Homeschoolers, I have sad news. We’ve failed. Completely and utterly failed at public relations. Despite our best efforts, our examples, and our actual lives being on full display, we’ve failed.
I’ve heard a lot of the stereotypical homeschooling comments in the course of my life, but today was a first. I can’t stop thinking about this one comment and conversation because it was just so bad. So stereotypical. So … dare I say …. ignorant?
As most around our family know, we’ve been seriously considering moving from our current area to somewhere with a lower cost of living. That came up today, and the other person’s response to the agony of uprooting the kids was simple: it should be easy! Because our kids are homeschooled, they have no friends to uproot from.
I flashed from “this is a joke, right?” to pure irritation tinged with a hint of fury. No friends? What, do you think we lock them in a box all day and force them to do worksheets? Then I moved on to sadness and grieving, because how could we have known this person for so long and they still THINK THAT!?!
Seriously people, we’ve failed. Homeschooling has been around for my entire lifetime and longer, and yet, the stereotypes are still flourishing. We need a better PR firm. Better advertising. Better lobbying. Something! Because if we can’t change public opinion after 30 + years of homeschooling, what we’ve always done just isn’t enough.
We need flashy advertisements demonstrating the fun, social side of homeschooling. We need better stock images for the media to pull from (seriously, the long skirted girls huddled around the kitchen table is so over done.) We need an expert at a the Associated Press to put a positive spin on the homeschooling message for all those media pieces that pick homeschooling apart. We need marketing expertise – something flashy, positive, and slick-looking.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go wash my denim jumper so I’m ready for those stock images. /sarcasm
(I’m only partially kidding. Homeschooling does need a better PR front.)