When I talk to homeschoolers one of the top three problems people mention to me is this one..."My family disapproves." It may be parents, or in-laws; a sister or pastor or even a next door neighbor, but chances are if you homeschool you have close family members or friends who disapprove of it. You can provide them with statistics and show them studies, but they still think you are ruining your children.
We had this problem too, and since I am done with homeschooling I thought I would give you a glimpse into how this played out in my family. Perhaps it will encourage you.
I come from a family of teachers. In fact I have a teaching degree but chose to stay home and have a large family (5 children) instead of working outside the home. My parents were opposed to homeschooling from the start---and that was in 1990. We treated homeschooling as the proverbial "Elephant in the Room" -- we didn't talk about it. My dad did teach the boys drafting and wood-shop, but my parents felt the kids needed a classroom setting in order to be able to go on to college, be successful, etc. At that time we were in a church of about 3000 and we were the only home educators in our church.
I think it goes back to the premise I was raised with, that education is your salvation. It is how my dad pulled himself out of poverty, so it is no wonder they were skeptical. In their eyes if we ruined our kids' education, we were in effect, destroying their chance of having any type of fulfilling life. Although Christians, they did not understand any of our convictions for educating our 5 children at home, and they didn't want to see us spoil our kids' chances for happiness and success.
After SEVEN YEARS of homeschooling, my dad came and sat at the table where I was checking over some math papers and said, "You know we never approved of you homeschooling the kids; (long pause) but I see what great kids you have, and the closeness they have, how well they are doing and want to tell you your sacrifice was worth it. You have done a great job and you made the right decision."
Sometimes you just have to live it out---you can't talk it out or prove it with statistics, you have to live it out, just like your faith---day by day. My dad died a few years later, and oh what a sweet memory that kitchen table conversation is for me. How glad I am that we stuck to it, that we lived it out and that we were kind and gentle with scoffers.
Hopefully you will be able to tell your own stories of acceptance in the years to come.
As a note: We did not ruin our kids! They have all graduated from college, are self supporting, live in the same area we do, and best of all, they like each other and us!
- Cris has been married for 11 years, has a daughter and is an electrical engineer.
- Dusty has been married for 11 years and is an accountant.
- Chad has been married for 4 years, has two daughters and is a software engineer.
- Kari served 1 year in Americorps and currently is an industrial safety manager.
- Scotty works as an industrial technician.