Crosspost: The One Thing You Should Never Ask A Homeschool Kid

Crosspost: The One Thing You Should Never Ask A Homeschool Kid

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kathryn Brightbill’s blog The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person. It was originally published on May 19, 2013.

The local paper does stories on all of the high school graduations, and where the stories for the other school graduations follow the same formula—mention something from the speaker, go with a few quotes from graduates about going out into the world, the homeschool support group graduation story includes quotes from kids talking up homeschooling as a concept.

Don’t ask that question of kids. Seriously, just don’t. No kid should be put in the position of defending and explaining their education to adults.

Aside from the fact that in 2013 it’s not like homeschooling is something nobody’s heard of, that’s just not something you should put on a kid. It’s too much pressure and it makes the kid feel even more like an outsider, an “other,” and not part of mainstream culture. Even if a kid had an absolutely wonderful experience, homeschool apologetic isn’t something a kid should be expected to do.

Parents, don’t ask this of your kids.

Random strangers, don’t put a kid on the spot and start asking questions. It’s not fair to the kid.

I had to put up with random strangers asking me questions about homeschooling since I was six.

Six.

Let that sink in for a second.

How in the world would anyone think that’s remotely something that you should put on a six year old? I can’t even count how many times I was wandering around the public library minding my own business looking for interesting books when I’d be stopped by a stranger asking me, “why aren’t you in school?” Now, granted, back in the ’80s, homeschooling was a novelty, but still. It would have been one thing if it had ended with me responding, “I’m homeschooled,” but nope, the next question was, “Is it legal?” Seriously, people would ask a little elementary schooler to explain the legality of their education. No six year old should ever have to cite statutes for any reason, but I spent a good chunk of my early school years explaining the legal status of homeschooling to adults who wouldn’t stop asking questions.

It took me a few years after I finished college before I could begin to look at homeschooling objectively because so many adults spent so many years putting me on the spot, asking me to defend it to them. I still don’t understand why an adult would ask that of a child, especially a very young child, but that’s what happened to me and my siblings. It would make me feel like I was some kind of performing freak show to them.

So next time you encounter a homeschool kid and feel tempted to ask them about homeschooling, resist the urge. No kid should be put on the spot to defend their entire system of education,

And thus ends Kathryn’s rant.

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35 responses to “Crosspost: The One Thing You Should Never Ask A Homeschool Kid

  1. Kathy,

    I appreciate your frustration, but now follows the BUT.

    When I was contemplating homeschooling I went to the source. Not the parents (of course they are going to say it was great), but the kids (not young children, but high schoolers or recent graduates).

    Dialogue is the only way to learn anything from anyone. There are so many rules, one hardly knows what to do. An adult even engaging a child in dialogue is considered creepy by some.

    When someone asks my 9-year-old what grade she is in, or what school she goes to, or why she isn’t in school (that actually hasn’t happened yet) or if she is homeschooled (that is probably the variant of the previous question that hasn’t actually happened), I will admit to tensing up. But it is NOT because the adult had the audacity to ask the question. It is because I am nervous about my daughter’s answer. Will I hear something that signals me she is not really enjoying homeschooling? Does this remind her that she is not in school and is not having the “traditional” school experience? Does this make her sad?

    But even if those nosey adults never ask those questions, it does not change the feelings my daughter may be having. They just have the potential to reveal what is going on inside. They are opportunities, at least for me, to have discourse with my daughter if I sense something is amiss.

    And given what we are hearing about now on HA, I really think you don’t want to encourage the outside world to have less contact with homeschooled children.

    • I have to disagree, Cindy.

      When an adult asks a question of a six or nine-year-old little girl like “why aren’t you in school?” it’s not polite, honest inquiry. It’s immediately charged, and the question immediately creates the need to defend why you’re not in school. It put an unbelievable amount of pressure on me as a ten-year-old girl. The adults who asked me weren’t openly hostile in any way, but it still made me feel uncomfortable and, yes, violated.

