While homeschooling is rapidly gaining in popularity, there are still those who question (and even oppose) the idea of homeschooling. Before I even thought about homeschooling, I was in a custody battle with my son's father who was trying to have it written into our court-order that I would never homeschool. You can imagine the backlash I received once I decided to homeschool my son.
Dealing with negative comments or opinions from family members, friends and even acquaintances can be hurtful and defeating. It may make you question if what you're doing is really worth the effort you're putting in on a daily basis for your children. You want to please your family and friends, but also want what is best for your children. So what do you do?
1.) Do what God has called you to do. As hard as this may be for others to understand, if you felt led to homeschool your children, you can't let discouragement of any sort prevent you from doing what He has called you to do. If you're unclear about it, pray and ask Him. 1 Chronicles 16:11 says, "Seek the Lord and his strength; seek His presence continually!"
2.) Don't let nay-sayers bring you down. You need to do what you believe is best for your child. God gave you your children to raise and it's up to you to make these important decisions for their upbringing. No matter what, in life we will experience the highs and lows of people's opinions and it's up to us to determine how we will respond. Allowing the negative opinions of others to affect us is our choice. We can either let it bring us down or we can choose to brush it off, knowing we are doing what we believe to be best. Galatians 6:9 says, "let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
3) Know your why. Why did you decide to homeschool in the first place? How has your why changed or progressed as time has gone on? Being confident in the reason for which you chose to homeschool will give you strength on difficult days as well as in responding to any negative reaction from outsiders. To keep it fresh on your mind, write down all the reasons for why you chose to homeschool and hang it in a place you will see it most often. Refer to it anytime you are feeling discouraged. It will be a reminder to persevere on tough days, and it will help solidify your why when answering others.
4) Try to be understanding - what are they concerned about? Why do they think public school is superior? They may genuinely be concerned that your children will be deprived by homeschooling. Or they may need assurance, especially if they are a teacher at a public school. They may take it personally that you chose to homeschool andn could subconsciously believe that since you didn't choose public school, that you have a negative opinion of them and what they do. It's important to acknowledge your loved ones concern and give them consolation.
5) Inform them. Many people do not understand how homeschooling could be beneficial unless we inform them. There are myths about homeschoolers that seem like common knowledge but are not based on fact. Many people think homeschooled children are isolated and unsocialized, for example. For the majority of homeschoolers, this simply is not true. Most homeschoolers are interacting with people of different ages and stages on a daily basis. There are a wealth of opportunities that engage homeschoolers in socialization such as co-ops, sports programs, camps, classes, social dances and more. Another common myth is that their education will be lacking. Statistics consistently show however, that homeschooled children on average rank well above their peers in public and private schools.
6) Be confident in the benefits of homeschooling. There are so many! I have a whole chapter in my book (chapter 3) disclosing the benefits for both my children and me. One of the main benefits is that no other education can compare to it. Why? Because your child is getting one-on-one attention and an individualized education tailor-made to meet their needs. You won't find that anywhere else!
7) Find a support group. Whether in person or online, finding like-minded homeschool moms to share in the journey is incredibly helpful to our emotional sanity! Just knowing there are others doing just what you are doing, who can relate and understand what you're going through is so helpful in giving you the strength and support you need. If you are looking for homeschool mom friends and community, I've found Facebook and Instagram to lead me to many of them. The homeschool group I have created on Facebook is called "Homeschooling: You CAN Do It" Feel free to join in!
Remember how I told you my son's father tried to prevent me from ever homeschooling? Well obviously I have been homeschooling (the court never approved of his wishes), but the amazing thing is - years later (my son is now 15) my son's father has told me he is thankful I homeschooled him, and if he ever has more children he plans to do the same! He's seen over the years how advanced he is academically, socially and overall well prepared for life.
Remember, don't let the discouragement of others bring you down. After putting in the hard work of homeschooling, you will look back one day and realize it was all worth it. And your opposing family and friends? My guess is that their eyes will be opened to just how incredible homeschooling really can be! I'd be surprised if one day they didn't pat you on the back, saying well done! You did it!