It’s as if you’ve managed to raise your kids these past few years and suddenly, you are no longer capable of making a decision for the good of your family. Many, new homeschoolers deal with family opposition to homeschooling when they first begin. It’s hard to listen to the naysayers when your own foundation is shaky at best starting out. You have so many questions yourself, and sometimes don’t know how to answer the meddling relatives who think that they know what is best for your children.Here are 3 tips for dealing with family opposition to homeschooling.

Sometimes the correct response is, Please Pass the Potatoes.

I’ve been homeschooling for over a decade and have developed a pretty thick skin about homeschooling. Personally, at this stage in my life, I really don’t care what others opinions are about our family. It’s just a place you get to, but for many, it’s a hard road to travel.

Remember that some relatives are simply inquiring because they may no little about homeschooling.

Answer those questions honestly.

Sometimes a little snark doesn’t hurt either for those family members that just won’t leave the topic alone. You know the ones. Auntie Acid comes for Thanksgiving dinner and proceeds to dominate the conversation. She drills your kids and declares they are failures because they can’t recite the Gettysburg Address, and IMPLORES you to put those kids back in school. In instances like this, it’s best to fill Auntie Acid’s wine glass, move to the other end of the table, and ask her about her new floral housecoat.
 But if Auntie Acid just won’t leave it alone, here are three things you can do to turn the discussion around.

1. Homeschooling is about developing family relationships first.

If the naysayers are touting that you will be with your child for 24/7/365 days a year, be sure to point out that your kiddos now have MORE time to spend with family, and that is never a bad thing. Call on grandparents to teach about history during their time, or to take the kids on a field trip. What grandparent wouldn’t like to spend more time with the grandkids? Maybe a favorite aunt knows how to sew, and can teach the kids.
Actively engage your family to be a part of your children’s homeschool.  Avoid remarks about the public school system. You can point out that public school wasn’t meeting your child’s learning needs, and leave it at that. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about your child’s learning. Do you really want to point out all of your child’s shortcomings in front of relatives anyway? Keep your child’s struggles private as much as you can. YOU know what is best for your child.
Response suggestions:
       A.  “Grandpa, do you think you can tell Michael about your time during World War II? It would be helpful for him to get a first hand account for the paper he’s writing.”
       B. “Homeschooling, or 1:1 tutoring has been shown to the best way for children to learn. I’m looking forward to spending time with my children and my homeschool community.”
       C. “Please pass the potatoes.”

2. Don’t worry about college when your kids are still learning to use a sippy cup.

Relatives tend to think FAR ahead to the future years of education. How many have asked you, “What about college?”, when your toddler was still learning to use a sippy cup.
Families need to know that you are focused on the here and now, and that homeschooling is a year (sometimes a day!) at a time. Reevaluate each year and see where you are. There is no need to even answer about later years when you are just getting your own feet wet.

Response suggestions:

      A.  “Let me get them through dressing themselves first, and then we can worry about college.”
      B.  “Well, I think that they need to learn their alphabet before we worry about college.”
      C. “Please pass the potatoes.”

3. Don’t discuss Politics, Religion or Homeschooling.

Seriously. Don’t do it. Some topics are off limits in order to keep the peace. And remember that you do not have to convince anyone of your qualifications, desire, or committment to homeschooling. Also, if you are just starting out and your confidence is sketchy, it can be difficult to convince someone else about homeschooling when it feels like the rug can be pulled out from under you at any moment.  Homeschooling is YOUR decision. Did your family make the decisions for you about which house to buy, whether you should breast or bottle feed, or which bank to use? Are they at the pediatrician appointments, spending hours with your children, or watching their learning? No? Don’t give them permission to decide about your children’s education. It’s not their business or decision.
Family and naysayers haven’t done the many hours of reading and research that you have about homeschooling.

Response suggestions:

       A. “Hey how about that Patriot’s game last night!”
       B. “Right now this is the best choice for our family. Thanks for asking!”
       C. “Please pass the potatoes.”
Most often, homeschooling is a new concept to naysayers. All they have ever known is what public school looks like, and homeschooling may seem very foreign to them. Answer questions when you can, and then stand your ground when you have to.
Sometimes you just need to answer with, “Please pass the potatoes.”
Happy Homeschooling,
Bev
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