Keys to dealing with naysayers:
Key 1- Don’t be wishy washy. Be solid in your reasons. If you need to sit down and write out why you are a homeschooler, do so. Wishy washiness opens the door for others to challenge you even more. Stand by what you believe in a stanch way, not rude, but matter of fact.
Key 2- Be confident with your kids too. Your kids need to see you be confident in your decision to homeschool as much as everybody else. Let your kids know that this is your family’s decision. Help them to embrace this way of life, talk up homeschooling and remind them of the benefits (shorter school day, get to be with siblings, etc.).
Key 3- Know your stuff!! About homeschooling, homeschooling philosophy, homeschooling law, parental rights. If you go through your list, and you have all your reasons for why you made this decision, then get your data to back them up! You need to know why this is a parental rights issue or why you chose the education philosophy you’ve chosen. If you sound really knowledgable about what it is you’re talking about, people don’t like to knowingly enter a conversation where they clearly don’t have the knowledge base the other person has. And it will help build your and your child’s confidence to top it all off!
Key 4- Embrace your opportunity to educate others. This is all about a shift in perspective. If people come to you to ask you questions, instead of being annoyed, take it as an opportunity to educate them. If you give genuine excitement for what you’re doing and you want to share it with others, that perspective gives people pause before they want to bring an onslaught of disapproval. (It also works for having a large family).
Key 5- (This is especially for those that are close to you and are legitimately concerned) Kindly listen to them and then leave it with a simple I will talk about this with my husband. Let them know that they have been heard but that you are the parent and you are responsible for making the decisions for your family. If they continue to combat you on this, there may have to be consequences. Boundaries have to be drawn. Undermining you, especially to the children, will not be tolerated.
Key 6- Don’t always wait for the questions to come to you. You need to be open with people. It’s okay for you to initiate conversations with these naysayers. Not that you have something to prove to them, but allow them to be able to get a glimpse into your life. It’s good for them to see that you are making progress and really invested in your homeschooling journey. It will help them to see that the children are learning and doing things. Even be open with the struggles, that it isn’t easy but that it’s still worth it. Another helpful option can be to find a way for grandparents to participate or even attend a field trip, just to see first hand how wonderful homeschooling can be.
Key 7- Find a safe place to spill your fears and insecurities. Because you have them, we all do, and homeschooling is hard! Finding that good friend who you can share with when you are struggling, or even when something goes well, is so helpful. Spouses can be great for this, but there isn’t always the same level of understanding. Finding that homeschooling friend who is in the trenches with you or even a mentor mom who has homeschooled, who you can text when math is taking two hours and you’re losing your mind, helps you to weather the storms of homeschooling and to not question yourself so much. You need to find someone to be able to commiserate with, share with, get advice from, deal with the naysayers with- someone who understand the struggles.