Homeschool Criticism

Homeschool Criticism Pass the Bean Dip
Passing the bean dip is an expression that you have undoubtedly heard if you’ve been around homeschooling awhile.  For those new to the term, it actually has nothing to do with bean dip.  The term is borrowed from a situation where you are sitting around a table eating and you are asked an inappropriate question.  Instead of answering the question, you ask someone to pass an item to you.

Most homeschoolers encounter criticism at some point whether it is from family, neighbors, or someone at the supermarket.  Passing the bean dip is a handy way to deal with a potential emotionally charged situation.

So How Do You Pass the Bean Dip?

Change the topic and don’t engage.  

When you are asked an inappropriate question, simply change the topic.  If that doesn’t work…

State that the topic is not up for discussion.

You are not obligated to explain things to people who criticize your lifestyle.  Calmly let the person know that you are not going to discuss the issue with them.  If that doesn’t work…

Snark might be the answer.  Some people like to make it a practice to question your parenting or homeschooling choices.  You may also need to limit contact with the offender.

I know I’ve needed to pass the bean dip many times.  How have you handled the situation?


  1. I have relatives that aren’t parents, or who have only just become parents telling me how to parent my kid. I’ve finally just told tgem I welcome their advice when they have some experience parenting a kid the age of mine.

  2. I was recently at a teen-adult painting activity at the Library with my almost 10 year old (librarians invite him, since he acts so much older than hes age) We were set between 2 unrelated and unknown to us adults. David immediately strikes up a conversation with the adult on his end, so I start talking to the adult on my end. The topic of local schools came up and I shared that he was being homeschooled. Her first question was about socialization…it wasn’t so much a criticism as much as an honest question…I looked at the other end of the table, where they were talking about the solar eclipse (as opposed to the lunar eclipses, and his eclipse viewer because of pupil dialation and damaging UV rays that will still be bombarding the earth) and I honestly said:
    While he relates well with a large range of people on a large range of topics and situation, he does have difficulty talking to other 9 1/2yo’s about the latest video games, music vids, and basketball players, and doesn’t he seem to understand that they haven’t yet read Treasure Island, 20,000 leagues, and Arabian nights, when he put spongebob and captain underpants behind him 3 years ago.”
    She laughed and agreed that it might cause difficulties if he is ever restricted from mingling with the general pop….

  3. Great way to eloborate the homeschooling criticism. And awesome answer for their questions. I would really appreciate and like to follow it. Thanks for sharing with us.
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  4. I had never heard this expression before, but I understand completely what it’s trying to convey. I really like the answer, “This is not up for discussion”. I will have to use that in future and not just about homeschooling…So often it’s easier to go round and round in circles debating arguments that no one will ever win. However there are definitely topics (like homeschooling and parenting), that are not open to debate if it’s about my children. I’m fortunate that most people in my life are supportive of me homeschooling…however most will still ask, “When are they going back to regular school”? That may now invoke a “Please pass the bean dip” response.

    • I frequently get addressed with the proposition of putting him in “regular school” as a resolve for behavioral disorders, as if institutionalized education is going to stifle the ADHD out of him or surrounding him with 30 other 8-year-olds is going to cure him of his anxiety and resistance to forced association with kids his own age. What really gets me is that these people assume this is a solution as if parents of institutionalized kids don’t face parenting difficulties as well. What do they do when they’re having a hard time, pull them out of school?! That’s simply not how life works!

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