Isn’t it amazing how parenting gives others, sometimes complete strangers, the opinion that you must be seeking advice? And it’s not simply homeschool criticism that you’re dealing with. From the time that you’re visibly pregnant, certainly when you’re choosing to breastfeed or not, and later when you’re dealing with toddler melt-downs everyone feels like your choices are open for public debate.

As if you’re the latest entertainment and need to be ranked. Homeschooling brings out more of the same in family members (moms, mothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law) as well as everyone from close friends to the grocery store clerk. Why is that?

And, if you choose to embark on a homeschooling journey with your child while working full-time, you will inevitably experience someone with a long-standing belief that it’s a poor choice. Deciding to devote your time and energy to educating your child at home isn’t an easy one, and it’s often misunderstood by others. It’s wise to decide ahead of time how you will respond to homeschool criticism and naysayers.

Choosing to Walk Away from Homeschool Criticism

The first thing to establish is that whether or not you entertain conversation with anyone is completely up to you. You have the right to choose where your child goes to the Dr., where they sleep, and where they’re educated.

If someone has a negative opinion and starts to criticize any of your choices, when all else fails, you can walk away.

Or, if you’d rather point out that they’re being rude next time, I’ve often found that southern manners win here – very politely say with a smile on your face “Oh, I’m so sorry, do I know you? No…Oh, I thought maybe you confused me with someone else…Why are you giving me an opinion on my family if we don’t know each other?”

Politely calling people out on their bad manners is often enough to raise awareness that they’re out of line. Keep in mind, that they might be genuinely curious. As homeschoolers, we often are on the defensive when realistically some of the questions might be someone who is considering homeschooling themselves.

Consider too, if they’re a friend or family member who is coming from a place of love for you and your child, often they are truly caring and concerned.

Remember that the media has plastered tragic situations all over the news when parents used homeschooling to facilitate abuse. If this is your loved ones’ only concept of homeschooling they might be genuinely worried about how this will affect your family dynamics.

Perhaps they have visions of you never leaving the house and having children that wear mismatched shoes and can’t make eye contact with anyone. Realistically, they’re simply concerned about both of you. If you find yourself in a discussion with someone about your parenting choices, try to remember that they might be just trying to help.

And, they might be truly concerned about your ability to balance everything. Especially if you are also working. A homeschooling decision while working is no cakewalk and your loved one might be worried about how you’re going to juggle everything without having a nervous breakdown.

With that in mind, you might decide to gracefully educate your loved one on the facts of homeschooling. You could note that homeschooled children often outperform students from traditional schools and many go on to very successful college years and careers.

Or that homeschooled kids also have the advantage of being able to learn at their own pace and a great thing about choosing to homeschool is the ability to tailor their homeschool curriculum and education to their individual interests and needs.

A public school teacher is unable to support those individual interests in the long run, even though most would love to. They’re balancing the needs of many students along with stifling state and federal curriculum standards for each grade level. All within very structured school hours and trying to deal with an overburdened public school system.

When They Say You’re Not Qualified

Inevitably, you’ll hear someone say that you’re not qualified to teach. To which I say, yep, you’re right…I’m not qualified to teach a room full of students in an elementary school. Public school teachers have loads of respect from me. They are tasked with getting a room full of fidgety students with a wide variety of educational and social abilities from one level to the next. I am not qualified to do that.

On the other hand, you’re not trying to teach a group of children, you generally have one child’s homeschooling to handle at any grade level.

And, realistically, you’ve been teaching your children since birth. Who was it that taught your child to talk, walk, and use the restroom by themselves? It was you and your spouse, of course.

So, if you could teach them those skills in the early days, why wouldn’t you be qualified to teach them how to read or do math? Why is it that some magic occurs during their pre-school years? They wake up one morning suddenly too advanced for you to be able to teach them.

That just doesn’t make any sense. Explain that to your loved ones.

Besides being “unqualified,” other nay-sayers will tell you that teaching a child is too difficult. What I find even more difficult is the thought of having to learn with 18-20 five and six-year-olds several subjects all in one day. With limited outside time and minimal movement. That is a difficult job; teaching one child to read is not. You can do it!

When They Say Your Children Won’t Be Socialized

Another argument you might hear if you’re trying to decide if you want to homeschool is that the children need socialization.

This is one area that homeschoolers and public schoolers agree on. I’ve never met a homeschool parent that didn’t want their children to turn into functioning members of society.

I’m sure they’re out there. Realistically, poor parenting isn’t defined by the schooling choices that families make.

To this argument, I say that homeschooled children are generally better socialized than many of the children in public schools. Besides being able to deal with their peers, homeschooled children can carry on intelligent conversations with people of all ages.

The vast majority of parents supplement their children’s education with field trips, extracurricular activities, and real world experiences. Homeschool parents are no different and are often tying them into unit studies to deepen understanding.

With the right resources, the flexibility of homeschooling goes a long way toward ensuring that homeschool families have more options than the vast majority of families get to experience.

When is the last time that you went to a job and found all of your peers were either the same age as you or, at max, 4 years older or younger? Public schools create artificial nooks of socializing and these societies are not true to life. Besides public education, there isn’t a time at any other point in your life that you’re going to deal with people all your age. It just doesn’t happen, and it won’t happen, either. The homeschool experience is generally rich with opportunities to interact with people of all age groups and backgrounds.

These are just a few of the negative comments that you’ll likely hear as you are researching the possibility of homeschooling your child.

Ultimately, it is your choice how to educate your child. Although the nay-sayers may be loud, be polite and either listen if they’re someone who truly cares about you, or choose to ignore them. Giving your child the opportunity to love the learning process is the best way to develop a lifelong learner. Learning is not a destination, it’s a journey. Let them enjoy the trip along the way.

Find Your Own Way Despite the Critics

Whatever you do, don’t let homeschooling nay-sayers get you down. Homeschooling is a great way to give your kids a top-notch education while also giving them the flexibility and individualized attention they need to thrive. Choosing to become a homeschooling family is not for everyone, but it could be the perfect solution for your family.

And sure, if you’re also working full-time it’s going to take an intense amount of extra time and scheduling discipline on your part, but it’s completely doable. There are loads of support groups with veteran parents who will help ensure that you don’t lose your ever-loving mind. Trust your instincts and go with what you feel is best for your child.

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