by Lynna Sutherland

As homeschool parents, we sometimes face criticism from others about the educational choices we’ve made for our kids. It’s easy to get into a defensive posture and have responses ready to ward off that criticism. But it’s important that, in formulating our response, we’re actually honest with ourselves and others.

What Homeschoolers Are Missing

One of the criticisms launched against homeschoolers is that they will miss out on important things by not being in a traditional school setting. We tend to defend ourselves and respond to that complaint in one of two ways.

Sometimes we dismiss all of the things they will be missing as things that aren’t desirable anyway. Sure, they’re missing out on peer pressure. And silly fads. And school violence. And bullying. Good for them! We’re so glad our kids are missing these things.

At other times, we try to explain how our kids don’t actually have to miss things by being homeschooled. They can still be on sports teams. Homeschoolers host their own proms. We have yearbooks and bands, too. We’re not missing anything!

Is That the Whole Truth?

But if we really want to work through this issue in a way that will be believable to others and—perhaps more importantly—supportable in our own thinking as we wrestle with our choices, we need to dig a little deeper. The truth of the matter is that your kids are missing out on good things by being homeschooled.

Let’s be honest. Homeschooled kids miss opportunities that public school kids have. And public school kids miss opportunities that homeschool kids have. And homeschool kids miss opportunities that other homeschool kids have! Why? Because we’re all finite beings and no one (and no mom) can go everywhere and do everything!

So What’s the Benefit?

The real benefit to homeschooling isn’t that your kids won’t miss anything, or that your kids will only miss stuff not worth experiencing. The blessing of homeschooling is that we get to be purposeful about what we include and what we don’t. You’re not raising generic kids. You’re raising your kids, members of your family. And within that family, you’re raising individuals.

So, next time someone says that your kids are going to miss out on things by being homeschooled, you don’t have to be caught off guard. You can calmly explain that while every choice opens some doors and closes others, you’re thankful to have the freedom and flexibility to choose with intentionality what opportunities are best suited to your family and the unique learners God has asked you to shepherd!

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Lynna Sutherland blogs at Homeschooling Without Training Wheels, where she loves to remind moms (and herself!) of the freedom and flexibility that come with homeschooling! Lynna and her husband have seven children. The motto of their homeschool is “Wisdom Is the Principal Thing” from Proverbs 4:7. You can also find Lynna on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Lynna hosts a private Facebook group called Family Schooling without Training Wheels specifically for encouraging parents in multi-age homeschooling and outside-the-box approaches to meet the needs of their unique family.

All kids miss out on opportunities.

5 Comments

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  1. Fantastic article, Lynna!!
    What important points you made about how each family is unique and how by homeschooling parents can intentionally choose what they think is worth for their kids to experience or to miss out. Love it!

  2. Paul Celona says:

    You make some very good points. Some of the items you mention that homeschool kids will not miss out are glossed over. The extra-curricular activities in public schools is one area that they are precluded from that is difficult to replicate. Homeschool sports teams for instance are not always available or are very limited. For students who want to compete at a more competitive level, the homeschool version of the public school team or club are not always at the same competitive level. Other states have “Tebow” laws or define school “membership” very different than Virginia.

    It’s a shame that our kids have to take a back seat depending on their interests. “Train up a child in the way they should go”, unfortunately means sometimes having to compromise on their education choices.

  3. Katherine Wright says:

    It is my view that homeschooled families are penalized by the Federal, State and local govt. in many aspects. However, for the sake of staying on topic, “Are your kids missing out?”, when it comes to sports, band, clubs, they are! Sure, you can sign them up in little league, piano or pay for a Spanish tutor, but you shouldn’t “Have” to. The choice should be yours, just like it’s the choice of a public schooled parent to participate in school activities or seek outside activities. Let’s face it, school organized activities area generally more feasible and better organized for competition. You could pay hundreds or thousands more to join travel teams, or access professionals to develop a talent, but should you be forced to seek these avenues because your kids have interest(s) outside of academia? On one hand, if they want to take a core subject at their local public institution, then the homeschooled child is afforded that opportunity in Virginia. On the other hand, the State has decided which activities/subjects that same child can have access too. Sports, band, and clubs are off limits my friends. Tax dollars are forcibly taken from us to fund a public education “for all”. Local schools use a portion of those tax dollars towards programs “homeschool” kids are denied access too. This picking winners and losers is a double standard. We do not ask for nor receive a credit for the thousands more we spend to educate at home. It’s not too much to expect our kids should have “equal” access to the same activities afforded public schooled children, be it academic or extracurricular. It’s obvious the state is bias in picking “teams”. As tax payers, we represent the district we live in? Should it matter if kids are in a formal classroom setting or an individualized setting? I am always amazed at the double standards that are imposed on us by govt.

  4. Terri Collins says:

    Fabulous article! A very fair viewpoint!

  5. SHANNON ANDERSON says:

    I loved this. I was public
    schooled until 4th grade. I didn’t have trouble making friends at school and there were many changes I had to grow accustomed to like making new friends and not fitting in with my old ones. However, I wouldn’t change anything, because God exposed me to so much more by being in public school and also homeschooling for the rest of my grade school education (with the exception of 1 week of private school which wasn’t nearly as fun as homeschooling). I am homeschooling both my girls now and we are doing a co-op once a week along with music, dance, and CBS. There is so much out there for homeschoolers now.

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