Your short and sweet answer to "Why do you homeschool?" - Mothering Forums
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Learning at Home and Beyond > Your short and sweet answer to "Why do you homeschool?"
marimara's Avatar marimara 02:36 PM 05-03-2010
My dd is almost 4 now and we are heading into "When does she start school" territory and I'm almost always left without a good answer, short of skirting around the actual answer.

My particular predicament is that I live in a very conservative town where almost every person who homeschools does so for religious reasons and most people take that as an acceptable reason why.

I do not hs for religious reasons, in fact I'm a-religious. Sooooooo, I really don't want to give an long, in depth answer to this question when it comes from people who range from acquaintances to lite-friends.

The main problem I've experienced so far is, that when hearing you homeschool, they are immediately taken aback and almost ANY answer you give them when they question why, is taken as a personal affront. Because in essence, they ARE sending their kids to public or private school and we have made completely opposite choices about our children.

So far my answers have been:

"I don't agree with the current public school system" = they feel attacked, because while they may agree that there are problems w/ ps they still felt it was okay enough....

"I don't believe in institutionalizing children" = They do, so now it's awkward.

"My 3.5 year old has a late bday and she can already read, and we all know the schools suck around here, so I can't imagine what level she'll be on when she's 6 (when she'll be eligible for K), so that's why"= Oh! well aren't you such a little braggart!

"I don't believe that children should be locked in rooms, controlled by adults, bullied by classmates, and getting "socialized" by other kids their exact age"=(well I've never actually said this to someone ) but I can imagine the wide-eyed look I'd get.

So do you guys see what I'm getting at here? No answer is good enough, polite enough, "valid" enough. . Not that I care anything at all about other's "validity" it's just the people who usually ask me are other mothers, at playgroups, playdates, the park, etc. I need friends, I don't want to alienate people! But I'm not sending my kid to ps just to agree w/everyone else either.

Now, I want to be true to myself, as I strive to live an authentic life. I don't feel right lying to people, or even skirting the question, because I do think that homeschoolers need more public support and that it's my duty to stand up for what I believe in, especially in front of my daughter. So where's the balance? What do you say that can be inclusive AND sincere all at the same time?
(I'm especially looking for answers that don't involve a reference to your faith or religion).

moss's Avatar moss 02:40 PM 05-03-2010
homeschooling is what works best for ds


marimara's Avatar marimara 02:45 PM 05-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by moss View Post
homeschooling is what works best for ds

Yes, I've said something along these lines, but it leaves the person asking wanting more information, and it leaves me feeling like it's a cop-out. Maybe as time goes on, I'll get so sick of answering the question I'll just say this, but I feel like maybe there's something to share about homeschooling. I mean, if the mailman or someone I don't know asks me, then yes this is what I'll say, but I mean at a playdate? Doesn't that just shut down the conversation?

I feel like that's so easy to say online or to people you don't know but what about in real life? To real people that we may see several times a month, in a friendly setting?
Shianne's Avatar Shianne 02:59 PM 05-03-2010
I usually say: "Both my children and I love the individualized attention they receive and the opportunity they have to learn and explore on their own vs. a classroom setting."

or
"We love the freedom it brings. They are able to experience so much more than they would in a classroom setting."

or
"Time goes by so fast. My children and I love the fact that we can be together during their most formative years to learn and explore together. This is a time we don't want to waste being separated."
shoefairy3's Avatar shoefairy3 03:08 PM 05-03-2010
Our main reasons for homeschooling are:

I wanted to be able to spend more time with my children and experience more of thier "firsts" Like learning to read, discovering something new, etc.

Public school was not working out for our DD8. Not at all.

We wanted the time to be able to do more things as a family. Homeschooling allows us too

Homeschooling is what works best for us.

Mostly my first answer though. We are a somewhat religious family and it really wasnt the main reason for us to start homeschooling.
lach's Avatar lach 03:08 PM 05-03-2010
It's a question with no "right" answer, in that no matter what you say people will feel attacked. You can be honest and offensive, or say something noncommittal that it's hard to argue with. Personally, I'm a fan of the second approach.

