Questions I Get About Homeschooling My Kids

As a homeschooler, I get asked a lot of questions about how the whole thing works. Folks tend to have an idea of what they think homeschooling is, and the reality, at least my reality, is far different. Here are some questions I get about homeschooling my kids, along with the truth:

1. “You must be REALLY organized!” Oh dear holy old cheezits, no. Unless I can count not having lost a child in Mount Washmore as being organized. (In fact, I think I will count it, as I need the reassurance to my ego.) Frankly, that’s about the only thing I can think of that I haven’t had to tear the house apart looking for. Hang on, where’s the baby?! Oh, right. Nap time. I’m still good on not having misplaced a child.

2. “Your kids must be so well behaved!” Uh…I have a nine year old son who decided that hiding his math book would mean not having to do math. Ever. And then it took him several days to find it again. He’s currently grounded until sometime after his 21st birthday for that stunt. And catching up on the math he should have been doing.

3. “You must be really patient!” I had someone tell me this once in front of my teen daughter. Her hysterical laughter caused a bit of a scene, and didn’t stop until I threatened her with the thought that she could wet her pants in the middle of the grocery store. Even then, she was still suppressing the giggles. Needless to say, patience is not one of my many virtues. I try, and I think I’ve gotten better with practice. Either that, or I’ve given up on many things, and just stick to my guns on the big stuff. You know, reading, math, writing, not drawing blood on a sibling…

4. “What about socialization?” Honestly, my kids have a better social life than I do. Granted, that’s not really saying much, but they have swimming lessons, skiing lessons, kids in the yard daily, field trips…Being grounded to the house and yard is their worst punishment, not their norm.

5. “Do you ever think about sending them to school?” Only about eleventy billion times a year. Dumping them on the front steps of the local public school for some poor, unsuspecting teacher to deal with is a fantasy on many days. Like, all this week, with the hidden math book fiasco. Any homeschooling parent that claims to NEVER have these thoughts is either a liar, or completely delusional.

6. “Why?” Ah, the real question. Some days, I suspect I’m a glutton for punishment. Other days, I’m protecting the teachers of the world from my kids. I suppose the real answer is that it just works for our family. The kids mostly enjoy being homeschooled, and I (mostly) enjoy homeschooling them. I say ‘mostly’ because, well, they’re kids. Given the choice between school work and doing whatever they want, chances are, school work isn’t going to win out. So, we have our struggles, just the same as we would with regular homework, but for the most part, they’re used to their routine, and things roll along fairly well. Also, for our family, the flexibility is a big part of things. My husband’s busiest season at work is during the Summer. This way, we c an flex our schedule differently than what’s normal for the public schools in our area, so that when he gets down time in the Fall/Winter, the kids can take time off their schooling to take a trip with him, be it over night or a series of day trips.

We didn’t start out to homeschool. But after we started, we discovered it works better for us than we ever would have imagined. So, while I may fantasize about handing them off to someone else to teach, I really can’t imagine not homeschooling my kids. We’re the Weird Homeschoolers, now. And it fits us perfectly.

Related post: Reasons to Homeschool

About the writer

Melissa lives in the frozen Tundra, aka 'Canada'. She spends her days being The Wife to Wolf, and That Weird Homeschooling Mom to Diva, Tazzie, Princess, Boo and Cubby. She's also alpha wench to Bazinga, the big, red, clueless dog.You can find her blogging at Not A Stepford Life, on Pinterest, Facebook  annnnnnd Twitter.

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Sasha 4 months ago

I am giving birth in a few weeks. And I would like to prepare myself as much as I can on how to start teaching my baby as early as I can. I figured I can start reading her books, giving her toys that would help her develop, or put some charts in the room so she can look at them. I don’t know. Maybe you could suggest something for me that worked for you and your kids? Thanks in advance.

Rebecca 4 months ago

I chose to homeschool my daughter when our school district was on a strike last September. At first it seemed like it was going to be a challenge, but we get her school work done in the morning and she gets to play and do crafts etc all afternoon. She completed her first year curriculum in 5 months and is underway in her grade 1,well ahead of schedule. While it is not for everyone, I am so glad we made this decision and plan on homeschooling until high school at the very least.

