Not long ago, I responded to an "Ask Jeanne" question from a grandparent who wanted to convince her son and daughter-in-law not to homeschool her twin granddaughters. She didn't have an understanding of homeschooling, and she didn't seem respectful of their decision, even though there didn't seem to be any specific red flags of concern.
This "Ask Jeanne" column got a huge response, and since then, I've been talking with other grandparents who love what is happening with the homeschooled kids in their family, and they want to know how they can be supportive. They want concrete ideas for how to help without interfering, and they want to know how they can further build their relationships with their homeschooled grandchildren.
What a wonderful blessing to have interested, supportive grandparents in any family, including homeschooling families.
How Grandparents Can Support Homeschooling
As a grandparent, what you'll do for your homeschooled grandkids is not so different than for any other kids. Grandparents are generally perceived as helpful and even downright magical when they provide:
- Time (along with its frequent grandparent corollary, patience)
- Informed, nonjudgmental support
This trio of provisions is also known by its umbrella name, "love."
Your children and grandchildren will appreciate your sharing your love. It may lighten the load for Mom and Dad and provide what my kids called "special times" with -- or because of -- their grandparents.
The precise balance of what grandparents do and how you might do it will vary because of so many things -- including distance, your work and home responsibilities, your personality, and your own financial resources. Those differences are important, because they help children learn about people's limitations and efforts to balance how they give to others and how they take care of themselves.
Your sons and daughters, though they are adults, are also learning from you how to navigate the situation of having both parents and children! So don't despair about your limitations; do the best you can to come up with your own good mix of sharing time, resources, and informed support, and you'll be homeschooling grandparents who rock!
To help you with the specific ideas you're looking for, be sure to read the following posts, which are full of straight-forward suggestions for grandparents of homeschooled kids.
More from this series...
I know you know about this homeschooling thing. I understand it probably can help some kids, but my grandchildren are absolutely fine, and they don't need it. My daughter-in-law quit her very good job when they were born (twin girls) and now when we bring up preschool, she says she's homeschooling. I thought this would pass, but she recently mentioned not registering for kindergarten next year. We have really good schools here, probably some of the best in the country, and I am devastated thinking about these dear little girls missing out. My son won't talk to me about it; ... Read More...
I wrote in the first installment of the Grandparent Guide to Homeschooling that grandparents can be a big blessing to homeschooling families -- by sharing their time and resources and by providing informed support. Today's post is about sharing time. Grandparents who are able to share time with their homeschooled grandchildren can make a huge difference in their lives and in the lives of the homeschooling parents. Read More...
As I've written previously in the Grandparents Guide to Homeschooling series, there are all kinds of great ways to spend time with your homeschooled grandchildren -- just having fun, sharing your skills, providing child care, and helping them learn. But the granddaddy of them all (pun intended), in my opinion, is taking them on field trips. Field trips combine so much of the rest of the good stuff. They are great learning opportunities, they can be fun and adventurous, and they provide a kind of hands-on help that homeschooling parents really appreciate from their own parents. And here's the secret: ... Read More...
If your kids are learning at home for virtual classes, it’s time to call on grandparents, family friends, and helpful aunts and uncles to join your virtual education team. How can they help via Facetime or Zoom? Share these nineteen ideas for your relatives and friends who are meeting with your kids online. Read More...