"Oh, there's so much teaching to the test at such a young age these days. I really wanted to avoid that sort of thing for right now. So we're going to try homeschooling and see how it goes, at least for a few years."
akwifeandmomma's Avatar akwifeandmomma 03:13 PM 05-03-2010
When someone I don't really know asks, I typically say something like, "Learning together at home is natural. Homeschooling has just been just a continuation of the education they've had since birth, we didn't see any reason to change things." Big smile. Hope they move on.

If they don't, and/or ask for reasons, question why I wouldn't want to send them to x "great school", pull out the socialization card, etc., etc:

"You know, there are really SO many reasons! I could go on all day long. Why are you so curious? Are you considering homeschooling?" Another big smile.

I want to know their intent before carrying on a lengthy conversation, yk?
4Blessings's Avatar 4Blessings 03:15 PM 05-03-2010
We aren't religious so when people we are close to found out we were homeschooling they were confused. Everyone around us who homeschools is very religious.

I usually just say that it works for us. We love the lifestyle.

When pushed I usually make a joke about our small class size at home or our ability to wear pj's all day.
zebra15's Avatar zebra15 03:24 PM 05-03-2010
I've been HS for 5+ years officially now and the question never dies off. Playgroups, library, other classes, that 'question' is always there. My standard reply is 'HS works for us' and I just leave it at that. Honestly if you try to be nice you end up offending and putting your foot in your mouth. There is no way to please everyone. Sometimes I add on 'we like it'

You will get more comfortable as time goes on, I promise.

DS is 9 and now fields some of the questions as well, it can get interesting since we unschool and there are no grades, grade levels, things like that. LOL.
kittie313's Avatar kittie313 03:27 PM 05-03-2010
My answer is.........

The schools failed one kid with learning disabilities, I'm not letting my other 3 kids fall to the same fate.

Luckily, here the ps is not that good so people understand when I say that as blunt as I do. I just really hate when people question me, it seems like the only ones who ask why my kids aren't at school and then why we homeschool are those who are going to be the rude ones who insult my decision. So that statement usually shuts them up and sends on their merry little way (but if a person looks and sounds like they are genuinely interested and kind about it, then I answer with "my oldest has learning delays that require a lot of one-on-one time to learn and this was the best way for her, and the younger ones would be bored in school because they are a couple grades ahead of the game")
completebeginnings's Avatar completebeginnings 03:39 PM 05-03-2010
I'm selfish and don't want to share my children's fabulousness with the rest of the world.
If they really push I say I never want my children to loose their love of learning.
NightOwlwithowlet's Avatar NightOwlwithowlet 03:49 PM 05-03-2010
"Have you met my son?" Then I shrug my shoulders and laugh, it works best when DS is literally bouncing place and chatting about some obscure science fact in great detail, like tsunamis, and is using his hands to make giant waves and explosions. He is so excited about learning and so loud that the idea of him in a classroom makes most people shudder.

We were waiting a the chiropractor's and DS is reading a magazine with article about volcano and he starts out by asking me a few questions about words he can't read, but so he's yapping about lava, magma, what temperature that rock turns liquid. Pretty soon he's onto liquids, solids, and gases and he's using his hands to explain the molecules colliding and there sound effects with explosions. The lady who had asked earlier about home schooling, patted my shoulder as she walked by and said, "Bless you dear, I used to be a third grade teacher. He is excited, isn't he?"
marimara's Avatar marimara 03:55 PM 05-03-2010
You are all right. I guess since this is all new to me and I'm learning as I go, I'm starting to realize that whenever someone goes against the norm and talks about it with someone who is going "with the norm" it's almost impossible to not offend (not purposefully of course). I'm just hoping to find a way to do this...We all are making different decisions. I supposed it's another aspect of the mommy (or parental) wars. Every parent wants to believe their decisions are the best they could make. Gosh, this is all so difficult! Especially when it seems I'm always going against the stream. Since my dd was born, all my parental decisions have been against the current of mainstream parenting. I guess this is just another one...Can you tell I don't like conflict? But in the same vein that I don't like conflict, I also feel a deep urge to be authentic in my interactions w/people.
shoefairy3's Avatar shoefairy3 03:58 PM 05-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightOwlwithowlet View Post
"Have you met my son?" Then I shrug my shoulders and laugh, it works best when DS is literally bouncing place and chatting about some obscure science fact in great detail, like tsunamis, and is using his hands to make giant waves and explosions. He is so excited about learning and so loud that the idea of him in a classroom makes most people shudder.