      If you want to know how your daughter feels about being homeschooled, it should be you asking her. And if you think your daughter isn’t going to be as honest with you as she would be with a complete and total stranger– that should be a reason for concern right there.

      • Forged Imagination,

        That is O.K. that we have a different opinion. As a child, I did not have the same anxieties as you did when adults asked me questions. However, I did not like being forced to give someone a hug or a kiss if I didn’t want to (a very Southern tradition of my youth), so I am sensitive about that. But that is me. Still, I never tell my daughter to give anyone a hug or kiss. I would never tell another parent that they are “wrong” if they do remind their child to give their aunt a kiss just because I didn’t like it, though.

        I believe worded the way you suggested – why aren’t you in school – is rude. But I think a lot of people who ask that question in that way might not give a flying fig if you are homeschooling or even that you send your child to school. Some people are just cranky when they see children at times when they expect they shouldn’t have to (I say they should just stay home).

        As an adult, I think I know what is appropriate and inappropriate. If I am uncomfortable with what you are asking my child, I will tell you or I will change the subject. People are not always setting out to be impolite. Some are just curious. The world where I cannot engage people (including kids) in discussions for fear of being labeled rude, nosey, or impolite (not saying that those behaviors do not exist) is one that is sad to me. The fact that you blog and read blogs and respond to blogs (like me) suggests that you like engaging with other people, too.

        Your experiences are your own and they cannot necessarily be transferred onto everyone just as mine can’t. But that aside, you did not address my concern that you will disengage people that you are trying to get to be activists for children in cloistered homeschool environments by telling them they should not talk to any homeschooled kids about homeschooling.

        Also, the fact that my daughter might say something to someone else in an unfiltered response that she might not say to me does not reflect on our relationship. Kids often react differently to other people than they do their parents. It is human nature

    • “…it is NOT because the adult had the audacity to ask the question. It is because I am nervous about my daughter’s answer. Will I hear something that signals me she is not really enjoying homeschooling? Does this remind her that she is not in school and is not having the “traditional” school experience? Does this make her sad?”

      In my experience, home schooled kids learn at a very young age what to say and what not to say in front of mom and dad. Since she is only in the 3rd grade, she probably doesn’t think much about why she isn’t in school. It gets harder when kids hit about 5th grade and social circles begin to form among neighborhood kids and within extracurricular activities. That’s probably when you’ll get a better idea how well she likes being home schooled.

      • Matt,

        What is your homeschool experience such that you can say homeschool kids learn early…? See, you have your own preconceived notions of every homeschool family.

        My daughter attended preschool (2 years) at the Y. She went to public school K-2 grade. She has all sorts of extracurricular activities, including dance, theater, softball, cheer leading, gymnastics. Girls on the Run, violin, Awana, and field trips (organized through our partnership with public school and with homeschool groups).

        We live in a rural area. There are no “neighborhood” pickup softball or kickball games. My daughter forms many social friendships. Yes, she gets left out by some of her old PS friends, and one “friend” is keen to point out it is because she is homeschooled. Nice PS behavior, right?

        Parents worry about what their children might be saying to public school teachers, too. How many of you have kids yet? Read the funny mom (and dad) blogs; you’ll become familiar with parent worry and guilt real quick.

        I chose to homeschool my daughter because PS was not meeting my expectations for my daughter’s (or anyone else’s) academic needs. Socially, there are big problems, too.

        If you make the decision to turn your child over to someone else 9 months a year, 5 days a week, 7 hours a day, no questions asked (because that would be rude) that is your prerogative. But, I wasn’t willing to drink the Kool-Aid. Homeschooling is not for everyone. Everyone does not decide to homeschool for religious reasons (even religious people). Not every homeschool experience is oppressive and not every public school experience is uplifting and enlightening.

        What was your point, by the way? We are discussing whether it is ok to ask a homeschool child any questions whatsoever about homeschooling. I believe that those posting, for the most part, think it is wrong, under any circumstance and at any age. Sounds like a form of self cloistering to me.

      • “What is your homeschool experience such that you can say homeschool kids learn early…?”

