Explaining your Home Schooling Choice to Other Parents

Home schooling families are the exception to the norm – since such a large percentage of the UK’s children are educated in schools, many people have never met a home schooling family, or even heard about the option to home educate a child. Home schooling parents may find themselves faced with a barrage of questions by those who do not home school their children, such as whether home schooling is legal, and whether home schooled children meet other children and have good social lives. This article discusses ways to answer reservations and questions about home schooling from other parents.

Why Are You Home Schooling?

This is usually the most common question that parents of a home schooling child will be asked. Obviously, it required a personal response as parents home school their children for a myriad of different reasons. It’s usually best to be positive (for example, ‘my child and I enjoy the flexibility and I like to target learning to my child’s personal interests’) rather than negative about mainstream schooling, since the other parent’s child probably goes to school, and your own negativity may be met with corresponding dismissal of home schooling.

Expect Different Kinds of Responses

Some parents may be unable to believe that children can learn from home without a mainstream schooling. Others might go even further than this, suggesting a home education is an example of childcare negligence. But other parents will express admiration for your home schooling efforts and may ask questions about how it works.

Unschooling May Be Harder For People To Understand

Where parents decide to allow their homeschooled child to have complete responsibility for his or her own learning, so that learning is an integrated part of life rather than separated into lessons or tutoring, this is known as unschooling. Usually parents whose children are in the mainstream, school education system will question this method of learning, as it is so distinct from their own education, and that of their child’s.

Many home schooling parents try to question this belief, but do not get too worked up about doing so if a parent’s mind seems to be made up for good, arguing will more likely just result in your feeling upset. Instead, focus your mind on your child’s own learning development. Often a home schooled child’s articulate intelligence will shine through as the ‘proof of the pudding’ – evidence of the success of his or her learning via a home education.

Helping Your Child to Understand Their Difference

A home schooled child may bring up the fact that he or she feels that their own family is different from other families. This is likely to be realised much later amongst home schooled from birth children, but they will probably consider their own situation to be the ‘normal’ one. But your child might have doubts about their home school education, just as you, as parent, may have concerns too.

It’s important that home schooled children do mix with all kinds of children, including those in mainstream school, so these questions will not be avoided. However, by also mixing with other home tutoring parents and families, perhaps by joining a local support group for home schooling children and parents, children also start to realise the benefits of their educational system being appreciated by others, as well as questioned. Support groups can also help you and your child to discuss the questions raised by other children and parents. Since it is likely that the other members will have also received hostile responses to home schooling as a concept, you can discuss how to overcome this as a group.