Perhaps before we respond to questions regarding homeschooling, we should first ask ourselves one simple question: Is this a genuine inquiry? Many people ask questions about homeschooling, never intending to receive an answer. They are merely mouthing off, using a question as a guise to share their opinions. Those truly interested in our family’s best interest will ask with an open mind and be wiling to hear us out. Once we’ve determined the answer to this question, we have a better idea of how to proceed.
If the answer is no, they are not genuinely interested, it might be best to simply remain silent and allow the person to finish their rant. Then, we prayerfully move on with our lives asking the Lord to soften our family member’s heart. If the person refuses our right to remain silent, it’s handy to have a pat response prepared in advance; such as, “I’d love to answer any genuine questions you have about homeschooling. May I share our story with you?”
If the answer is yes, and our family member really does want to hear more about our learning, or has genuine concerns, then I am free to respond however the Lord leads. We try to address questions head on, giving thoughtful responses as to why we chose to homeschool, how we are teaching our children, and our plans for the future.
I don’t want our family and friends to think we are afraid of their questions or unable to respond. However, this does not mean I am required to give an answer to every impatient argument against our family’s choices. By first asking myself the intentions of the person questioning our homeschooling decision, I am better able to choose my course of action. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can remove ignorant assumptions and build roads of communication.
As a final thought of encouragement, your family’s character will speak for itself. Over time, your children’s enthusiasm for learning, their strength of character, and the bonds of family will remove doubt from people’s minds as to whether or not you’ve made the right choice. If people don’t ask about your homeschooling or offer support initially, a bridge to open communication might be through your children. Encourage them to share projects and newly learned concepts with the family. Usually, adults are more gracious with children and willing to listen. Through the eyes of your children, your family and friends will hear the heart of homeschooling.
From Cristina A Homeschool Mom
When my husband and I began homeschooling our children 30 years ago (gulp!) we received our own share of negativity from others regarding our choice. The legal climate surrounding homeschooling at that time was a hot topic and people were always curious about what we did, “with our kids home all day.”
It helps to think about why you have chosen to educate your children the way you do. In my case, it was initially because my husband and I didn’t want our children in the public system due to our religious beliefs, and private school was not in the budget. Eventually our reasons grew to include believing that, for our family, educating our children at home was the best choice academically as well.
My approach to the subject of homeschooling with those who are disinterested, or perhaps even antagonistic, is to be open about what we do without coming across as pushy. Anytime we take a stand that runs against the current, whether it is political, religious, or in this case educational, we are likely to ruffle some feathers. People often become defensive because they assume that we are judging them for not doing things our way.
The best way to promote homeschooling may also be the quietest. Do the best job possible and take joy in knowing that you are doing what you feel called to do whether others approve or not. Ultimately, your decision is up to you… and to God
From Wendy Munsell – http://www.blessedunravelling.com/about/