January 24, 2019

Dealing With Unsupportive Relatives Regarding Your Homeschooling?

Dealing With Unsupportive Relatives?
***I originally shared this post over on my Life at Rossmont blog, four years ago. WKAR***

This week I experienced, yet again, the lack of support from extended family regarding our homeschooling journey. While it's true that it may have been unintentional that the comment would be seen by me on Facebook, it still gives me a true idea of this person's opinion.

Yes, you would think that after 17 1/2 years on this homeschool journey, I'd have learned to ignore and let go of the barbs and zingers. The truth of the matter is, they still hurt.

What on earth made me choose to homeschool my children in the first place, you may ask? After all, my parents are retired Christian church school teachers! Wouldn't it be more prudent to send my children to school? Perhaps, but...

Because my parents were teachers in schools within our denomination, I knew that public school would never be an option for any of my children. Then a couple years before my oldest was born, one of my close friends began homeschooling her children. Thus that "seed" was planted in my mind, and kind of "simmered" there for a few years.

As time grew nearer for my firstborn to begin school, I became well acquainted with the local church school teachers, and began planning and preparing for the day for my oldest to attend that small church school. But then the summer before he was to begin first grade, the church shut down that school! Now the nearest church school was 60 miles away! We lived in Montana, where winters can be brutal. Homeschool became the only choice open to my family.

As my mom was nearing retirement, she began passing on more and more of her resources to me, and became my mentor. I've always appreciated being able to go to her with questions or concerns, and receiving her feedback.

Coming back to the present situation, and what caught my attention this time, was a comment a relative of mine made in response to the article entitled: Did You Know That There Are 14 States That Don’t Require English And Math For Homeschooled Kids? (beware, if you click through to read that article, of the grotesque photos posted on that website) Now, if that title isn't misleading enough, you will soon realize by the content of the "article" itself that the author is very uninformed about homeschooling in general!

Skimming through some of the comments left in response to the article, one quickly realizes there are many, many who are equally uninformed or misinformed as the author. 

One of my friends did a quick "google search" for me, and found these resources, which she shared with me: Research Facts on Homeschooling, by Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., dated January 6, 2015, and New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement, by Ian Slatter, Director of Media Relations, dated August 10, 2009.

Okay, so I'm sure you're thinking, "Yeah, but those are skewed in favor of homeschooling, because they are by organizations which support and promote homeschooling!" Check this one out: Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students, by Michael F. Cogan, the director of institutional research and analysis at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN, and is published in the Journal of College Admission, from National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Or maybe you're more interested in this one: Homeschooled Students Well-prepared for College, Study Finds, at the Huffington Post, dated June 1, 2012.

By the way, if you want to know what laws and regulations homeschoolers actually do face, you can find those homeschool laws listed here by state. As one of my friends pointed out, "We, as homeschoolers, learn and explore all of our educational options. Ways of delivery, resources, online/dvd/private/public - We're the ones with an open mind and, especially as reviewers, a tolerance and a professional experience with all things curriculum based. The average parent - the majority of parents, sign 20 pieces of paper and hand over their kid, even letting the school pick them up on their street and deliver them at the end of the day. Who knows more about education than a homeschool parent?" (Yes, she is on the Schoolhouse Review Crew with me)

Now about my children specifically; perhaps they did not have the highest test scores. So what? They're average, just like the majority of the rest of the population.

Two of my main goals in homeschooling my children has always been:
  1. To teach them to love learning, and know where and how to find the answers to their questions--to be self-learners, independent thinkers.
  2. Even more importantly, to prepare them for a life of service on this earth, and to prepare them for eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come. ~Education, by E.G. White.

True education is the preparation of the physical, mental, and moral powers for the performance of every duty; it is the training of body, mind, and soul for divine service. This is the education that will endure unto eternal life. ~Christ's Object Lessons, by E.G. White.

Do my children feel like their education has/had been "shortchanged?" When I asked the three older ones, they each emphatically said, "NO!"

Then when I asked each of my children what they liked/like about homeschooling, their responses were:
  • Oldest: "Being able to work on it throughout the day and not having to get up early every morning."
  • Second: "Being able to stay home and study. I always hated the thought of having to go to public school."
  • Third: "Everything!"
  • Fourth: "Being able to be at home and work on schoolwork with you, Mom!"
My favorite advantages to homeschooling are the fact that I can tailor each child's education to his/her strengths, interests, passions, abilities; we can focus on character training when necessary; each child can go at his/her own pace; my special needs child doesn't have to deal with being teased/tormented/ostracized, just because he's "different."

I came in to this journey, because God called me to it. We will continue on this path until God calls us a different direction...or until all of my children have graduated, whichever.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.

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