        Homeschooled K-8 from 1985 through 1993 by a well-intentioned, but controlling, mother and passive, nice-guy father.

        “See, you have your own preconceived notions of every homeschool family.”

        Not sure how you made this logical leap, but I’ll bite.

        “My daughter attended preschool (2 years) at the Y. She went to public school K-2 grade. She has all sorts of extracurricular activities, including dance, theater, softball, cheer leading, gymnastics. Girls on the Run, violin, Awana, and field trips (organized through our partnership with public school and with homeschool groups).”

        So that’s 5 years of classroom experience BEFORE the 3rd grade and a whole slew of extracurricular activities. When does this kid sleep?

        “We live in a rural area. There are no “neighborhood” pickup softball or kickball games. My daughter forms many social friendships. Yes, she gets left out by some of her old PS friends, and one “friend” is keen to point out it is because she is homeschooled. Nice PS behavior, right?”

        That kid’s behavior has nothing to do going to public school — he (or she) is just a little snot. You’ll find them everywhere.

        “Parents worry about what their children might be saying to public school teachers, too.”

        Hmm… care to elaborate on what your little snowflake might tell them that has you concerned?

        “How many of you have kids yet?”

        I have a 7 and 3 year old. My 7-year-old attends Catholic school. My 3 year old stays with a sitter. I am a single dad with shared custody. I feel no guilt or their situations as they are both doing well socially and academically (the 7 year old).

        “I chose to homeschool my daughter because PS was not meeting my expectations for my daughter’s (or anyone else’s) academic needs. Socially, there are big problems, too.”

        They aren’t always the best option. I’m sorry that you are in a lousy district.

        “If you make the decision to turn your child over to someone else 9 months a year, 5 days a week, 7 hours a day, no questions asked (because that would be rude) that is your prerogative. But, I wasn’t willing to drink the Kool-Aid.”

        Umm… didn’t you just say that you’ve had your daughter in a classroom for the past 5 YEARS? That’s a lot of Kool-Aid!

        “Homeschooling is not for everyone. Everyone does not decide to homeschool for religious reasons (even religious people). Not every homeschool experience is oppressive and not every public school experience is uplifting and enlightening.”

        It certainly wasn’t for me! Although, had my mom been a little less of a domineering control freak, I might have disliked it less. Agreed that they aren’t all oppressive, but as this site illustrates, many are. Public school can be pretty lousy too.

        “What was your point, by the way?”

        You asked three questions:

        - Will I hear something that signals me she is not really enjoying homeschooling?

        - Does this remind her that she is not in school and is not having the “traditional” school experience?

        - Does this make her sad?

        My answer was that by about the 5th grade, you should have a good idea if she enjoys it or not. She might not come out and tell you if she doesn’t though, since she might be afraid she’ll piss you off.

        “We are discussing whether it is ok to ask a homeschool child any questions whatsoever about homeschooling.”

        Thanks for the update… but that isn’t exactly what the OP was saying.

        “I believe that those posting, for the most part, think it is wrong, under any circumstance and at any age. Sounds like a form of self cloistering to me.”

        Not really sure how you came up with this–you’re deriving your own conclusions here.

      • Matt,

        I made that leap because you said in your experience “homeschool kids”…

        You did not say “most” or “some”. The implication was “all”. Therefore, one has to assume you have a “preconceived” notion of “all” homeschooled kids.

        “When does the child sleep?”

        Between 10 and 10. Not all activities are year-round.

        “She is a little snot. You’ll find them everywhere.”

        Yes, that is my point.

        “Care to elaborate on what your little snowflake might say..”

        Oh, the things that kids say. She once told the teacher that she thought I didn’t send a snack in because we didn’t have any money. This leap was made because I didn’t have change in my purse for something in a vending machine. Read Art Linkletter, though. I’m sure you’ll find all sorts of potentially embarrassing (and funny) things kids can say.

        “That’s a lot of Kool-Aid”

        Perhaps, but I tried to work from within the system. And I was taking into consideration experiences like yours (based on your own words, your homeschool experience was not one you remember fondly). I, personally, think I gave it an adequate amount of time but not too much.

