Is Home Schooling the ONLY Answer?

Is Home Schooling the ONLY Answer?Sometimes, well-meaning homeschoolers feel the need to convince other people that keeping their children at home is a must. We feel the need to cajole them into believing homeschooling is the only answer, and if they don’t homeschool something is wrong with them. While, quite obviously, we prefer to homeschool and find it is best for our family, I am very hesitant about what I share and how it is expressed. I would prefer the Lord be the one working on their hearts, not me.

Over the course of several years, there are some key things I have learned about sharing my heart with other people. Things I feel help to develop relationships and open the doors to good communication.

Earn respect. How often have we heard well-meaning advice from a complete stranger? Worse yet, someone whom you don’t respect. Before I open my mouth to speak, I ought to ask myself how well I know this person. Perhaps they are not open to receiving what I might want to communicate. I need to earn the right to be heard, not demand I be listened to.

Learn to listen. How often have we spoken to someone, only to discover we didn’t really hear all they said? Or while they were speaking, we were already trying to form our own arguments and thoughts in response? The first step in a good conversation, is listening! Taking time not to just hear the words they are speaking, but the heart of the person talking. Sometimes it is not just the statement being made, but the emotions behind them which need to be addressed.

Be humble. How much I accomplish and the efficiency in which it is done is not to my own credit. It is the Lord who has given me my gifts and it is He who continues to sustain me. They don’t need to hear about all I have accomplished; they need to see how the Lord has directed our lives and used certain circumstances to bring us to where we are. This takes the glory out of my hands and puts it where it belongs.

Be slow to judge others. Imagine how hard it would be to bare your heart to another, only to have them turn and tear you apart. In the realm of parenting, there are many methods of schooling, training, and building of relationships. I need to understand my way isn’t the only way and all of us are still learning. My responsibility is to edify, encourage, and help; not to bury them under a mound of guilt.

Let the Lord lead. It is not my job to convince someone of my argument or my way of thought. If someone is genuinely interested in what I have to say they will listen and take my thoughts into consideration. If the Lord leads, speak; and let Him do the rest.

Know when to keep quiet. There is a time to speak and there is time to remain silent. It is important to know what the situation calls for. It is okay to offer advice and express my views, but there comes a time when words are of no use. Know how to pick battles and when to walk away.

When I am offering advice or answering questions about homeschooling, I want to make sure I am not overstepping my bounds. If I have earned the right to be heard, I then need to make sure I am listening to their concerns. When I respond, my answers should be given gently and with humility. Once I have said my piece, I need to let the Lord lead them and remain quiet.

We love homeschooling, and enjoy sharing our adventure with others. Heaven forbid our calling become a burden we force upon others, or a prideful arrogance we throw in someone’s face. Instead, may we live in such a way as to bring others into the beauty of God’s presence, blessing everyone we meet.

Your Turn!: What are a few indicators which help you know when sharing about your homeschooling adventure is beneficial?

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8 thoughts on “Is Home Schooling the ONLY Answer?

  1. I don’t really have indicators. They’re more hard learnt, humbling, lessons that refined discernment. Indicators can be misread. Now. I’m of the view now, that everyone disagrees with you until they tell you they don’t.

    I’ve had a few different experiences with this.One was a professional who was horrified that we homeschooled, which caught me off guard and lead me on the defensive. The other was part of a co-op group when styles of teaching, kids knowledge, content and even beliefs were laid out on the table as though they were prerequisites to being accepted.

    However, I think pride and arrogance, while something Homeschoolers need to watch out for within themselves, is something they are more likely to clash with externally. I’ve found that while some are curious about why and how we homeschool, others are suspicious of it.

    As recent as a few months ago, I was talking a relative. He and his, girlfriend/fiance/partner have six kids, who are all public schooled. He said to me that he had serious doubts about us homeschooling and thought the worst. The only thing that changed his mind was when we spent time with them for a few days. Even then, though, he was still stand-offish about our approach to our kids education. Holding doubts about us succeeding.

    Without even saying anything, the homeschooler is viewed as a threat. This is a presumption egged on by insecurity and fear, which automatically assumes that the homeschooler is (in Aussie colloquialism) ”up themselves”, or ”has tickets on themselves”, meaning that the homeschooler regards themselves to be too good for the collective; too good for public schools. Homeschoolers are viewed as weak, over-protective and prideful, considering themselves to be better parents, smarter et.al. There even are, in Australia at least, politicians who wrongly consider homeschooling child abuse.

    The bottom line really is this: humility wins. Without the kind of honest, patient and grace-filled contribution that you’re advocating here, we get no where.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think these concerns, of public school officials and parents, are world wide. Even here, in the states, we find people are suspicious of our choices. We’re either arrogant for assuming we could do better than someone with a degree, helicopter parents who won’t let our children out of our sight, or religious zealots who wish to brainwash our kids.

      “Without the kind of honest, patient and grace-filled contribution…, we get no where.” Absolutely!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Here in Canada the same thing applies! Homeschoolers can be presumed to be either ‘snobs’ (the ‘chess tournament/classical music wizz-kid/ math genius type) or socially dysfunctional (the dirty hair/no social skills/rage against the machine type) or struggling in some way (homeschooling to cope with some sort of ‘problem’/incapable of dealing with bullies/learning diability type). That’s for secular homeschoolers. Of course, the presumed ‘religious zealot’ type applies sometimes too. Forgive the awful clichés I have just outlined, but they do exist, in some people’s minds at least! We are none of the above – though I suppose we are a little bit of each. We do play classical piano, we do like science, we do perform poorly within rigid structures, we do wish to avoid bullying, and we do greatly value the freedom to teach our spirituality to our daughter through our daily lives. To be frank, though, the most common reaction we get when we say our daughter is homeschooled is a blank stare . . .! Many people don’t even know the option exists. I generally try to portray our enthusiasm, rather than communicate that we are ‘right’ and others are ‘wrong’ when I talk about homeschooling. A bit like describing a great cake recipe – something that requires some effort to prepare and so forth, but has terrific results that are both good for you and make you happy! Thanks for posting! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve found now that my daughter is of obvious school age she is constantly asked by every single complete stranger what grade she’s in at school or which school does she go too. It’s a simple enough, innocent question that our modern society has programmed into us. I find it interesting, though, to watch their mannerisms change from open, happy delight at engaging with my child to shock, like they’ve just been slapped in the face, horror of what have they just stumbled upon!
    Some people are genuinely curious about what we do whilst others are extremely aggressive in their opposition. They tell me really quickly who they are in no uncertain terms!
    To the interested I simply answer their questions & it’s always a beautiful conversation dispelling ignorance about homeschooling. To the haters, I simply walk away & do not engage.
    Never enter an argument with a fool as onlookers may not be able to tell you apart.

    Liked by 2 people

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