Brandi 8 months ago

I’m a single mom and I homeschool my 13 year old daughter. We chose to homeschool because she just does better with one on one teaching. Her grades in public school were not good and it was a daily fight to get her to go. We have been doing it for 3 years now and she is a completely different child. Homeschooling has actually made her more social as she is able to control the situations better.

cours de soutien scolaire 8 months ago

My reason of choosing homeschooling my child is because of her health situation. We didn’t have a choose really.

Bev 12 months ago

I was sick of the whining and frustration of making my son do his homework from public school. Now since I homeschool, if both of us think the “homework” assignment is “stupid” we can change it or skip it or do something creative instead. Homeschool is great for kids that get things quickly – you can skip all that repetitive work. On the flip side, it is great for kids that take longer to learn – you can practice and practice – you can teach the same topic a different way – you can review weeks later, etc.

And yes, your parenting style will change! When I was with my kids for only a few hours everyday, I was much more tolerant of poor behavior. When you are with all day long for days in a row, you quickly expect better behavior out of them. It is not east for kids or parents, but both can be better people in the long run.

That said, there comes a time when the best answer is to send that kid to public school. We hit that with my 16 year old. He would not work for me, so I gave him several choices, including public school and dual-enrollment at the community college. For him, public school meant the lost of his freedom to sleep in, eat lunch whenever, do school whenever, etc. He decided on dual-enrollment. So you are not making a life decision. Just take it year to year – even month to month.

Bev 12 months ago

I know of single parents that homeschool. Most work from home. It is not easy for them, but it is what they choose to do for their family.

Bev 12 months ago

Do you love your children? Do you like having your children around? Do you like to learn? If you can answer yes to all of those questions, then you are qualified!!!

As someone who never, ever was taught phonics in grade school, I was able to not only teach them to my daughter but I too finally learned them at age 45. You can do this! It just takes a desire to learn and to share that learning with the children you love.

Sharief Shirlinda Savahl 12 months ago

I just found Scary Mommy and I am totally loving it. And we are second generation homeschoolers!

Angelique Shutt 12 months ago

Haha Christa Coppola! I’m so guilty of these questions….. I’m totally loving the idea that you can tweak the schedule to go on trips during the winter etc if you do a curriculum in the summer. Now that’s cool! And you get good travel rates:) hehe

Sarah Letson Holsombeck 12 months ago

I was homeschooled along with my 5 younger brothers and sisters. Three of us have graduated college (with honors) and the three youngest are all currently enrolled. My brother is a college freshman playing baseball.

We figured out how to “cope” with the world just fine. To me, that’s such a silly presumption that one cannot learn how to be a part of a varied society unless they are brought up in public schools. I’m not afraid of or intimidated by people who are different from me just because my mornings as a child were spent learning with my siblings at home!

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but it was GREAT for our family. I have so much respect for my mom- she gave us an excellent education and upbringing. Do what you think is best for your kids, and respect other parents as they do the same.

Connie Foye 1 year ago

Usually the first question I hear people ask is “Do you have a LOT of kids?” or “Is it a religious thing?”. Btw…I don’t personally home school, but this is what I hear asked.

HomeschoolDad 1 year ago

With both parents working? Sure. My wife works Mon-Thur…and I work nights, weekends, and online. Sometimes I bring my homeschooled kids with me to clients’ houses. Sometimes they wait in the car for 1-2 hours, reading. Sometimes I leave them at the library. Sometimes I hire a cheap (14 year old homeschooler) babysitter. Sometimes I arrange playdates opposite my appointments. Sometimes I drop them off at their grandmother’s. I’ve even been known to leave them home all alone for a couple hours…(they are 8 and 9 years old).

Fran Inman 1 year ago

That only lasts for about a week or so… then they get behind the program.

The Imp 1 year ago

That’s exactly what I was trying to do! I’m soooo not perfect, which is why my site is Not A Stepford Life, LOL!

Coco 1 year ago

This ^

That’s exactly what we are having an issue with. Granted my oldest is 3, so we’re still trying to decide what to do but both my husband and I feel the public school system, at least where we live, is just a bare minimum for learning.

Coco 1 year ago

Hugs to you, momma.