We were waiting a the chiropractor's and DS is reading a magazine with article about volcano and he starts out by asking me a few questions about words he can't read, but so he's yapping about lava, magma, what temperature that rock turns liquid. Pretty soon he's onto liquids, solids, and gases and he's using his hands to explain the molecules colliding and there sound effects with explosions. The lady who had asked earlier about home schooling, patted my shoulder as she walked by and said, "Bless you dear, I used to be a third grade teacher. He is excited, isn't he?"
LOL, he sounds fantastic
elizawill's Avatar elizawill 03:59 PM 05-03-2010
"it works for us right now".

this is what i find myself saying most frequently if it comes up.
Momma Aimee's Avatar Momma Aimee 04:01 PM 05-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by marimara View Post
My dd is almost 4 now and we are heading into "When does she start school" territory and I'm almost always left without a good answer, short of skirting around the actual answer.

My particular predicament is that I live in a very conservative town where almost every person who homeschools does so for religious reasons and most people take that as an acceptable reason why.

I do not hs for religious reasons, in fact I'm a-religious. Sooooooo, I really don't want to give an long, in depth answer to this question when it comes from people who range from acquaintances to lite-friends.

The main problem I've experienced so far is, that when hearing you homeschool, they are immediately taken aback and almost ANY answer you give them when they question why, is taken as a personal affront. Because in essence, they ARE sending their kids to public or private school and we have made completely opposite choices about our children.

So far my answers have been:

"I don't agree with the current public school system" = they feel attacked, because while they may agree that there are problems w/ ps they still felt it was okay enough....

"I don't believe in institutionalizing children" = They do, so now it's awkward.

"My 3.5 year old has a late bday and she can already read, and we all know the schools suck around here, so I can't imagine what level she'll be on when she's 6 (when she'll be eligible for K), so that's why"= Oh! well aren't you such a little braggart!

"I don't believe that children should be locked in rooms, controlled by adults, bullied by classmates, and getting "socialized" by other kids their exact age"=(well I've never actually said this to someone ) but I can imagine the wide-eyed look I'd get.

So do you guys see what I'm getting at here? No answer is good enough, polite enough, "valid" enough. . Not that I care anything at all about other's "validity" it's just the people who usually ask me are other mothers, at playgroups, playdates, the park, etc. I need friends, I don't want to alienate people! But I'm not sending my kid to ps just to agree w/everyone else either.

Now, I want to be true to myself, as I strive to live an authentic life. I don't feel right lying to people, or even skirting the question, because I do think that homeschoolers need more public support and that it's my duty to stand up for what I believe in, especially in front of my daughter. So where's the balance? What do you say that can be inclusive AND sincere all at the same time?
(I'm especially looking for answers that don't involve a reference to your faith or religion).
We Do have a pat answer -- but it won't help you as it IS faith based:

"we are homeschooling and will be untill we feel the boys are mature enough to be leaders and not followers, untill we feel they have a strong foundtaion in their faith and can be a light in the school. Children are only young once and no one answers to God for them but us." and SMILE

But I would look for an easy one liner about

"We need to meet her needs and the best way to do that right now is at home"

My pat answer could be edited like this:

"we are homeschooling and will be untill we feel the boys are mature enough to be leaders and not followers, untill they are strong in theirselves and confident. Children are only young once and it is such an imoprant time, with no do-overs, we feel it is best to over-see their primary years ourselves." and SMILE

I find CONFINDENCE prevents debate more than any good answer

Before i had my pat answer my answer differed on who i was talking to.
zeldamomma's Avatar zeldamomma 04:08 PM 05-03-2010
I generally say something like "we like it." or "it works for us."

