Friday, October 22, 2010

Dealing with Dissension

This weeks TOS Blog Cruise asks - How do you respond to family/friends that don't support your decision to homeschool? 

We have been very blessed when it comes to our homeschooling  journey.  Our family, close and extended, has always been behind us.  I do think they were a little concerned  when we first said we were going to homeschool, but the support has always been there.  Now that we’ve been doing it for three years, it appears everyone close to us is on board.

However, that doesn’t mean we don’t ever meet with contrary opinions.  I do remember being in an ice cream shop near our home.  I noticed a school picture on the wall and asked the owner about it.  When I told him we homeschooled, he shot us a funny look.  He said, “Homeschoolers are weird.  I hired one, and he is weird.  He spent yesterday putting all the labels on right and cleaning the tables.”  I was a little taken aback.  First, homeschoolers are weird because of the ONE you’ve met?  Second, he was putting things in order and cleaning – that’s weird?  Personally, I think insulting your customers by calling them weird is a little weird. 

We do occasionally run into someone who finds out we homeschool and displays doubts.  I would put those people in a few categories:
  1.  Old School – the old school people are those who are older and who have always believed that school meant getting on the bus and going to school.  They don’t know about the growth in homeschooling today or the resources that are now available.  I find this a great opportunity to share with them how the times have changed. 
  2. Public School Parents – some parents seem to feel like they have to defend their choice to send their child to public school.  I always assure them that homeschool is a personal choice and not for everyone.  We all try to do what we believe is best for our children.
  3. Socialites – these people tend to think homeschool means we school in a bubble and that our children are terribly sheltered.  I give them the list of activities we have to choose from on a daily basis and explain that we have to parse down our social activities to those that are most important for us.  If we took advantage of all the great opportunities out there, we wouldn’t have time for school. 
  4. Education Doubters – there are those that don’t feel a parent can provide the best education for their child.  They tell me, sure, you can do it because you are a teacher with a Master’s, but most can’t.  I again share that public school teachers cannot be as invested in our children as we are.  That investment leads us to seek out the best resources, co-ops and opportunities available to ensure our children, no matter our own educational background, get the best education.
Personally, I think it’s important to focus on why you are on this journey.  If God has called you to homeschool, then nothing anyone says makes a difference.  God will provide.  I can imagine that having family working against you is tough; however, God gave YOU these children.  He has entrusted you with their welfare, and you should feel empowered to make decisions for them that honor Him.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.    Proverbs 31

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