Monday, September 6, 2010

A smile and confidence will go a long way

This week's Blog Cruise question is:

How do you respond to family/friends that don't support your decision to homeschool?    

I've been very fortunate in this area in that I haven't really received a lot of negative comments from friends and family about our homeschooling.  In fact, I thought my dad would be my biggest skeptic, yet when we made our announcement it didn't phase him one bit.

However, I haven't completely escaped friends and family questioning me about our educational choices for our children.  I had two in-laws in particular that questioned me heavily in the beginning.  Our children were young and bright, however, and I think they felt that I couldn't mess up those early years anyhow.  Then, after several years, they saw the results for themselves firsthand and really didn't have anything negative to comment upon.
I think the best approach is to address any concerns, comments, or questions with confidence.  I had done a ton of research on homeschooling before starting. The result was that any question brought forth to me already had a well-thought out, articulate response.  I did not take offense to any question about our homeschooling and simply answered it.  Not only did it show that I had already thought through the concern, but usually it exposed a fair amount of misconception that the inquirer had about homeschooling.
After that first year, I really didn't get any more comments from family and friends, though I know there were still concerns.  In fact, my brother, who said to me that first year, "Well, homeschooling is ok for kindergarten but you'll eventually need to put them in school for them to function in the world," became a homeschooler himself several years later.  I, of course, reminded him of his intial comment to me. (smiles)
Now that I have an almost high schooler, I 'm beginning to get a few more questions. I'm taking the same approach I did many years ago.
  • "Are you going to continue through high school?" (Yes)
  • "Maybe she can take art or something at the school?" (Why?  We already have an art class!)
  • "How will she get into college?" (By applying, like everyone else.  Universities often seek out homeschooelrs.)
  • "Don't you think being in a classroom will be good for her?" (Um, sure.  We already have plenty of classroom activities) 
  • "What about prom!" (I really don't think educational choices should be decided on a dance opportunity.  Besides, there is a local prom just for homeschoolers.) 
If you simply don't engage the negativity and answer with confidence, what more is there really to say?  I understand that some relatives may be more negative and persistent, but as with any decision for your family, you just need to draw the line in how you will engage in such conversations. If you find yourself addressing the same things over and over, it may be time to simply say, "Thanks for your concern," each time it is brought up and move on to a different subject.

In my experience, answering with a confident smile and allowing the time to show the results has been all I needed to live peacefully among those that may not be entirely on board with my decision to homeschool.

1 comment:

Vickie said...

Great answers. I've used the same sort of answers too.

God's Blessings