This recording was done prior to the winter holidays, when families are often trying to get together (even though 2020 was certainly an odd one for that!)
But we're having so many questions lately about how to deal with criticism from family and friends, when we're exploring or deciding to unschool! I wanted to make this available to everyone.
A Few Things to Remember:
Sometimes their fears tap into fears you haven’t worked through yet. Look at this list of Unschooling Guides and see if diving deeper on particular topics would help you get on steadier ground.
Are they worried about preparing for the “high school” years or college?
Is their concern about gaps or competition with other kids?
Do they have a rose-colored glasses view of what school is like?
Do they have doubts about your capabilities to pull this off?
So, on to some resources!
Podcast: Unschooling Criticism from Family and Friends (Listen to the link at the top of this blogpost)
Creating Confidence Membership
And sometimes you need more support from others who are choosing this path too. Join my coaching group and receive coaching calls and a members-only portal full of information that will help you! We even have an entire section of resources specifically devoted to dealing with critics!
As we approach the holidays, unschooling families often have a lot more "family input" than usual. And family members may not be crazy about this educational choice you've made.
This week, I want to focus on helping you figure out how to cope with the criticism that may be coming your way. Whether you're meeting in person or through a Zoom call, we can sometimes feel like we're in the "hot seat."
Some people worry that being on a Zoom call for the family get-together will make it harder. Questions will be directed at you about homeschooling. And there will be no quick exit or distraction technique for you to use like you would if the get together was in person.
But I think if we talk about it a little bit today, you can get calmer and realize you DO have a lot of choices in where to go with this line of questioning.
First of all, remember that you are an adult.
And this get-together is a choice. One that you can change even once you're in there!
So breathe a little and let's get you some confidence!
Next, it helps to know the answers to these questions. It will help you decide your next steps.
- Are they genuinely wanting to know more information?
- Are they open to learning more about how this can work?
- Or do they just want to say why they think this is a bad idea - and they want you to reconsider.
A couple quick answers:
"We're doing an individualized experiential approach to learning - backed up by all the latest research."
"We'll only do this as long as it keeps working."
"We're really enjoying our time together as a family. It's nice to have a break from all of the stress out there these days."
If they are open to more information, offer to email it to them later. They may be curious for their own kids. Or maybe they just want to understand what you're doing.
Acknowledge the criticism (or advice) and change the subject - often the easiest approach.
You don't have to be the walking billboard for Unschooling. You can simply tell them,
"Hmm. Interesting perspective." or
"Interesting. I hadn't thought of that." or
"Yes, we're watching for that all the time."
Remember, you don't have to engage.
You don't have to defend anything.
You don't have to try to convince them you're right.
You can simply sidestep the argument.
You can stand firm in your beliefs - and not even share your ideas with them. Brene Brown talks about only sharing your vulnerabilities with people who've earned the right to be one of your trusted people. Even though they're family, they may not really be in this "inner circle." That's ok too.
Try to have an open mind. Understand that most of the time (especially when it comes from loved ones) the criticism is coming because they are people who care about you and and they care about your child. They're operating out of fear and lack of information. When we remember this, we can sometimes feel more compassionate toward them. Less defensive.
Last things to remember:
- You don’t have to win them over.
- They don't get a vote in what you do with your own kids.
- There will be other opportunities for your families to reconnect.
So, as we go into the holidays in these next few weeks, I want you to have extra resources to help you.
Naysayers and Rude Relatives video
Extra articles linked below. [above actually]
Critics and Naysayers Unschooling Guide
I think you're all set and ready to face them. Let me know if there's anything more I can do to help you out.
I will be back with you again next week. Take care.