Educating Your Family and Friends About Your Decision to Home-School

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While your decision to home school is uniquely your own, it is great if you have the support of your family and friends too. Unfortunately, getting your friends and family on board can sometimes be challenging. For the uninitiated, home schooling can be a new and strange concept, even though we, as a society, have actually been home schooling for centuries. And, despite the current growing popularity of home schooling due to failing schools, limited educational choices, and schoolyard bullying, home education still has a lot of stigma attached.

If your family and friends are not familiar with the many benefits of an education at home, they may bring up every argument and stereotype they’ve heard to convince you that you should send your child to school.

It is important to remember that most of these concerned interjectors will be people who care about you, and have perhaps not been exposed to the many positives of home schooling. You need to determine why it is that you want to home school your family, and to consider (and answer) the following questions:

“How will your child know how to interact with their peers?” “Why are you afraid of the school system?” “What about socialisation?” “What about the overall school experiences that help children develop into adults?” “What about sports and other activities?” “Are you sure you can teach your child all that they need to learn?” “Teaching is a highly professional skill, can you do it?” “Sounds expensive, how can you manage the books and the cost?” “You’re going to quit work? What about your career?”

In many cases, unless your friends and family home schooled themselves, they are going to assume that the “normal” way to educate children, the way that they understand and are familiar with, will be superior. If that is the case, you may experience quite significant pressure to conform to a standard public or private education. By doing your research first, using resources such as the internet, you can put their concerns to rest and help yourself to stand firm.

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Rebuttals are simple. Firstly, you can talk about taking control of your child’s education. You can also talk about how you want to have the most time you can with you child. As for activities and socialisation, you can address that by showing them the community based activities that your child can participate in.

And if we don’t sacrifice for our children who are we going to sacrifice for?

Keeping your lesson plans, curriculum, and other teaching materials at hand is a great way to show that not only are you ready, but you are serious about teaching your child. You can also show them the various options for homeschooling and demonstrate the flexibility and the customisation of education for your child over the “one-size-fits-all” solution at the local public school.

To encourage your family and friends to fully support your position, you may consider including them in the education process. For instance, if they speak a language, or have a specific skill your child might be interested in, ask them if they would consider teaching your child about that topic. Involvement can be an effective tool to get family on board. If they still are not interested, be prepared to move forward without them. The most important thing to remember is that the choice is about you and your children, not your extended family.

Homeschooling is not always easy. Like the rest of life, it has its hard days too. Fortunately, there is plenty of support available, whether it comes from your family, or whether it’s from one of the many online and offline homeschooling support groups available. Since the internet became readily available to everyone, homeschooling families have been able to reach out and encourage other similarly inclined families the world over.

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