My parent’s initial decision to homeschool was almost haphazard. My family had moved from Iowa to Minnesota and my parents knew nothing about the schools near our new home, so my dad suggested to my mom, “Let’s homeschool them!” My mom was uncertain, but did her best, and took things year by year; I just graduated from home school last spring, so my parents’ apparent lack of planning turned out pretty well.
Unfortunately, although my immediate family adapted well to homeschooling, my extended family, particularly my dad’s parents, were less than enthusiastic about the notion of my parents homeschooling their grandchildren. I distinctly remember visiting my grandparents in Colorado one summer. My grandpa had been a superintendant of public schools for many years before he retired. He was apparently concerned about his grandchildren’s schooling because during an outdoor excursion in the foothills of Colorado, he began to quiz me on math.
I hated math. Still do.
To my mother’s intense dismay, instead of answering my grandpa’s multiplication question, I replied, “Grandpa, it is summer, and I am on vacation. I don’t have to do school right now.” Looking back, I wish I could have been there to congratulate my 10-year-old self. In only a few words, I had effectively refused to respond to my grandpa’s subtle testing of my education and made my mother throw up her hands in despair (figuratively, of course) over the impossibility of converting my grandparents to homeschooling.
Although I know this is not the case in all homeschooling families, for some of us, it is really difficult to “fit it” in our own extended families. Grandparents are accustomed to asking about teachers, proms, sporting events, school clubs, and the like. Fortunately, as my family discovered, homeschoolers do have extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, it takes a while to discover, and sometimes grandparents can be quick to draw negative conclusions when unique schooling involves their grandchildren. After all, homeschooling has the potential to ruin the grandkids. On the flip side though, often we’re ruined for the better.
Do you have a similar experience? Or, is your extended family more supportive?