I think giving an in depth explanation only opens you up to debate, and is more likely to come out wrong. And most people aren't actually all that interested, especially if they just wanted to talk to a cute little kid about kindergarten.
lach's Avatar lach 04:13 PM 05-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I generally say something like "we like it." or "it works for us."

I think giving an in depth explanation only opens you up to debate, and is more likely to come out wrong. And most people aren't actually all that interested, especially if they just wanted to talk to a cute little kid about kindergarten.
I was just about to say that, so I'll just Honestly, most people who ask are just making conversation and don't really care. They care in an idle curiosity/making small talk sort of way, the way they ask if you're pregnant in a girl or a boy or what you're doing over Thanksgiving. They most likely just want to make cute conversation with a little 4 year old. Offering any sort of value judgment other than something extremely pat and universal (I said above my line is about "teaching to the test": a phrase which is so overused and common that it's lost all meaning) is just going to make it personal, and something will be said that offends them in some way or another.
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 04:27 PM 05-03-2010
"We enjoy the freedom and flexibility, and it's working well for us, so we're not going to fix what ain't broke."

Miranda
crunchy_mama's Avatar crunchy_mama 05:06 PM 05-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
I find CONFINDENCE prevents debate more than any good answer

Before i had my pat answer my answer differed on who i was talking to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I generally say something like "we like it." or "it works for us."

I think giving an in depth explanation only opens you up to debate, and is more likely to come out wrong. And most people aren't actually all that interested, especially if they just wanted to talk to a cute little kid about kindergarten.
I agree with both of those thoughts. Having confidence and being vague is good. Because the answers you are giving seem judgemental to me and I agree with all the reasons you listed. I don't give false info, but I don't go into details either UNLESS it is someone truly interested. It is not worth my mental energy to debate w/ anyone who disagrees- I don't care what they think. I am not trying to prove myself to anyone. Then using the pass the bean dip technique. Give a quick answer and bring up a new topic.
zjande's Avatar zjande 06:25 PM 05-03-2010
What my answer has been forever, if it's a public schooler asking me, is: "The reason that I very first started homeschooling back in the day is because I was seeing all the social junk happening in the schools. I hated seeing the girls worrying more about cliques & clothes than having fun & learning, and I couldn't stand the language! So many curse words, so often I'd hear "that's so gay". Over time I added about a zillion other reasons to my list of why we homeschool, but that was the first reason".

If it's another homeschooler asking, I say "because I don't want the government to raise my kids for me, I don't think they do a very good job".

tanyalynn's Avatar tanyalynn 06:42 PM 05-03-2010
I've only gotten the question a few times so far, but my oldest is only 6 now. My pat answer is "It gives us a lot of flexibility and it's working really well for our family." It's a true answer, if not complete, but most people don't want or need complete, and it's relatively inoffensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akwifeandmomma View Post
"You know, there are really SO many reasons! I could go on all day long. Why are you so curious? Are you considering homeschooling?" Another big smile.

