Homeschoolers are tired of being science projects to the general public who like to stop them and question their motivations and even their ability to homeschool. This question and answer demonstrates how we might respond when we have been questioned one time too many.
Question: Hi, I homeschool my three elementary age children and everytime I go out with my kids during school hours some strangers stops us and asks why the kids aren’t in school. When we reply that the kids are homeschooled, this brings up more, and often rude and intruding questions. How should I respond?
Answer: Many people ask why kids aren’t in school during school hours because they choose this time to go into stores when they are quiet. So when they run into children they are taken aback. This is the reason they ask questions, but not a good reason for rudeness and pushy behavior. There is no good way to answer these questions without soliciting more questions, so it is best to keep a good sense of humor… or respond that you don’t allow the children to speak to strangers and walk away. Here are some fun things you can do to make “question and answer time” easier.
Have t-shirts made up that say “Homeschooled class in session. Do not interrupt.” If someone approaches you with a question, put your fingers to your lips and say “shhhhh!” Then point to a child’s shirt.
Respond with a question. When they say, “shouldn’t your kids be in school?”, ask them, “Shouldn’t you be at work?”. They will of if they say “I don’t work” or “these are not my work hours”, respond, “we don’t go to school”, or “these are not our school hours”.
When strangers take it upon themselves to quiz your child on the spot, have a challenging question ready to ask them. For example, if they say “so, what’s 8X7”, instead of answering, ask them “What is the longitude and latitude of (insert your city)”. Only answer their question if they answer yours. (Make sure you kid knows the answer the your question.)
If you haven’t managed to deter them with your preventative methods and snarky answers, you will inevitably hear the question, “what about socialization”? A reasonable answer would be to ask, “Is it socially acceptable to question a stranger about their personal business in a grocery store?”.