How do you deal with the negative reactions from friends and relatives when you first tell them you've decided to homeschool?
The first person I told was my sister. I could tell in her voice that she didn't really like the idea very much. We both know kids who drop out of school, and say they're homeschooling, but lay around the house and do nothing. Of course I am going to do it right and teach my child so that she gets the education I want her to have. It wasn't until after I explained to her our reasons that she opened up to the idea.
But then I mentioned it one day to my mother-in-law. We get along pretty well. She works at a high school and has told me horror stories about some of the kids at school. So, I thought she would be supportive like my sister. When I brought it up in normal conversation, she almost got angry and told me not to! She has seen that when parents homeschool their kids through elementary and middle school and then send them off to public high school, they are either slower than their grade level (because they weren't taught right), or they are anti-social and don't know how to interact with anyone their age.
I tried telling her that there will always be kids like that out there, but that there are a lot of parents who do it right. And that because I want my child to have the best eduction she deserves, I would teach her as well as a public school (if not better!), without any of the worries that come with sending your child off to public school.
But she wouldn't really listen to what I had to say and that was basically the end of the conversation. I don't like confrontation, so I didn't really want to keep trying to get my point across. How do you deal with negative reactions like that? Her reaction makes me almost not want to tell anyone until next fall when she would be starting school. I have come to the realization that a lot of people are prejudice about homeschooling. They think one way about it and they don't want to listen about how you're going to do it...differently. Thankfully my husband is very supportive and excited about it!
Diane's Reply to Negative Reactions:
I know exactly what you are going through! I come from two families of public school teachers...my mother-in-law, my brother, four sisters-in-law are (or were) all teachers! And I have nephews planning to become teachers. Some are supportive...some are not. To be honest, we rarely talk about it! Hence, fewer negative reactions.
We homeschoolers are a different lot. That alone will bring on the questions! Everyone we know has a genuine concern. And that's okay. Understanding that concern will make it easier for you to accept their opinion.
You are already doing what I think is the right thing...mentioning what your plan is, listening to their opinion, and then changing the subject! You and your husband have already decided that homeschooling is the best choice for your family. Time will prove to them that you did the right thing. They will silently see it for themselves. Once your child reads (and well, I might add!) at an early age, speaks using correct grammar, shows good manners, etc., they'll come around. Not all, mind you. And they won't all say anything, because no one wants to admit they're wrong, but deep down they'll know. It will take time, so be patient. But once your child starts winning awards (like in 4-H), or reciting a scripture verse learned in Sunday school, they'll begin to accept it because it works!
Hang in there. Negative reactions causing doubt will creep in from time to time. Even from loved ones! Be patient with them. You come across as a diligent, loving parent who is concerned that their child gets a quality education. I believe that your child won't find a better teacher.