Homeschooling Without Family Support
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Do you remember the scene in Field of Dreams where Kevin Costner is walking through a corn field and hears a voice telling him “build it and he will come?” It’s one of the most memorable lines in the movie, although it is often adapted to build it and they will come. For me, that line, regardless of how it is worded, captures our homeschooling journey and family support.

You see, when we were planning to homeschool our then 4th grader and Kindergartener, I knew my husband and I were entering the journey without extended family support. It became quite clear that our families didn’t truly understand homeschooling; some didn’t agree with it and some were very vocal in discouraging our choice to homeschool. None of that changed our commitment to homeschool. It did, however, leave me with a question. How do you homeschool without extended family support?

I’ve been able to answer that question throughout the past 8 years of homeschooling. There are 4 main strategies we put in place to create a healthy homeschool journey without family support. These strategies are: establish clear boundaries, set realistic expectations, build a different support network, and rely on the Lord.

Establish Clear Boundaries

In every area of life, I know I need to have clear boundaries that are communicated with others. Homeschooling was no exception. The challenging part is always in communicating the boundaries. Throughout the past 8 years, we have had to communicate that our school day couldn’t and wouldn’t be interrupted with phone calls. We lived far enough away that we didn’t have to worry about drop-in visits from family members, but we did have to maintain our schedule and keep it as a priority.

I’ve also had to communicate that it was not acceptable to convey disapproval of our homeschooling to our children. That was a balance of being respectful and firm. It also provided an opportunity for me to be clear that neither my husband not I needed to be questioned on our decision to homeschool. The decision was made and outside opinions would not change it. And when discussions were raised, I quickly became more secure in shifting the conversation or reestablishing the boundaries.

Set Realistic Expectations

As we began homeschooling, I had this vision that when our families saw the fruit of our labor, both academically and spiritually, their opinions would shift. I dreamed that our decision would be fully embraced and that family members would seek to be engaged in the journey. That did not happen. It hurt, especially as I saw friends who had family members participating in the teaching and who were engaged. As long as I held onto this vision and hope that our situation would change, it set me up for failure. It created more disappointment and frustration in me. Once I let these unrealistic expectations go, I found freedom and more confidence in our homeschooling.

Build A Different Support Network

Knowing that my support and encouragement wasn’t going to come from our family meant that I would have to build a different support network. I needed to surround not only my children, but also myself, with others who would speak life into our journey. I needed to find people who were homeschooling and would understand. If I needed to vent about a bad day, I needed someone who would listen and encourage, not tell me we should no longer homeschool. I wanted others who could direct me to resources when I was seeking them. To find out more about how I built these support networks, please check out the links to my previous blog posts listed below.

Rely on the Lord

Prayer has been our guiding principle throughout this homeschool journey. When in doubt, we have prayed. When overwhelmed, we have prayed. When experiencing great success, we have prayed and praised. Reminding ourselves that God will provide and that God will be enough has made a difference.

When I think back to that scene in Field of Dreams, it’s been eight years of homeschooling and we’ve definitely built it. But our family did not come like I had hoped and that’s truly okay. Because in the end, He was always there. He did come. You see, I always tell everyone I would rather be living within the will of God than outside of it. He called our family to homeschool, and we answered. And we’ve been blessed. If you happen to be experiencing your own challenges with a lack of family support with your decision to homeschool, I want to encourage you. First, remember why you chose to homeschool and ask yourself if your reasons are still the same. Secondly, identify the blessings you’ve encountered in the journey. Thirdly, identify any areas you’ve struggled and assess how you have grown through those experiences. Lastly, celebrate where you are in the journey and allow it to point you back to the Lord.

Find more suggestions for homeschooling support by following these links: Including your spouse as part of your homeschooling support: http://www.homeworksbyprecept.com/homeworks-by-precept-blog/building-your-support-network-your-spouse

Getting support from veteran homeschooling moms: http://www.homeworksbyprecept.com/homeworks-by-precept-blog/building-your-support-network-veteran-experienced-homeschoolers

Building a homeschool support system with other homeschooling moms: http://www.homeworksbyprecept.com/homeworks-by-precept-blog/building-a-support-network-moms-in-the-trenches

Find a HomeWorks Consultant nearby who can help you in your homeschooling journey: http://www.homeworksbyprecept.com/consultant-and-event-locator

Meet the Author


Debra Schroeder - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant
www.homeworksbyprecept.com/Debra-Schroeder


 

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