How to Share Your Decision to Homeschool with People Who May Be New to the Idea
Welcome to the club! You have newly decided to homeschool your child and you are brimming with excitement to talk about all you’ve already discovered on your quest to figure out what type of education you want for your kids.
Whether you’re the type of parent who has always known you wanted to homeschool your children, or a recent event within the public school system has brought you toward the Christian homeschooling path, you may worry about how others will react to your decision. Maybe you have already faced at least a little resistance from your own parents or from other family members who have never had direct experience with homeschooling and don’t realize how amazing it can be. Knowing the best way to approach a discussion with your extended family and friends might seem a little scary or daunting, but it doesn’t have to feel like an impossible mountain to climb.
We’re here to help. Here are four positive ways to talk about how your decision to focus on Christian parenting has helped you determine that homeschooling is right for your family.
- Be Direct and Matter-of-Fact
Try something like this: “We have recently made the decision to homeschool Stella for second grade. Last year in her public school experience, it was very clear that she needs more one-on-one instruction. Unfortunately, this just hasn’t been available to her in public school so far. We can offer her exactly what she needs with this new homeschool curriculum and we are hopeful she will thrive with this new approach.”
Project your confidence and comfort with your decision. Don’t ask for opinions unless you are prepared to debate the issue. Everyone who loves you and your child will have an opinion, but they are merely observers of your parenting choices and growing family. They only become influencers of the choices you make if you give them the space and permission to do so.
- Prepare a Few Comebacks
Have a few logical comebacks prepared to address their concerns. View the topic through a lens of love and kindness, hearing them out and listening to their worries. But be prepared to address various comments with a confident, considered response. Point out the public school’s issues with low teacher-to-student ratios and other clear benefits without bashing the choices others make to keep their children in a traditional school setting. This isn’t about one decision being right and another being wrong; it’s about what decision is best for your child right now.
- Focus on the Positive
Homeschooling isn’t perfect. Some of the people you talk to about your decision might be tempted to focus on potential negatives, but you have the opportunity to tell them about the many new avenues your kids have to socialize and connect with other Christian families who are homeschooling their kids. Share your enthusiasm about your homeschool co-op or new homeschooling resources you have found. Point out how much more hands on learning you can offer your children when you have the freedom to “learn by doing” rather than always being stuck behind a desk in a classroom.
- Be Willing to Re-evaluate from Year to Year
Be open about how your journey into homeschooling is going, and evaluate your decision for the following year based on your child’s measurable/observable progress. Just because you have decided to homeschool your child for kindergarten and first grade does not automatically mean you are locked into homeschooling until college. Keep an open mind. Observe your child closely and advocate for them to receive the best education available, whether traditional schooling, homeschooling, or beyond. This is always the key to successful learning and child development.
During these conversations, it is most important to remember that anyone who cares enough to show concern about your children’s education is an ally and not an enemy. Above all, remember that at the end of the day, you are the parent. You know your child and what’s best for them better than anyone else. Remembering this truth will help you keep the debate from becoming overly emotional or tense. Set the tone of the conversation, and if you don’t feel like you are receiving the support you need, you can simply end the conversation. The decision to homeschool your child is certainly one of the biggest commitments you can make toward their education and you will all flourish because you are moving confidently toward your goal.
Trust God and step toward what is best both for yourself and your child. You can totally do this!