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How do you answer the"Why?" question? There has to be threads on this...


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We  just started homeschooling, as a last resort, for academic reasons (we are agnostic), and we are not neccesarily ideologically embedded to the idea of homeschooling for its sake, it just happened to be the only option available to us under the circumstances. Believe me, we gave the local publics a fair chance.

But I still work (went part time/took attendant paycut to accomodate this) and the question is bound to come up since there are many school-aged kids among my more senior colleagues as well as because we moved (so I expect they will ask re local schools).I am having an issue answering the question in a short, neutral manner (because really, I doubt anyone wants HS tips from me) without being perceived to pass judgement on other people's choices. For example, there are plenty of academically excellent private schools in the city I work in (NYC). Besides the fact that I am unwilling to spend 40K/yr (which could be done but would neccesitate me woking a much more intense job thereby never seeing my children), those schools are a scene I do not wish my child to be a part of and there is some divergence of values. So how do I answer coworkers, some of whose kids may go to those schools? Ideas please! Many thanks for any thoughts.

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while we are Christian, we're homeschooling for purely unrelated reasons.  (I've never had any conflicts with the public school system and keeping my kids grounded in Christ).

 

 

My short answer is:  Homeschooling is the perfect fit for my kid who doesn't.  

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I took my daughter out of a private Christian school because she was burned out...by Easter of first grade...not because of any spiritual reasons. :-)

 

If I'm feeling flippant, I might say "Seemed like a good idea at the time." :D A little less flippant answer might be "It is the best option for Orkie at this time."

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I usually say something like, "It's what works best for my kids," or, "My kids don't fit in their round peg holes." with a shrug. (FWIW, that's the same thing I tell people who ask why we don't use graded curricula in a box.)

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I have found that almost no matter what I say some people think by HS'ing, I am automatically passing judgement.  So, I try to be nice and not say anything negative about PS, but I don't worry too much about it either.

 

I would just say something like, "It works well for our family."  If someone wants to know why, I would just say, "we were looking for something different than what the schools offer."  If they keep digging, I'd lay it out and let it ride.  LOL!!  (Assuming you have the time to spare. ;))

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My short answer is, "It is the best solution for our family at this time."

 

There are actually lots of reasons that we homeschool. It started with my ds with special needs. There were bullying issues, there were boredom issues. It has been great for the family dynamics. My kids have sailed ahead academically. Really, there are a LOT of reasons. How many I give is based on who is asking, why they want to know and how interested they are. 

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I get this all the time.  One of my neighbors even asked me if homeschooling made me exempt from taxes (??)  

 

I used to struggle a lot with this question, especially when I first started and wasn't as confident.  I would say something like "It's just what works best for our family."  But now that I'm more confident, I say "For the socialization."  A much less political answer than you're looking for, but I find it knocks out the inevitable follow up question. (But how will they be socialized???) 

 

Congrats on doing what's best for your family.  

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We have an easy answer that seems to satisfy people without feeling "judgy".  We started home schooling because we had to due to international laws surrounding our daughter's adoption.  We pulled the boys out so we could gel as a family.  I find we don't get a lot of follow up questions after that - if we do, it is usually "Why are you still home schooling?" or "Why aren't the kids back in school now that the adoption is final?" and I say, "Because for now it works best for us."  

 

I am not a fan of debate when it comes to our family choices  so I feel like we have an easy out in this one.  Who can argue with international law?!?!?  ;)  

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I still get asked this, even though our youngest dc is 20yo now.  A woman just asked me this last month.  Her youngest was also 20yo and in college with my ds.  She was just curious, I suppose.  But I suspect I'll be asked this question until the day I die.  lol  It's easy for me to answer because I just tell them the truth.  (We are Christian, but began hs'ing for academic reasons.)  I tell them a (true) story.

 

My oldest was a boy and ps'ed.  He began kindergarten right after his 5th birthday in a town where "even the teacher's aide's had Master's degrees" (quoting one of those aides).  He wasn't reading and the kindergarten teacher disapprovingly asked me why he wasn't reading yet.  She said most of the kids in her class could already read.  When I recovered enough to answer, I said 'But I LEARNED to read in FIRST GRADE!!  I thought that was what YOU were supposed to be doing - teaching him to read.'  He was then put in the "Buzzards" reading group with the other kids who weren't reading.  (The "Eagles" group were the readers.)  He began ps 'behind' and never caught up.

 

I almost never get any further questions after that.  Most of these ps parents know exactly what I'm talking about. 

 

Your story is exactly what would have happened to my oldest if he had gone to PS.  I know he probably would have been labelled.  He hardly knew all the letters and it wasn't from lack of exposure either.  It was lack of interest.  He was only 5...who cares if it takes a little longer...great reason to HS!!! 

