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Monday, October 25, 2021

"That is why we homeschool" doesn't work


"That is why we ___________ (insert homeschool or send our kids to public school)" is almost never an  appropriate or helpful  response when a friend, who has a different school choice, is sharing a struggle with their child.

 Seriously, both sides, stop this.  I have been on the receiving end of  "That is why we send our kids to school" more times that I can count; it is hurtful and judgmental. Never once did it make me think, "Oh great, now I will completely change our family's lifestyle because of your comment!"

What is your goal?

Parenting is the most personal path you may ever walk; our hearts are so raw when it comes to our children that defensiveness is usually our knee-jerk reaction.   When you tactlessly say these phrases, you call into question that person's parenting choices in a way that will provoke bitterness and resentment. 

The phrase 'That is why we ________" in response to another's pain is not received with the spirit of encouragement, but of gloating.  What they hear is the assumption they would not be in their present painful situation if they had been as wise as you in their choices. You may not think that is your motivation, you may truly want to help someone, but that is most likely not how it will be received.

How can you be a friend?

My public school friends will not have great advice for me when I am overwhelmed with high school transcript planning, but even so, some of them have proven trustworthy to be able to give a listening ear when I need it.   I know that when I share my parenting issues with certain friends, no matter their school choice, their reaction will not be "all those problems would be solved if you just put your kid in public school".   They say validating things like, "Wow, that must be hard!"   Or they ask helpful questions like, "Do you have any other homeschool moms who have done this before and could help you with the credit process?" Maybe some are thinking "That would be solved by sending your kids to public school", but they have the maturity and wisdom to not say it.  

In turn, when my public school friend is sharing how her son is struggling with reading comprehension, I don't boastfully tell her how homeschooling has helped my kids in this area.  Instead I share resources with her that have helped my sons.  I help her find age appropriate summer bridge lessons on Teacher Pay Teachers. I ask, with genuine interest, how his extra tutoring is going, and how I can pray for her son.

How Homeschooling Changes Your Friendships

When can I share about homeschooling with a public school friend? 

My go to is just to be open about my choice of homeschooling, but without any anti-public school rhetoric.  Through this method, I have had dozens of public schooling moms feel safe enough to ask me if homeschooling could be right for their family. 

My first recommendation to any believing homeschool parent is to pray for your friends, and if they want to know about homeschooling, God can put on their heart to ask. If you have a real relationship, your friend will have seen enough of your journey that they can come to you if they have questions about how to get started. This takes pride out of the equation, because God is the one who can convict their heart. 

There are advantages and disadvantages to homeschooling and to public school.  Every family has to make the decisions how to rank those advantages in a way that makes sense for their  family. 

 In our family, the freedom to work at our own academic pace and choosing our own curriculum outweighs the advantages of a free public education where I don't have to buy or teach the curriculum. I also have the privilege of being able to work from home. We have the money and time to take advantage of opportunities for my children to socialize in our homeschool co-op and other many activities outside the home. 

Every family has to make the decision what works best for their child. Be on watch for appropriate times to share some of  your journey of homeschooling with a FRIEND with whom you have earned the privilege to speak.

How To Homeschool When You Can't Afford It

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