Once you announce to your family and friends that you’ve decided to homeschool your children, you’ll probably have mixed reactions, some supportive, some questioning, and some completely opposed. How you deal with each of these reactions will of course depend on whom you’re dealing with.
Deciding to homeschool was a process for you, and understanding and accepting your decision will be a process for your friends and family. If you’ve got friends and family who already homeschool or who are pro-homeschooling that process will be much easier. If you don’t, you need to be prepared to explain your decision making process. If you looked into the socialization question, then you should have the information that convinced you this was not a problem available for your friends and family. If questions arise that you can’t answer, let them know that you take their concerns seriously and will get the information to them to address those concerns.
Remain Calm and Keep Your Temper
When discussing our children, we’re often inclined to take offense when other people tell us we’re not doing right by them. This is especially so when it comes to someone who knows nothing about homeschooling or who is opposed to it. If you want to remain in a relationship with this person, you need to treat their objections with respect, remain calm in the face of attack, and above all keep your temper. Calmly explaining your position may not win the day, but it will at least give the other person an understanding that this is a thoughtful decision on your part. It’s possible that they can remain opposed but agree not to voice that opposition in front of you or especially in front of your children. You don’t need to convince them that homeschooling is a great and marvelous thing. You do need to convince them that you’re not homeschooling on a whim.
Don’t Let Criticism or “Helpful” Advice Overwhelm You
You’ll find that criticism of your homeschooling can take many shapes. It may be general comments on the behavior of your children now that they homeschool. Your formally shy schooled child is now seen as improperly socialized. It may come in the form of ”helpful” advice that slams your abilities and then offers to help you overcome your deficiencies using more traditional educational assistance. It’s important that you determine if criticism is legitimate or if it’s just that person’s way of trying to get you to stop homeschooling. The worst thing you can do is let criticism undermine your confidence to homeschool your children.
Let Time Change Minds
You’ll also discover that the longer you homeschool the less opposition you’ll face. You may never get an admission that homeschooling is a viable option, but you should at least get comments that it doesn’t seem to be doing your children any harm and that in some instances it seems to produce a better outcome than cousin Cindy’s unruly brood of public schooled children.