When I was first setting out on our homeschooling journey, one area that worried me greatly was how homeschool is perceived by my family and friends. I've heard more than once from a friend, family member, co-worker, or complete stranger that the only kids they knew who homeschooled were "weird" or "odd" but they quickly follow by saying we could be the exception because both parents are educated and "qualified" to do it right.


As a new homeschooler these statements gave me courage, not because I thought I was better qualified, but because I felt that people around me would be more accepting of us. Now that we've been doing this for almost two years I look at these comments differently when they inevitably come up. 

Looking at the first part of the comment, I wonder if this person is saying my child is or is not weird. Because I personally could go either way at different times. I prefer the term unique or individual because any kid when looked at closely will show some differences from their peers. No one I've met yet has ever been average. Secondly, have you met some of my kids' old classmates? There were some very individualistic kids in there!
Now, in all fairness, there is a significant percentage of homeschooled kids who have come home because the schools did not meet their needs. These outlier kids have differences based on everything from physical disabilities to mental abilities that fall above and below the norm. But if this is weird then so be it. Any kid out there could have been dealt those cards and if homeschooling is a safer and better alternative then who can fault them for taking that path?

The second part refers to my husband's and my degrees. We both have masters degrees in chemistry. We have both taught chemistry at the university level. We have both been given teaching awards. How does this make me better qualified to teach 4th grade language arts than a parent with a high school education? Seriously, there are so many curriculum choices that any parent dedicated to educating their kids at home can find something that will light the way. When that fails, there are plenty of resources. I am outsourcing art. And let's not forget unschooling. Although this isn't our chosen method, time and again it has been proven a valid method to prepare a child for adulthood. 

I am convinced that these comments often come from well meaning people that just haven't given homeschooling enough thought. They haven't explored the differences in educating large groups of children verses tutoring an individual child. They are only reacting in shock to our newly discovered wierdness.


  1. Hi Jennifer, I found this blog post really interesting and I think we (as home educators) experience this frequently! I have had people ask how 'i do it?' and 'why' (which I find the hardest question to answer as there are so many reasons). I've come to the conclusion that it is so different to what everyone else is doing that they can't comprehend it properly. On the good side though, many of my friends and family who were very wary of my taking the children out of school have now really had their eyes opened to home education and that can only be a positive step. Many thanks for following my blog :-)Zoe

  2. Thank you Zoe for the comment. I really enjoyed your blog. I try not to rant too often on my blog, but sometimes it serves as a outlet. We have actually been very lucky in the response from people in our lives. Yet on those occasions when I do get a back-handed compliment I just have to remember to not take it personally.