Homeschool Critics: I Never See Them Do School Work

Homeschool critics seem to delight in telling me that they don’t believe in homeschooling. It riles me up a bit–and I feel immediately compelled to debate with the critic. But, I also try to listen so I can understand why they have made this conclusion.

Homeschool critic said: I never seen them do schoolwork. He has seen ONE family. In a little cross-section of their life...and has formed an opinion about the whole homeschooling movement. I don't know these people. I doubt I will ever meet them. But, I feel compelled to point out some defenses on their behalf. I got your back, strangers.

Let’s take a look at one of arguments that I have heard recently. Homeschool critic said: I never see them do schoolwork.

One of my extended relatives who I see a couple times a year…we were exchanging pleasantries. How are you doing…how’s your people? I mentioned that my sister is busy with homeschooling her two boys.

Then, he dropped this little bomb into the conversation. He confided that he “doesn’t believe in homeschooling.” Wow, that comment was quick on his tongue. What is it about homeschooling that people are so quick to spout an opinion?

I immediately responded that it’s my life’s work but yeah, go ahead and tell me what you really think. Don’t hold back. I would love to hear what you really think.

So, this is his explanation. He works as a contractor and was doing some work in a house of a family who home schools. And he’s never seen them “do schoolwork” the whole time he was there. Therefore, he doesn’t believe in homeschooling.

He has seen:

  • ONE family
  • in a little cross-section of their life…and
  • has formed an opinion about the whole homeschooling movement.

I don’t know these people. I doubt I will ever meet them. But, I feel compelled to point out some defenses on their behalf. I got your back, strangers.

The next battle for homeschooling will occur in the field of public opinion, not political action.

#1 What is homeschool “supposed” to look like?

We all have a preconceived notion of what school is supposed to look like. But, HOMEschooling is not SCHOOL-at-home. His idea of a public school student doing homework is not an accurate picture of what a homeschool day might look like.

In fact, many homeschoolers would consider the contractor’s work as the school lesson. Watching him work might be their schoolwork.

#2 What’s the schedule of the homeschool day?

Next, he’s presuming that the glimpse he sees is the regular schedule. The kid just plays video games while the contractor is there. So that must mean they never do school work in this homeschool.

If there is a regular homeschool schedule for that family, the contractor work is an interruption. It’s very likely that they are not doing school work while he’s there. It isn’t necessary for them to align their homeschool days with the public school schedule anyway.

#3 What’s the parenting style and the educational goals and values?

I wonder about this one a lot. There’s a spectrum of goals, approaches, and values that come into raising children. Those parenting values affect the education, no matter what the school setting is.

I was a public school teacher before I started homeschooling my own. I encountered families that did not value the homework assignments and therefore never completed the homework assignments. Their goals in educating their children was different than “the system”.

We should be not be surprised when we encounter families with different educational goals and parenting styles. Especially in the alternative education called homeschooling. He’s presuming that the student’s motivation/effort/outcome would be different in another school format. But, it’s very likely that their underlying parenting approach and values would impact any educational setting.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but it’s still scrutinized and misunderstood. This kind of public perception is the battlefront of the homeschooling movement.

Somewhere, a homeschool critic is likely going to catch a glimpse of your homeschool–and draw their own conclusions.  Or a homeschool critic will tell you about some other slack homeschoolers you don’t know who “never do any schoolwork.”

Will you feel compelled to defend others against the homeschool critics?
Let me know in the comments.

Critics may also wonder if homeschooling has enough oversight:Are minimum standards of law enough? Maybe you've encountered this question...or maybe even wondered this about yourself. Can this really be enough?

About Kim Andrysczyk

Homeschool veteran, Association Director, coffee addict, sarcasm expert, and accidental blogger. I'm here to encourage you thru the tough times and inspire you toward excellence. If I can make it, so can you!


  1. I deal with loads of homeschool critics. I have since learned to NOT pay them any attention. I know that my kids are gaining a quality education. I also know that everyone is entitled to have a difference of opinion. I wrote a blog post telling others how to deal with homeschool critics. It’s not the ‘typical’ response either.


  1. […] Homeschool critics may view homeschooling as a less than option. But I think we also project that image sometimes. Let’s JUST do better about the word JUST. […]

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