I can only hope you've never faced conflict amongst your family when it comes to homeschooling. Unfortunately, many times talking with other homeschool families, it seems everyone has a skeptic, and rightfully so, shoot I was one myself before I started homeschooling. I can say we've had our share in our family, most respectfully disagree, some have changed their view a whole 360° and are my biggest supporters, but then there are those...
You know, doesn't matter what you say, they won't budge, always critical, the ones that quiz your kids to see if they really know anything, and mostly the ones who are so close minded they see the results yet still refuse to acknowledge them.
Like for instance, you hear the comments, "your boys are so well behaved." or they praise their achievements yet ask "when are you going to put them in real school?" "You really think you can teach them everything?"
Oh how these comments infuriate me. I'm sure having all in laws as public school teachers, you can imagine the uphill battle we have amongst some of our family. (Though, haven't quite figured that one out because every other school teacher I've met has given is a wealth of support, including my oldest sons kindergarten teacher, who we told we had future plans to homeschool.) Back to the point. So as we seem to continually face conflict, I decided I'd complie a list of ways we try to handle these beloved situations.
1. Stand United!
Just as you keep a united front with your husband when you discipline your children. Your immediate family comes first. When conflict arises, you always back your husband and he should back you as well. Homeschooling is a team effort, after all he is the principal right? Our family likes to nit pick us separately, not sure why, if their trying to drive a wedge or what, but what I do know is even though my husband can tell me at home what he sees the children need improvement and sometimes be my biggest critic. He is also my number one fan! We support each other and always have each other's back any negative comment made about the other or our children, will simply not be tolerated.
2. Nip it in the bud
As soon as you see a conversation going in a negative direction, stop it, change the subject, don't entertain it, don't argue. Sure, do I believe my kids are smart? Yes. Do I think their set apart from most other kids their age? Sure, but I also know my children's strengths and weaknesses, and they aren't perfect my any means. I've heard my husband say a number of times at home, "I'd put my kids up against any kid their age any day." Lol, proud Dad I know and rightfully so, but making those comments to another is not benefiting to you or your children. We all know there are kids in school who are gifted as well as strugglers, just as in homeschool. Don't put your children on such a pedestal in front of the nay sayers that you become just as closed minded as them. Just stop the negative talk. Reccently we were visiting with family and the comments were icing on the cake compared to other visits, my husband's simply said, it's time to go. We packed up and left, that simple, and sometimes you have to do just that.
3. Your children are not preformance actors
Seriously, don't do that...here let me quiz my child in front of you so you can see they are learning, in the same way, stop letting them ask your child a thousand questions so they can decide wether your actually educating your children or not. Kids are Kids, they don't want to be put on the spot when family comes around all the time. You know as well as I do, Homeschoolers have a natural love for learning, rest assured they will share what they last read, some interesting fact, or what science experiment they did last. Let them do that in their own time and chances are those nay sayers still love your children enough to at least listen.
4. Children should not be an audience
Again, especially if your children are lurking, nip that negative talk in the bud. Kids hear more than we think, they are little sponges. They don't need to hear negativity from people in your family they love. They don't need to hear others question your ability to educate them. They don't need to hear anything that would make them feel they aren't as smart as they should be, or anything else that can be detrimental to them.
5. Children are not tools.
Don't know about you, but my children will not be your tools to mold and bend. They are my children, and last I checked God blessed me with the opportunity to raise them. If you have family members who disagree with your homeschooling, closely monitor their interaction with that member. Kids tell all, You don't need your children questioning why there Homeschoolers, or being influenced with some crazy ideal they'd be happier if they went to "real school" or did this or that. Truth is last year, had you asked my eight yr old he would have said, I don't like homeschool, I want to go to public school." When we sat down with him, his answer was, "so I can have chocolate milk at lunch and more friends." Well, had we entertained that idea he would of been in for a rude awakening. We rectified both complaints he had, and I haven't heard a word since. Now, had he said to one of those family members he hated homeschooling, you can imagine..all hell would of broke loose. Lol, then that oh so famous comment I've heard to many times to count, "your depriving your children." Yep, your right! (Another day, another topic.)
6. Hold your head high.
God gave you your children to raise, they are yours and no one else's. Even on your worst day homeschooling when your ready to throw in the towel. Know, I will make it, my children love me, my husband believes in me. (If you don't have your husband's support, I wouldn't suggest homeschooling in the first place, just my opinion, maybe topic for another day.) Have confidence, do what's right for your family, and don't let those negative comments dwell inside of you. I am raising my children to the best of my ability, the best way I know how. How they turn out is on me and my family. I will not cave to negative comments from others and let it influence how I raise my children. If I screw up, and my children don't succeed, its on me, but I don't ever want to sit back later and regret making poor decisions for our family based on another person's opinion. If I have regrets later on, it will be because of my own foolishness, no one else's.