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April 27, 2016 Edition 
When Your Family Is Not Supportive of Homeschooling
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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family
I have friends who are the would-do-anything-for-you kind of friends. I love them because it is easy to love them. They understand me. I would go out of my way for them at a moment's notice. I am the best Christian around the best people.
Unfortunately, God is not impressed.
He says if we love those who love us, what good is that? Even sinners do the same. I am lumped in with sinners! Only by loving those who don't like me or don't understand me or have said untrue things about me will get me out of that lump. Making cookies for that neighbor who yelled at my children; praying for that family member that doesn't understand our family choices. All equals a death to pitiful self, but that's where life and love really begin.
Bearing the hurt of another's harshness is taking up our cross and allowing the life of a loving God to live through us. It's either that kind of life, or a death in which your pain turns to anger and bitterness. Choose life by choosing to love. If we realize that all things come from the hand of God, then even the painful times that leave wounds can be for our good. And, where God wounds, His hands make whole.
"Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole" (Job 5:17, 18).
We want to keep a soft heart before the Lord and before our enemies. We must not harden our hearts or become bitter in our actions. Is there someone whom you consider to be unloving? That someone might just be a family member who does not support your homeschool decision or questions your abilities. Don't cut them off, rather pray for them, and love them.
In Matthew 5, we are told to pray for those who speak all manner of evil against us. It's the kind of prayer for their very souls; that God would draw them to Himself; that God would open their eyes to see Him; that God would soften hearts; that God's Word would reveal to them what your words have failed to reveal. He places so much value on them. He desires their change of heart even more than you could begin to realize.
There's a reason we are admonished in Philippians 4 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 and anger that could so easily swallow us up; freedom to praise God from our hearts, instead of pondering the motive of other's hearts; 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. Let's stop dwelling on death, and let's turn our eyes upon Jesus together. He is positive about what you are doing and has not left you alone.

Maybe you feel it is impossible to forgive those who have hurt you. When you get a moment, this article and video is on that very subject.

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Raising Real Men    
"Are you ever going to let your children go to school?" Melanie's grandmother asked us every single time she saw us, until she passed away.
Then, there was the uncle who quizzed our kids whenever he saw them, trying to find gaps in their education.
And the relative who kept asking, "How will they have any friends?" and "How will they get into college?"
It's frustrating, especially when you aren't that sure of yourselves anyway, but it does get better as your children get older! The proof is in the pudding. What do you do in the meantime, though?

Remember that they really love you and your children. Melanie's grandmother really wanted her great-grandchildren to be happy, while homeschooling sounded so strange. It's easier to be patient when you realize they mean well.
Remember their experience is different. Our mothers were raised in wartime and in difficult family situations, too. For them, school was a safe place and a good one. It's hard for them to understand how much things have changed.
Remember they just don't know. Once, a friend of Hal's mother asked her, "Do you think we would have homeschooled if our children had been born now?" For most of our parents' generation, homeschooling was not even a consideration. They may really need to know that your kids can go to college and get a job.
How can you respond in a way that doesn't harm your relationships, your reputation, or your holiday?
First, answer calmly, "Actually, there are over 500 homeschool families in our county, and many activities where they'll be with other children," or "Yes, we have friends whose kids graduated from homeschooling, and they've had no problem getting jobs."
Sometimes, though, you've been there, done that, and know they know the answer. They are just needling you. In that case, "Please pass the bean dip," is a great answer. Just change the subject. Don't go there. You don't have to defend your every decision.
Changing the subject doesn't always work, though. Some people just won't stop. A great response is, "Thank you, I'll consider that." That tells them you've heard their concern and are taking it seriously, and it's your decision. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. As often as necessary.
Have Dad step up to the plate. It's always amazed us how people will argue with Melanie, but when Hal steps in, they clam right up. When Dad says, "Guys, we are going to homeschool this year. We may reconsider in the future, but this is it for now," the debate seems to melt away.
Let them see it for themselves. One of the most effective things we did was invite family members to join us at our state's homeschool convention. Most welcome grandparents free! There is nothing like seeing thousands of normal-looking families and acres of cool-looking curricula to get them on your side!
Don't get discouraged, friends. This is really a temporary problem. You are raising great kids, and soon, even your family will realize it. Until then, stick to your guns, politely, and just wait 'em out!
Our book, My Beloved and My Friend: How to be Married to your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses has a great chapter on navigating those sticky family relationships. You might also enjoy our podcast on dealing with difficult family members during holidays--and the rest of the year, too!
Your Friends,
Hal & Melanie Young

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The Familyman 
When your family is not supportive ...

I'm pretty sure that all homeschoolers have experienced a non-supportive family member in their life. They offer various degrees of non-supportiveness, from awkward moments of silence to unthinking, critical comments.

In the moment, we feel like we need to defend our choice to homeschool, our kids' level of learning, or the benefits of home education. But take it from me ... it won't help. In fact, it just makes everyone more defensive.

Instead, be patient and let your children do the talking. By talking, I don't mean actually talking with their voices ... but the 'talking' they do with their behavior, innocence, and politeness.

Truth is, most homeschool critics are critics because they don't know any better. They just don't know anything about homeschooling. They think you're into cult-like activities and bucking the system. BUT, give them a little time, and they'll be your biggest cheerleaders and homeschool advocates.

Just be patient. They will see the difference between your homeschooled kids and non-homeschooled kids ... because there is a difference. A good difference. I've had more than one critic move from critic to advocate, and so will you. Keep doing what you know to be true, and enjoy your children.

Be real,
P.S. We've started a movement. Check out our #stayingmarried t-shirts.
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When Your Family Isn_t Supportive

Every single one of us needs strength and support. Even Moses needed Hur and Aaron to hold up his arms and keep his hands steady during a battle with the Amalekites (Exodus 17). So what do you do when the ones you love don't support your decision to homeschool?
SchoolhouseTeachers.com can never take the place of your family, but we would be honored to help steady your hands in this battle. We have a growing list of parent resources for everything from helping active learners to protecting your children from online temptations. So while your children are enjoying their lessons from 250 different classes, you can find refreshment, strength, and wisdom in resources of your own. Let's travel this road together.

Sign up and try us for 30 days for only $1. There are no per-child fees or additional fees for textbooks, and courses are not live, so you can start them at any time. If you or someone you know is interested in teaching a class on our site, please contact Executive Editor Bonnie Rose Hudson at bhudson@theoldschoolhouse.com

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Contest Corner 
For the month of April 2016  
Nick Vujicic: No Limits, is an inspiring book about the life of Nick Vujicic, by Renee Taft Meloche. It is a 32-page, hardback book from YWAM's Heroes for Young Readers Series. Each double-page spread is beautifully illustrated with watercolor drawings.
The book is designed to illustrate the faithful design of a loving God in our lives regardless of our physical appearance. The story is written in prose form with each stanza being only four lines long. In this book, you will hear about Nick's struggle with school bullies and how he chose to deal with each one. Children and adults alike can identify with the impact each of these bullies had in Nick's life. As Nick grew and matured, both in spirit and body, he learned to deal differently with each bully and learned that, despite his physical differences and limitations, he was perfectly made for God's calling in his life. We, the readers, are encouraged to accept and embrace the life God has given us. Nick's example of Christian character is an encouragement to everyone who feels weighed down by the challenges of disabilities, mistreatment, feelings of inferiority, and more. (Read the rest of the review.)

You can win this book for your family!
TO ENTER: Email Heather (hmader@thehomeschoolmagazine.com) with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "No Limits" for a chance to win* it for your family! 

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