Perhaps your child is considering, or perhaps your child has already decided, to homeschool your grandkids. It is also a possibility they have been doing it for quite some time. No matter which is the situation, please read the following, as it will come in handy in creating the positive, joyful relationships you likely seek to have with your son or daughter, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, and with your grandchild(ren).
Gifts of Kindness and Respect for The Choice to Homeschool
1- The best way you can handle this is by not being critical, not questioning the decision to homeschool, and accepting that it is the choice of the family to do so. This, for some grandparents, is the most difficult gift to give.
2- If you simply hate the idea of homeschooling, be honest but say (and mean) this:
“I hate the idea of homeschooling. I will, however, learn as much as I can about it to try to understand it, and I will be supportive where I can, because I love you and I love my grandkids. Out of respect and love, I will be kind and supportive. What can I do to be kind and supportive?”
3- Avoid quizzing children strategically to see whether they are at grade level. If you do want to quiz them, do it in a fun way (like as part of a game) when children (such as their cousins) their age are around (ones who are in public school), so that you can quiz all of the children equally and so that the homeschooled kids do not feel they are being quizzed because they are in homeschool.
4- If you want to know whether they are at grade level, it is better that you ask your own child (the parent of your grandchild) and that you show trust in his or her judgement and assessment. (If you do not, then do not expect them to tell you anything after that–you will lose their trust). It is possible that the parents could prepare for you a portfolio, discuss it with you or write to you about it. This should not be a time of criticism or judgement. If it is, it will never happen again and you will not get updates anymore.
5- Sincerely seek to understand, with empathy and compassion, and without judgement or harsh words, why the family has chosen this method of education. Do not expect to understand. If you do, consider it a bonus. It is not required that you approve or understand. It is not your decision. The sooner you accept that, the better things will be for the learning and improvement of your grandchildren!
6- Even if you never come to understand or like it, please appreciate the sacrifices that the parents are making in their efforts to do what they think is best for their children. Thank them for their efforts and hard work. Be kind to them. Do not try to change them. Appreciate them for who they are and what they do. There is a National Teacher Appreciation Day. Celebrate it by honoring the teacher of your homeschooled grandchildren in the most kind and respectful way, without judgement or criticism.
Gifts of Your Time
1- Teach your grandchildren about you and about your life. Teach them about the music you like, your hobbies and so forth. Teach them about your own personal story and beliefs.
2- Take the kids on an age-appropriate field trip now and then (maybe monthly) to learn about exercise, nutrition, society, people, Universities, colleges, careers, history, geography, cultures, science, sewing, crafts, building things, theater, art, music, dance, math, engineering, finances, literature, sports, shopping, cooking, gardening, yard care, health, safety, emergency preparedness, wilderness survival, hiking, camping, nature, scouting or the like. The field trips needn’t cost money. If it last a long time, remember that kids need to eat a nutritious meal every 3 to 4 hours and that small children still need naps and rest.
3- Spend at least a couple hours of time with each grandchild separately, each month. Appreciate and love each child for his or her goodness, personality, talents and efforts. Maybe take them on visits, errands or on a walk. It need not cost money. Ask the child what he or she is learning and doing without comparing the child to other children.
4- Attend some of their sporting events, performances, tournaments art shows or the like, if they have any. If they do not, do not be critical of that. Do not criticize the efforts, performance or abilities of the child, but instead just be loving, be grateful that you have this grandchild and happy with the new experience this child is having. It is not about winning or being the best at it, but about learning, improvement, excercise, friends, fun and joy. Enjoy seeing your grandchild learn, improve and make friends. Enjoy just being with the child.
5- Attend Homeschool events the family invites you to attend. This will help you to understand the world of your grandchildren. It will also cause the children to put in more effort with time, because they know that you care. Take them to lessons or practices if you are asked to and if you can. It will help the parents and it will show your grandchild that you care.
6- If you truly have it in your heart to do so in an effort to apprciate and thank (not to judge), offer to give the homeschool teacher a day off if you have the time. Be a substitute teacher for homeschool. Ask the teacher what is needed and for lesson plans. They surely have some. If not, then they have some rough ideas. Celebrate National teacher appreciation day by thanking, appreciating and honoring the teacher of your grandchildren.
Helping Out With Money
If you do have money to give and are willing to give it to help with the education of your grandchildren, here are some ways to make your money go the farthest in improving the learning and improvement of your grandchildren.*
*If you wish to know why they do not buy it themselves, or if you wish they understood that the public system is willing to pay for all of this, do not give it. It will be given grudgingly, and no homeschool familiy will appreciate a gift given grudgingly and with judgement, like this.
1- First, before giving, ask the teacher of your grandchildren (usually their mom) what is needed and wanted the most at the time, for the further learning and improvement of your grandchildren.
2- Buy educational supplies, learning DVD’s, learning games, textbooks, workbooks and books that the parents advise you are needed for each child so that they can learn and improve continuously.
3- Pay for sports fees, or buy sports equipment for the sports they are currently involved in. Pay for therapy, homeschool classes, tutoring or lessons the parents advise you the child needs for his or her learning and improvement.
4- Gift to them the supplies needed for the interests of each child (such as sheet music or lesson books for a piano player or art supplies for the artist). Find out what each child is truly interested in year-round (not just when the toy catalogs market to them). Give them gifts that they have wanted all year and they will be more likely to use them all year.
5- Field trips can cost money. Take them on field trips like the ones listed above, that cost money, if you can afford to.
6- Homeschool families need back to school supplies and clothes. At Back to School Sales time in July and August, buy them some clothes. Ask the teacher of the children what supplies are needed for that school year and help out there, too, if you can.
7- Gift books of fiction at the child’s reading level. Keep in mind, their reading level will not necessarily be the same as their “grade level.” Ask the homeschool teacher which books are preferred and which ones are at each child’s current level. (The child may be above or below grade level). Bookshelves, plastic caddies with drawers, shelves and cabinets are also helpful! Again, ask what is needed. They may already have the book you have in mind.
8- Pick up some books about homeschooling and read them. Go to homeschool conferences and events. Even if you do not agree with the idea of homeschooling, these events, conferences and books will help you to understand the culture of homeschooling. That will help you to communicate with your child, in-law and grandchildren about their everyday lives.