When Family Does Not Support Homeschooling
April 25, 2018
Mercy Every Minute  
I do not impress God. At all. I tend to only love those who love me, and judge harshly those that don’t. 

I have friends whom I love because it is easy to love them. They understand me. They accept me. I am the best Christian around these friends.

But, as Jesus said, what good is that? Even sinners do the same. I am lumped in with sinners! What will get me out of that lump? Loving those who don’t like me, don’t understand me, and don’t care about me. 

I have learned that bearing the hurt of other’s harshness is taking up our cross and allowing the life of a loving God to live through us. It’s either that or a death in which your pain turns to anger and bitterness. 

Choose life by choosing to love. 

There seems to be, in every extended family, someone who saps all your joy. You don’t even have to be in their presence to feel drained! Just the thought of them makes you sigh with discouragement. That someone might just be a family member who does not support your homeschool decision.

We want to keep a soft heart before the Lord. We must not harden our hearts or become bitter in our actions. Is there someone who you consider to be unloving? Don’t cut them off; rather pray for them, and love them. 

In Matthew 5 we are told to pray for those who speak all manner of evil against us. It’s the kind of prayer for their very souls; that God would draw them to Himself; that God would open their eyes to see Him; that God would soften hearts; that God’s Word would reveal to them what your words have failed to reveal. He places so much value on them. He desires their change of heart even more than you could begin to realize. 

Pray for them and then cast those cares on the LORD. This is our freedom. Freedom from the discouragement and anger that could so easily swallow us up; freedom to praise God from our hearts instead of pondering the motive of other’s hearts; freedom to pray for those whom no one else may be praying for; freedom to follow God’s commands rather than our own emotions.

Let’s stop dwelling on those negative people in our life, and let’s turn our eyes upon Jesus together. He is positive about what you are doing and has not left you alone.

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Staying Relational   
Dear Friends,

Imagine if life were perfect:

You announce to your relatives that you are going to homeschool your children. They all burst into spontaneous applause, telling you how loving and wise you are to show this kind of courage and sacrifice in raising your children. Not only that, you are so esteemed by your church and community for making this choice that you are unanimously voted Mother of the Year.

Yeah, I know. That is not what most of us experience when we homeschool. I have often shared stories of my own experience in the mid-1980s, scenarios like this one:

My mother, enraged that I would ruin her only grandchildren, grimly demanded, "What about socialization? What about computers? How will they ever get jobs?"

My father thought I was nuts; my grandparents were shocked; my mother-in-law a special-ed teacher with a Master's degree was dismissive.

Come to think of it, not a single relative was supportive. That is, until my Aunt Mary asked me to share what I did with my children in our homeschool. It was a bit scary to answer her, because Aunt Mary was the principal of an elementary school in Gainesville, Texas. You can't get much more invested in public schools than that.

Surprisingly, this sweet, encouraging woman listened carefully to my description of homeschooling in the Waring home, and then said, "Diana, what you are doing is a gifted-and-talented program for your kids! This is what every student should have!!" She went on to say that her school district could only afford this approach to education for a few hours per week for a few lucky students. With amazement, she added, "But your kids get this every day, all day!! 

Here is the take-away:

What you are doing at home has the potential of being the very best program of education on the planet. All it needs is your loving and listening heart, time for their creative exploration and imaginative play, and lots of laughter. Oh, yes, good educational materials are helpful, too.

Tell those relatives that you are giving the very best to your kids!! And, remember, stay relational! 



P.S. If you’re wishing you had a homsechooling mentor, check out my “Mastering the Art of Homeschooling” weekly mentoring email! Here’s a sample.
Caryn Hommel
Has anyone had enough of the World’s Longest Winter? Are you ready for warm summer days? Family reunions? Facing critical Aunt Sally or Grandpa Bob oh . . . ? (Uh oh). Maybe you are cringing in advance at the stinging remarks and pointed jabs. Those don’t feel very good; I know! So here are some ideas—plus a few general principles—to help you to navigate through any difficult discussions with confidence, dignity, and most of all— grace