Sarah 1 year ago

So true. That said we made the decision when I was newly pregnant with our 1st daughter at first it was because I grew up in public school (I spent 1 year in private) and my hubby in parochial schools, we didn’t want that for our children. Once I rededicated my life to Christ I knew I wanted my children to grow up in the Truth of the Bible and they wouldn’t get that and the peer issue was huge. My children learn about Creationism and how to refute evolution – they are taught HOW to think not WHAT to think. Is everyday easy? Nope. I often get asked “oh which school do you use?” and when I say “we don’t use a virtual school, we do it all, we buy all our own curricula” I either get met with “wow, you’re supermom” or “I didn’t know you could do that”. I’m not supermom at all. I hate the socializing question as well, my girls are in their studios Junior Dance Company, and on top of that 3 dance classes a week and AHG, my son is in martial arts twice a week, 1 dance class, and soon either BS or TL. Not to mention their myriad of friends. They learn way more than they ever would sitting in class room and I’ve been told this by many “real” teachers. For those who don’t homeschool because they aren’t trained – I have an associates in social work, never had a day of teacher’s ed – but then again I’ve had teachers who had masters in ed and they really should have found another line of work 😀

Erin Zartmann LaMaster 1 year ago

Nice to read an a more realistic homeschooling article. Most of them have sounded like everyone is very perfect and proper

Ginny Schultz Vandenburg 1 year ago

If homeschooling doesn’t appeal to you for some reason, there are also virtual charter schools, which allow kids to be educated at home by actual teachers who they learn from and interact with online (through the school’s secure site of course). Not to mention actual brick-and-mortar charter schools and also alternative schools (those can take a little bit of research and digging to find). I think a lot of people don’t realize just how many options they have. My kids attend public school because we happen to have an excellent public school system where we live, but I grew up with many homeschooled friends, I attended both public school and private Christian school myself, and I worked as a coordinator at an alternative school for several years. One of my closest friends is a teacher at a virtual charter school. So I’m very familiar with all of the various options available. Anyone who thinks that their options are limited to public school, homeschool, or expensive private schools just need to be made aware that there are other choices.

Melissa Valdez 1 year ago

I’m new to homeschool n so far it just works for our child. I can’t lie but I also really do enjoy being able to be there and help her out she’s that child that can’t stay still so no one understand her n her needs more than her momma…me ❤️ her!

ShaunaDye 1 year ago

I have a degree in elementary ed. You’d be surprised how little we learned about the process of learning. A large part of the training involved classroom management, planning…etc. You know your child better than any teacher ever could. Most parents who choose to homeschool are not former teachers and yet the stats demonstrate that homeschooled kids do extremely well post “graduation.” I would guess you are extremely qualified as are most educated parents.

Ester Joyce Venter 1 year ago

Haha love it!

Jenny 1 year ago

I love everything about this. I’ve always wanted to homeschool, but feel so overwhelmed by it. Mind sharing what programs / books you use?

The Imp 1 year ago

There are loads of hsing groups online, FB included. Look for ‘homeschool’ and your city.

Amanda Shepherd 1 year ago

I’m glad we have a couple of years to consider our options… I had a rough time in school, and was moved around a lot to accommodate an advanced learning path. They skipped me up two grades by the time I hit high school, and my age was always a sore spot. I think if our son is on that same path, I may homeschool, so long as he has plenty of extracurricular activities…

chardiggity 1 year ago

I find the conversation often comes up after someone casually asks what school a kid goes to. Speaking for the limited group of homeschool peeps I know, we don’t go around proclaiming it unasked to any great degree :-)

I suppose you could say “Nice! So how’s that going?” or something to that effect, same as you would anytime you’re honestly curious about someone’s life choices. I don’t mind if someone asks an ignorant (as in simply lacking information on the subject) question. What might get under my skin would be if I can tell the asker is, in effect, saying, “I’m sure you fit my perceived stereotype, RIGHT??” But then it’s usually better not to assume I know their motivation as well :-)

I was pleased to note that the author seems to be seeking to answer common questions for a wider audience, rather than penning a piece on what homeschoolers wish the general public knew, or any other defensive stance.

Desi Doodle-Lamy 1 year ago

Seriously considering homeschooling my little one. He is going to be getting a kidney transplant in the next year and the thought of him attending school and being on immune suppressants scares the day lights out of me. Plus I’m a highschool teacher. Some of my friends said if I did it they would send their kids to me to be homeschooled. My babe is only 17 months so I have time to think about it. Are their any home school support groups on Facebook?

