Bless your heart. It is indeed hurtful to be exposed to negative comments concerning the calling to a vocation. I like to think that negative comments are borne of a lack of understanding and not a lack of charity. In my experience the conflicts with homeschooling come from other sources that may have directly influenced the pastor's opinions. For example if the church works to support a Catholic school then it is only natural that students who do not use the school will be seen as not supportive of the school. This is usually the very basic reason that conflicts arise. There are other reasons of course but this has been the most common one that I have been exposed to.
Owning to the belief that negativity is the result of a lack of understanding, then it seems that the task ahead of many homeschoolers who are faced with hurtful and negative comments is to explain the lifestyle to those persons who are having difficulty in understanding. I do not think that this is the best approach. Let me explain.
When persons do not understand a lifestyle choice it is often times useless to explain your reasons for living the way you do. Each explanation brings another comment which requires defending.
Remember that you are living this lifestyle from the deep held belief through prayer and discernment that Jesus has called you into this vocation. It is your belief that you are indeed within the Lord's will and that you are striving to live out the call upon your life as is manifest in your understanding of the Lord's will.
Live your life in joy, holiness and do what you think is best to provide a loving environment of peace and spirituality for your dear children. Be faithful to the sacraments. Receive the life giving graces of Reconciliation and the food of life, which is Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Never talk in a discouraging way about your dear priest or others who do not understand your lifestyle. Instead pray often for their needs and intentions.
Go forward and take joy. When persons see your joy, your contentment and your desire to bring the truth of Our Lord into the life of your family they will gradually begin to understand.
I have found that sometimes it may be necessary to simply say to persons who approach me, "I feel that I have been called by Jesus to lead this life. Please pray for me and my husband as we strive to better know our Lord and come closer to Him through our abandonment to His will."
What more needs to be said? Nothing.
I am speaking from personal experience. It is painful to receive the blows of uncharitable words and actions. Give it all to Jesus (the sorrow that this causes in your life) and He will guard your family. Remember, go forward and take joy.
Jesus, we love You. Please protect our dear priests and religious as they work tirelessly to serve You through their vocation of sacrifice. Give us the graces necessary to defend and understand those who unknowingly hurt us. Give us the grace to pray for their intentions. Give us a heart that is open to knowing Your will alone. Give us the courage to move in the will without faltering. Amen.
Sending out a prayer,