Speak Your Piece

Speak_Your_PieceAmongst the tons of pro homeschooling posts that are produced everyday, there are at least half as many con.  It can be very hard to hold our metaphorical tongues when reading the horrible descriptions and arguments being made against us. However, before rushing off to quarrel with every Tom, Dick, and Harry, consider this: Should you speak your piece?

Not everyone who is game for a debate is worthy of your time and not everyone who is spouting off really wants a debate. So, how can we know when it is a good time to engage and when it is time to walk away? I think there are some pretty solid indicators….

Is this person ready to hear? Usually, just by reading a post, you can tell whether or not that person is open to discussion. Are they presenting themselves in an open manner, inviting information to be shared, and asking questions? …or… Are they casting judgement, being rude, snide, and disrespectful? You can pretty much tell when someone is, generally, willing to be reasonable and hear you out.

Is this research or opinion? Another indicator would be to measure whether or not the post is based on research or just opinion. If the person is quoting others and listing articles to read, they are fairly invested in the debate and you might be able to suggest some reading of your own. If, on the other hand, they are simply spouting off and giving no evidence whatsoever, you can guess how far you’re going to get.

Is this going to benefit anyone? Sometimes, as my husband is always careful to remind me, we engage in debate not for the writer’s benefit, but for the benefit of other readers. We might not change the mind of the writer; sometimes it is enough to just make them keep quiet! When reading a hostile article, consider how you might influence another reader with your comments.

If, after all this, you still think a response is in order, proceed with caution. How you respond is huge.

Pray, pray, pray – Before we ever open our mouths (even metaphorically), we need to make sure our words are a true representation of what we believe. As a Christian, I want to make sure I use words which are humble, consistent with my beliefs, and truthful.

Speak in love – You are not going to win anyone over with more snide, rude comments. Think carefully and word your responses with kindness. Our goal is to reach people in a positive light, not to give them more fuel for the fire.

Be ready for a response – Rest assured, you will more than likely be given a response in return. Sometimes it will be positive and sometimes not! Don’t lose heart; again, your comments might benefit another reader if not the writer of the article itself.

Knowing how and when to respond to homeschooling antagonists is not fool-proof by any means. There are times I have started to respond, only to hear the Lord telling me “no” and others when I would prefer to just walk away when the Lord is clearly telling me “speak up, girl”. Sometimes I have gotten good responses and other times… well, let’s just leave it at that.

When you do choose to engage, proceed with confidence… speak your piece!

How do you know when to engage in a healthy debate or walk away?

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16 thoughts on “Speak Your Piece

  1. I don’t debate with them. I just focus on this moment and my children. Debating over the internet is a collosal waste of time, in my humble opinion. For this very reason , I no longer have a facebook account.

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  2. I completely agree that in those moments where one has thoughtful words, the right attitude, and the time – it is important to speak out, or leave a comment. People read comments, and are influenced by them. This is why Pop Sci and LA Times are closing out comments on certain issues. I keep a folder on my bookmarks with well written, well documented articles about the issues that are important to me. This makes it easier to provide facts and research on the topic at hand. I only engage about a few key subjects, but your other tip – prayer – is helpful in knowing when to post and when to walk away.

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  3. I don’t debate them, but I have once or twice written my experience and why I chose to homeschool. I had no itnteniton of being a homeschooling mother, I made that choice after the school failed to make things better. As my son says, they had a teaching disability. I even have the words of the vice principal who told me that theyrare behind the eight ball when it comes to teaching verbal learners. There are many reasons that people choose this path and once I share my personal journey and my results no one ever argues against my choice.

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  4. I’m not going to debate if I can help it. If someone makes a negative comment on my own blog about it, I may attempt one kind correction if I think I can do so tactfully. I think it’s more important that we just focus on spreading the word and knowledge of homeschooling in a positive light and leave the naysayers to their own world. When the time is right, they’ll come around without me getting bent out of shape over it…. I hope!

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  5. Very well written. I have learned this the hard way! And often, especially in conversation as opposed to the written word, I choose to remain silent, because I know my passion sometimes get’s the better of me 😉

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    • I completely agree. I think the anonymity of the written word makes it easier to stay calm and not become frustrated and angry. People are often extremely critical, especially when ignorant of the facts and it’s easier to point them in the direction of the facts – should they wish to listen of course. But in person, it’s so hard not to take criticism personally, to dismiss it because you know that what you’re doing is right for your children and your family. I’m the same, I find myself wanting to scream, to show people all the positive things we are doing, the confidence our soon has and the rich experiences he will gain in time that he may otherwise be sitting in a classroom staring out of the window. I find this more so when it’s family or friends being critical and sometimes, downright nasty! I have to just keep my mouth shut now. I wouldn’t dream of insulting someone by suggesting to them that their choice to send their child to school is “wrong” – when you’re moving away from the so-called norm slightly, everyone thinks they have the right to judge. Arguing the toss so often makes everything ten times worse – I have to agree, deep breath and walk away 🙂

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  6. Homeschooling your children in a very personal choice, where the only thing that matters is what you, your significant other (if around), and your children are on board. It has its pros and cons, you just have to find what works better for everyone involved. To be able to educate your children is a blessing (which is a pro) and never let anything or anyone undermine that!
    I actually home schooled my two grown and flown boys, and I’ve never ever regretted it. However I have the blessing of having a very opinionated and stubborn two year old that will be attending regular school when the time comes. So, you see it can go two ways!

    Blessings,
    Maritza

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  7. I wish you confidence and massive success in your academic ventures. Tune out everyone else!
    Mothers doing what is best for their children and their home life should be the core of all goodness and not dragged down by any negativity.

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  8. The positive side of an online debate/discussion is that it gives one the opportunity to think through his position, craft a valid and cogent argument, and then present it for everyone to consider. What I consider to be the most negative aspect of online debates/discussions is that anonymity allows one to be rude and obnoxious without being held accountable for such behavior.

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