September 22, 2011

Getting Along With Those Who Don't Homeschool


Not every family should homeschool. Not every family should go to public school. We can still respect each other. There is no need to look down on homeschoolers, but there is also no need for us to look down on families that choose public schools.

I'm always a little irritated by parents and friends that are so rigid in their thinking that they think I'm blowing it by homeschooling. They usually give their two cents worth -- "What about socializing?" Often I am told that the public school district is blue ribbon rated, or something to that effect. I've been told by church members that our kids need to be in the world at school.

I don't like to be told I'm doing it wrong. So, I realize that they don't want to be told they are doing it wrong. And who am I to know what is needed in their home?

I have decided not to argue about any of this. I side step it and say, "yea, I'm a rebel mom, I homeschool." In my old ward where we had been members for 30 years my kids were known to be good examples at church and knowledgeable about the gospel. No one hassled me too much. But I did feel like the loner.

I have made the decision not to tangle. I don't like contention. My husband would like to shout it from the rooftops -- we all should homeschool our children. I tell him not to say much. It's good for our children, but not everyone can do it, nor would I want to be in a co-op group with everyone. In a way, I like that the majority of kids are in public school. (And yes, I wish it was better, private, moral and etc, etc.)

Come on -- would you want every family to be homeschooling? I feel privileged to be able to homeschool. We have made monetary sacrifices, true. But the day I decided to homeschool my third child for the middle school years, I told him this was a privilege -- "you get to be homeschooled." It's like the days of private tutors, one on one teaching. Most of my kid's friends envied our homeschool life. At first, during the high school years, these friends would try to talk my kids into going to traditional school. And my kids would think they might be missing something. One even went for a year, but begged to come back to homeschool. He has a college degree today from a prestigious college.

I understand that not every mom can do this, nor every child. There are single moms, there are homes that need two incomes. When someone questions my decision to homeschool, I just brush it off, "it works for me and our family, but it isn't for everyone." This lets my friends feel good about their decisions too. After all, this is the best part of freedom and agency -- getting to choose and it's ok if our friends choose public school and we choose homeschool. We can still respect each other, because we're all in different situations. My kids go to seminary with kids that go to public school. My sons participated in track at the public high school. They have friends that were in "school." We can be friends. 

Meanwhile, we homeschooling moms can bond together, share our teaching methods, curriculum, fears, failures and successes.

Deila Taylor has been homeschooling for 16 years, you can read her homeschool blog at Ridgeline Academy and her life's journey blog at Eve Out of The Garden.

13 comments - Add a comment below -:

Anaise said...

Excellent point. As I was praying about the best road for educating my children, my friend was praying the exact same prayer about her children. My answer was homeschooling. Her answer was public school. We each gulped and moved forward with faith, and our families are thriving in their own ways.

Dana ♥ said...

So true Deila! Often, because homeschoolers are challenged on their decision to educate at home, we go on the defensive which makes it hard to be "friendly". It's also difficult because it is such a joy and becomes such a passionate thing to us. I regularly tell myself to "bridle your passions that ye may be filled with love". Thanks for the great reminder, because when it really comes down to it, we are accountable only for our decision regarding teaching our children and loving our neighbor.

Kendra said...

Love this post, and yes sometimes I totally feel like a loner, but then I have to remind myself how cool it is that I get to stay home and teach my kids all day.

rdalton said...

I am having just that problem with our Young Women leader in our ward. She is very vocal with my 2 teen daughters about being in homeschool and how they NEED to be in public school. She even made my daughter cry... (and she isn't even that sensitive) so when I heard that I was really upset. I have told her that I prayed about this decision ALOT and got the overwhelming feeling that this was the best thing for my family. I told her that it isn't for everyone, nor do I think that people who put their children in public school are wrong, that every family should make that decision prayerfully and do what is best for their children. I am just really disheartened by this lack of understanding, she has actually brought over school enrollment papers to my home...I have just brushed it off, and I appreciate her concern for my children, but should I say anything?

Sherral said...

Thanks for this post! It's a great reminder for me to choose to not be offended and to be careful not to give offense. I like your style of letting things roll off your back... I need to get better at that. :)

Cassie said...

I love what you said! Thank you for a great post. I toally agree!

JRoberts said...

What an excellent post! Thank you so much for the timely reminder. I think we all face opposition in pretty much ALL things, just some are harder to take when it is a PERSONAL decision.

I just thank people for their concern and if they are still hard core, ask them if they believe in personal revelation. If so, am I not entitled to it as well? That is how we CHOSE to homeschool, by personal revelation.

I think that we need to remember that each of us is entitled to our own revelation on what is best for our own family. Some it may be PS, some HS.

treen said...

Wow, rdalton, I would certainly say something to someone who has crossed the line like that. That's totally inappropriate. I had a few people from our ward tell me that I should enroll my daughter in public school when she wanted to go to "real school." My response was to look them in the eye and say, "My husband and I took this to the temple and this is what the Lord wants for our family. There is no discussion here." No one has said a word since. If you can't shut off the YW leader with something like that and she continues to be so aggressive, golly ... take it to the bishop?

On the flip side, my brother got defensive when I asked about the public preschool program he put his kids into. I had to explain that it was just a random question because I was curious about the program. I further said that I appreciate that we have options for educating our children, and homeschool is just the OPTION that we feel is best for our family right now.

designated conservative said...

I was amazed when we experienced pushback from some fellow church members who seemed offended that we chose not to send our children to "their" schools. Our response that the school district did not even factor into our decision to homeschool only appeared to make things worse.....

Plain and Precious said...

I appreciate this article A LOT! I have one child that goes to college, two who school online, one in PS Jr. High, one at a elementary Charter School and one who completely and ecclecticly homeschools. I get every opinion on how best to school imaginable!

We not only pray about what is best for our family, we pray about what is best for each child...and I have a wide variety of learning needs.

Still, even AWESOME websites like this one can be overwhelming to someone who doesn't completely homeschool. Homeschoolers are everybit as opinionated as PSers.

There definitely needs to be a lot more tolerance on both sides!

Morgan -Ing said...

Delia! I am so excited to read this post. It rings true. I don't expect anyone to live my life or make my choices, so why in the world do they expect me to? Thank you!

Deila said...

When I was a younger mom with kids in public school I was intimidated by teachers and principals and even other parents. Each of my kids had different needs, and I think we all know that. I found that as I became older, I found my voice and strength to do what was best for my kids. I really should have homeschooled my first child, but I did not know it was really an option.

Today, if my friend says to me -- "Deila you should put Seth in school!" I just humor her. At my age of 57, my last child is 16 and I don't really care if she thinks I'm wrong or crazy. We still go to lunch and talk about other things.

But for rdalton -- if someone made my son or daughter cry, it's time to say more, in private, and don't be afraid to show your confidence -- you do know what's best for your daughters and don't let someone sway you otherwise. Moms get revelation for their own families, not someone else's. Wow, they didn't even have to go to public school to get bullied!

Diane said...

Loved this post. This is my first time in the homeshool world, and I can't believe what a great education I am able to give my kids. I have found that most people respect this decision, but some have been hostile. Like I am doing it on purpose to ruin my kids. I like how you handle it. I want to take up your method.