How (Not) to Make Requests

Some Thoughts on How (Not) to Make Requests

Too often, trying to be polite, to not step on toes, to not seem presumptuous, we ask questions like this:

“Um, I know that, like we’re homeschoolers, and this is probably not a usual thing, and maybe it’s not even allowed, and it’s probably too confusing/ difficult/ out of the ordinary, and [100 other reasons to say “no”] — but could we maybe, just possibly, do X? [X being something that falls into the category of “part time attendance” and/or “ancillary services”].”

The law guarantees homeschoolers the right to part time attendance and/or ancillary services (defined, in the law, as anything that’s not a “course”). GUARANTEED, BY LAW, in your local school district.

Today, I’m going to suggest a different approach. Instead of some variation of the the above (telling the listener all the reasons they should deny you), I’m going to suggest that you walk in assuming the answer should be “yes” (it should), and that the only issue/question that you have is what need to be done to make it happen. Here’s what that looks like:

“We’d like to [enroll kidlet into ___ class/ sign up to attend prom / have an IEP meeting / join the drama club / try out for the sportsball team / be evaluated for/ treated for medical/developmental condition / etc.]. What is it that you need from us (vis-à-vis paperwork/documentation) to make that happen?”

Don’t apologize for being a homeschooler, don’t give them reasons to say no. Just walk in assuming the answer should be yes (because it should be — that’s the law), and politely ask for that thing that the law guarantees your kidlet access to. Do it in exactly the same way you would walk your kidlet in to sign up to attend on a fulltime basis.

Don’t apologize. Don’t grovel. Just ask.

~ Jen Garrison Stuber Handweave