For all of you who homeschool, you’ll probably understand the scenario in which I found myself recently: talking to a good friend who was getting a little defensive about her choice to have her boys in public school while asking me why we homeschool.

As moms, we faced this when it came to so many different choices in the baby years (like the ever-popular breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding debate!). It can be exhausting to explain your own choices while not offending the different choices of others.

Here are some great tips about how to handle this conversation when it comes to homeschooling from our Learnwell team. We put this together and shared it with some of you last year, but as we round the corner past the halfway point of this school year, we know you’ll be getting into these conversations again soon!


If your friend asked you a specific question related to homeschooling, answer that one question and keep it simple. It’s never wise to launch into a multi-tiered answer that explains the bulk of reasons you choose to homeschool. Keeping it simple, and directed specifically to the question you’re asked, helps the person know that you are confident in your choice, but that you don’t demean different schooling choices.


If you’re asked why you homeschool, especially when you live in a highly-rated public school district, talk positively and share one benefit you’ve seen in your family because of your choice to homeschool. For example, “We’ve grown so much as a family in our communication and conflict resolution skills since we started.” Think about it like a work resume. Instead of launching into all the tasks you complete on a daily or weekly basis, try to offer just one “bullet point” about what the homeschool experience has given you, your child, or your entire family.


Just like you wouldn’t bash someone else’s choice of clothing or where they choose to worship, you don’t want to unknowingly present a negative front in relation to where they may send their kids to school. If you talk about the violence in schools, high teacher-student ratio, or lack of public funding, you run the risk of alienating the person to whom you’re speaking. It makes them question, “Well, what’s so bad about what I have chosen?” Instead, let them see that you enjoy homeschooling, or help them understand it’s a choice that you and your spouse feel is right for your family during this season. Most people just want a simple explanation that makes sense.


If someone questions your ability to homeschool or wonders how you could possibly teach your child every day, all day, look at it like you would any parenting choice: bottle versus breastfeeding, etc. Let them know it’s a decision you are confident in, but that it — like all parenting decisions — has its challenges. Be sure to circle around, though, to the benefits you receive. Talk about the things you enjoy or how you have grown as a parent because of homeschooling. That may even launch the conversation more towards parenting in general, to which all parents can relate, no matter what their schooling choice. Focusing on what you have in common is key.


Remember that a question about your decision to homeschool is not a judgment. Even if there is an undertone, try to assume the question is coming merely from an inquisitive mind. Answer simply with something positive, and then ask a question back. Remember that a conversation has two sides. Ask about her decision to send her child to public school, what her experience has been like, etc. People genuinely like to talk about their kids, so even if her question was asked out of judgment, your refusal to assume such can go a long way to diffuse tension.