I was a homeschooled student. Once people knew that, unless they were homeschooled themselves or were familiar with homeschooling, questions generally followed. I was never offended by those questions because I knew people were simply curious, but I did note (most homeschoolers can attest to this) that certain questions got asked often.
1. Do you get to wear your pajamas all day?
Ah, the classic question. To which the answer is -- no. Sure, I wore comfortable clothes, but I was always expected to dress decently. Lounging around the house in pajamas all day tends to detract from your focus, and make you want to take a nap. Taking the extra step to actually get dressed helps you transition from, “I was just in bed” to “It’s time to learn stuff.”
2. Is homeschooling fun?
In some senses, this is an unfair question. I enjoy learning. I enjoy my family. I enjoy learning with my family. But saying that homeschooling was “fun” makes it sound like we threw a big party all day, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Some days a topic we discussed in history was particularly fascinating or a novel I read for literature grabbed my interest. Other days I struggled with a difficult assignment or wanted to rip my hair out over math. School is school. Sometimes it’s awesome, and sometimes it’s just hard.
3. Are your parents easy teachers?
Ha, ha. My parents are wonderful, caring people; they are also extremely intelligent individuals who were committed to my education. They challenged me, stretched me, expected diligent effort, and didn’t settle for less than they knew I was capable of. They gave me difficult tests. They edited my essays critically (as in carefully and thoroughly, not with a mean spirit). They expected me to turn in assignments and gave me a poor grade if I did a sloppy job. They were my teachers, after all.
4. Do you get to pick your subjects?
That would certainly be nice. But, unfortunately, the answer is no. Like any other student, I did the work that was expected at each grade level. My high school studies consisted of all the typical high school requirements. I suffered right along with every other algebra student across this nation. I read "Pride and Prejudice." I dissected a frog.
5. How do you socialize?
The thing that cracks me up about this question is that people always ask it in a social setting. As my friend put it one time when we were laughing over the irony of it, “Well, I’m here. I’m talking to you, right?” I was a swimmer in high school; I was also part of a public speaking club and a choir. I volunteered at a local library. I was heavily involved in my church. The social piece was not lacking.
6. Do you wish you were public schooled?
I don’t think that homeschooling is the end-all, be-all of education. I think that every family should make their own decision about what works best for them. Public school, private school, and home school are all perfectly valid options. Each option has pros and cons. Were there things about my homeschool experience that could have been better? Sure. But I have heard my friends say the same thing about their public or private education. So, no. I don’t wish I had been public-schooled. Homeschooling was the option that we chose, and it worked for us.