When Your Family Thinks Homeschooling is Crazy
When my husband and I first set out to homeschool, many eyebrows were raised within our extended family. My mom and dad were horrified that my children would miss out on their entire childhood – you know public school is the only place to find friends and do fun things, right? My mother-in-law and father-in-law didn’t say much out loud, but I got the firm impression that they thought we had fallen off our rockers. They all believed homeschooling is crazy.
Homeschooling is Crazy, They’ll Get Over It
To everyone’s great pleasure, though, they assumed homeschooling would be short-lived and my children wouldn’t be too damaged before we came to our senses and met the yellow school bus at the end of the road.
Sixteen Years Later…
We are still homeschooling. Not only are my children thriving both academically and socially, we’ve gained the respect of both sets of parents – and made an impression on several other family members who sat back to watch our great experiment with an expectation of failure.
How Did We Gain Their Respect?
Time. I’m talking years.
Patience. We had to trust in the Lord and persevere in spite of their criticism.
Hard Work. We got down to the business of homeschooling even in the midst of negativity.
Prayer. There was lots of prayer – for them, for us, for our children, for our homeschool.
The Same Old Socialization Worry
I’m going to be honest; it took several years for their hearts and minds to soften. I think the first thing they began to notice early on was active, happy children who weren’t really being kept away from all outside influences and activities. My children could easily have conversations with adults at the Thanksgiving table, or play a wild game of freeze tag with the cousins with no hesitation.
They also saw oodles of “socialization” time with other children. Again, confirming that this homeschooling thing might not mean their grandchildren were destined for weirdness. To us, we never really set out specifically to socialize, we just took advantage of great opportunities that happened to involve other people: church, sports, 4-H, co-ops, field trips, clubs, lessons and more.
They Really Are Smart and Capable
Probably the one thing that has most impressed our parents, however, is how smart and capable our children are. Each year has brought new accomplishments academically, and our parents have noticed! They are all great readers – check. Everyone can spit out multiplication facts – check. They devour history books and can have intelligent conversations about current events – check. Chemistry experiments can be done independently – check. Heck, they can even cook an entire meal, take care of the laundry and grow a garden – check.
My husband and I have never purposely doted on our children’s accomplishments. There was no sense in it. All the proof they needed was in the pudding, per say. Smart, loving kids who use their brains to minister and make a difference in the lives around them – now that doesn’t leave room for many questions about the appropriateness of their education!
Now, if I could only get my aunt who lives 300 miles away to stop gasping every time I answer yes to her question, “Are you really homeschooling them through high school??”
Six Years Later
I originally wrote this post just before my oldest entered her high school homeschooling years.
Since then, we have successfully graduated that kiddo and she’s currently a well-adjusted sophomore in college. Another one is happily homeschooling through high school in the 11th grade, and we’re still plugging along with a talented 4th grader who loves being home for school.
While we wouldn’t have preferred the need to convince our family (plus extended family and even some friends) that homeschooling is a great choice, it’s okay. It’s nice that our steady example was all that was needed to make believers out of them. Well, most of them. There really are still some stragglers who haven’t quite jumped on our bandwagon yet. We’ll keep on keeping on!
Has anyone ever thought you are crazy for homeschooling?
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More like completely off the grid is the feeling I get. It’s funny that after 10 years of homeschooling I still find it hard to understand how people think public school is the answer to all schooling. Sometimes I pray that God will give me a glimpse into my sons’ future so I can shut the naysayers UP! But then I realize my flesh has taken over. 🙂
In the beginning (1989) they thought we were crazy and breaking the law.
Us: We’re homeschooling the kids.
Them: (whispering) Is that legal?
Us: (whispering) No, but we tell everyone anyway. You won’t turn us in, will you?
We found if the kids are polite, able to communicate and hard-working they cannot help but stand out. It’s an ongoing struggle, but my wife and I must remind ourselves: 1) it’s a way of life, 2) the opinion of others is not terribly important, 3) people who are still vocal in their disapproval just don’t know us very well.
This made me laugh out loud, Airick!
Thank you for your reminder that it takes time and hard work. This is our fifth year homeschooling and dealing with family and others can be stressful at times.
Yes. It’s still stressful around here at times…after all these years. Keep plugging!
My grandmother is the main one that thinks we are crazy. I think she worries most about socialization which I think is hilarious because we live on a farm with her and nine other family members. We see each other multiple times a week and are all very close.
Funny! We didn’t even plan for most of our “socialization” experiences, but MANY found us. Living on a farm offers lots of fun opportunities!