Questions you always want to ask,
but maybe not the answers you want to hear.
It is that time of year with schools starting back and we homeschoolers are questioned from “well meaning people” from all angles. In case you are curious and always wanted to know some answers to the most obvious questions, I have created some actual questions I have been asked with reasonable answers. However, for a spin on things, I will tell you what I would like to say but never do.
I apologize in advance if my defense or sarcasm offends anyone, but homeschoolers will understand my frustration.
Question #1: Do you report what you do to the state?
Answer: In the state of North Carolina, we are only required to file a Notice of Intent to Operate a School. The administrator parent or legal guardian must provide a high school diploma or college degree, keep attendance, current immunization records, and have the student tested annually. That’s IT!
What I want to say: “No, I don’t report to the state. The state does not tell me what to teach my child and thank God for Congress people and lobbyist who want to keep it that way! Sorry that it comes to a surprise that I can do something without the state telling me how to do it.”
Question #2: How do you know what to teach them?
Answer: There are thousands of excellent homeschool publishers who have created grade appropriate materials in all subjects and electives for K-12 in both Christian and Secular formats. There is a wealth of information available on the Internet and other resources to help anyone get started and continue with homeschooling.
What I want to say: “Just because you don’t have a clue and cannot fathom where to begin does not mean that I am just as blind. If I have taken it upon myself to educate my child, then to be sure, he will learn what he is suppose to know and then some. I know what I’m doing, and if I don’t, I have the sense to figure it out. ”
Question #3: What do you do about testing?
Answer: NC State law requires that test be administered annually. The state provides a list of vendors to choose from, and the test is paid for by the parent or guardian (home educator). Depending on the test, it can be administered by the home educator or the vendor administrator. Tests results are kept with the home educator and are reported to the state if it is requested. We are not required to provide test results to the state unless they request them.
What I want to say: “Am I suppose to get him tested? I had no idea. I’m so glad you are looking out for me and making sure that I have my child tested. Do you have any other homeschooling advice? You must think I am an idiot and I don’t know what I’m doing!”
Question #4: Are you going to teach your child through high school? What about their graduation, diploma, etc?
Answer: There are wonderful resources available to homeschool the high school student. There is an abundance of curricula to choose from and online programs that cover everything the high schooler needs to obtain to graduate. Many private schools offer classes and there are some courses available through public schools and depends on the district. There are also dual enrollment programs offered at some community colleges. There are resources available to create their transcripts and even make their diploma. The NCHE offers a homeschool graduation ceremony that graduates can participate in complete with cap and gown and proud parents and family.
What I want to say: “If my child wants to home school through high school, then I will gladly accommodate him. I know how to research and I can figure out what all is required for him to do. Co-ops and support groups are great for families to be involved in and to find someone who has a strength in a subject that I am not strong in. Each curriculum or teacher manual usually does a great job of explaining hard concepts anyway.”
Question #5: (and my favorite) What about socialization?
Answer: The homeschooler’s parents or guardians are responsible for seeking out social opportunities for their child. There are many activities available for the child from parent sponsored sports, private music lessons, clubs, Scouts, church activities, parent coordinated events and, of course, field trips. Some parents even collaborate to provide a prom for their teenagers complete with rented facility, band/DJ, food and professional photographer. It is the home educator’s responsibility to seek out these activities and get their child involved. What I actually say: “My child gets plenty of socialization. Thanks for being concerned.” What I want to say: “Why do people think that my child is missing out on socialization just because he does not attend public school? If public schools are the perfect places for socializing then why do so many schools have “Zero Tolerance for Bullying” policies?”
A few other things I have run into:
- I am not a walking encyclopedia so do not ask me to perform a trigonometry calculation or explain the theory of relativity so I can prove how capable I am to homeschool.
- Don’t try to convince me to not homeschool because it is not the “norm.” I’m fine with doing things my way. This is America!
- “Your family sure does spend a lot of time together.” Why has that become a bad thing? Maybe we should adopt the routine of wake up, go to school, come home, homework, dinner, more homework, bath (maybe) and bed. Sounds fun!
No. 1 Tip for home educators:
- NEVER tell a retired public school administrator or teacher that you homeschool.
No. 2 Tip for home educators:
- NEVER think that if you answer all the questions correctly that you will convince the other person that homeschooling is a good thing. Usually, when you are asked questions it is because that person has a preconceived idea that there is something wrong with homeschooling. They aren’t concerned with being persuaded, they just want to see if you know what you are doing (How would they know? This only exemplifies their audacity). If someone approves of homeschooling, they aren’t likely to drill you to explain yourself.
No. 3 Tip for home educators:
- NEVER say a word when public school teachers or parents complain about things.
Count your blessings and thank God you homeschool!