  1. Listen. Charlotte Mason called attention “the hallmark of an educated person,” and the bible urges us to be “quick to listen.” (James 1:19). Listening is a gift, and sometimes our friends and relatives have legitimate concerns. We don’t have to take any position to listen, but by doing so we affirm others, strengthen our relationships, and sometimes—we learn. We avoid pitfalls. We benefit!
  2. Assume positive intent. Thank the other person for their concern for your child, and assure them that you have the same concern for your child… whether it’s a question of “socialization” or adequate algebra instruction or whatever. 
  3. Attack the problem, not the person. Discuss the options that are available to fulfill any student needs that your loved one mentions. Many people are simply not aware of the access that we have to affordable or free online resources, for example. Try asking for help with brainstorming for ideas (or for prayer, etc). Does the individual know of additional resources you might use? You may gain an ally… you never know!
  4. Don’t compare. Some of your friends or relatives may object to homeschooling because they see your choice as a rejection of theirs. Perhaps they have invested their lives as public servants in public education, or they chose public school for their own children. We can honor their efforts and their motives without bringing them to bear on our own situations. Our choices are not validated by invalidating theirs. 
  5. Draw boundaries when necessary. Obviously, there comes a point when discussion is unproductive and your boundaries need to be made clear. For me, it was helpful to tell my (former) naysayer something along these lines: “Homeschooling is a huge commitment for us, and it is challenging enough without extraneous discouragements. If you cannot support or encourage us, would you please at least not discourage us?” Kindly and firmly refuse to argue: “The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome . . . ” (2 Tim. 2:24a)

I will leave you with a short post that I shared with an online homeschool group back in February: 

About the naysayers. They said I was hurting my children because I wouldn't let them ride the school bus. Then we pulled them out and we homeschooled them, so they said that we were sheltering them too much. They said that they wouldn't be ready for the real world. They asked how they would possibly get into college. And then one day it happened: The children graduated. They went to college, and they did fine. They made it to early classes, yes, even at the crack of dawn. They met challenges and overcame them. They did internships, held leadership positions, and were active in clubs. They juggled multiple part-time job positions. One studied abroad and became a world traveler for a season, visiting France, Germany, Spain, Italy, England, Amsterdam, and Luxembourg. She graduates from college with two awesome degrees plus a minor this May. The other (my Eagle scout!) graduated from college two years ago and began working full-time even as he started his own business. The world is at their feet . . . but the naysayers. Meh! Let them talk, I say. The rest of us are too busy changing the world!

Happily, I can tell you that after fifteen years of homeschooling, we don’t hear a lot of naysaying anymore. It is very hard to argue with success. Stay diligent and keep your eyes on your goals, dear friends. And “let your conversation be always full of grace,” because there are few better things you can teach to your children. ☺ 

Caryn Hommel, homeschool mom and author, earned a degree in Spanish Language and Literature from NCSU and taught Spanish in public schools for ten years. Her successful experience with Total Physical Response (TPR) and Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS) motivated her to develop Excelerate SPANISH , a unique DVD-based curriculum to help other homeschoolers to benefit from wonderful, brain-friendly approaches to foreign language instruction. The Hommels have homeschooled since 2003 and have graduated two students. She continues to teach her younger two children, and thinks that celebrating life and learning as a family is the most fulfilling way to spend your days!
Dara Halydier
“You are not qualified to teach your kids! Leave it to the school system.” Not all parents, grandparents, or other relatives are supportive of homeschooling, and some are quite verbal about it. What I found to combat the negativity, criticism, and doubt was information, time, and dealing with my own insecurities.

As my parents (both public school educators), in-laws, siblings, etc., learned more about homeschooling and what we were doing, they quit being so skeptical. I made a deliberate effort through newsletters and e-mails to let my family know what we were studying, what activities we were involved in, and how my kids were doing. I made sure to share statistics, pro-homeschooling articles, and the news of homeschool graduates succeeding in school and life. When I could, I would involve my family in homeschooling projects. My parents presented a chapter of life in the 70’s to our kids and ate our desserts as we ate our way around the world for geography. They listened to recitations, watched plays, and were shown other visual projects that we did. When they lived several states away, I would video the kids doing their projects.

As our parents and grandparents saw that our children could read quite well, could discuss current events, would look them in the eye as they conversed with them, and were involved in outside activities, they became less skeptical and more supportive. As the children continued to offer polite and in-depth answers even as teenagers, our parents became pro-homeschoolers themselves.

