I Can't Homeschool Because My Family Would Disapprove

Mar 11, 2013

Encouragement for those who may be experiencing opposition to homeschooling from well-meaning family members.

The Decision to Homeschool

The decision to homeschool is not one that a parent takes lightly. For most, it is fraught with questions, doubts, and an overload of research. We consider our children's needs and what we must do to accomplish the goal. We evaluate their experience in school, if they ever had one. In the end, we all make our decision for the same reason: It's in the child's best interest.

Family Opposition to Homeschooling

Some of us may experience opposition from well-meaning relatives. Maybe they believe it isn't in the best interest of our children to homeschool. Some may be subtle about it. Some may be hostile. How do you handle it?

It can be difficult. These are people you love and respect. You want their love and respect. Possibly, you want their approval. You want them to understand you're doing this great thing for your kids! You want them to share in your joy.

Unfortunately, it's not always going to work out that way. Even though our relatives love us, they won't always agree with us. Sometimes we must see "disapproval" for what it really is: Disagreement.

Your family members are not always going to agree with everything you do. It doesn't mean they don't approve of you as a person or a parent. (Quite frankly, if they don't approve of you as a person or parent, is your educational choice really going to make a difference?)

My Personal Experience

When I first considered homeschooling in 1990, I decided not to do it. I was concerned that my family would disapprove.

Fast-forward nine years.

My son had been living a school-nightmare for years and the school was threatening expulsion. He struggled with comprehension and attention issues. He needed things explained, but no one was willing to do that. Instead, they assigned him to in-school suspension. They were ignoring his 504 plan entirely. After suspensions didn't improve his comprehension, they decided to expel him.

Obviously my fear of disapproval hadn't served my son well.

That day, I decided to bring him home. I didn't think about family. I didn't think about anything other than what was best for my child. 

How did my family react? 
There were one or two who didn't approve. I answered questions if they were legitimate. Sometimes, they aren't. Some people just like arguing and aren't worth the time.

In time, those who didn't approve at least grew to accept it. These days, no one thinks about our homeschooling any more than I think about their public schooling.

Homeschooling Advice

My advice is to do what you feel is best for your family.  Making sure children have a proper education in a peaceful, happy environment is a parental responsibility. You are accountable for them. No one else.

When experiencing opposition, you may choose to answer questions or call a family meeting to explain your decision. In the end, you may need to tell some people, "I appreciate your concern. I know you only want what's best for the children. I feel this is what's best."

"Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses." ~Dale Carnegie

Please visit the other bloggers at the iHomeschool Network to read their 

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Happy Homeschooling!


  1. Great post Michelle! When I first started homeschooling some of my family members disapproved and they were quite vocal about it. Now they are totally on board with it. Go figure!

  2. Meh. You have to do what you have to do. Usually the "disapproval" is fear. Knee-jerk reaction. Not the way things have been done in the past, so you are experimenting really.

    Thing is, it's not a permanent decision. If for whatever reason you find you can't do it, it's not like this is an irrevocable decision.

    1. Yes, but well-meaning relatives or even horribly critical relatives may not see it that way. Some actually cast me away over things like this.

  3. My mom was my biggest critic/mega disapprover when I began homeschooling 5 years ago. As a Catholic schoolteacher/principal for 35 years(Teacher for 23,Principal for 12)she was strongly against my homeschooling. 4 years ago my eldest son then 6 invited my mom to "visit school".She agreed to.At the end of the day she said to me,"Mary Elizabeth,today Issac(my son) showed me what the true purpose of education "to shape Godly men and women for the future" can happen just as well here as it can in any school. I am right behind in this journey."Now she is my biggest supporter as I homeschool my 4 kids Issac now 10,Bethany 8,Luke 5 and Ruth 5.

    1. Don't ya love when they finally see the truth? That's great. So happy for you, Mary.

  4. When another family member started homeschooling years ago, my Mom was against it. But, by the time I started doing it, she could see the benefit. Mom almost always goes with us on homeschool field trips now. :)

    1. I've noticed that. It's wonderful that you have her on your side.

  5. Anonymous2/21/2014

    Great advice, Michelle! You have to do what's best for your child and no one knows a child better than his mother! Good job, Mama!

  6. I really needed to hear this from a fellow single mom. My son has severe ADHD and is a "disruption in class" even with his medication. He hasn't done well in school and I feel like I'm constantly apologizing to them for him not being a "cookie-cutter" student. I want to homeschool but I live next door to my parents and grandparents and have been very worried about how they will take it as they are my biggest support system. I will just have to pray that they see things as I see them since they both agree that my son isn't really doing well in public school.


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