I want to know their intent before carrying on a lengthy conversation, yk?
This approach can be useful, depending on the person and the situation, asking something like this, "Why do you ask?" with a sincere, interested look gives them responsibility for the direction the conversation takes, and gives you a bit more information on their viewpoint.
cappuccinosmom's Avatar cappuccinosmom 06:56 PM 05-03-2010
"We feel it's the best way we can give our children the education that will be most beneficial to them. It gives us the flexibility and resources we need to do that."
greenmamapagan's Avatar greenmamapagan 09:11 PM 05-03-2010
I'd take this
Quote:
"I don't believe that children should be locked in rooms, controlled by adults, bullied by classmates, and getting "socialized" by other kids their exact age"=(well I've never actually said this to someone ) but I can imagine the wide-eyed look I'd get.
and put a gentler spin on it
"I feel that my children need more time to just be children." The positives are that "feel" is less affronting than "believe" and adding "my" implies you respect their right to choose differently for their child. The con is that it implies you are open to sending her to school later on (which I'm not and is the reason I opened this thread because I need some new ideas too )
momtokea's Avatar momtokea 09:24 PM 05-03-2010
"Because we want to."
limette's Avatar limette 09:52 PM 05-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mama View Post
I agree with both of those thoughts. Having confidence and being vague is good. Because the answers you are giving seem judgemental to me and I agree with all the reasons you listed. I don't give false info, but I don't go into details either UNLESS it is someone truly interested. It is not worth my mental energy to debate w/ anyone who disagrees- I don't care what they think. I am not trying to prove myself to anyone. Then using the pass the bean dip technique. Give a quick answer and bring up a new topic.
I have only been asked this once and my response was "a million reasons" and they laughed and then supplied me with the reasons. One was a teacher. They listed all the reasons that everyone here lists as reasons to homeschool.
ALittleBitCrunchy's Avatar ALittleBitCrunchy 10:13 PM 05-03-2010
Depending on the person, I normally say something like, "Seemed like a good idea at the time, and then we found out how much fun it was" and smile. For the truly interested, I explain about my school not being diabetic-friendly.
Purple*Lotus's Avatar Purple*Lotus 10:18 PM 05-03-2010
I found this on new posts, and as soon as I read your title, this popped in to my head:

Quote:
Originally Posted by momtokea View Post
"Because we want to."
So yeah, that would be my answer if I was ever in that position
SundayCrepes's Avatar SundayCrepes 01:53 AM 05-04-2010
We had to put our son in preschool last fall for 2.5 months due to fairly desperate family circumstances. Around the time we pulled him out we found out one of the kids had been fairly aggressive towards him.

So, when people ask him if he's going to school, he says, "E used to" and he claws at his face then usually gives some other tangent answer. Often the people are so confused by the time he stops talking that I just say, "We homeschool." They are so relieved to get an answer that they understand that they just nod and the conversation moves on.

As an aside: My son loved playing with the kids and doing the activities at the pre-school he went to. It's Reggio Emilio which is sort of like unschooling. What he didn't like was me leaving. Once our life got back in order we offered him the chance to keep going or stay home. He naturally chose stay home. Part of that was wanting to be with me. Sadly part of it was he was being victimized by another kid (we had no clue or we would have dealt with that. One of MY reasons for homeschooling.) However, somewhere along the way he told me he was glad he wasn't going to school any more because he likes all the places he gets to go when he stays home.
PreggieUBA2C's Avatar PreggieUBA2C 01:56 AM 05-04-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightOwlwithowlet View Post
"Have you met my son?" Then I shrug my shoulders and laugh, it works best when DS is literally bouncing place and chatting about some obscure science fact in great detail, like tsunamis, and is using his hands to make giant waves and explosions. He is so excited about learning and so loud that the idea of him in a classroom makes most people shudder.
We also say this. "Have you met my children???" and then we follow up (after the chuckle for very similar reasons to those posted above) with, "Because we want to."

Dp once tried, "Because we're not socialists." I think I about died laughing when we left. He also once said, "Because we're philosophical anarchists and libertarian." The response was a polite, "Oh."

OOOHHH, at a store we frequent, dp was asked if he woul like to buy a discount card that supports public school functions like graduation ceremonies and field trips and dp said that we don't support public schooling. The woman at the counter really thought he was joking, but went quiet when he added, "Well, except in the amount of taxes that are extorted from me by the gov't for it. But I can't stop that." He says it completely dead-pan. It's fun to watch.

Sometimes people say to our dc when we're out during the week, "Shouldn't you be at school?" and dp and I generally in unison respond, "NooooOOOOOOooooo." That's a very quick conversation preventer.

My favourite thus far for me is, "Well, I guess I'm just not comfortable with being the first species to attempt a large-scale social experiment by sending our young to strangers to teach them how to live. No other mammal does that."

And I totally wish I could do extended breastfeeding because then I could add, "Besides, who would breastfeed my six year old?"
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