I was checking my Facebook feed and read an article posted on our local Homeschool Consignment store. It was a repost of the article: Stop Telling Me Why You Can’t Homeschool on Homegrown Learners explaining why it can be frustrating for homeschool parents to hear, “I could never homeschool my children…”
Here’s my first thought posted on my Bikurgurl Blog Facebook Page:
I will say, I don’t encounter this much anymore — but I used to also giggle when people would say, “I could *never* homeschool my children! You have such patience…you have XYZ….”
The truth is, while we started for a myriad of reasons, we continue to choose to homeschool our children based on not only where we feel God is leading our lives and our family, but also because we constantly reassess and review options.
I find that when I have days that are challenging, days I… think my children (or I!) would be better off doing something different educationally, I am inspired by our options. We discuss why we continue to homeschool, why other options would be better, and how we can make shifts in our home, education, and environment to make our children’s education one that they are ultimately satisfied and inspired by.
There are so many reasons we homeschool. It was a decision. I used to feel belittled by my decision when people would say that they could never homeschool — I argue you can IF that is the decision you make! Just like we could choose to education our children the way you educate your children IF it was our choice!!
Don’t judge; just love and support each other!
Yes (insert deep breath)
Tons of adults who homeschool their charges have discussed this topic. I’ve read many of them from Kris over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers encouraging homeschooling adults to stop saying “that’s why we homeschool”, Jaime at Simple Homeschool writes about choosing to homeschool, Ginny at Small Things talks about the way they homeschool … well you get the idea — there are as many reasons as there are homeschoolers. My guess: it’s similar for other-schooling families as well.
I digress…back to the, “I could never homeschool my children…” topic:
I used to hear you, but I don’t anymore. It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. I used to be the guy that would state, the obvious, that I, “… could never send my children to school all day…”. At the time, that’s totally how I felt.
But I realized: It’s just really passive-aggressive. It undermines our friendships, our relationships. It’s not supportive. Why would I want to make another caregiver, parent, woman, feel unsupported? Why would I choose to be so, shady? The proverbial back-handed compliment/comment meant to tear down, not build up?
It’s a choice. I choose to homeschool; right now, in my family, we’ve made the choice. We continue to make the choice. It’s a conscious choice. It’s a choice we question annually, when things go wrong, when we have extenuating circumstances. In your family, I’m assuming you’ve made the choice to educate your children in the way you do for your own reasons. You didn’t just blindly follow anyone’s lead. My guess is you considered your options, if even just for a moment, and made a decision. You went to the school to register, you looked at the information on-line, you went to a Parent’s Night, you talked to teachers, principles, other parents, perhaps even your own parents.
Sometimes I think that if “educational status” was an option on Facebook, I’d have to choose: it’s complicated.
You made a choice. It may have been a no-brainer, or it may have been a compromise based on your family situation, but it was a choice. We all have choices to make and constraints under which we live.
In choosing to Live Lightly, in choosing to listen more and live more fully, I realized the reason I was so frustrated with those (perhaps) well-meaning individuals who were telling me that they could never homeschool is that I didn’t feel validated. I felt as if they were passive-aggressively telling me that I was wrong, I was making a mistake, I wasn’t capable of educating my children to be competent human beings.
All the while, I knew I was and the thought that this person — well meaning or not — was telling me that my choice was not for them was like them telling me:
I wasn’t for them.
That’s super hurtful. It’s super hurtful if it comes from people you care about. It’s super frustrating if it comes from people who don’t know you, don’t know your history, your struggles, or really if we’re honest: care. They have no *skin in the game*, they have no vested interest in the outcome. My younger self, my more antagonist self, would, “rise up with my plastic spoon” and want to educate, inform, and get on my soapbox to tell them that YOU CAN HOMESCHOOL AND YOU CHOOSE NOT! YOU CHOOSE A DIFFERENT PATH!
But here’s the thing: that’s OKAY!
I’m so thankful that we live in a country where we can choose our own path in so many things. I’m so thankful that I’m a little older, a little wiser, a little more appreciative of how precious life is — how precious each day is and I honestly don’t want to bring anyone else down with my antagonism. I don’t want other caregivers, parents, or women to feel less than because our choices are different. I don’t want other caregivers, parents, or women to project their feelings of angst, inadequacy, or failures on me — nor me on them.
As caregivers, parents, women, men, children – what are we saying to ourselves, our families, our society if we tell people that their educational choices aren’t okay? What if we could all just get along, live in harmony, and be respectful of our rights to choose what is best for our own families?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”