Negative Reactions

by Candice

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 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.

Comments for Negative Reactions

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What about the children themselves being harassed about it?
by: Anonymous

I understand the reasoning behind homeschooling one's children. But I'm afraid my children will always be seen as different and set apart from their peers. I'm also worried how they (college admissions personnel) will feel about it when they're older.

The predominant view seems to be that homeschooled children are lacking something they can only receive through the classroom experience with other children. I'm worried how the world will receive my children afterward.

Am I placing an unnecessary burden and 'difference' onto my children?

Reply by Diane:

I know exactly how you feel. I felt the same way, too. They are different, but it's a GOOD different. The professors at the university where my girls attended were very impressed with their character and education. They told me that personally! As for their peers...they will naturally be attracted to and attract similar minded individuals. And that too, is okay! Not to worry. :)

Don't let it get to you
by: Morgan

The other day I was with some friends that I hadn't seen in a while. We got on the subject of preschool. Since all of our children are the same age and would be starting preschool this year, I told them that I was thinking about homeschooling. (I really wasn't thinking about it, I know that's my plan!) But I said I was thinking about it because I wasn't quite sure what their reactions would be. And as suspected they all thought kids need to interact with other kids during the day. I basically explained that I have seen other homeschoolers, that they are very social in activities with other kids other than in school. And then I changed the subject! People are always going to have different thoughts. Don't let it get to you too much.

Keep on, Keeping on
by: Kelli @ 3 Boys and a Dog

My husband IS a public school teacher and I homeschool our oldest. :-) My mother-in-law has not been supportive of it since we started almost 2 years ago. This year however, she gave me an A+ Teacher magnet for Christmas. I cried and she cried... it was her silent way of telling me that she can see everything I have done for my son, her grandson, and she approves! :-)

Negative Reactions
by: Melinda

When I first started homeschooling I ran into that. It did cause some tension with some family members at first. But you have to do what you think is best for your children. Sometimes people criticize because they don't understand.

I quit caring what other people think about what I do. My oldest daughter will be 20 this month. She went to public school through third grade. We started in 4th. She finished at the age of 16 and is now a junior in college. I have more than proven that homeschooling works. I am now homeschooling my 7 year old. None of my relatives say anything to me about it these days. Don't let what people say bother you.

Get involved in some of the support groups in your area and just enjoy what you are doing.

Negative Emotions
by: Karen Phelps

Hi Candice,

I can relate to your concern and feelings of the negative emotions from family and friends that don't agree with your decision to homeschool...probably most of us homeschoolers have been there. I find that people's reactions are usually based on fear of what they don't understand. They only know what they have been exposed to - and that is usually only from mainstream media and public school officials not wanting to lose tax dollars from less children enrolled.

If people are truly concerned, they only need to look at overall homeschool "results" and their fear would subside. Sure there are some 'bad apples' out there, but in comparison to the public school losses it is not even significant enough to mention.

You are doing the right thing by avoiding confrontation as that gets no one anywhere. It really doesn't matter what people think - try not to let them cast doubt in your own mind. Stay true to your convictions and all will be well.

God gave your child to you to bring up - not the secular school system. You are the best teacher for your child - if you need help to fill in some gaps you will find it! Don't let anyone take away one of the greatest joys in life and that is watching and guiding your children in the learning process of life!

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