If you’ve ever faced negative homeschooling comments when you’re in public, you’re not alone.
Many of us (particularly in the pioneering generation of homeschoolers) have had to deal with them at one time or other.
We’ve handpicked some of the best pieces of advice from local moms on how to deal with these reactions:
1. Be “wise as serpents, harmless as doves” (or fly under the radar).
On the extreme end of the spectrum, negative reactions to homeschooling can lead to unfounded allegations of child abuse. It can be as harmless as taking your children out with you to the mall during a schoolday, for instance.
While these incidents are thankfully becoming more infrequent, it’s still enough of a reality that we strongly recommend HSLDA membership.
As a result, many local homeschool moms take a few wise precautions, mostly referred to as staying under the radar. This just means they don’t flaunt their homeschooling privileges or try to attract unnecessary attention from bystanders.
Homeschool veterans also warn against strangers asking apparently innocent questions of the kids, such as “How long is your typical homeschool day?” or “What does Mommy do while you are reading and doing your schoolwork?” Such lines of questioning can quickly become invasive.
2. Think of your homeschool as a private school … because it is one.
If you’re living in the state of Kansas, the government recognizes your homeschool as a private school.
Keep that in mind when the next person asks which school your children attend!
3. Use your official school name.
In an expansion upon the previous tip, many families simply respond to questions about schooling with their official school name. For example, “We attend Green Prairie Academy.” (See 9 ideas for a great official school name.)
Every time one homeschool student uses the name of their school, her mom says about 99 percent of the people say, “That’s great!” and pretend like they’ve heard of such a place. 🙂
4. Remember that you’re a homeschool ambassador.
On the occasions when you just need (or want) to tell people flat out that you’re homeschooling, it’s important to keep in mind that you represent approximately 2 million people in the United States. (And that’s before COVID-19 happened!) That’s an inspiring and humbling statistic.
(It’s also a great opportunity to start dispelling common homeschool myths.)
One mom says she always tries to prepare her kids for any feedback by reminding them of their privilege to represent the greater homeschool community, and as such, “we need people to look upon homeschoolers in a positive light.”
And of course, even if the initial reaction to the “yes, we homeschool” question is less than ideal, you can always try to salvage the situation with quiet self-confidence.
We love the response of one homeschool mom who says a grocery store cashier sneered when she explained her kids were homeschooled (and therefore in the store with her).
She added, “Yes, we are doing a little math in the store while my oldest is learning to play the violin across the street.”
That response was enough to silence the would-be critic.
We have updated this blog post, originally published in December 2014, for timeliness and detail.
Have you ever had to deal with negative homeschooling reactions? If so, what have you found to be the best response?