Sponsored by Connections Academy. All opinions are my own.
When you tell someone you’re homeschooling or virtual schooling (where the student attends school from home and instruction and curriculum are delivered via an online platform) there’s a good chance you’ll get hit up with a barrage of follow-up questions. These can vary depending on who you are, how long your students have been attending school from home, and, of course, who’s asking.
I’ve been homeschooling just under a year and while the trend is growing in popularity, there’s still a lot of curiosity around it, and why anyone would decide to go this route. Sometimes these questions include a few that make me want to roll my eyes. So, let’s get it all out today. Here are 10 annoying questions those who virtual or homeschool their kids hear and answers that should help clarify why parents choose to have their child educated at home.
1. Are you worried they won’t have a “normal” childhood?
I’m not sure if people ask this because they think I’m depriving my kids of something better. What is really normal these days? Education is changing, and around the world, students learn differently. I don’t think a normal childhood has to be defined by kids sitting in a traditional classroom for hours every day.
2. Is this a religious thing? Why did you decide to homeschool?
This typically comes from people who think I’m doing this in an attempt to shelter my kids. No, I’m not an ultra-conservative religious person who is homeschooling for religious reasons. I’m actually pretty moderate to left-leaning. There’s no one mold for all students who learn at home. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s really flexible, and that’s one reason I love it.
3. Are you going to homeschool forever?
Man, that’s a lot of pressure! I’m not even sure what we’re having for dinner tonight. I can’t commit to a forever plan for school. Let’s just take this one year and one kid at a time. What I do know is that families have the opportunity to choose the education model that works best for their kids—for mine right now, it’s homeschool, for others it’s virtual school or the traditional brick-and-mortar school that is the best fit.
4. So they’re not socialized? Do they have any friends?
This is easily the most common question people ask me. A long time ago before the internet and Facebook groups, I can see how it would have been hard for children who learn via virtual or homeschool to connect with one another. But now that’s just not the case. My kids meet weekly for hiking trips, art classes, gymnastics, and to discuss poetry and Shakespeare.
And if kids are enrolled in an online school program like Connections Academy, there are a variety of extracurricular activities, field trips and even service projects through National Honor Society they can participate in—keeping students connected both online and in-person. Students also attend LiveLesson® sessions where the teacher leads students through lessons online in a virtual classroom. The children can discuss lesson content via chat pods and through microphones, keeping them socially active and engaged with other students and their teachers.
5. What does your daughter think?
I’ll ask her when I release her from her sentence of solitary confinement. I kid! The homeschooling decision isn’t 100% up to her right now but I do value her opinion. She loves it. She loves spending time with me and her brother, and all of the fun things we’ve been learning about. And learning on the road as we travel. Connections Academy supports learning outside school walls, too, and encourages students to soak up knowledge from all kinds of experiences like a local park, historical site or museum.
6. Do you ever get out of the house?
Nope, never. I mean really, this hardly warrants a response. Of course we get out of the house! It’s a big part of why we love learning from home – the flexible schedule means we have more time to go outside, explore and learn through real-world experiences without missing out on education.
7. How will they play sports?
Just like any other child. I sign them up and they can play. My daughter just made a competitive cheer squad. When they reach high school we may look into participating in sports at the schools we’re zoned if we’re still homeschooling. Clubs sports are also an option to keep kids active and following their passion.
8. Are you worried she’ll get behind?
No. I’m not worried about her being behind or ahead, I am concerned about pushing her to reach toward her full potential and moving at a pace that works for her, as well as about subjects that interest her. Not trying to keep pace with an entire class. And, with an option like Connections Academy online schools in particular, their curriculum meets state standards – there is even required state testing.
9. Are you qualified for that?
Dude, what are you trying to say? Just because I don’t have a teaching degree doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to teach my kids. In fact, I know my kids better than anyone, I can see how they learn best and adapt to that. I don’t know everything, but I have the tools I need to teach them not only what they learn in books, but life skills and morals.
When it gets to the point where I can’t keep up with math (my least-favorite subject growing up), I’ll be able to turn to other solutions for help. Connections Academy, for example, is an online tuition-free public school for students in grades K-12. Teachers instruct and interact one-on-one with students. All Connections Academy teachers are certified in their grade levels and subject areas and have at least a bachelor’s degree, and many have a master’s or other advanced degree. So, if we hit a point where we want the structure of a traditional school but want to keep the at-home learning environment, online school will be a great option for us.
10. You must be so patient!
Not exactly. Some days are harder than others but for us, the good far outweighs the bad. Sort of like parenthood.
Hopefully this list helps dispel some myths about virtual schooling and homeschooling. I look forward to completing our first year of this adventure this month. Then I’ll be sharing a list of things I learned (besides the random questions people ask).
Have questions about virtual schooling or homeschooling? Shoot! Do you homeschool? What are some of the questions you get asked?
I’m loving maneuvering our way through the homeschooling world and helping dispel some myths about learning at home, that’s why I’ve partnered with Connections Academy on this post.
Connections Academy’s goal aligns with “what parents want”: to ensure students become productive, successful and confident adults. The online school experience helps students develop pathways to success by building on their individual strengths and interests in an online setting that is both safe and connected to a larger community.