by debbie harbeson
homeschooling has been growing steadily, it is still a very unusual educational
choice. Most of us have encountered family members who have doubts and
misunderstandings about homeschooling. Yes, I can see you picturing those
penetrating looks from relatives that seem to say, Are you crazy?!
in open discussion and sharing resources like articles, books, and magazines
can be helpful, but sometimes that just doesn't work. You can talk and
talk and still attitudes are unchanging. The door isn't only shut; it
has three deadbolts and two bar locks on it.
So go through
the window. Instead of trying to convince them, simply let it happen naturally.
Its a lot like the unschooling philosophy; you just trust the process
and relax. However, I dot mean you have to sit around and wait for their
enlightenment. Like an unschooling parent who finds resources to help
kids follow their interests, you can do things to help family members
understand that homeschooling is a valid educational option.
is to write a newsletter. Work on it as a family, with each member contributing,
or just let the kids take charge. Kids can write articles on what they
have been doing and learning. They can draw pictures. Perhaps they want
to report on an interesting place they visited, or an animal they have
learned about. My son, Keith, liked to create fun puzzles and tests for
readers to solve based on topics they were learning about. He made a clip-out
section for anyone who wanted to fill it out and send it back. On some
returned slips, we received comments about having to get out the dictionary
or encyclopedia to figure out some of the test questions. Have fun with
it; let the kids create a logo and title for the newsletter. Send it to
family, friends, and even other homeschoolers. This has the advantage
of quietly helping nervous relatives see the sorts of activities homeschoolers
idea to try is to make use of relatives talents, interests and skills.
You have resources all around you in your friends and family. When they
realize they have a talent or skill that one of your kids is very interested
in, they will feel very flattered and useful. They will enjoy the fact
that they can contribute. And a busy relative is a quiet relative! When
my daughter, Melissa, began to get very interested in gardening, my dad
wanted to help her get started. Before we knew it, he was out in our back
yard with landscape timbers and a truckload of dirt and together they
built a raised garden bed. They have had lots of fun over the years competing
with each other to see who can get the first tomato of the season. The
sometimes hidden message here is that they see first-hand how most education
is learned not in a school building, but through purposeful activities
as a result of following an interest. Grandparents quickly catch on to
the advantages of being able to spend much more time with grandkids doing
fun and interesting activities and learning together. Much better than
having lunch in the school cafeteria once a year on grandparents day.
join you on trips, short or long, can be another experience that shows
homeschooling's advantages. The big difference here is that the trips
you take can be tailored to the current interests of your kids. My brother
knew about an interest Melissa had in Norman Rockwell and when we went
to visit him in New Jersey, he planned a trip to Philadelphia to the Norman
Rockwell Museum. It was a lot of fun for him to share the experience with
her. He was delighted at her interest and fed off of that himself. There
were none of the I don't want to learn, that only happens in school attitudes.
Another lesson for the relatives, right?
up and perhaps one day you will see those family members giving themselves
penetrating looks in the mirror and saying, "Were you crazy?" as they
wonder why they ever thought homeschooling wouldn't work.
BY THE WAY
Unschooling.com Web Site
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