Have you ever wondered how to get your extended family on board with homeschooling? There are all types of families who homeschool. Some families have very supportive extended families and others spend years trying to gain the approval of extended family.
As Christian parents, we know that the only approval that matters is God’s approval, but letting the grandparents get directly involved in some aspect of your kids education may help them see your choices in a different light. Here are some things that we have done to involve my kid’s grandparents in our homeschool.
We are blessed to have a set of grandparents that live right down the road from us. We live in the rural south and we are able to get together frequently. On occasion I have left my kids with my mom for the day and sent schoolwork with them for her to help them complete. We have invited her along on several field trips and 4H events. We go out of town with her to visit my grandma on occasion and they learn lessons about helping the elderly and meeting the needs of others.
My dad is a man of many talents. He was raised in the city and moved to the country as a young married man and has dabbled in farming ever since. His past occupations have included contractor, builder, pastor, teacher, lawn business owner, etc. He built a house and my boys were able to participate and observe different aspects of the house building process. He purchased chickens and built a chicken coop, and the kids have helped clean out the chicken pen, gather eggs and watched the process of butchering. His most recent farming venture has been raising goats, and he children have really enjoyed learning about the goats. They have learned to split wood from their granddad too.
What do they learn?
Besides the life skills they have learned from their grandparents, the kids have also had many spiritual discussions with their grandparents. They love sharing scriptural truths with them as they work together and I think they will remember some of the lessons they have learned from them for the rest of their life.
Grandparents Far Away
The other sets of grandparents live over 650 miles away. We have had to be more creative in looking for ways to include them in our homeschool. In the past we have taken field trips to museums, aquariums and historic sites while visiting with them.
Their grandpa loves to play chess and my oldest son has been challenged to work on his game at home so he can play Pepaw when we visit. We have lively history discussions with grandpa, he would take the boys fishing and teach them to fish for crab in the brackish water of the Chesapeake bay area.
Grandma read to the kids and took them treasure hunting at Goodwill, etc. The other set has taken us on a dolphin cruise in the Atlantic Ocean when we were studying dolphins and communicates with the kids regularly via Skype. We share artwork, details about our schoolwork and Lego creations via Skype.
A Fun Idea
We made a homeschool yearbook and sent it to the grandparents out of state. It was such a big hit! They were encouraged and were able to really see the progress we had made over the year. I plan to continue this tradition.
In addition to these suggestions that have worked for our family here are some other suggestions that I received from other homeschool moms:
- Learning a foreign language together via Skype (grandma teaches the grand kids Latin).
- Having grandparents use your lesson plans to continue schooling your kids during times of parent illnesses or surgery.
- Have them teach skills they possess to their grand kids such as astronomy, art, sewing, music, etc.
- Invite grandparents to teach group classes at your local homeschool co-op.
- If they are willing, have grandparents invest in homeschool supplies such as maps, reference books, microscopes, etc.
I hope these ideas help spark your imagination and motivate you to tap into the great wisdom the senior members of your family have to offer your kids. We would love to hear your ideas in the comments section below.
Jennifer Allen is a homeschool graduate, wife to her soulmate David (who also contributes to the blog), homeschooling mom, registered nurse, AWANA teacher, pianist, reader and lifelong learner. She can be found on her little corner of the web at conversaving.com. The person on the street would define “conversaving” as the act of easing the discomfort of someone left out of a conversation by including them in the dialogue. “Conversaving” the blog seeks to do the same thing, by relieving the awkward silence across the Internet of those seeking a real place to engage in constructive conversations about news, family,homeschooling, saving money, etc. Sprinkle in some laughs, tears, personal stories and curriculum reviews and you have the recipe for Conversaving.com!
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
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To further your reading, we have a special ebook that we would like to send to you. It’s entitled “RETHINK EDUCATION, Turning Scary Questions About Home Education Into Exciting Possibilities.” It was written after countless conversations with moms who are either considering homeschooling or struggling with doubt. My heart in writing it is to offer hopeful answers to some of the questions moms tend to be asking… and you might be surprised at which ones didn’t make the list. I would love for it to become a resource you could share with your friends who are considering home education, or who are wondering if they’ll keep going. So, grab your copy today! – Leslie Nunnery