Dealing With Someone Who's Against Homeschooling?

Do you have a family member or friend who is against homeschooling? A few years ago, I had an interesting conversation with my uncle, who admitted he used to be totally anti-homeschooling.

For most of us, dealing with people who don't agree with the educational choice we've chosen, doesn't bother us too much. We can listen to their opinion, answer their questions, and walk away.

But... when it comes to dealing with close friends and family members, their opinions have a greater effect on us.

So, when the topic of home education came up while visiting my uncle, I sat and listened quietly, as he shared his views with me.

Although I didn't know where the conversation was going to go, I really wanted to know what he thought, from his perspective as a retired professional educator.

As a former science teacher and department head of a public high school in the Toronto, Ontario area, his reasons for being anti-homeschooling were two-fold.

1. He has only come in contact with students who have been put back in public school after a time of homeschooling... basically, he hasn't really met any successful homeschoolers.

2. He doesn't understand that parents can successfully teach their kids without knowing the pedagogy of teaching.

Hmmmmmm....

Although there are many successfully homeschooled students who decide to re-enter the public school system for various reasons, I would venture to say, that most don't ever see the inside of a public school classroom, until they go to college.

So, it's easy to understand why some professional educators are against homeschooling. Perhaps many of them only see the "fall-outs" or the students who wouldn't make it in the best of educational situations – private, public or homeschool.

Yes, there are unqualified homeschooling parents; however, there are also bad professional educators, unfortunately.

Expelled!

What happens to a student who gets expelled from the public school system?

They are added to our "numbers" as a homeschooled student. Perhaps, it's some of these kids who end up going back to public school after being "homeschooled" for a time.

The public education system may see hundreds of "sub-par" homeschooled students, but if you turn the tables, thousands of "sub-par" public schooled students join our ranks every year.

Concerned parents who are dissatisfied with institutionalized education – public and private, are forced to take on the role as home educator to meet their children's needs.

Dissatisfied Parents Take Action

These willing parents, sacrificially give up their time to do what's best for their child and it's amazing how successful they are!

Many students are from families who are well educated, but interestingly, many successful homeschool students are from very average families where the highest educational degree of the parents is a high school diploma.

Studies show it really doesn't matter the educational level of the parent.

Hard to believe, and maybe, harder to swallow, especially since many educators have completed more than six years of post secondary education.

How can a parent, who has less education achieve greater results than someone who is highly trained to teach?

Perhaps something unexplainable happens when parents spend time with their children.

So back to my uncle who was against homeschooling...

What made an extremely educated educator turn from being totally against homeschooling and begin to have to a more favorable view of home education?

Open-Mindedness

I would say he changed his opinion because of his ability to have an open mind and a willingness to see things from a different perspective.

Humbleness

Although he may be among the most educated people I know, he remains humble despite his vast amount of continually-growing knowledge and his unique love of education and learning.

He also has two nieces who homeschool and has been able to interact with our children.

Interaction with Homeschoolers

As educators interact with homeschooled students, most realize that homeschooling is a wonderful educational option, and support parents who choose to homeschool their children.

Many also begin to offer their services to the homeschool community in their free time, when retired or in between teaching jobs.

Dealing with Opposition

As a homeschooling parent you may find others who are against homeschooling, from friends and family, to well known people in the media. Don't let that ever stop you from choosing to homeschool, though.

You will find lots of support from fellow homeschooling parents and others who wish they had, or could homeschool, but can't for whatever reason.

Surround yourself with those who support you in your endeavor. 

Eliminate exposure to the naysayers, especially if you are just starting out. You may already feel unsure about yourself and you don't need anything or anyone else to discourage you.

Nothing earth-shattering came from my chat with my uncle that weekend. I didn't throw statistics at him, try to change his mind, prove to him how "smart" my kids are, and didn't get defensive about homeschooling.

Instead I sat, listened, shared my experience, some of our struggles, but most importantly... just let my kids be themselves.

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