Taking on the World, One Argument at a Time

taking_on_the_world

So often when I read anti-homeschooling posts or articles, my first inclination is to write back and share “my side” of the story. However, I’ve come to realize, were I to attempt to respond to every argument I come in contact with, I would quickly become a ball of frustration and more than likely be wasting my time. While some arguments are worth the having, others are simply pointless. Are there guidelines one could follow, to know whether or not a debate is profitable?

Talking with my husband and homeschooling dad extraordinaire, here are a few things he suggests I keep in mind…

Debate when you have the opportunity to make an impact. Do not argue simply to hear your own voice, but to change the way another might view the situation. While your words might not have an immediate effect, it might be the seed to bring about a future change. If there is no chance they will listen, keep still.

Debate when you have the opportunity to influence a third-party. While you might not sway the person whom you are debating, perhaps there is another listener who might benefit from the exchange. For their sake, the argument is worth the having.

There are times in which it is beneficial to state our case, perhaps enlightening another with information of which they are unaware. However, there are times in which it is best to simply remain silent. While it might be fun “taking on the world”, it simply isn’t feasible. Not only do we lack the time to argue with everyone, but very often, it isn’t worth the effort.

Our time here is limited. We need to focus our attentions on the areas in which we can bring about a change and leave the nay-sayers to themselves. When the Lord opens the doors of communication, we should walk through them with courage and willingness. However, when someone wishes to argue for the sake of arguing, it’s time to shake the dust from our feet and move along.

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”
~ I Peter 3:15-16

We’d love to know… How do you know when to debate and when to walk away?

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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?

This Is A Test, This Is Only a Test

ScantronThis year our family is embarking upon a new adventure and exploring uncharted territory. We are tackling the great, unknown world of standardized testing!

Our homeschool PSP requires that all children who are in 7th grade through 11th grade be tested. It was highly suggested though, that we test them a year earlier than 7th so that the kids become familiar with the process and are therefore less stressed when it actually “matters”.

Our oldest girl has finally reached the age where testing is on the horizon, so we are going to have her start this year, as she is in 6th grade, and hopefully better prepare her for what is ahead. The current curriculum we use has periodic tests to help us asses how much she is retaining and progressing, but this will be something entirely different; the tests are much longer and will be timed.

It seems that within the homeschooling world there is an internal debate about whether our children should receive these test or not. There are battles on both ends of the argument and both sides are vehement about where they stand.

Personally, my husband and I have no problem with the tests. At some point our children might want to go to college. If they plan to go, they will need to take tests both before being accepted and during their courses. At some point our children will get jobs. Most companies require some sort of exam before offering employment. Having our children take standardized tests now will better assist us in preparing for their future, both by helping them overcome any fears of testing and also by helping them become familiar with the testing process. We feel our children are well taught and “T” will have few problems with the coming exams. It is simply a way of assessing our current learning and evaluating which areas might need a little more assistance.

I am not “prepping” her for the tests, nor are we anxious about how she will do. The Lord was very clear about the methods and curriculum that are currently in progress. Knowing that we are following His instructions gives us the confidence of going into those tests, believing that He will use them to only further our goals.

🔔Time to Chime In: How do you feel about standardized testing?