With the doubt and criticism flowing in, I often took a defensive position trying to argue my point. This was not productive and caused a rift in my relationship with my parents. When I finally understood that homeschooling was my call from God and that I only had to please Him, I was able to listen more, be less defensive, and respect my parents’ right to disagree. I was able to apply grace to our relationship. I no longer felt inadequate and insecure which gave my parents more confidence in my homeschooling efforts. This made a bigger impact on their questions and criticism than anything I could have done to convince them.

It is important to deal with your feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. God says that He will equip you to do that which He calls you to do (Hebrews 13:20-21). He will be your competency, your sufficiency, your adequacy (2 Cor. 3:5). Trust in Him and He will guide your path (Prov. 3:5-6). To listen to a presentation on dealing with these topics visit http://www.abidingtruthministry.com/?product=what-homeschoolers-wont-talk-about .

Know that you were called by God to teach your children at home, be in agreement with your husband, and homeschool with joy! When naysayers strike, be confident, open, and have some facts available. It’s hard to disagree when your children go on to succeed in their various endeavors. That’s when your family will be singing your praises.

Dara Halydier is an author, speaker, and mom of five grown boys! She homeschooled for twenty-one wonderful years and is now encouraging other homeschooling families. She is the executive director of Abiding Truth Ministry and the author of the Practical Proverbs series and other books. Dara has learned life’s lessons the hard way—experience! The lessons she shares come from truths that she has learned from dealing with chronic pain, having moved thirty-three times, having four boys with learning disabilities, and having overcome a past of abuse to proclaim God’s grace, forgiveness, and freedom. Find out more at www.abidingtruthministry.com .
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Hello and welcome to  Spanish for You ! My name is Debbie Annett, and I created the  Spanish for You ! curriculum while teaching at my homeschool co-op. It now provides a way for anyone to implement an effective elementary or middle school Spanish program at home or in the classroom easily and affordably.  Spanish for You ! is a theme-based curriculum that engages students through a variety of easily taught activities and techniques, AND saves parents and teachers time and money by using streamlined lessons with inexpensive materials. 

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Contest Corner  
For the month of April

Art Class, from See the Light, is a video-based art curriculum. The lessons are taught by Master Artist Pat Knepley and are designed to teach children incrementally from beginning art skills to advanced techniques. There are nine DVD volumes that are titled The Basics, Shape & Space, Value & Color, Color Blending Techniques, Proportions for Composition, Texture & Form, Perspective for the Landscape, Balance, & Foreshadowing and The Portrait. Each volume contains four primary lessons, so at 36 lessons, you have enough material for a traditional school year. Additionally, there are a few bonus lessons spread throughout the course that are taught by different See the Light artists, so you have more diversity in lessons.

The full course teaches the fundamentals of art and drawing, and the first DVD, The Basics, introduces the student to the basic art materials an artist needs. We spent time learning how to build our toolbox, and how the basic supplies worked, such as a kneaded eraser being preferred to the little pink eraser on a pencil. From there, we started with the foundational technique of drawing different types of lines. As the lessons progressed, we were learning how to draw contour lines, but also training our eyes and hand to work together, so we were looking at the object of our drawing, and not our paper. I think Knepley’s approach of starting simple helps younger children to see that it does take people time and practice to develop skills.

Each volume focuses on one concept, so as you move through the volumes, you are building your skills, but you are also given that time to practice. For example, Volume 3 is all about Value & Color, and teaches concepts of value, shading and shadowing, colors and the color wheel, and complements and intermediate colors. The color wheel that we made is used for future lessons. Then moving into Volume 4: Color Blending Techniques, there is more practice with color, with two lessons on blending with colored pencils, and two that focus on blending with chalk pastels. The entire course uses these incremental lessons, making it easy to build skill and confidence at the same time. (. . .)

We lean towards the Charlotte Mason philosophy in our homeschool, and I feel that having a solid foundation in drawing and basic art skills will be useful not just for the pure beauty of drawing, but also for a Book of Centuries, nature journaling, notebooking assignments and other pursuits. However, I fully believe this video series can be beneficial to homeschool families of all philosophies, large and small. I would recommend Art Class for anyone who wants professional art lessons with a friendly Master Artist from the comforts of their own home.

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TO ENTER: Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
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