on what can be a negative-sounding question. Note that we didn’t say homeschooling is the only best type of education! And it also emphasizes the educational rights we enjoy as homeschoolers. Perhaps some hearers may think you’re being flippant, but if it has the right tone of voice, it can be just the response you need.

“We’ve tried private, public and homeschool, and this is the best fit for my children at this time.”

Time: Longer (2 of 3)

Detail: A little, but it can leave room for more discussion (2 of 3)

Pros and cons: While this answer works only for families who have indeed tried multiple approaches to education, it shows a lot of experience, thought and planning went into the decision. Sometimes that’s the best response to someone who may think you’re homeschooling only because you’re … well, just weird.

“We’re thankful to have the option to homeschool. We don’t want someone else raising our children and instilling their values we don’t agree with.”

Time: Longer (2 of 3)

Detail: A little, but it can leave room for more discussion (2 of 3)

Pros and cons: This gets to the heart of the matter for many homeschoolers – the question of where children will get their values and learn their life lessons. Use with caution, though, as some people may misinterpret your reply to think you aren’t open to anyone whose values differ from yours.

“I love my children, and being WITH them. As the primary influence in their lives, I want to make the best decisions for their future. I’m not comfortable passing that much influence to someone else.”

Time: Epic (3 of 3)

Detail: Outstanding (3 of 3)

Pros and cons: This is a great way to highlight the passion you have for your children, and for their education. Be prepared, though, just in case you’re talking with another mom who reacts defensively and thinks you’re somehow insinuating she DOESN’T love her children as much as you just because she doesn’t homeschool.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to homeschool. Watching my child learn how to read/write/etc. has been as amazing as watching them walk for the first time, and I get to have a front-row seat.”

Time: Epic (3 of 3)

Detail: Outstanding (3 of 3)

Pros and cons: I like how this response focuses on the personal joys of homeschooling and doesn’t sound confrontational at all. It may not focus as much on the academic benefits or the reasons per se, but sometimes that’s all you need to get the questioner to start rethinking their stance.

This blog post was originally published in September 2014. It has been updated for timeliness and detail.

What’s your favorite response to the “Why homeschool” question? Do you have one we didn’t list?

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