Thursday 7 December 2017

How to Deal With Negativity About Homeschooling

Recently, I made a video talking about our homeschool journey. If you watched that, you will know that I never planned to homeschool. It was something we fell into due to our personal circumstances but since then we have not looked back. We love homeschooling and have fun every single day. However, we also do experience a lot negativity about it; particularly from family members, unfortunately. They just cannot understand why we chose to homeschool our children and are blinded by the "kids must go to school" mentality. 

I regularly have to hear the same old reasons why my children should be in school and I can counter argue them very well with research to back me up. However, it does become tedious, not to mention frustrating and upsetting, to constantly have to battle with family members about why I believe homeschooling is best for my children. I understand they may be worried as they have little knowledge of homeschooling, despite my best efforts to enlighten them. They are simply stuck in their mentality that there could not possibly be another way to educate children other than to send them to school.

I do believe that in the UK children start school much earlier than they should and this is one of my main reasons for homeschooling. Because of this, a lot of people have unrealistic expectations of what children should be achieving and when. With homeschooling, we are able to work at a level more suited to the child's cognitive ability and not push them into trying to master things which are too advanced for them. However, the school starting age is so ingrained into the psyche of most British people, my family included, that it is very difficult to persuade them to forget about these expectations and look at the reality of how children learn.

I know I am not alone. Many other homeschoolers are also confronted with resistance from loved ones, as well as friends, who do not agree with their decision to homeschool their children. So, what can we do when faced with such negativity?

Impress them with facts

My main tip would be to do your research. If you have the knowledge about why homeschooling is best, from an evidence-based point of view, you will be able to speak with confidence as well as impress your listener. They will probably not even realise the benefits of homeschooling, most likely because they have never thought to look into it. They will not know the facts which state children learn best in certain environments and at certain ages. They will not realise that homeschooled children have excellent socialisation opportunities or can go to university. They may even be so shocked to hear these facts it will leave them speechless and in no position to continue the debate.

I thought it would be useful to write an article giving practical tips on how to deal with negativity about homeschooling; as much for myself as for you. I asked fellow homeschool bloggers for any tips they had to help people cope with this negativity. Here is what they said.

Highlight the benefits

Samira from The Muslimah Guide says;

"I find that those who who respond negatively to homeschooling are not really familiar with or don't really understand it. Why you would want to keep your kids at home and teach them yourself? What about socialisation? Won't your child be awkward? By giving them a benefit of doubt, I usually shift the conversation to highlight the benefits of homeschooling, the misconceptions and why we choose this path. Homeschooling is not for everyone but everyone should know and understand that it is an option."

Surround yourself with positive people

Gemma from Our Muslim Homeschool says;

"Negativity is something you will always have to deal with in your life, whether you homeschool or not. There will always be people who will disagree with the way you do things, and will make sure you know about it! The question is, how much access do you need to give such people into your private life and how much do you really value their opinions? We can usually tell the difference between someone with genuine concern and someone just being difficult. If they're not close family, and they make you feel terrible every time you see them, do they really need to be a part of your life? 

Home educating your children is not easy. We all have days when we question our decision to home educate, even if just for a moment. Instead of people who find faults, surround yourself with people who will lift you up, give you good advice and support you when you need it."

Be confident

Ayesha from Ayeina says;

"I homeschool while living in a joint family system - where not sending the kid to school is considered backwards, but your confidence and conviction can make support from others more possible. And support from your spouse can be crucial in such matters. The less offensive you take all the negativity from others, the more conviction you can have in your own decisions."

Be open

Hana from Pepper and Pine says;

"In dealing with negativity, be it related to homeschooling or otherwise, identifying the kind of negativity will help direct your response. I see negativity stemming from one of a few places: hate, ill-placed concern or inadvertedness. 

If negativity comes from meanness or hate, it may be meant to hurt you, dissuade you or cause you self doubt. Avoid such conversations unless you are prepared for a potentially ugly encounter. If the negativity is ill-placed concern, which is not uncommon amongst family members and friends of those who are homeschooling, a conversation is an opportunity for both parties to reach understanding. 

When you come from a place of openness, the recipient will mirror your openness. Speaking openly about your choices and listening to others’ concern shows maturity, confidence and security in your choice. Once you start defending your position adamantly, you risk closing the conversation with hostility. Stay open in speech, even if you really disagree. Contemplate truthfully their concern and if you feel comfortable, put yourself in their shoes. Can you understand their concerns?

Negativity, whether intention or not, doesn’t feel good. Processing those negative sentiments with other like-minded individuals helps ease the pain caused by such encounters."

Dispel misconceptions

Nabila from Everlearning, Everlasting says;

“The number one counter argument I hear from others is that homeschooling isolates children and doesn’t provide them with necessary social skills. First, we should understand that homeschooling isn't as relatively unknown and uncommon as it once was. It has bloomed into an entire network of different philosophies and pursuits for the betterment of children’s development and education. There are plenty of community programs and resources available now, more than ever. Some are even designed specifically for homeschoolers (our local libraries host “homeschooling days” when homeschooling and any other children can come together and participate in STEM activities).

Therefore, homeschooling isn’t really what it used to be. A large majority of homeschooling students are not only academically successful, but also socially well-adjusted. A huge factor is because their families have a vested interest in the success of their child and proactively seek opportunities that will allow their children to become well-rounded individuals and members of society.

Have ready-made answers to negative questions

If you need some help answering all those annoying questions non-homeschoolers ask you, check out this article for some pre-written answers.

Ignore the negativity

Finally, if you have tried everything and they still do not accept your decision to homeschool your children, the best thing to do would be to ignore them. Dwelling on the negativity will bring you down and affect your confidence and productivity. You know what is best for your children so do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

I hope this article has helped you to think about how you can deal with negativity about your decision to homeschool your children. I hope it gives you the confidence to face negativity openly and calmly. Remember, you know what is right for your children and, if you and your children are happy, do not let anyone dissuade you. You are doing a great job!

Do you have any tips on how to deal with negativity about homeschooling? Please share them in the comments below.

Additional articles of interest


No comments

Post a Comment

Leave a comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogger templates by pipdig