I am so thankful that my entire family approves of our decision to homeschool our kids. I read about others who face opposition and negativity from the grandparents, siblings, even spouses. I read about divorced parents where one actually presses charges against the other over homeschooling. I read about grandparents that sue for custody over homeschooling. I read about lost relationships, broken ties and angry words among family members, just over homeschooling.
I didn't start out planning to homeschool. I sent my oldest to public kindergarten over 3 years ago, and breathed a sigh of relief! None of my family members tried to convince me to homeschool. None of them mentioned it really.
But we all apparently had thoughts about it in the back of our minds. I had considered it since my firstborn was born. It was an option. We had quite a few friends and neighbors who homeschooled. Our school district wasn't the best, and I thought maybe after a few years of public school, we'd bring them home, before they got to the dreaded middle school years with all that peer pressure. "Later" just turned out to be earlier than I had thought.
When I discussed it with my husband, he just nodded and started coming up with more and more reasons to homeschool.
When I told my parents, they smiled broadly and after a few conversations about how to do it, whether I would be ok with delaying my other career plans, and asking when they could help, we were set.
When I told the church choir about our schooling plans during prayer time, I don't know how many people said, "Good for you!" - and prayed for us.
When I told my in-laws (with a little trepidation, I have to admit), my mother-in-law smiled and admitted, "I've been praying you would decide to homeschool," despite never having mentioned it to me before.
My brother-in-law and his wife thought it was a great idea. My brother and his girlfriend thought it was great. No one spoke in condemnation of it, no one told me it was a bad idea, no one discouraged me. Sure, some probably had some doubts and concerns, and some mentioned other cases they had heard of which didn't turn out very well, but I didn't feel any strong negativity toward our decision. Maybe it helped that I have more education than most public school teachers, in a variety of fields. Maybe it helped that I was also a good student and a life-long learner.
But whatever the cause, whatever the background of all my family members that made them view homeschooling in a positive light (none of whom were ever homeschooled themselves) - I am just thankful. It makes it so much easier. And it makes it so much easier when they compliment the kids' progress every now and then, send little notes of encouragement, and tell me how glad they are we're still homeschooling. That can turn a negative, poor, sad day (when I'm considering packing them off to school somewhere) into a happy, relieved, positive day (when I remember how lucky I am to be able to homeschool).
I am very blessed to have such a supportive environment, among family and among friends and neighbors. I have never had anyone tell me I'm crazy or that my kids will turn out terrible. The store clerks just smile and chat - one even told my daughter that the smartest people she knows were homeschooled. One told me that she's trying to convince her grown daughter to homeschool her kids, and asked me about support groups in the area. Even the public school teacher and counselor were very encouraging when I withdrew my oldest. Maybe God knows I needed all this positivity to make the decision He wanted me to make. Whatever the reason, I am thankful.