What to Tell the Homeschool Skeptics (a.k.a. Your Parents or Inlaws)

Dealing with Homeschool Skeptics (Parents and Grandparents) _ Pamela Price for RedWhiteandGrew.com 

When you first decide to homeschool, you may encounter skeptics and naysayers, and that negative “static” can interfere with your self-efficacy, your “can-do” belief.

Some of these pooh-poohers and their “opinions” can be dismissed with a change of topic. But if it’s YOUR Mom or Dad (or in-laws or adult siblings)–people who have an interest in your kids’ well-being, then things get tricky.

In this post I’ll share an approach that I’ve seen work well for many parents (including former coaching clients) over the years. Warning: this approach assumes that you’ve got a reasonably healthy (not necessarily perfect) relationship with your skeptic already in place. (In other words, if you’re relationship is dysfunctional already, even this approach may not work, and you’ll have to decide if you even want to work with them on this.)

To begin, arrange to talk privately with dear ol’ Mom and Dad (or Sis or Aunt Edna). Tell them to vent all of their worries. Listen. Take notes. Resist the urge to roll your eyes. Just let them get it out.

When they’re done, thank them for their input and tell them that you’ll consider what has been said but the choice has been made. Tell them that you will revisit this conversation once a year with them. Make it clear that for the well-being of everyone you expect them to withhold criticism of your decision–especially in front of the child–either in person or via computer or phone. (That’s right: make it clear that you need no passive-aggressive behavior from them on Facebook!)

Make it clear that if they violate that one rule, then you will not invite them to provide annual feedback while you homeschool your kids–however long homeschooling may last.

That’s it. Most skeptics want to be “heard” and will let up. Many of them will be persuaded over time that homeschooling works.

Pamela Price of RedWhiteandGrew.com is the author of How to Work and Homeschool (GHF Press, 2013) and hosts a blog and Facebook page on the topic.