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No one asks me this in Oregon. Seems everyone has thought about doing it themselves, is doing it themselves, or has a close friend or family member home schooling. But my answer is basically, "We enjoy it." We love living a lifestyle of learning. We love history and Latin (which aren't taught in public schools here). I enjoy learning alongside my kids--how else is a 40-something woman going to learn Latin? It's fun. It's good for us. We don't have bad public schools here--it's not any kind of reaction to what the schools are like. It's just how we want to live our lives.

 

The years with your kids at home turn out to fly by pretty quickly. When I started home schooling, I thought that if I didn't home school, I would always kind of wished I had tried it. It would be sad to get to the day your kids turn 18 and wish you had more time with them. Now if you home school they'll still up and leave you at 18 (off to college), but you will have spent all of those days with them--fewer regrets. I'll still miss them but will never regret making the decision to spend all of these (sometimes long, tiring) days with them.

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I don't get a lot of "why"s any more. When I did, I said something like ,"Because I want to and I can." Not in a snarky way. I am a competent teacher. I choose to teach my own kids right now.

 

You have gotten a lot of nice, noncommittal answers. I will recommend that you avoid mentioning schools at all. Any school. At all. Steer the conversation away if possible. It won't end well.

 

FTR we school,in part, for religious reasons. We're Buddhist, living in the deep south. But mainly we do this for other reasons.

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We ... started homeschooling ... for academic reasons

 

 

"Why do you ask?"

Start with this. It's very helpful to better answer the question if you understand the motivation behind the question.

 

- If they are looking for info about homeschooling, you can guide them to it.

 

- If they are looking for a debate, you can politely accept or decline to engage (nothing worse than being pulled into a debate when you didn't know that was the direction of the question!).

 

- If they really want to know what led you to your decision, you said it above: "We started homeschooling for academic reasons"; you can keep it short and sweet, and if they really want to know more, they can ask a follow-up question; or you can divert with, "Why did you decide to go with _____ to meet your family's educational needs?"

 

- If it's a family member or close friend, definitely start with "Why do you ask" -- they may be feeling threatened or missing out (grandparents wanting to go to school plays, etc.) -- and you may be able to address the specific need without it getting into a painful emotional scene.

 

 

Why I responded this way: SOOO often, this question is being asked by someone with an agenda, so by answering the question with a question, this this puts the ball back in their court, makes it clear you also have "conversation control" by asking a question in response and keeps the asker from controlling the discussion. Right from the start you are making it clear (very politely) that if this is going in a direction that is not of interest to you (debate, the person railing on homeschooling, the person "dissing" your decision to homeschool), that you will politely cut the topic short, "pass the bean dip", and change topics to preserve the discussion. :)

 

 

BUT... In answer to your question in your subject heading, "How do you respond to the WHY question"... there is going to be a unique answer for every family on this board! :) Our specific answer to your question:

 

We started homeschooling for a combination of reasons:

- meeting the different special needs of each DS

- academics

- finances

- opportunity to focus on special interests of DSs

- ability to focus on character development

- ability to have more time and continue to develop good relationship with DS

- take advantage of opportunities that being in a traditional school setting would not have allowed

- and ability to include religious and moral training in the school day.

 

 

The shorter you keep your answer (just like it your post!), the less likely it is to be an issue. And if they keep pressing the issue and you want to divert with humor:

 

- "We're rebels at heart."

- "We want to be part of the 2.9 percent"

- "We're polygonal pegs."

- "We're not morning people."

- "We like going on vacation without crowds."

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I didn't get asked too much when I was home all day and my kids are young.  When I returned to work full time, I did get more people asking why I was still homeschooling them when sending them to public school would (theoretically) be so much easier.   I clearly don't have a problem with public school since my oldest was never homeschooled, and I live in an excellent district.

 

We homeschool because my son would not fit in at any school, not matter how excellent.  He's working across three grade levels, advanced in some things, behind in others.  Is extremely quirky, hates any change in routine, has sensory issues and hates bright lights, loud noises, is socially awkward, possibly adhd.  Anyone who has been around him for any length of time no longer asks me why I still homeschool.

 

Usually unless it's someone I'm close to, I won't explain in that much detail.  I stick with -I don't think the kids would be able to do their best in school.

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No one asks me this in Oregon. Seems everyone has thought about doing it themselves, is doing it themselves, or has a close friend or family member home schooling. But my answer is basically, "We enjoy it." We love living a lifestyle of learning. We love history and Latin (which aren't taught in public schools here). I enjoy learning alongside my kids--how else is a 40-something woman going to learn Latin? It's fun. It's good for us. We don't have bad public schools here--it's not any kind of reaction to what the schools are like. It's just how we want to live our lives.

