7 Tips for Coping With Negativity

Have you ever had someone say something rude to you about homeschooling?

You are not alone. When you are homeschooling, you are going against the grain.  You are running counter-culture.  So it stands to reason that you will face opposition.  That’s okay; it comes with the territory.  Coping with negativity is part of what homeschooling is about.

How you choose to deal with the negativity will determine whether you succeed, or whether you are badly affected by it.  Here are some tips to help you cope well.

1. The relationships in your life are either supporting you or they are not.   Choose to spend time with those who will support you in homeschooling. Choose to listen to them when they encourage you.

2. Don’t let others hold you down with their expectations and doubts.  If they have wrong expectations that’s their problem.  Lovingly and gently release yourself from them.  Focus on your own expectations of good things in homeschooling, rather than those negative, discouraging expectations of others.

3. Generally, the more negative attitudes and comments come from people that we don’t care for and that we don’t need approval from.  Those closer to us are easier to win round because they do love us and want the best for us. Let those you love see that you are happy with homeschooling and that you value their support and encouragement. Smile politely and ignore the ones whose opinions don’t matter to you.

4. Encourage people around you to speak positively to you and your children about your lifestyle and your work.  Help them to see that it’s good for you, that you enjoy homeschooling most of the time and that you value their positive input.

5. You have more strength and potential than you know.  Remember that, and draw on that strength by focusing on positive events, and nurturing your own positive attitude.

6. Seek out a positive attitude in those around you, including your children and your family.  Respond well when they are positive.  This will help them to want to be positive more and more.

7. Encourage other homeschoolers in your local support group so that it really is a place of positivity, encouragement and support.  (Remember that it’s a support group).

All these tips rely on you and your attitude towards others.  If you are positive about parenting and homeschooling, you set the tone for all those around you.  You can head off the negativity from others and in yourself. You can do it!

P.S. Here’s a small selection of books worthy of a place on your bookshelf.  I know they will inspire and encourage you in homeschooling:

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay inspires with her warmth and gentle attitude; she covers each subject with comments and thoughts. This book is the antithesis to the high pressure, exam-related, politically correct stress of school learning, and focuses on learning as a pleasurable activity which will last a lifetime. Many people would say that this is the book every home educator should start by reading and should have on their shelf. I tend to agree with them.

Homeschooling on a Shoe String by Melissa L. Morgan & Judith Waite Allee. This book offers inspiration, ideas and encouragement on homeschooling, reassuring readers that not only is homeschooling a reasonable lifestyle choice, it’s also not an expensive one and not one restricted to the comfortably off. Chapter titles include topics like choosing curriculum, computing on a shoestring, simplifying home and your life, budget ideas, enrichment, character building, and more.

How Children Learn at Home by Alan Thomas. Research among home educators in Australia and Great Britain showed that more experienced homeschoolers gravitated towards an informal style of education, very different from school education, with the children developing their learning agendas. It’s an ideal book to show to sceptical family members.

The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Raymond & Dorothy Moore.  Full of encouraging stories to make you feel you are not alone and there are always solutions.

For more book titles, look at my book shelf: http://www.HomeschoolFamilyLife.com/book-shelf/

Please scroll down and leave a comment below, I love to hear your feedback.

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This article came from Homeschool Family Life. Find simple, practical ideas on enjoying a homeschool family lifestyle, training courses, books and study guides, simple recipes, book recommendations, book reviews, stories of family life in a homeschool family, at http://www.HomeschoolFamilyLife.com


7 Tips for Coping With Negativity — 8 Comments

  1. Thanks for your article.
    I would just like to ask- how do you deal with negativity when you can not choose (no.1 above)
    I have no choice in my family relations. I have close family members who are very negative and controlling. they practically live with us- they spend so much time at our place. Please do not tell me just to move- I would love to but it’s not my decision. I need practical help here to know how to cope. I’m pulling my hair out!!
    no, 3 above I can’t agree with- these are the most vocal and should want the best for us….
    We are treated like naughty children, not adults. Sometimes I think the get in our faces so much to make us fail at what we are trying to do 🙁

    I have no encouraging friends around me to help counter balance this negativity. 🙁

  2. Thank you for your comment, sbm. You are in a difficult situation. I wonder if you have support from your husband? Are the two of you able to talk about it? Are you able to pray about it? I am sure that if you pray for grace and wisdom the Lord will give it to you.

    But you need practical help right now, I can see that.

