Natalie over on Homeschool Cafe has a great post on Silencing Homeschool Critics Without Statistics. She makes the point that you do not need facts and figures and "proof", sometimes all you need to do is ask a question or two back to help them look at things from a different point of view.
I have started pointing out to people when they ask questions like "aren't you concerned about socialization" or "aren't you worried about them getting into college" that of course I am concerned about these things. Of course I want my kids to grow up and be functioning adults. And after much reading and research I choose to homeschool. So maybe, just maybe, it is possible to homeschool and raise functional adults. Ya think?
I really do think that most people (at least the ones that I come across) are well-meaning and genuinely interested or curious. It is just something with which they are not familiar. Homeschooling does require a bit of a paridigm shift…you have to think outside the box and question commonly held and accepted beliefs. See how socialization can occur without school. See how learning can happen without grades or tests (at least for us). One warning though…homeschooling can lead to the questioning of many these beliefs…but that is half the fun!
I actually enjoy the looks of surprise when people find out that I homeschool. I do not fit many people's image of a typical homeschooler. I am a democrat, I am a Unitarian Universalist, and for the most part I am a fairly normal person. Really, I am! So it surprises people to find out that I homeschool. The interesting thing is that the homeschool community actually is very diverse…people from all faiths, all political points of view. There are about as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschoolers. You would be surprised.
But I like the idea that I can help someone expand their understanding of homeschooling and I am always willing to talk about it. Jeff has asked me many times why I always wind up talking about homeschooling…I think the reason is that most people ask me about my kids..and then the next normal question is what grade are they in and do they enjoy school. Which leads to homeschooling…so it really is not my fault! But it is fun…