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Dear Channie,

I have a daughter who will be in the 4th grade next year. Currently she attends the local public school. Through the years we have not been happy with the education she is receiving and are thinking about home schooling. My husband is supportive of the idea and my daughter excited; however, my sisters and mother are against it–and they are very loud about it. They believe that if she is home schooled she will be ruined and will no longer be ‘normal’. My relationship with my mom and siblings matter a lot to and so do their opinions. How does one handle non-supportive family members?

Shelly, Philadelphia

Dear Shelly,

Thank you for sharing this question, unfortunately, it is a common problem that many families face. We have all had to deal with disapproving relatives and friends, I guess it comes along with the territory and that is ok.

I encourage you to keep these things in mind as you go about planning what is best for your family:

1. Secure your family: You and your husband are in agreement to home school your child. That is it. Your child needs to have confidence in the choice you have made for her. Spend time securing your family’s confidence in the decision knowing that a). you have a right to make it, b). you will make mistakes along the way, c). you can change your mind, d) you child will be just fine! 

2. Establish healthy boundaries. It is perfectly alright for people to have opinions. Some times we have to agree to disagree. However, differing does not mean disrespect nor should it mean a break in relations. Confront the conversation with your loved ones head on. Be proactive about establishing boundaries. You could say something like this: “We have made the decision to home school (little one) and are really excited about this new journey. We appreciate your concerns and understand if it is difficult for you to support us with this right now. I want you to know that that is OK. This is new and different for our family. I would ask that you just pray for us when you feel anxious or when we come to mind.” With that you have informed them of your decision, shared your emotions about it, acknowledged their feelings, and gave them something to do (PRAY) when they feel they need to do something.

3. Find support elsewhere: Home schooling is a lifestyle change. You (and your child) will need support along the way. Be sure to find support. That could be through the web or groups (playgroups, co-ops, other parents). It may take some time to find but stick to the search. Let people know what you are doing and ways they might support. We have found an abundance of willingness to lend a hand. So let folks know.

4. Don’t show-n-tell: I made the mistake when I first started home schooling my daughter of feeling like I had to show-off what we were learning as a way to prove we were actually doing something. Please do not make the mistake I did. There is no glory in it.Be mindful of your choice, trust in God, do not pressure your child to ‘show-on-demand’. Instead, be quiet and confident about the daily deposits you will sow into your child. Cherish this special time together and most importantly, have fun teaching your child.

I hope this helps you! Thanks for sharing!

Be encouraged!

Chantel-LaVonne ~ The Muse

 

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