Thursday, August 24, 2006

Winning Over A Relative

I've received a few emails from readers who are just beginning to homeschool but their extended family isn't on board with the idea. What do you do? Here's a post I wrote a while back that shares how we handled it.

As homeschoolers we all encounter them. Friends and relatives who are skeptical about our choice to homeschool. They are not in the same category as strangers you meet on the street who question your decision. Strangers share their thoughts and opinions and move on. But what do you do when a relative or good friend is not exactly on board with your decision to homeschool? I had very few who were against homeschooling but I did have a few relatives who were not exactly encouraging.

A part of me wanted to try and convince them from the start that this was the right thing to do. But another part said to wait and let things play out for a few years. And that's what we did. (No small feat from one who doesn't like to back away!) It's one thing to SAY all the great things that homeschooling can do for a child and a family and quite another to DO them. So we set our hearts to just say very little and let our lives speak for themselves. This was hard at different points in time. It is hard to let a difficult comment go unanswered but for the sake of the relationship and the greater good that is what we did.

The fruit of that decision came this week. A close relative told me, "I would not have said this ten years ago but your family made the right decision to homeschool." I was smiling and crying at the same time. Smiling because somebody we care about thought things were going well and said so and crying knowing that this encouragement came from someone who was less than enthusiastic when we first began. God is awesome.

Homeschooling is hard work. When there are negative relatives who you can't avoid, the job can be even tougher. Be still and know that God is at work and be patient. The fruit will be evident in due time and you will enjoy the blessing with those who care about you most.

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