Wait. What? What do you mean you don’t think I am doing the right thing?
Uh, oh. The proverbial wrench in the sockets of your bliss.
After the meeting at the school about Knuckles, I was convinced that the only real chance she had was home schooling. I was positive that this was what I should be doing. I had brought the issue up at Prayer Meeting one Wednesday night at church and I made the comment “In order for me to homeschool, a lot of things have to line up perfectly.” That same month we started! Looking back, I realize that God was showing me that BEFORE I even think about it, He has it worked out. Even if your decision was as easy as mine, even if you didn’t to do anything- it just kinda’ happened, even if you are CONVICTED that you are doing God’s will for your child, you may still hit resistance.
I remember going to my sisters the weekend after I pulled Knuckles from school. I was SO nervous to tell her that I was now homeschooling my oldest. Not that she has EVER done anything to make me think that she wouldn’t support me; On the contrary, she has stuck by me even when I did things I shouldn’t have. But, she is 9 years older then me and I look up to her. I actively seek her approval and I knew there was a chance that I wouldn’t get it on this decision. Now don’t get me wrong, she is not AGAINST homeschooling. She just isn’t really for it, either. She lives in a great town with a great school. Her property taxes are OUT OF THIS WORLD (more then her mortgage each month) but her town seems to be managing the money well. They spend it on education (her school district has not gotten rid of it’s Special Education classes like our school has) the library and other programs geared to the advancement of it’s children. Unfortunately, I can not say the same for the Borough we live in.
So, I told her and she was fine. She understood that I was doing what I felt was best. She knew that I had so much support and help and that it just might be the best thing for now. She also has the philosophy that you can’t mess a kid up (beyond repair) academically until 3rd grade or so. But, I knew that deep down she wasn’t really sure. Recently she found out that I was going to homeschool The Princess, as well, this year. I could see her face over the phone.
So, what do I do? What should you do if you run into resistance?
This is an easy fix. Believe it or not, it really is! It is just hard to remove the emotion from the situation so it seems much harder than it is. I am going to go over some solutions and, hopefully, help you get started on winning over your family and friends!
1.) Start a blog
This is probably the easiest thing you can do! It takes about 15 seconds to sign up and pick a domain name at Blogger. Then you spend a few minutes picking a template and getting organized. You can write your first post today! After you have written a post, e-mail your web address to family and friends. Invite them to check in often to see what you are up to. This is particularly good for keeping ex-husbands and ex-family-in-law in the know. If you aren’t on speaking terms (or WISH you weren’t on speaking terms) this will keep them updated. This is also a GREAT way to document if you are worried about the ex’s trying to start legal trouble.
2.) Keep a log book
I personally think that physical log books are going to be obsolete in the next decade. For now, however, this is something to consider doing. Last year I used the Weekly Planner printable from TheHomeSchoolMom.com. I made a log to record the extra-curricular things we did. I put ‘Music’, ‘Phys Ed’, ‘Art’, etc on a sheet labeled with the weeks dates. Easy. And then I don’t have to try to remember what we did a few months ago when I am asked. Add art work, pictures, crafts and anything else you can fit in a sheet protector. When family comes to visit have the log sitting on the coffee table or the night stand in the guest room where the nay-sayer will be sleeping.
3.) SNAP, SNAP, SNAP. Then ‘snap’ some more
I can not say it enough- TAKE PICTURES!!! Take pictures, take pictures, take pictures!!! If you forget your camera take pictures with your phone then e-mail them
to yourself. You do not have to have a smart phone to do this, any camera phone will work. Just put your e-mail address in the ‘TO’ spot- it’s just like texting the picture to your e-mail. It is one thing to recount the trip you took to the local Reptile Museum but another to come back with 300+ pictures. (True story. And they were all on my phone because I forgot my camera!) You can upload the best to your blog and write a post about how it enhanced your Science Unit on Snakes. (If you are documenting to cover your booty, put the rest of the pictures on a CD labeled “Reptile Museum” with the date and the address to the blog post.) Displayed in an album or viewed online, this can also a visual for people that may trigger a fond memory. It also might make them think “Wow. They might not have been able to experience this in a classroom.”
4.) Know your data
If you read my last Village of Moms post, you will see links to the Department of Educations website listing all the crime statistics for the schools of America. The most interesting thing I found was that, statistically, kids in 9-12 grade are safer AWAY from school than AT school. Makes you wonder why the government is, as a whole, touting the need for all kids to get a public school education. Um, they are safer AT HOME WITH ME! This is just good knowledge to have in the back of your mind. Foes of at home education will always say something like “Well, they need to be around other kids. They need the socialization.” You can respond with “Well, actually Aunt Gertrude, the US Department of Education found from it’s own survey that kids Juniors age are safer away from school then at it. Can you believe that! CRAZY… Oh, they also found that 22% of kids were offered, sold or given an illegal drug! I KNOW!! I’m so glad that I took Junior out of at least one situation where that could happen to him!” and so on. If this happens enough, they may come around. If not, at least they will know that you have done your research.
5.) Do the research
You need to do the research. There is no way around it. But, there is no set definition of what ‘the’ is as it pertains to a particular family. It’s just ‘the’ research.
This definitely includes (for everybody):
- state laws concerning homeschooling. I suggest the Home School Legal Defense Association. It’s the HSDLA’s business to know the law.
- your states educational requirements. I started at Education.com which lead me to my states official website- the one that has .state and .us in it. Print this and refer to it often. Make sure your child does/knows all that the state says they should for their grade. Use this guide when you write your goals and refer to it every time you re-evaluate those goals.
- the best curriculum. Every child is different. Make sure you are using the material that is right for them! This can be the difference between a kid reading and a kid loving to read. Find someone with a lot of experience that can recommend a starting place. Call them with any question you have. I call my friends at Lamp Post Publishing every other week. They have been homeschooling for 30 years- they know what works. Find your own Wynne and Harriet and use their knowledge. This will not only make you feel better but it will put the ‘Negative Nancy’ in your life at ease, too. Since they know that you have the right curriculum they will not worry that your child will be ‘behind.’
These suggestions are just a beginning point. Depending on how much of a role ‘The Doubter’ has in your life will determine the lengths you have to go to prove that you are doing the right thing. Sometimes, though, it just won’t matter. There could be an alien invasion at the school Junior would have been attending and everyone could have been abducted- but The Doubter will just say “Junior could have stopped it if he was there.”
Rest assured that you are doing the best thing you can be doing for your child and no amount of doubting from someone else can change that. It just might come down to “This is what we have decided. The conversation is over.” Consider yourself blessed that someone, although misguided, cares so much about your child. Sometimes you just have to throw your hands up and give up the fight. In the grand scheme of life, it really doesn’t matter.
My name is Tiffany and I am one of the Mom’s behind Home Grown Families. When I’m not blogging, I am running my three girls to therapies and whatever else they get themselves involved in. I get plenty of practice in homeschooling a special needs child, raising a multi-cultural family, trying to live green, and procrastinating. Visit me at Home Grown Families to see what my crazy family is up to this week!