When we adopted our eldest from China, we found a book to share with friends and family. Of course, we actually talked about it with them too, but having that book was a lifesaver for all involved. We just kept passing it on to the next person. The author summed up what we were feeling and answered a ton of questions for our curious loved ones. It opened a dialogue for us and helped us move forward with honesty.
I could find no such book for telling people we were selling our house, yanking our kids from school, and driving around the country in a camper. Nope. If you find one, use it, I say. In the meantime, here are a couple suggestions for calming nerves and setting expectations. We didn’t do all of these things. We bumbled along in our own way as our plan formed and then fell into place. I’m hoping these ideas will help you do a better job of it!
How to Tell Family and Friends About RV Roadschooling
RV Homeschooling Tip #1: Know your audience
Ok, so this is huge. Different people are going to react differently. Consider which “group” the person falls into and proceed accordingly. Remember to tell people when they are relaxed and not racing out the door to an appointment or a business trip. Don’t use your news for shock factor or in a moment of anger because you don’t want your loved one to associate the delivery with your road school adventure! Properly consider how you’ll share The Big Reveal.
With close friends who are in the same season of life, you can probably let them in on plans early on and get their input. They can pray for you and ask questions without deconstructing your dream or slamming it. They know your motivation and do life with you every day so they’ve seen your frustrations with the status quo. They get it.
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With family members (maybe nervous grandparents), proceed with caution. Share plans when they are a bit more fleshed out and ready for presentation. Play devil’s advocate with yourself so when your mom quizzes you, you’ll have satisfactory answers. We made most of our decisions all by ourselves, but by including those closest to us in the process they found themselves caught up in the dream, too. It became their vision, their goal as well as ours. This made the life changes easier to swallow. We do not live close to our families so they didn’t suffer us “leaving” them. We left when we got married twenty years ago. If you live close to family, prepare for some backlash but don’t go in with a chip on your shoulder. Hear them out. They love you. Let them say what they need to say.
Church members, neighbors, friends from the gym? It’s not going to affect them in the same way so a couple weeks’ notice before the “for sale” sign goes up is really all that’s necessary. Casual acquaintances don’t take stock in your life the way close friends and relatives do. They’ll probably be too polite to call you crazy to your face and if they do, well, you’re leaving soon anyway so you can move on with ease.
RV Homeschooling Tip #2: Give them time
You’ve been whispering in the dark with your husband about this unorthodox idea for over a year. Your best friend just heard it for the first time. Let it soak in a bit and give her a chance to sort through her feelings. We found most people to either be supportive or incredulous. No one was angry with us. Allowing plenty of time to understand and get used to the idea was game changing. We didn’t spring it on anyone and we didn’t press for their opinion or their help. If they offered either of those, we took them but we understood that most people just needed to sit with our decision awhile. Fine by us.
RV Homeschooling Tip #3: Stay in touch
One comment we heard over and over again was just that our friends were going to sincerely miss us. We tried to tell everyone that it was only temporary and that we would be back, but those words don’t carry as much weight as actual action. I wrote on our blog and people loved following along with each journey. I got back on Facebook to connect with everyone. We scheduled regular calls for ourselves and our kids. Remember, your children are leaving behind friends as well. It was a blessing for our girls to talk to their friends back home. We also provided an endless supply of stationery and stamps for them to write letters (this made a great road school activity on letter form and handwriting). We even sent good, old fashioned postcards from all the places we visited.
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Making connection a priority will help everyone. Believe me when I say that after the first two or three months, much of the excitement of your new life wears off. It doesn’t become hum drum by any means but it does become your new normal and most people want their normal to include fellowship and community. When you move every week or so, that’s hard to accomplish. Maintaining friendships will be your lifeline some days.
RV Homeschooling Tip #4: This is your life
You know what I’m going to say here. At the end of the day, this is your life and your decision. It’s also your risk and your moment to fail. You’re a grown up and you’ve thought it all through and prayed and made your pros and cons list, so now go for it! Your loved ones will come around in time.
What about you? What are your ideas for The Big Reveal? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Lisa’s blog is www.armedonlywiththis.com if you want to read about her family’s adventures.
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