Pestered by Anxious Friends About Your Decision to Home Educate?
by Beverley Paine, Aut 2012
The other week a young mum expressed her frustration that a very good friend kept badgering her about her decision to home educate her children. What I love most about my support groups are the excellent and well thought out replies that ensued. Here’s mine:
Tell your friend that you and your daughter appreciate her concern and it is lovely that she cares as much as she does. Then tell her that you and your daughter are very happy with the current arrangement. Say you know that school is always a fall-back option for your daughter and you are both happy to consider it if necessary.
If she brings it up again, thank her once again for her concern and say you've let her know your thoughts on the matter and would appreciate that she respect them and trust you and your daughter to know what is best for your daughter and that you don't wish her to bring the subject up again.
If she brings it up again, remind her that you have asked her as nicely as you know how that this isn't a subject that you are willing to talk about and that her continual dismissal of how you feel is causing you some distress.
If she continues to persist let her know that she's definitely pushing the boundaries of friendship...
If that isn't warning enough and she doesn't get the message, she's not a friend.
It is so hard to not doubt ourselves. I used to read John Holt's books when other people’s questions raised personal doubts about our educational choice for our children. I would go through our photo albums and my homeschool records. From those I could see that the evidence is clear: for us, home education works on all fronts. As home educators we really don't have anything to worry about. And families like mine prove that you can live in relatively social isolation for months on end, abandon school work altogether and the children still 'turn out okay'. Find a few favourite reassuring articles, print them out and have them handy as confidence boosters when those doubts start haunting you.
"I’ve come across people who, without realising it, become intensely defensive, seeing our decision as an unspoken criticism of their choice to send their children to school. In the early years of our homeschooling adventure a good friend endlessly praised the school her children attended, raved about its caring teachers, fabulous resources and inclusive curriculum. At first I mistook her enthusiasm for her children’s school as disguised criticism of our educational decision, but then I realised she was doing her level best to convince herself that she was as good a mum as I: our decision to home educate made us look a lot like super-parents…”
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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