        Matt, your original response suggested to me that you were quite sure that my daughter was, at age 11, going to become completely dissatisfied with homeschooling. So, it is a very natural reaction to want to know how you can be so sure of this. It sounds to me like this was just your own personal experience. It well could happen to my daughter, just as you state, but it is by no means a given.

        Open communication is the only way to have an idea of knowing if my daughter will like homeschooling after 5th grade or not. But the unsaid nuance of your response is that she will not like it but will be too afraid to tell me. if that is true, is there a win-win alternative?

        The part about self cloistering is that the gist is we should not talk to kids about homeschooling. Period. Ever. We never tell that to public school children, many of whom hate school, too. School is the universal conversation opener with children from adults. Can’t talk about school, can’t talk to kids.

    • Cindy, I’m going to be frank here. I think you need to be protecting your daughter from questions by nosy adults. It’s not fair to put a child in that position, and because of the unequal power dynamics inherent in the interaction between adults and children, it is difficult for a child to navigate such an interaction in a way that empowers the child to demonstrate his or her discomfort with the interrogation. I always wanted to respond to adults with a snarky and sarcastic, “Well, why aren’t you at work?” but knew that if I had, I would be seen as a spoiled brat–the power dynamics make it well nigh impossible for a very young child to gracefully extricate themselves from the situation without having to go into full explanation of homeschooling.

      If you, as a parent, are present, I believe that it is your responsibility to take control of the conversation and let the nosy adult know that you don’t think it is fair to your daughter to put her in a position where she has to explain her education.

      When I initially posted this to my own blog and to my personal Facebook account, people came out of the woodwork–some of whom I didn’t even know had been homeschooled, who all indicated that they had similar experiences and all hated it. We were kids, we should have been allowed to be kids and nothing more.

      • Kathy,

        I feel it necessary to be frank, too, and I will start with the last part first. People come out of the woodwork (perhaps) because you are receiving responses from people who are seeking out a blog aimed at people with similar experiences. It is pretty unexceptional, therefore, that so many people responded with similar experiences.

        I have not had one, not even ONE, person in a year of homeschooling approach me or my daughter asking her (or me) why she isn’t in school. And we are out all the time during “school” hours. We work in libraries, cafes, at the beach, you name it. Homeschooling has come up, but aside from my sister -who gave me a load of grief about socialization before we started homeschooling – I have not felt one iota of negativity (or rudeness) from the public at large.

        Many people have asked my daughter if she likes homeschooling, the vast majority of them are people we already know. But despite familiarity with the adults involved, I will not respond with belligerence and annoyance every time someone shows an interest in my daughter, homeschooling or what we are learning. The fact that many of you do, again frankly, is likely a result of your being taught to mistrust everyone when you were kids and the fact that you were being forced to respond positively about something that was a negative experience for you.

        My daughter is as protected as she can possibly be. However, she does participate in many activities where I am not right alongside her. I have no control over what people ask her – kids or adults – in those situations. But better she have practice at interacting with adults while mom and dad are present than on her own.

        If I did as you all seem to be suggesting, and chased adults off with barbed words and dagger eyes every time someone asked my daughter a question about homeschooling, I can only imagine the damage I could do to her psyche. She could either learn to be a mini-me and rudely “school” adults about their rudeness and/or she could learn that homeschooling is a taboo subject (like sex is to many people) and then truly believe homeschooling is “bad”.

        I have gone back and re-read your post, along with the title, trying to figure out where this got so off track – because that is how it feels to me. The title is “The One Thing You Should Never Ask A Homeschool Kid”. Maybe that is it. There does not appear to be just ONE thing. Because the responses, including yours, suggest the title should be “Adults: Do Not Dare Talk To My Homeschooled Child!” Why would you want to make homeschooling the “elephant in the room”?

        Most disturbing to me, even more than the assumption that I am somehow not protecting my child, is that you actually are promoting a concept that will most likely mean MORE of the abusively homeschooled children will remain under the radar. In fact, if some of the abusive homeschool parents that I have read about here had been bloggers, this is just the sort of advice I can imagine them giving.