 

The years with your kids at home turn out to fly by pretty quickly. When I started home schooling, I thought that if I didn't home school, I would always kind of wished I had tried it. It would be sad to get to the day your kids turn 18 and wish you had more time with them. Now if you home school they'll still up and leave you at 18 (off to college), but you will have spent all of those days with them--fewer regrets. I'll still miss them but will never regret making the decision to spend all of these (sometimes long, tiring) days with them.

 

This is just lovely.  This is why I homeschool, too - though it's not necessarily what i try and explain to people!

 

Mostly around here, I get faintly admiring responses, like, "I could never do that!"  But there are definitely people in our (small) town who spent the first year or two assuming that I was homeschooling dd 10 because *she* had a problem.  So yeah, it was a struggle to figure out how to answer the concerned questions:  "Oh, is she ok?"  Why yes, yes she is, she was just bored brainless at the stupid school you send your kid to - somehow this never seemed like the right answer! or at least one I was brave enough to give!   ;)  :D

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If I get pressed beyond my standard 'it works well for us' I say "my kids seem to thrive in a one on one learning situation".  What can they say to refute that? It's not like they can get that in a group education setting.

 

I have seen a couple mouths snap shut when I pull that one out. That is always gratifying. 

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Most of the time I said, "We really enjoy it!" People can't argue with your enjoyment of something! You could also just say, "It fits her needs." That allows for every child's needs to be different.

 

My "longer" answer is here, but does include Christian reasons as well. My reasons are relationships, academics, flexibility, life skills, health, character, and spiritual--not necessarily in that order! 

 

Hope you have a great first year! Merry :-)

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We started off similarly to you, it sounds like-after many years of misery for my oldest in 2 school settings. So I mostly tell people I don't know at all, "My son was having an absolutely terrible time in school-both public and private". That's enough for most people I don't know well.

 

When people I know better ask, I take more chances in my answer. I wouldn't badmouth any school, mostly because there are good schools, and there are many students who thrive in schools. I know little about most of the schools around here. But I only give specific, "real" answers to people who I've built up some trust and rapport with. I've actually been consulted by a number of friends and coworkers about the option of homeschooling-and they've often confided the problems their own kids have had in school.

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 You could also just say, "It fits her needs." That allows for every child's needs to be different.

 

This is what I usually reply.  I also sometimes add, "and we review the decision every year, but it is still working for us" .  This also says that we would consider other options for our family and that theirs is valid for them. 

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We tried public school for several years and pulled them out because they were bored silly. And there was bullying.

"My kids were not challenged enough in school" is an explanation that so far has been met with understanding by everybody who knows my kids and/or who has seen the local public school.

I have never encountered any negative comments and never had people question my motives or criticize homeschooling to me or feel the need to argue with my choice.

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I used to struggle a lot with this question, especially when I first started and wasn't as confident.  I would say something like "It's just what works best for our family."  But now that I'm more confident, I say "For the socialization."  A much less political answer than you're looking for, but I find it knocks out the inevitable follow up question. (But how will they be socialized???) 

 

Congrats on doing what's best for your family.  

 

*Standing, whistling and applauding!*

 

Oh, that is priceless! I'm going to use this. I had settled on, "Because my kids are too cool for school!" This is much, much better. :D

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 He was then put in the "Buzzards" reading group with the other kids who weren't reading.  (The "Eagles" group were the readers.)  He began ps 'behind' and never caught up.

 

I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, but the names of the reading groups - unbelievable!

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"It just works better for our family."

 

Usually I don't get any other questions about it as the person's imagination fills in what exactly is working better.

This!

 

I have found that almost no matter what I say some people think by HS'ing, I am automatically passing judgement.  So, I try to be nice and not say anything negative about PS, but I don't worry too much about it either.

 

I would just say something like, "It works well for our family."  If someone wants to know why, I would just say, "we were looking for something different than what the schools offer."  If they keep digging, I'd lay it out and let it ride.  LOL!!  (Assuming you have the time to spare. ;))

I come across the bolded with some of my friends.  I've never said or done anything to back up the judgy thing - I always make sure to say it has nothing to do with the PS and that we liked it when we were there - but the mere fact that I took them out to HS, they take as judgment against them.  

It's unfortunate, but oh well.  :(

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Thank you so much everyone. I do love the "it's what's working best for our family at the moment" with the follow on that we shall revisit as needed.

Because I sounded overly negative, I should state that most responses have been positive, from the most unlikely quarters. But the negative responses have been, well, intensely felt and expressed ;)

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