Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When Your Family And Friends Don’t Support Your Homeschooling

I still remember the first time I felt called to homeschool. It was not something I had ever planned to do. I only knew one homeschool family, and truthfully they were a bit eccentric to say the least. I was working as a nurse supervisor in a long term care facility, my son was in a great school, my husbands hours worked around mine so that we didn’t need to use childcare for our two year old. Everything seemed perfect.

However, things began to change as we left “1997” behind and entered into a brand new year. I found that my oldest son was not making the forward progress in Kindergarten that we would have liked. As I began to work with him in the evenings my heart began to be drawn to my home like never before. I would walk away from our “Hooked On Phonics” sessions with a deep satisfaction that my career had never offered me.

About this time, I was leaving church one Sunday afternoon when I saw a flyer for an upcoming homeschool orientation. I decided that I would go just to satisfy my curiosity, nothing more. I walked in hesitant but curious, and walked out forever changed. I knew that I knew, that I KNEW, that this is what I was supposed to do with my life. I came home and my husband and I had deep discussions. He was in total support and thus we began to make plans to bring my oldest home the following school year.

I couldn’t wait to pick up the phone and share the exciting news with friends and family. I had no idea the reaction this decision was to illicit. My grandmother who is my very best friend, but also a retired school teacher let me know in no uncertain terms that she was displeased with my decision. I remember her telling me a comment one of her retired teacher friends made about how I would now get to sleep in everyday. My mom and dad didn’t say much, but would voice their concerns every time Brandon couldn’t answer their pop quizzes which were given frequently. They often made little comments about how my children were “sheltered”. My girlfriends thought it was a “phase” and predicted that I’d want to pull my hair out after just a few weeks of being home with my kids all day. Yet, nothing anyone could say would sway me because I knew that for our family homeschooling was the absolute right choice.

Fast Forward twelve years later and you would see a totally different picture. You would think it was my grandmother’s idea that I begin homeschooling, to hear her talk. (giggling as I type) Just this past weekend we had a big birthday bash for my 18 year old son and all 100 + of his homeschooling friends showed up in full force. My mom and dad were there and when we talked the next day mom shared how much fun they had and how they couldn’t believe all the friends Brandon has. It brought tears to my eyes because even though we have to do what we are called to do as parents, it just feels good to have the support of your family.

What is the lesson in all this......, Give It Time! Live your life, be gracious when they don’t understand. Know that this is a big shock and that it’s something many of our families never even considered. The media is so biased and has done a good job of painting a picture of homeschoolers holed up in their houses with our curtains drawn, afraid of the world around them. The ONLY thing that will ever change that perception is when we disprove that “lie” through our example, our life and that takes time. Stay the course, stay connected, stay committed!

How about you? What type of reaction did you get when you began your journey?


  1. Hi! Came over through the Carnival. We started homeschooling after my autistic son was locked in a closet several times by school staff. It's called a "safe room." :(

    I think he is safer at home. I have to admit to not being as gracious about the negative reactions from family. My mother even said that putting my son in a closet was "warranted" if the staff felt it necessary.

    Meh. Who needs family like that anyway???

  2. Yea... I went from people thinking I was crazy (while only mildly hinting at it) to asking me to help homeschool theirs. They get upset when I tell them that it's their job.

  3. I have to say most of my friends were very supportive in our decision to homeschool Squirt - a surprise to me considering most of my friends still teach in the system - or maybe I shouldn't be surprised...

    Family, on the other hand, was another story. My father was good about it - I think he felt secure in the fact that I have a degree in education and even asked me about homeschooling a teenager when he took over the care of my niece and nephew when my brother returned to work after his wife's passing. He opted to keep her in public school simply because she had a wonderful support group via her friends.

    My inlaws tho were and still are skeptical as are Hubby's siblings. Their concerns tho did not circle around the quality of education but rather the "socialization factor"...and not so much socialization as SOCIALIZING. "How will he make friends?" is always the question.

    Honestly, given that we are always on the go with one thing or another and Squirt is the most popular kid on the block (and our house the most popular 8 yr old hang out! because I'm the Mom with homemade chocolate chip cookies always fresh from the oven! and other parents are never worried about their children when they are with Squirt because they "know he'll guide them in the right direction" as one mom put it) you would think they would come to realize that socializing and socialization are really not a factor.

  4. I remember also being so surprised when people were critical that we were homeschooling. My parents and in-laws were always supporting; we ran into the most disapproval at church. One lady (a public school teacher) didn't speak to me for YEARS when she heard I homeschooled. Now, about half the families at our church homeschool. So yes--giving it time is important!!

  5. Yep, so true. We're going through the mill at the moment with most of our close family relatives. It can be hard going to remember that whilst they are so against us homeschooling, they really don't understand it...nor do their opinions come from personal interactions or interactions with us or our children. What they are saying is based on fear of the unknown and of us not following 'mainstream' and therefore what they perceive to be the norm.


  6. I just decided to homeschool my 5th & 3rd grader. I took them out in the middle of the school year. I just didn't see any reason to hesitate or delay the experience. Once I was convinced that this was the correct route for my family I wanted to jump right in. When I brought up the subject to my mother, I wasn't even able to explain or discuss anything. The words that I was thinking of homeschooling came out of my mouth & the nicest thing my mother had to say was that if it were up to her, I'd be in jail right now. Two days of homeschooling had gone by & already she was telling my niece that my daughters were loser white trash. It's been very stressful to say the least. I often panic that I've made a terrible mistake. In the core of my heart I know my girls will have a happier childhood because of my decision. Jack


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