Carolinablessed 1 year ago

We decided to try homeschooling for one year to get our oldest back on track – he just kept ending up in those classes that are a teacher’s nightmare – none of the kids getting along, all different learning styles, different levels of ability that just didn’t blend…..once we started, we never went back. We ended up homeschooling through high school (did not blow up the kitchen during three rounds of chemistry), both boys went to college on scholarships, and are now out of college, working at jobs they enjoy, supporting themselves!! If we could do it, anyone can do it – if it matters to them. I am not organized, I don’t always play by the rules, I don’t like being told what I must do or not do……so I write to encourage you – Hang in there! It is worth it. We had more family time, more opportunity to teach our values, the boys studied things that actually interested them, so they enjoy learning new things which is paying off as adults. Of all the decisions we made in our marriage, this one was probably the best one. .

Dawn 1 year ago

I HS my oldest from sixth grade to graduation and my youngest from pre k through graduation. This is the first year in 16 that I have no school aged kids.:(. I loved every minute of it even the questions and negative comments from family, friends and total strangers. Their thoughts and opinions never mattered to me. My children’s education did. I chose to home educate because I wanted my children to LEARN not MEMORIZE.

Ashley Bernier 1 year ago

I home school because my five year old has intestinal failure and spends a lot of his life in he hospital. When he is home he is hooked up to an iv pump for a minimum of 16 hours a day. He is immuno compromised so for right now school is not an option.

chardiggity 1 year ago

Sure you are :-) My mother-in-law is an RN, & homeschooled 5 kids who went on to be an electrical engineer, a physics teacher, an analyst for the NSA, a horticulturist, and a senator’s aide – all successful.

Dana Marie Cain 1 year ago

I homeschooled my 3rd child for a year after the schools and his doctors insisted on drugging him instead of educating him. I wasn’t able to put him back in school until we moved from the Seattle area to the Houston TX area, where the schools are so. Much. Better. They don’t believe in drugging kids here. It took a long time for my son to overcome the abuse he suffered at the hands of doctors and “educators”.

Maria Tripp 1 year ago

Some people choice to home school because they feel their child would do better with curriculum tailored for them with one on one attention. Instead of a one size fits all situation. Also lots of people do not like common core and standardize test each year. Some people home school because the can teach their children in the time they take dropping off/ picking up their children. (2-4 hours a day). I could go on forever. Their is lots of reason to home school. BTW- I do not home school my child, but we are thinking about it.

Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

I know someone homeschooling out of fear. She is afraid of her child falling behind because they can’t keep up with the work in school. When it became too much of an inconvenience to shuttle them to tutoring, she decided to homeschool. Two-hours of workbooks from Walmart will be so much easier for her child than all of this new math curriculum.

Danielle Dapp 1 year ago

My SO and I both attended public school, and that definitely influenced our decision to homeschool. I feel that in a lot of public schools, information is given to you, you are expected to memorize it and spit it back out on tests and that’s about it. I am teaching my children in such a way that the information they are learning is relevant, not just something to remember for tests.

Allison Diehl 1 year ago

What is the *right* thing to say? Are there questions I should be asking when someone tells me they homeschool? I don’t go around telling people “my kids to go a school.” Honestly, I want to say something nice, but it seems like every possible response is going to be interpreted as criticism or ignorance on my part.

Melanie Poston 1 year ago

I was homeschooled and it’s why I’m homeschooling my kids. Well, I’d like to think it would homeschool anyway. Public schools don’t teach kids how to think and learn for themselves, and that’s important. And I worked in an elementary and middle school and decided I would never want to send my children to that. The teachers are fine, but the other kids aren’t.

The Imp 1 year ago

I’m so terribly sorry for your loss.

Sarah Cedar 1 year ago

Yep, #5! All the time. It would be so much easier.

Keri Prunty 1 year ago

I grew up in public school. Our oldest went all the way through public. After i was a sub campus supervisor, i was always on campus anyway, we saw that our last 2 boys were not receiving the education we wanted them to have. So we do half home and half class. I would not trade it for anything. My 10yr old intelligence level has skyrocketed. He is in 5th grade but is already at high school level. We have the best, he stays with his own age but schools at his own level. Our 14yr old, well he will have his AA by high school graduation in engineering.

Mary Callahan Kisamore 1 year ago

We home schooled our daughter for 7 years due to health issues that our school couldn’t/wouldn’t deal with. She graduated with honors. She had a very active social life. And to be honest she learned much much more than the public schools teach. And we are just a normal everyday family like everyone else.