    I don’t think there is a short solution. It will take time for this to resolve itself. The people who are close to you and are negative and controlling are probably worried and scared.

    I don’t know why, but I would guess that they may be worried because they are concerned about the quality of education your children might receive, that you are doing something different, that they feel inadequate or judged because they are not/didn’t homeschool.

    When I started homeschooling, my family was very concerned. No-one had even heard of homeschooling; it had barely been invented in England in 1985. But over time they were able to see that the children were happy, learning, and growing beautifully. I made sure to take lots of photos, to display artwork, have a nature table and things like this. So when they visited, they could see learning was taking place. That helped them.

    I never talked directly with them about things, because they would never back down. But very gradually, over a period of time, the concerns eased and the judgement eased up.

    Have you tried to include these family members to be involved? Maybe you could get one of my study guides ( http://softpro7.com/product-list.php?pg1-cid2.html ) and allow Grandma to do it with one of your children. Maybe they could take the children on an outing each week while you prepare lessons or have a time to read quietly at home, or get some shopping done.

    Let me encourage you to focus on encouraging things – read encouraging books, make friends locally, find a support group that really does support (as opposed to grumbling about negative things). “Good Stress, Bad Stress, Destress” ( http://softpro7.com/product-list.php?pg1-cid4.html ) might be very helpful to you at the moment. And keep reading my articles – I hope they will encourage you and allow you to feel as though you have a friend who supports you and what you are doing. 🙂

    Keep in touch.

    God bless,

  3. Hi sbm

    That must be a hard place to be for you. I recommend reading a book called “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend. My husband and I have dealt with negative, controlling family members and this book has really helped us gain some control back and peace in what we are doing. It is difficult to be treated like naughty children when you are in fact adults making your own decisions. I know that one first hand! I would love to give you my email address but am not sure about putting it on here.
    All the best…

  4. Hi Lorna, What a great recommendation! I agree that this book is really excellent. Would you like me to forward your email address to sbm?

    Stephanie 🙂

  5. Hi there,
    This could be such a huge issue can’t it! It is so easy to focus on negative comments from others – I have also found that the most negativity (at least at first) came from those closest to me. I am very fortunate that I have a very supportive husband and a good support network.

    To SBM – is it at all possible for you to restrict those visits? Saying something like “we work between x and x and can’t receive visits”. I’ve had family who initially did not respect that, but eventually I just made them wait while I carried on with my work… they eventually got the picture.” I also often do not answer the phone while I do lessons. Hope this helps. Where do you live?


  6. Hi SBM,
    Hard work! One of the things I found really helped my skeptical family was to keep saying “Oh I can’t ‘come / visit / have visitors’ at the ‘moment / today / at that time’ as I really need to be teaching my children. In other words treating your homeschooling like a ‘real’ job and not answering the phone or making appointments during school hours. Teachers don’t have phones (or didn’t have) in their classrooms and don’t go out or have visitors because they are teaching the class. We need that kind of protection for our homeschool family activities too. It has taken me 15 years to learn that. The last 5 years have been easier as a result! It has been easy for family to accept and they are really pleased that I am taking ‘schooling’ seriously. I must have made it look too easy before that by being too ‘relaxed’ about it around them. Whatever you do, you can’t please everybody. Do enjoy your children during ‘school time’! They grow up so fast. 🙂 MKS

  7. Thank you ladies for your comments.
    Thinking of your homeschooling as a proper job sounds like a good idea. Not sure how to stop the interruptions though. We already turn the phone off alot, so that doesn’t interrupt.
    I do have my DH support- I know I could not homeschool at all without that. However he has been unemployed and in ill health for 2 years so is home 24/7. To be honest I think he has been afflicted with depression as much as anything. When you loose your job and you are unable to do your normal physical work- that’s enough for some guys to feel depressed without family members being really negative towards you. ie it’s your own fault you lost your job/are in ill health etc.
    My family members- like I said in my last comment, practically live with us. most days they turn up around 8-9am and stay till almost 4pm. They have high expectations like expecting all the house work/garden work to be done and never get behind. We have a larger then normal family, and a tiny house. Im not sure how to meet their unrealistic expectations, – they can’t even at their own home.
    There is no understanding just condemnation.
    we have tried many times to talk to them and tell them not to come visiting so often to no avail. they used to live here and do not want to let go of the place.
    My DH has talked to them numerous times about visiting less, but it always ends up in a nasty argument. 🙁
    So I am not sure how to get them to visit less.

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