Maybe you’ve always planned on homeschooling your kids. Or perhaps you’re concerned that recent cultural shifts and ideological trends in public schools are undermining your values and you want to move to a home setting to ensure your children are educated in alignment with your worldview.
Or perhaps you have a high-performing child who isn’t challenged in traditional education, or a special needs child who requires more personalized attention at home. Or maybe as the dust settles after the jarring pivot to remote learning caused by COVID-19, you—along with millions of Americans—have concluded that homeschooling is a great fit for your kids and want to continue even after the pandemic ends.
Whatever the situation, your decision to homeschool has not been taken lightly. A great deal of thought, prayer, and research has gone into the choice to be fully responsible for your children’s education and teach them at home.
And yet, when sharing this decision with relatives and friends, you get pushback. How do you calmly and confidently handle disagreement from well-intentioned people in your life who think that homeschooling is not in your child’s best interest?
While it’s tempting to tell those who express concerns about your decision to homeschool to mind their own business, this is an opportunity to have a constructive conversation and win them over. And given the many challenges—and long-term commitment—required to homeschool, you will need all the support you can get.
Here are seven common objections to homeschooling—with talking points to help you navigate conversations around homeschooling as the best option for your children.
1. Homeschooling isolates kids and denies them important opportunities to socialize.
One of the many things the pandemic has shown is that students need to be in social settings where they can interact with their peers. And while it’s true that some thrive in traditional education with frequent social engagement, others do better with less interaction and fewer distractions. In either situation, the homeschool movement has recognized this need for socialization and created co-education opportunities with other homeschool families to offer much-needed interaction through classes in art, music, foreign languages, physical education, and more.
2. Homeschool kids miss out on sports and other activities they need to succeed.
While opportunities to participate in sports were more limited in the early years of the homeschool movement, today the situation has improved dramatically. Many communities now allow homeschool students to participate in public school sports. And in areas where homeschooling is strong, co-ops often offer organized sports leagues and competitions in science, band, choir, chess, spelling, debate, and forensics so kids can learn discipline, goal setting, and sportsmanship.
Of course, public schools don’t offer every sport that students may be interested in, either. For these activities—gymnastics, soccer, competitive cheerleading, swimming, volleyball, etc.—homeschoolers and their traditional school peers can join local sport clubs and competitive travel teams.
And many public schools in recent years have cut extracurricular activities like music, foreign languages, and clubs due to budget constraints and shifting educational priorities. So the perceived lack of opportunity for homeschool students in this regard may, in fact, not exist in some districts.
3. Homeschool kids miss out on rites of passage like prom, homecoming, and activities that teach social and leadership skills.
Similar to the objection above, traditional schools don’t have a monopoly on social events and clubs. Homeschool co-ops, churches, and other civic organizations often hold similar events, including special activities like father-daughter banquets that public schools don’t sponsor. Moreover, many other opportunities—like 4-H, FFA, and scouting—are available for students from every educational setting to learn important life skills.
4. Our public schools are excellent, safe, and respect family values. How is homeschooling better?
Even the best public schools tend to teach to the middle and allow only limited flexibility for kids to learn at their own pace and customize curricula. And while ideological trends gaining ground in districts nationwide may be less concerning in your community, there is nevertheless inexorable pressure from state boards of education and teachers unions to teach to the test and adopt curricula and priorities that many parents find objectionable.
Bottom line: Many parents understand that their children are entrusted to them for only a short season and see homeschooling as the best way to ensure they get a high-quality education that aligns with their deeply held values and worldview.
5. You aren’t a trained teacher. And what about curricula and transcripts?
It’s true that many homeschool parents are not trained teachers and may be intimidated at the prospect of stepping into a role they don’t feel prepared for. But there’s good news: As the homeschool movement has evolved and responded to the needs of parents to deliver a high quality education on par with—or better than—traditional schools, a variety of excellent curricula are available on every subject for each grade level.
In addition, groups like Transcript Maker offer tools and resources to help parents with record-keeping and transcripts so that homeschool students can confidently move into the next season of life—whether it’s community college, vocational training, college, the military, or the workforce.
6. Homeschool kids won’t get into a good college and their job prospects will be reduced for the rest of their lives.
Actually, the opposite is true. College admissions officers regularly report that homeschool students are highly desired for university admissions. Why? Because they know homeschoolers tend to be independent self-starters who have learned discipline and good study skills—making them more likely to succeed in college—and the job market beyond—than students from traditional education settings.
Even Ivy League and other elite schools acknowledge that homeschool students are often great candidates for college admission, and they actively recruit among the ranks of homeschool students.
7. You can’t keep your kids in a bubble forever—they need real world contact to succeed in life.
There comes a time when baby birds must leave the nest. But when they leave too soon, they’re more likely to be devoured. So it is with our children. Yet by protecting them in a homeschool environment for as long as possible, they’ll have more time to fully form their worldview and values and be better equipped to navigate the real world and its cacophony of competing messages.
And of course, homeschooling doesn’t preclude parents from exposing their children to a wide range of diverse viewpoints and other enriching experiences that get them out of the house and into the world. Activities like internships, volunteer opportunities, lectures, movies, book signings, concerts, theater, dance, travel, and field trips to museums, exhibitions, and battlefields can broaden perspectives and prepare students to successfully fly the nest when the time is right.
In just a few short years, homeschooling has come a long way. While many of the concerns that family and friends express were more valid in the early years of the movement, today’s rich curricula and socialization opportunities have helped spur rapid homeschool growth and made it a viable and attractive alternative to traditional education.
So if you’ve decided that homeschooling is the best choice for your family, don’t let well-meaning naysayers derail your plans. Common objections can be overcome with winsome responses and results that speak for themselves over time.