        I don’t remember who it was, but it is was posted on the HA site, that clearly stated they were completely uninterested in hearing from homeschool parents about how “well” homeschooling is going. They were only interested in hearing from the homeschooled kids. So, is it OK for a previously homeschooled child to ask a homeschooled child about their homeschool experience? The cynical part of me is starting to believe that for most people who stay long enough to “chat”, there really is no need to answer that question because the verdict has been rendered and it is not good.

      • I just want to but in and say that HA accepts stories from every perspective, but we have received virtually no positive experiences of homeschooling. I have solicited them far and wide, offering anyone who disagrees with the narrative emerging here to write about their experiences. I definitely don’t think only the stories of alumni and current homeschoolers are valid. I love the participation we have gotten from homeschooling parents. The children and parents involved in the cult of homeschooling are both victims. I do think you are right about people with bad experiences having more desire to share their experiences and that is my observation as well.

      • Nick,

        I have sent you guys a personal email. If there is ever anything I can do to help abused children, please let me know.

        The reason that you have likely not received the positive experiences is that many of us have been made to feel that anything positive we might have to say is a) likely a lie or we are deluding ourselves or b) is an insult and painful to those who have experienced real abuse at the hands of their homeschooling parents (and what I have read is absolutely toe-curling).
        I am glad that those who need it have a place to talk about their pain.

      • Nick, to be fair, I did have an overwhelmingly positive homeschool experience. There are enough people telling that version of the story though.

        I’m honestly surprised that of all the things I’ve written, this post is the one that’s generated the controversy. Even though I had a great experience, I still should never have been asked to do apologetics for homeschooling. It’s not something that my parents asked of me, it was random strangers who thought that the fact I had a non-traditional education gave them permission to quiz me. I don’t really see why homeschool parents are being defensive about this of all issues–I’m not even really talking about parents as much as the behavior of random non-homeschooling strangers.

      • Kbright, you are right that pretty much everywhere else online is full of people preaching about how great homeschooling is.

        And Cindy, I think you may have observed that response because of the nature of the interaction thus far. If a parent or someone else who has a “positive experience” shares their experience, it’s usually in the form of a comment. So the replies can be seen as dismissive or defensive of the original post. I think an original post highlighting the positives, without dismissing pain and hurt, would be well-received. I have come across a lot of people that honestly have no idea about this side of the homeschooling culture (mostly unschoolers) and I don’t want it to look like HA is only presenting one side.

        It’s also ironic that you say people don’t submit positive stories because of the possible negative reaction – dismissal and defensiveness, especially. That’s exactly what a lot of us have experienced every time we tell our negative stories! Ultimately, HA wants to promote an atmosphere that accepts all experiences and uses them to create constructive dialogue.

      • Cindy, when I talk of people coming out of the woodwork, I’m not speaking of people here or even on my personal blog. I’m talking about people–friends and former coworkers who I’ve known for years who all told me that they felt exactly the same way. This is something I’ve had conversations with other homeschoolers about when I was in college. I don’t think I know any homeschooler who hasn’t had to put up with getting quizzed by adults and who didn’t hate it.

        I think though, that you may be missing what I’m getting at. Asking a kid about school is one thing–if the adult is asking the same questions that a public or private school kid would get. Namely, things like, “what grade are you?” or, “what’s your favorite subject?” What homeschoolers get though, is adults, even perfect strangers, asking them meta questions about homeschooling as a concept. It’s not fair to a kid to expect them to defend their parents educational choices.

        The whole reason I wrote this is because it’s something that homeschooled kids talk about and complain about among ourselves. It’s never going to change if we just sit around complaining to each other without bothering to tell the general population that we all hate it. This isn’t something that new homeschooling parents generally know about to watch out for, and it’s certainly not something that the general public knows homeschoolers hate. But hate it we do, because no matter how fantastic our experience may have been, it was an experience that we should never have been asked to defend while we were in the middle of it all.

