Are your family and friends harrassing you about your decision to homeschool? This advice will help.
Q. My husband and I have decided to homeschool and everyone we know is dead set against it. My parents, my in-laws and even my friends constantly try to talk us out of it and send us tons of emails and articles against it. How can I stop what feels like harassment and stick by my decision.
A. Well, I can tell you that you’re not alone. When I started homeschooling I had people that I loved and trusted say the rudest, meanest, most defensive things. Then it hit me. They had a problem with my parenting decision to homeschool because they could not see themselves doing it.
Some people close to you will take your decision to homeschool personally as it your decision to homeschool is an aggressive commentary on their decision to use public and private schools. Of course this is unreasonable, and often misguided, but people tend to emotionalize the decisions of others. Parents and in-laws get upset with your decision to homeschool because they are still trying to parent you, and you are not doing as they did. When you raise your kids in a different way than you are raised, your parents can feel that you felt you were not raised well and are trying to do things differently. For the sake of keeping the relationship in tact, it would be a healthy thing to do to listen to their concerns and try to find out where there fears are coming from. In listening to their views, don’t try to defend yourself. Just listen and try to hear their heart. The purpose of this is not to allow them to change your mind, but to have you understand why they don’t like it.
Once you have heard the reasons why people in your family and friends are against homeschooling, you need to address them. Instead of trying to address each person individually, you need to thoughtfully craft a letter or card thanking them for caring enough to express their opinions. Next remind them that as a parent, you have made a heartfelt decision that you feel will benefit your child. Let them know that you love and respect them, and the proper way to show love and respect for you is to trust your ability to parent your child.
Finally, once you have heard their concerns, and expressed your decision to homeschool anyway, you need to put an end to the discussion. Make it clear that the homeschooling conversation is out of bounds and that you would like them to sit back and let you do what is right for your child without constant criticism. Do not try to defend homeschooling because no amount of words is going to change the mind of someone who is dead set against it. Don’t even try to show them by example that homeschooling is great because you will run yourself ragged. It may take a while, but they will eventually see the fruit and value of homeschooling. Also, just as you have asked them to close the conversation, you should do the same. Don’t tell them about your bad days, don’t brag about your good days. Just live your life and save your complaints and praise reports for like-minded friends and acquaintances.