We are in our fourth year of homeschooling. It’s great and challenging; full of wonderful things and also full of headaches and moments of insanity. The first year or two that we homeschooled, I didn’t hear too much negativity from other people about our choice. I faced some opposition, but overall, people politely smiled and said (perhaps falsely, but who cares) “Good for you!”
I’m pretty sure the Lord was protecting my sensitive and insecure spirit during those first years. I was so unsure of myself, I surely couldn’t have handled anyone else being unsure of me, too. So I took all those smiles and fake “good for yous” and just pretended the world was supportive and thought the best of my family’s little adventure in education.
Lately, I’ve been amused at how opinionated people like to be with touchy subjects like homeschooling. In the last year, I’ve faced comments such as (all comments listed below have actually been said to someone in my family)….
“And they just let you do that?!” Apparently “they” is the authorities and this individual was shocked I wasn’t in jail. Thank heavens America isn’t there yet.
“You’re not going to do that THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH, are you?” The question sounded slightly menacing.
To my children, “Do you even learn?” My kids were so dumbfounded by this question, they kind of laughed and then became speechless. They have obviously not learned how to respond to preposterous questions.
“The thing I’m jealous about with kids that homeschool is they get way more days off.” Oh, contrary, youngster. We school through all those ridiculous holidays your government-funded school takes off. And no, they don’t get to do their school in their PJ’s.
“The good thing about Common Core is that it will keep homeschoolers accountable, like the homeschooling mom who sits home all day and watches Dr. Phil.” I would like to find said mom and give her a stern talking-to. Because 1. Dr. Phil makes ya’all stupider and 2. you’re making the rest of us look bad. Come on.
I won’t even bother with the usual culprits, “What about their socialization? But how do you know how to teach if you don’t have a teaching degree? It’s so nice that you’re home all day–can you watch my kids? We send our kids to school because we don’t think that we should isolate/over-protect/insulate/quarantine them.”
I rarely have to wonder what people think about the education that we’re giving our kids. They are so happy to offer me their generous thoughts!
Unfortunately, many people obviously don’t hold homeschooling in high regard. The people-pleaser in me really has to work hard to put this aside. I know that I have high educational expectations for my kids (based on their capabilities). I know that homeschooling is about more than just the kind of education that school can give. I also have the responsibility of molding Godly behaviors, teaching respect that starts with a fear of the Lord, and showing the love and forgiveness that Christ showed us. I want my children to love science because God created the world around them. I want them to understand math to see that God is a God of order, not disorder. I want them to love literature so that they can empathize with people and understand different perspectives. I want them to enjoy music and art so that they can express joy and praise to God. I want them to learn to get along with their family members (often the ones we struggle the most to get along with!) so that they can learn to work out differences and learn loyalty and kindness.
It’s not for everyone. I’m not one to defend my choice by demeaning yours. With prayer and God’s grace, public or private school won’t ruin your kid, just like by the same grace, I won’t ruin mine by teaching them at home! Show the love, people. (And keep your opinion to yourself until someone asks for it.)