      • Nick, happy homeschooler here. My mom began our family’s homeschooling journey in 1987. I have been homeschooling my own children, so I guess I’m a second-gen as well. My kids enjoy being homeschooled. Should I submit a story? I have plenty of family and friends who were homeschooled and greatly enjoyed it.

  2. Don’t ask that question of kids. Seriously, just don’t. No kid should be put in the position of defending and explaining their education to adults.

    Parading The Children, The Children, The Children to “defend and explain” the Party Line is an old propaganda shtick. Both the USSR and Democrat Political Conventions used it a lot, to the point it became a running joke to outsiders.

  3. I had to put up with random strangers asking me questions about homeschooling since I was six.

    Six.

    Let that sink in for a second.

    How in the world would anyone think that’s remotely something that you should put on a six year old?

    A six-year-old should be getting asked about “Who is Best Pony? Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, or Pinkie Pie?” and the like. Not regurgitating propaganda for The Cause.

    (P.S. To this 57-year-old male, Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Derpy are Best Ponies.)

  4. YES. And then people would ask what grade I was in, and I wasn’t sure how to respond. I still don’t know how to respond when people ask what year I graduated from high shcool. I know what year I did the homeschool graduation, but I had started college a year before, and a year later I was still taking an online high school course. So I don’t really know when high school ended and college began.

    The other thing that was so hard is that I didn’t believe in Santa but always had to pretend like I did. Freakin annoying.

  5. I grew up homeschooled and was asked these questions all of the time so I have really never thought anything of it. But, when we started homeschooling our kids and people were asking them the same questions it infuriated my husband. The reality is though that people are going to ask. So, if you are homeschooling be sure your kids are comfortable with answering those questions and if they get a question they’re uncomfortable with to say, well you’re gonna have to ask my mom that one. I think it’s pretty dumb that people ask my children why they aren’t in school in stead of me or my husband who is standing there but that’s the way people are. Just raise confident kids who are okay with doing things a little different than the norm. And the question about what grade you’re in definitely can’t be avoided. That’s a question we ask all kids public schooled, homeschooled, or private schooled. It’s a necessary question to be place in the right spots in sports leagues, church classes, summer camp, etc…. Not having a black or white answer to that is just part of it.

    • I was a perfectly confident kid, that still didn’t change the fact that I hated the questions. Kids in other school settings don’t have to consider the history and philosophy of education or why their school operates the way it does. They just go to school and they go home and they get to just *be*. I never had the luxury of just being.

      Not to mention that it creates a weird dynamic when you’re a very young kid and adults are asking you to educate them about something.

  6. “No kid should be put in the position of defending and explaining their education to adults.”

    I used to get put in this position once in a while (also in the 80′s). I had some canned answer that my parents told me to use. I can’t remember what it was now.

    The tricky part was when I hit about 11 and began to disagree with homeschooling… mainly since I was bored out of my mind and tired of being an outsider (I dislike it for other reasons today). I’d get the questions from people and give the same canned answer, not because I agreed with it, but because I didn’t want to have to deal with the consequences from my parents if I dared to say anything negative about homeschooling.

    Ah, good times!

  7. Matt your answer made my smile. We are putting our 11 year old in school because she is thinking ps will be better. So we are giving it a try this year for 6th grade:-) 11 is a curiously wonderful age:-)

    • I’m glad to hear that you are LISTENING to your child. When I broached the topic of public school with my parents at about that age, my mom almost had an aneurysm.

  8. I think it’s /how/ the questions are asked. I was homeschooled K-12, and I got a LOT of questions from adults and kids. Quite a few of those people asked me questions like they were the “good cop” in an interrogation. They were polite, but it was easy to tell from the way the questions were worded and their body language that they thought home-schooling was the worst idea ever, and they wanted me to confess it.

    I think kids are pretty smart and can tell the difference between someone who is genuinely curious and someone who is just looking for ammunition. Now, maybe it is harder for kids to tell who is sincerely worried about them. When I look back now, there were times when I felt attacked, but I can see now that the people really did care.

