The Homeschool Minute ~ Extended Family Is Not Supportive

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When Your Extended Family Is Not Supportive of Homeschooling
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Mercy Every Minute   
The Wuehler Family

There seems to be, in every extended family, someone who saps all your joy and drains all your energy. You don’t even have to be in their presence to feel this way! 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.

I have had that person in my life as well. That someone trying to place unwarranted guilt on me once again. That one that thinks I should follow the world’s ways instead of what God is calling me to do. I used to spend time thinking of all the things I really wanted say to them, but one day, I stopped in the middle of my angry thoughts. What should I do about them? Rather than meditate and fume, I knew I needed to “Do the Word.” 

In Matthew 5 we are told to
pray for those who speak all manner of evil against us. That doesn’t mean the kind of prayer that says, “I hope you change them before I blow up on them again!” It’s the kind of prayer for their very souls; that God would draw them to Himself; that God would give you wisdom in dealing with them; that God would open their eyes to see Him; that God would soften your heart towards them; that God’s Word would reveal to them what your words have failed to reveal to them. 

What I’m talking about here is a change of focus. Rather than focusing on how much they hurt you, or how much they don’t understand you, or how wrong they are, the focus changes to God. How much He loves them, how much value He places on them. He places so much value on them that He died for them as well as you. He desires their change of heart even more than you could begin to realize. 

There’s a reason we are admonished in Philippians to “think on those things that are pure and lovely and of a good report.” There is a reason we are told to “cast our cares” on Him. The reason is our freedom–freedom from the discouragement that could so easily swallow us up; freedom to praise God instead of ponder that other person’s actions; freedom to pray for those whom no one else may be praying for; freedom to follow God’s commands rather than our own emotions. 

Yes, it’s hard. But know this, you are not alone. We are in this together. And guess what? It’s been years since that day I stopped in my angry thoughts. And in those years my children have grown in grace and truth. And their example has won over that hard heart. 

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. 

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” 



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Raising Real Men    

It’s just not realistic to expect that everyone in your family’s on board and cheering for your decision to homeschool. They may be actively arguing against it, or they may have quiet reservations about your choice, but either way, most of us have some skeptics in our lives. What can you do about it? And should you do anything at all?

  • Your first responsibility is to God. If He’s leading you to follow this path, He’ll not only guide but strengthen and protect you. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous,” (Joshua 1:9, ESV) 
  • Be patient and be at peace! The traditional school model is so ingrained in the culture; it’s hard to break free from that mindset–that “school” means “rows of desks” and “the place you find friends.” Give family time to re-think that assumption … and let the results in your family speak for you.
  • Thank them for their interest. Sometimes people complain and question because they’re concerned. A polite but non-committal answer, “Thank you, I’ll consider that,” says that you hear their concern and take them seriously, but you’re not going to make a snap decision or argue with them.
  • Remember the benefits you’ve experienced and share them when appropriate. The apostle Peter said to “Be always ready to give a defense … for the hope that is you.” (1 Peter 3:15). This isn’t an argument, but a testimony of what God’s doing in your family.
  • Get them involved! Often their criticism is simply unfamiliarity. Invite a family member to a field trip, an event with your support group, or a performance. Or you can invite them to check out Grandparents of Homeschoolers for ideas about how they can build closer relationships with their grandkids, nephews, or nieces!
  • Discern between worry, concern, and troublemaking. Most family members are just uneasy about your unknown pathway. Some relatives love to stir up a fuss and play the troll. Occasionally they actually see something you may have missed. Consider which you’re talking to but be gracious to all.

We’ve had all kinds–from retired public schoolteachers who purchased lab equipment for our high schooler, to a dear worrier who kept asking, “Aren’t you ever going to let them go to school?” when we’d been successfully homeschooling for years. Don’t let the latter ones get you down–keep on course!

How to manage that–dealing with critical family–is one of the things we talk about in our book, My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses. And guess what? It just won Christian Small Publishers 2015 Book of the Year! Check it out!

Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie Young


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The Familyman 

This shouldn’t surprise you, but extended family is RARELY supportive of homeschooling. Why would they be? It’s new to them and seems “unnatural.” After all, just about everyone they know sends their kids to a normal school.

They sometimes say harsh, unthinking things and even when they don’t say something … you can tell they’re thinking it.

Now the natural thing would be to defend yourself … to fire off a bunch of statistics or pepper them with Bible verses, but resist the urge. Instead, let your children do the talking (not literally) for you.

Just plug away, and let the difference between your homeschooled children and other schooled children speak for itself, because it will. Your family will eventually see a difference between those who are schooled with the masses and those who are schooled at home.

In fact, I would just about bet that those who are the biggest skeptics will become your biggest allies and proponents of homeschooling.

Just keep being real and enjoying your children and read the P.S. below!


P.S. Need more encouragement in homeschooling? Here are TWO ways that I can help!

  1. My NEW book 365 Day Homeschool Mom is hot off the press. Written in my own brand of “real” fun, no rules, and laugh-out loud encouragement, this book is tailored for your 365 day homeschool journey. Order it in time to have as a Mother’s Day gift to yourself. Believe me; it’s better than a flower in a cup.
  2. Have me speak to your homeschool group!! I’m scheduling now for my annual October loop. If you live in or around the cities below, I’d love to speak to your group. If you’re interested, contact me.
  • Oct. 4 – Huntsville, AL (Sunday morning – church)
  • Oct. 5 – Chattanooga-ish
  • Oct. 7 – Ashville, NC
  • Oct. 9 – Atlanta, GA
  • Oct. 11 – Atlanta, GA (Sunday – church)
  • Oct. 13 – Tifton, Valdosta, Savannah, GA
  • Oct. 14 – Jacksonville and Tallahassee, FL
  • Oct. 15-16 – Gainesville/Ocala, FL
  • Oct. 17-19 – FLORIDA


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