How do I explain to my parents that I want to be homeschooled?

Written Aug 18, 2016

While, of course it is important to understand your reasons for homeschooling, and to discuss this with your family, I believe there is a much more powerful and convincing way to accomplish this.


Prepare a folder or presentation of research results about homeschooling.

  • Document how schools are failing to educate. Read John Taylor Gatto’s “A Different Kind of Teacher”, and “Weapons of Mass Instruction”. Gatto, who was several times New York State Teacher of the Year, describes the evolution of the school as a factory dedicated to churning out mindless workers. He also eloquently makes a case for experience (rather than sitting in rows listening to the teacher preach what is required to pass the next standardized test) as essential to learning.
  • Review Ken Robinson’s TED talk on Creativity. Sir Ken is not only an engaging and amusing speaker, he also highlights how schools kill creativity (and a love of learning). Do schools kill creativity?
  • If you are “gifted”, download “A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students”. You can also download “A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students”. These ebooks provide ample evidence for shortcomings of the US education system. Acceleration Institute
  • Read Alfie Kohn (“Punished by Rewards”, “The Homework Myth”) for further examples of shortcomings in the US educational system approach. Alfie is a proponent of progressive education, which emphasizes learning by doing, with a strong emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking. This approach also uses Project-Based Learning (PBL), and Inquiry-Based Learning, both of which have extensive research demonstrating positive outcomes. Home
  • Here’s some background on Math PBL from Jo Boaler, a Stanford professor on Math education – Inspiring Students to Math Success and a Growth Mindset
  • Demonstrate the advantages of Homeschooling. Research Facts on Homeschooling
  • Explain your reasons for wanting to homeschool.
  • Provide examples of homeschool success stories. A recent research paper provides a fairly balanced viewpoint, and also notes “ the longer students attend public schools the lower their test score were on standardized test. This is the opposite of the homeschooled student.” The paper also notes “ homeschooled college students tested did better academically than public schooled students. Their test scores, namely ACT, GPA and graduation rates were equal or higher than public school students”.…
  • Describe a plan for how you will homeschool. However, be very careful with this one. Many parents report on a phenomenon called “de-schooling” – over a period of a few months to a year, the homeschool family adapts to the new learning environment. For example, you may start with a plan for a very complex curriculum to replicate all the criteria in the Common Core Standards. Over time, you drift away from this as you start to become immersed in coding, or music, or biology, or …. Make sure your plan is flexible, and provides the opportunity to adapt as you progress. Better to provide broad goals, rather than a list of specific criteria.

Once you have done your “homework”, you will be in a much stronger position to effectively argue your case. This approach may also help to counter some of the inevitable emotion that will take place during the discussion.

As far as I am concerned, the decision to homeschool our daughter was absolutely the correct choice. I have also learned that homeschooling is a lot different than I imagined – it’s like magic! Our daughter disappears down rabbit holes that appear to lead nowhere, and then resurfaces with a deep grasp of whatever she has encountered. In this case, I believe the journey is more important than the destination.

Good luck!