    The best way to get through if you are sincerely worried is to tread very carefully. When I was a senior in high school, a youth leader made sure I understood that she was not attacking home-schooling, me, or my parents, but that she cared about me and had serious concerns. Once she got me off the defensive, I felt safe to share my feelings and thoughts with her, and this made me realize that she was right about everything. Having the pre-existing relationship also helped me listen and be honest with her.

    It made me uncomfortable when people were strongly biased against home-schooling, because that was the center of my identity, so I felt like they were rejecting me. The homeschooling culture made me feel like I always had to make the adult change their mind, which is a stressful and unfair place for a child to be. The strangers who were /really/ against homeschooling seemed to want to talk my mom and me out of it, which was a complete waste of time.

    Finally, if people are curious about /general/ questions regarding the legality of home-schooling, state regulations, research studies, that sort of thing, they can just Google it.

  9. Current homeschooling parents should thank the pioneers who blazed the trail before them, including, but not limited to explaining to college admissions, the Dean, and the college President why your son should not have to take the GED (General Educational Development) when that son was awarded a National Merit Scholarship and had also qualified to be enrolled in that college’s Honors Program.

  10. P.S: I might add that we had a similar experience with our daughter who had to take a math readiness test at the college where she wanted to enroll. She had scored a 1360 on her SAT. Four years later she just missed by a fraction of a point of graduating college Cum Laude. Back then homeschooling parents had to jump through a few hoops.

  11. Kathy,

    I asked my daughter yesterday if it bothered her when people asked her about homeschooling. Her immediate response was, “yes.” I followed up with, “what bothers you about it?” She said, “because they keep asking me ‘why’.” I knew then that she wasn’t talking about adults, but about other kids.

    She elaborated that the girls at softball kept asking her. And, because I had told her not to speak ill of her old school to her friends, she felt uncomfortable with what to say without possibly causing hurt feelings. We’ve discussed that she can just say, “my mom and dad thought it would be best” or “we wanted to have more family time and try out new curriculum and studies.” It is a good reminder that we have to continue to role play. Blaming mom was always a go-to response when she was in school and couldn’t do something that everyone else might be doing.

    Anyway, I asked her if it bothered her when adults asked her about homeschooling. Her exact response was, “not at all.” So, all I can say is that in our specific situation, we have had no adults pose those rude questions and whatever questions they are asking are not upsetting her.

    As for the progression of this conversation, I got the impression that some of you believe that my asking a high school homeschool student or graduate if they liked homeschooling and what were the pros and cons was somehow rude, unfair, or perhaps abusive. Therefore, the original notion that directing rude questions – “why aren’t you in school” – at helpless 6-year-olds transferred to information seeking questions from young adults and the legitimate interested questions my daughter has been asked by adults.

    Keep in mind that people reading this blog, who do not homeschool, not only are walking away with a one-sided view of homeschooling but they are now likely not going to talk to homeschoolers period. Whatever their preconceived notions of homeschooling or homeschooled children are will likely remain unchallenged by actual knowledge or experience.

  12. Pingback: Crosspost: That Was Certainly Not Something I Expected To Be Controversial | H • A·

  13. Hi all, please allow me to interject. My daughter expressed discomfort with the interrogation she received by the pediatrician. In fact, many adults will interrogate the child because they disgustingly, self-righteously believe that they are helping to root out child abuse (homeschooling) and the child abuser (me). My daughter is very smart and sensitive and this “edge” of the questioning does not get by her for a moment. Of course it makes her uncomfortable, much like her experience with a near-rape by a TSA agent in a Florida airport last year.
    I wonder how many PUBLIC school students get interrogated about abuse at the PUBLIC schools? Honey, do you LIKE public school? (answer: hell no). Sweetie, is anyone ever MEAN to you at public school? (answer: you bet your life they are).
    The intrusive questions are often nothing more than hate-bias against homeschool families, thinly veiled. The genuinely curious questions are never offensive, but like I said, my daughter immediately senses the difference, and so do I.

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