Happy Fall! I know August marks a milestone for many families. Some have a child starting school for the first time and is off to Kindergarten, new middle school or new high school, or maybe this is the first year without anyone in school. Either way, Fall tends to bring an air of new beginnings.
Since this is the beginning of a new school year, I thought I would address an aspect of the public school, private school, homeschool issue, from the point of view of a homeschooling mom. That’s me. School can be an awkward subject for moms who have chosen different schooling paths for their children. I think there is this underlying thought than anyone who chooses a different road than you must totally disapprove of your decision, think you’re an irresponsible parent and a bad person all around. Obviously, these assumptions can make conversation awkward and even strain relationships. So much of a mom’s life revolves around their children’s lives and schedules, so to have such a primary topic off the table, creates quite a division.
Jeff and I have chosen to homeschool our children for numerous reasons. Some of them are very personal reasons particular to our family and season and life, and some are just general beliefs we hold to. We don’t homeschool because we think traditional school is from the devil, or that we must shelter our children from all things secular. And just because we feel called to homeschool doesn’t mean we think everyone should homeschool. Heck, we don’t even know if we will always homeschool. We have researched and prayed and researched and prayed to come to this conclusion for our family – for this year. Jeff and I are committed to re-evaluating each year, with each child, as to which option we feel that the Lord is directing us to choose. Also, in case you are wondering, we don’t knit or wear bonnets – two things Jeff initially assumed went along with our choice, or at least he liked to tease me about.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I would say that most homeschoolers don’t necessarily believe one schooling method is right and one is wrong. Just like everyone else, we are simply trying to do our best to make the right decisions for our children. I think the only wrong decision in schooling would be to not take the time to really evaluate all of the options available to you, or feeling a conviction to take one route, but choosing another method for unhealthy reasons. Personally, I don’t believe that school is one of those “one size fits all” kind of things, so I don’t think it can be treated as such.
So . . . don’t feel the need to tip toe around the topic of school with friends who have chosen a different method than you. Chances are, they aren’t judging you for your choice, as I trust you aren’t judging them for theirs. Share stories from school and let them do the same, whether their kids go to school down the street or in the living room, knowing that one isn’t right and one wrong. They are just different. Each option provides it’s own challenges and opportunities for growth. There are tons of things we can all learn from each other, if we can just acknowledge that. I’m aware that I can’t shed much light on how to efficiently and consistently get somewhere on time, but if you need suggestions for math, writing or science iPad apps, you can count on me.
There are already so many issues that fall into the whole “mommy wars” category, school choice doesn’t need to be another one. How about we all put down our black and white weapons and live out an important life lesson I’m sure we want all of our children to learn – how to get along with people who are different. 🙂