Anybody giving you a hard time about homeschooling these days?
When people criticize homeschooling, we may lose confidence and/or feel attacked or undermined.
It can be helpful to understand that their criticism may be more about what they think your homeschooling says you think about them than it is about homeschooling itself.
If you answer "no" to any one of these questions, you can dismiss the criticism immediately:
- Is this person important to you or your kids? If not, you can let it go.
- Does this person have extensive firsthand experience with successful homeschooling? If not, you can let it go.
- Is this person open to hearing factual information about how homeschooling works? If not, you can let it go.
- Is this person more of an expert on your child and your family than you are? If not, you can let it go.
If "letting it go" is hard for you when the critical person is not important to you, you may benefit from reflection on your reaction—or even therapy.
This is one of the ways homeschooling can have a positive effect on the rest of your life. Becoming confident about positive non-mainstream choices is a life skill—here's your chance to practice!
On the other hand, if the critic is someone who is important to your family (say, an otherwise supportive grandparent) and open to learning more, you can
- Resist leaping to immediate defensiveness
- Listen to their concerns and assure them you will consider them
- Respond to misunderstandings about homeschooling kindly: "I can see you might have heard that about homeschooling. My experience (or research) has shown _____. But it's an important issue I'm aware of."
- Assure them they can still be involved in important milestones they may think of as only connected to school
- Provide factual information about homeschooling
- Invite them to participate in homeschooling events
- Share our Grandparents Guide to Homeschooling—let them know how they can help!
If your critic is important to you but not willing to learn more?
Yep. You've got another opportunity for developing that confidence in non-mainstream choices. And, again, reflection and therapy are great tools.
Even some of the "unwilling-to-learn-more" critics may change over time.
Others will busy-body you until you learn to set boundaries and cope with the internal friction boundary-setting causes you.
For more about dealing with critics of homeschooling, read Ask Jeanne: When Grandparents Don't Like Homeschooling and Answering Homeschool Critics.
Not everyone will agree with your decision to homeschool even though it may be a great choice for you and your kids. Navigating that challenge is an opportunity for growth and clarity.
After all, we parents are learning, too!