Monday, January 10, 2011

When People Don't Understand

"..'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord...."
-Jeremiah 29:11

What do you do when your family members and other people don't understand what you are doing? How do you handle all the questions? How do you handle the criticism?

I don't know if I have all the right answers to these questions. I know that in general it takes people a while to get accustomed to the idea of homeschooling, even those who want to do it. 

I will share what we have done. My husband and I have talked about homeschooling from the very beginning. We always wanted to do this, even before we had kids. Maybe God put this in our hearts long ago, because He knows everything, and He knows what is to come.

When our children started showing signs of developmental delay, we thought it would be better for them to be around other children; we thought that would help the speech improve, social skills advance, etc. But several incidents caused us to revisit homeschooling, and we decided this was the best thing. Thankfully we had people to encourage us in this endeavor. But that was not the case with everybody.

I encounter questions regularly, from grandparents, doctors, friends, you name it, especially because of the diagnosis of Pervasive Devolopmental Disorder. I explain myself a lot. I tell them things I know about school and how I think it will benefit my children to be homeschooled and how I feel it will not benefit them to be in a classroom setting. I have tried to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible.(My Bachelor's Degree is in Education, but to some people even that is not enough for me to do an adequate job homeschooling my children.)

As for the criticisms, I have tried to battle the same way, with knowledge. I have armed myself with research, and education, and information about how children learn. Do you know what I have learned? People have to come to their own realizations about this. People have been so conditioned to see public school as being the perfect setting for children. It may not be right,that perspective, but it is just so.

It all comes down to this. What is best for your child? What is God leading you to do for your family?

If you are struggling with this decision, let me arm you with a little knowledge. There are many successful people in history that were homeschooled and you just might recognize a few of their names:  Leonardo DaVinci, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison, Louisa May Alcott, Alexander Graham Bell, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Albert Einstein. Contemporary examples of homeschoolers include The Jonas Brothers and Venus and Serena Williams.

At some point, I am going to stop explaining and let people see the fruit. I have tried to be kind but after a while questions and criticism can wear on you. That is when I revisit why we are doing what we are doing. We have to do what is right in our own hearts for our own family, and what we believe is God's plan for our children.

What productive ways do you deal with encounters with people who don't understand?


*This post originally appeared at Growing Your Homeschool.

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