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danielle

how to handle family members

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danielle

We are just starting to homeschool and I wasn't looking forward to family members finding out because I knew they would not be supportive. The response I've gotten so far has been far worse than expected! I really don't care if they agree with our decision or not honestly but I don't feel like I should be attacked over it like I'm a bad parent. I've put so much time and effort into planning and i know I'm doing the right thing for my family. I know i won't get the pat on the back like I feel I deserve but what do you do to get them to keep their opinions to themselves? I read on the FAQ section on here to get them to read about homeschooling but i know they won't. They have their minds made up and didn't even bother to ask any questions before telling me that I'm wrong and they're worried about my kid because she's not in public school. Her school has been on lockdown twice this year because of bank robberies next to it yet the thought of getting a better education at home is scarier? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Dianna

Hi Danielle,

 

I'm sorry you're having problems with your family. The main strategy described in the FAQ is not to get them to read anything - it's to lay it out there that unless they've put in the same time and effort to research homeschooling that you have, they really don't have a right to question or criticize you.

 

The expectation is that they won't read what you've listed for them, and therefore you won't have to deal with their negative biases and issues. But you'll have to follow the strategy and offer a list of resources, then stop any conversations and debates about your homeschooling as soon as they start. "Oh, did you read the articles, websites, books, magazines... whatever... I mentioned? No? Oh, well, read them soon so we can debate - I'd hate to win just because you haven't learned what it's really all about!" Then change the subject.

 

If they keep stating their opinions, just reply... "Yeah... that's a common myth! I'm so glad the reality is different. So what good movies have you seen lately?"

 

More comebacks:

 

"Yeah, a lot of people think that until they find out the facts." (Then change the subject by asking about something they're interested in.)

"I thought that, too, until I talked to real homeschoolers." (Then change the subject by asking about something they're interested in.)

"That's one of the most common myths - it's not surprising you've heard that one!" (Then change the subject by asking about something they're interested in.)

 

Whatever they say, come back with the fact that they're wrong, but you'll excuse them because they haven't taken the time to research the facts, but you won't engage with them or defend your decision to them. You don't have to defend your homeschooling to anyone. They'll never believe you until they see it for themselves.

 

(And they usually eventually become supportive when they see how well the children are doing. When grandparents and other family members join me on my trips, they frequently tell me how they weren't supportive at first, but how much they see the benefits and have completely turned around.)

 

I hope this makes sense.

 

Warmly,
Dianna

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Dianna

Also, I should mention that inviting your family along to events or trips you attend with other homeschoolers can often help them understand and accept homeschooling.

 

My children (oldest 27, youngest 12) have never been to public school and when angsty grandparents (and aunts, uncles, etc.) met/meet them during out trips, they seem to re-evaluate their preconceptions of homeschooled children (in a positive way).

 

Warmly,

Dianna

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danielle

Thank you Dianna! That's definitely helpful. I'll have to keep reminding myself to not be so defensive.

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Dianna

Danielle, you're welcome, but don't see it as you being defensive. See it (from this point on) as you being so confident that you don't have to defend your parenting decisions to anyone - just as they haven't had to defend their parenting decisions to you.

 

Do you/do you question and make them defend their decision to put their children in a public school? To discipline they way they do/did? To potty train when they do/did? To breastfeed/bottle feed? Give them immunizations? Etc.? If not, why do they think they have the right to question you and make you defend your decision? They don't have that right. You know it, and it's time that they know it, too.

 

Warmly,
Dianna

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danielle

That's a great way to look at it, thank you! Today is our first official homeschool day and it has been great! It was such a great bonding experience and the kids even did their chores which is never easy with them being 6, 4, and almost 2. Plus it was nice to allow my daughter to ask questions and want to learn things beyond our plan which would've been shot down in public school. We couldn't be happier!

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Carole Hill

Danielle,

I am the daughter of a school teacher. My degree is in early childhood education. My parents were very much against my decision to homeschool. At one point they even said "you need to put those kids in school where they belong." And at some point I lovingly told them that they had their chance to raise their kids and this it my chance to raise mine. They kept the comments to themselves from then on. But now, they have done a 360 degree turn around. They have access to the grandkids 24/7. They see that although my kids are educated differently than I was they are still learning at similar rates to other kids they know. They also see that my kids have more time to dive into the things that interest them.  My mom went to Italy with us when we went with Dianna's group.  She is seeing first hand what our learning looks like verses what  had always had to happen in "her classroom".  It won't happen overnight but those people who are making noise in your life will be able to see that it is working. Not always easy but so wort it!

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danielle

Thanks Carole! I'm trying to remind myself that they'll eventually come around. I'm usually not one to care what others think but it's hurtful to see my six year old feel the need to defend me to her grandmother and to see her so excited telling my mother what she did that day and my mother act completely uninterested like it doesn't matter. She's done so much just in our first week that she never would've gotten to do in public school and deserves praise. I guess I just need to rant a bit :)

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Dianna

Danlelle, I'm sorry you're still having problems with your family. Do they act this way to your daughter when you're around?

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