Dear Grandparent of a first generation Homeschooled grandchild,
do you remember how many times you told your children, “Just because everybody is doing it, it is not necessary that you do it?”
Congratulations! You have become the parent of a child who have listened to you. This child of yours have decided to not follow the pack, to question whether the group mentality is best for them. Your child has decided to homeschool your precious grandchild.
And your first instinct? “But everybody I know has grandies in school! How will they succeed in life if they do not go to school? How will they get friends? Will you be able to teach them what they need to know? I sent you to school and you turned out all right. Did I do something wrong? Was I a bad parent?”
You may wonder where you went wrong. You may think that your child is making the biggest mistake of their life, and not only their life, but also the life of your grandchild.
Today dearest nanna and poppy, I want to tell you that in most cases, you do not need to worry at all. We, as homeschooling parents are so very aware of the responsibility that we have taken away from the schooling system, and taken upon our own shoulders. We learn every day, and by doing that we instil in our children the knowledge that learning is a lifelong journey. By taking your beloved grandchildren out of the system, or never even putting them in the system, we tell them that they matter and that their interests matter and that we, just like the millions of other parents who have their children in school, only want what is best for them.
When we prepare their lessons we are constantly aware of their learning style. We cater to their needs. Their opinions matter. What they want to learn is important to us. But mostly, it is not only their “school knowledge” that we are concerned about. It is their mental and spiritual intelligence that is pivotal in our decision making as well.
We know that it feels a bit awkward when you can not say to your friends that your grandy has gotten this or that grade at school. We know that you would like to be invited to grandparents’ day at school. We know you would like to have photos of your precious little ones with certificates of achievement to show your friends.
On the other hand, you have the opportunity to be actively involved in the education journey of these children, who you may love even more than your own. You are part of their lives and you can tell them stories about when you grew up. You can tell them about the history that happened in your younger days. Share your stories of when you grew up. Show them the toys you made and played with. If you live close by, volunteer your picking up and dropping off services if they have activities that are outside of their home. You are a walking library. Write to them and ask them to write you back. Take the time out of your busy schedule to make your history part of theirs.
Now in my early forties I am so aware that I know so little about the lives of my grandparents on my father’s side. Even though I spend more time with my grandparents on my mum’s side, I still wish I knew more about them. Do you know how privileged you are to be able to have such a big part to play in their lives?
Embrace this decision that your child has made. Support your children. If you do that you will find that get togethers are so much more relaxed, because your child will not feel that he or she constantly has to defend their decision to homeschool their child. Do your own research on homeschooling and why it works for so many families. You may not have had the choice they have today. You also did the best you knew. Them choosing homeschooling is not a reflection on your parenting.
You have raised a child who are willing to challenge the status quo. This child of yours has at last taken your words to heart and have decided to not follow their peers. That is a great achievement! It means that your child is willing to stand alone. Do them a favour, back up your own words, and go stand behind them. Just because every one you know have grandchildren at school is not to say you should.
The warmest regards,
A mum of first generation homeschooled children, who have grannies that do not always understand, but accept our choice. How awesome would it be if they not only accepted, but were involved!