Charlotte Preci 1 year ago

@Barbara I started because of a bad school system but continued because it worked well for our family. I then had 2 sons with learning disabilities who have really benefited from the individual attention. After homeschooling my oldest until 6th grade, she went into a traditional 7th grade with no problems. I also know people who pull their kids out and homeschool for a year or so to help them catch up, or because a child is ahead academically but not socially. I always tell people if your kid is happy where they’re at and you’re happy with their school, best not to upset that. The only bad reason to homeschool, in my opinion, is out of fear. As far as both parents working, there’s parents that do it and sites just for such a situation. I imagine you could utilize a lot of online options and catch up on days off.

Andi Fowler 1 year ago

A couple, Kate :-) I’m afraid most people when they find out we HE don’t ask any questions – they just stare at me/us in a peculiar manner :-/ I’ve been asked a couple of times about socialisation, that’s a hard one. It’s not perfect – my daughter doesn’t socialise as much as I would like her to. BUT the people she does spend time with treat her with the respect and kindness that she deserves, which is the exact opposite to what she was experiencing at school :-/ So that is a positive aspect, surely? I’ve also been asked (rather rudely, I thought) why I thought I was clever enough to HE my daughter. This is a tough one – how do we measure intelligence?? I am lucky enough to be educated to degree-level (as a mature student), I read a lot, have many and varied interests that I try my damnest to pass on to my daughter. I don’t have a teaching qualification, that is true. But in the same vein, I’ve also worked with a few teachers who didn’t come across as being very intelligent. So, I’m not the most intelligent person you could hope to meet, but equally, I can hold my own 😉

Marguerite Lonchambon 1 year ago

I think homeschooling has it’s merrits. I could never attempt it because my academic background is not in education. I am not qualified.

Not A Stepford Life Blog 1 year ago

I do know families that both parents work, and still homeschool. It depends on the individual families, what child care might look like, etc. For us, when I was working, I worked 3-11 (health care) so we could still hs.

Leslie Maxwell 1 year ago

Oh absolutely, especially 5&6

Alexandria Cruikshank 1 year ago

Would shoot myself lol I look forward to them being in school

Katie Bogdan Sunderlin 1 year ago

Barbara, all those reasons you posted are pretty much all the reasons I have heard homeschool parents mention. I would also imagine health reasons would be another where certain conditions would make regular attendance a challenge. Also I’d imagine that families that move around due to job or military service so that their education isn’t disjointed. As far as two working parents, I suppose it depends on how. I know one family, the mom worked from home

Mary 1 year ago

SO MUCH THIS!

Wish we’d started from the beginning, and homeschooled straight through… The three years I homeschooled with my son were some of the best ever.

Love it. It’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone, but it’s great if it works.

Mary

CQ 1 year ago

I have a question to add to this list: “Were you home schooled as a child, and did that experience contribute to your decision to home school your own children?” Here’s why I have this question….good old fashioned curiosity. 😉 I was home schooled most of my childhood. My personal experience (which was not horrible by the way) prompted me to send my own children to public school.

Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

I think homeschooling would be fun…for about a half hour. I’d get sick of the whining and negotiating to get work done. My kids do what every teacher asks of them without question. They save all of those questions for me.

Barbara Mastroddi-Lackey 1 year ago

I’m curious as to why some people do, outside of religious reasons (I know a lot of fundamental Christians are big on this). I can justify it if a lousy public school system exists, or if the curriculum being offered might not challenge a child, or if the child is pursuing a sport/avocation where normal school hours might not work. But is it practical to homeschool if both parents work? (That’s one reason I never even considered it.) I”ve heard a lot of other homeschoolers point out that socialization fears are greatly overstated by critics. It’s not for my child now, but I want to keep an open mind just in case our needs change and the idea is broached. Thanks!

Vicki Bee 1 year ago

I home-schooled my daughter for one reason alone: It was easier to do than take her to school right after her dad was killed in The World Trade Center. Frankly, she was never actually able to return to school and be the same as she had before it occurred, and too many people expected it to all be better for her within 2 months after the tragedy occurred. Which was fine to think if you were assuming that other children were harboring these expectations, way much worse and hardly fine at all when you discovered it was teachers and other adults demanding that she recover in a period of time satisfactory to them and everyone else who’ve never seen a tragedy unfolding in front of their eyes and knowing someone in their family was trapped inside one of the burning buildings.

Emily @ Tips on Life and Love 1 year ago

Hilarious and great perspective on homeschooling!