Dealing with Homeschool SkepticismAuthor: dbuck5892
If you have been homeschooling for a while or if you have just decided to begin, skepticism is something you either have or will come across. Family members, community members, and friends will often question your decisions. There are many disbelievers out there. These people have fallen for the stereotypes that often come into existence where homeschooling is concerned. Other skeptics simply need to be enlightened, as they are just showing general interest or concern. But, regardless of the intention, how are you to deal with skepticism?
First, be true to your beliefs. You made the decision to homeschool for your own reasons. It doesn't matter if your reason was spiritual. It doesn't matter if you decided that you would be the best educator for your children due to overcrowding of schools or safety issues. Your reasons are valid, and you should not feel that you have to defend your decisions where your own children and their educations are concerned.
Second, hear others out. It does absolutely no good to come out swinging and on the defensive. It just makes you look bad. Stand your ground and state your reasons for coming to your decision. Don't try to convert anyone to your way of thinking (everyone is entitled to his/her opinion), simply explain your thoughts and let them stand. Often those who are insecure about their own beliefs are the first to criticize other's beliefs.
Third, be patient. Often people are questioning out of their own ignorance (this does not mean stupid) and out of genuine concern. Educate the skeptics. You did research before making this monumental decision. Share the research and articles that convinced you that this was the right answer for you and your family.
Fourth, take advantage of your support system. There are homeschool support groups out there, and those families are most likely facing the same skepticism that you are. Talk with those parents. Find out how they deal with the family/friend skeptics. They are your biggest fan club, so lean on them when you need to.
Finally, share the special "ah ha" moments you have experienced with your children during the homeschooling experience. Share the triumphs and the teachable moments that you have been able to take advantage of. Give examples of learning that would never have gone any further had your child been in a classroom of thirty other children. If the skeptics question your knowledge about certain subjects or you ability to teach, remind them that no one knows everything. Even teachers in a traditional school setting have moments when they have to tell students that they don't know the answers to the question. All anyone can do is promise to find out the answer and follow through.
Many people are going to want to prove your decisions to be wrong. Don't waste the time or the energy it would take to defend your choices. You know in your heart that you are doing the best for your children. That's all that matters.
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