Homeschooling & the Mommy Wars: What I Wish We Were Saying

One great thing about having a blog is when you have thoughts running around in your head at 1 am, you can dump them out on a “page” and then leave them there until the morning (well, later in the morning anyway). Then, hopefully, go back to sleep. Here are my 1 am musings.

Two things happened recently that prompted this post.

The first involves a conversation I had with a dear Christian friend. Her five year old was starting kindergarten at our local public school in a few weeks. I asked her how she was feeling about this. What I meant was “how are you, as a mother, feeling about your baby bird leaving the nest?” It became apparent during the conversation that what she heard was “why aren’t you homeschooling?” She shared her reasons for choosing public school and how others had questioned this choice. I was saddened that she felt she needed to defend her choice to me instead of finding a friend with an ear sympathetic to the bittersweet moments that are ever present in parenting.

The second is I joined a very large very active homeschool group on Facebook. The support this group offers is invaluable, yet  I am disheartened by some of the things I see there. There are several post everyday along the lines of “I am so glad my children don’t go to public school because….”  some of which make me cringe and hope they don’t share those thought outside of the private group. But even more disheartening are the posts (or comments more often) judging other’s methods of homeschooling as if there is a wrong or right way to homeschool.

What I wish we were all saying to each other is:

If you homeschool for religious reasons…I support you.

If your children attend public school for religious reasons…I support you.

If you homeschool for academic reasons…I support you.

If your children attend public school for academic reasons…I support you.

If your children sleep until 10 am and start “school” sometime between 11-12…I support you.

If you do the “get up before 6 am, get dressed, find your shoes, pack the lunch, pack the backpack, run for the bus” dance 5 mornings a week…I support you.

If you homeschool because it makes you a better parent….I support you.

If your children attend public school because it makes you a better parent…I support you.

If you spend $1,000 on curriculum for your homeschool…I support you.

If you homeschool using free resources and Pinterest…I support you.

If you homeschool in a designated classroom adorned in primary colors…I support you.

If you homeschool where ever is comfiest…I support you.

If you are an active, thoughtful partner in your child’s learning, however that looks for your family, I SUPPORT YOU.

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11 thoughts on “Homeschooling & the Mommy Wars: What I Wish We Were Saying

  1. It is, in general, easier to criticize and deflate others than to be encouraging. It has it’s place (like literary criticism, diplomacy etc) but it is regrettably common through social networking. I really like the ‘positive’ aspect you’re using in your most recent post 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your homeschooling exploits!

    Charles

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    • Thank you, Charles. I agree and that’s why I wrote this post. Especially when you feel you have to defend your position, as often happens in parenting no matter what choices you make, is it easy to criticize others even unintentionally.

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  2. I REALLY like this post! We so need to respect other people’s freedom and choices, and not judge them solely by the “are they doing exactly the same thing as me” standard. There are some things in life that are important and true for all people, but there are are also so many that are really a matter of opinion, and it is our ability to express and support this diversity that makes the world beautiful.

    Parenting is too often presented as a competition, instead of a way of cooperating with others in making the world a better place, one child at a time! We should be co-workers, not competitors, in this act of love.

    You might like my post “The Perfect Parent lives in Timbuktu (and is likely a Sasquatch!)” which touches on this idea as well. It’s on my blog Just East of Crazy Land. Thanks for liking my last post about homeschool!

    Cheers,
    Anna

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  3. While I agree with the heart of your message, I think we too need to be careful. I think we need to differentiate between making a personal statement and being judgmental. Just because I dislike public school (and I do), doesn’t mean I can’t respect your liking of it; one has nothing to do with the other.

    Can we not state an opinion, respectfully, without others gaining hurt feelings? Have we become so over-sensitized that we cannot share opposite opinions without fear of damaged relationships? Perhaps the lesson is that we all need to be careful when we are stating our opinions, calling them such, and be willing to hear the opposing position respectfully.

    While I can empathize with your feelings of being disheartened, are you implying that people who make such statements are wrong for doing so? If so, why is it okay to tell them they’re wrong but it’s not okay for them to state what they believe is wrong? (e.g. public is school is inferior, certain methods of learning is problematic…)

    Also, I don’t know that I would say I ‘support’ everyone’s choices, but I do respect their right to choose.

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    • That’s a fine distinction, but perhaps an important one. I support your right to choose what is best for your family vs. I support your choice even if it is “inferior,” as you say. Also, this post was about encouraging everyone to do a better job of RESPECTING other’s choices, especially when they are different form our own.

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  4. I think often people who judge other mother’s parenting choices are feeling insecure about their own choices and needing to defend them. I’m parent to three very different kids and after 20 years of parenting and 18 years as a parent educator I feel no need to judge others. We all strike the best balance we possibly can between what we believe to be best for our kids and what we can manage to make work.

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    • First, I love that you call yourself a “parent educator!” So empowering! I realize that homeschoolers very often have to defend their choice to those closest to them and complete strangers and the defensiveness that comes along with that may seem like arrogance. I just wish we could all do a better job of supporting families’ choices especially when they are different that our own.

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  5. Hi there. I found your blog via your question on The Daily Post. I responded there, but wanted to add here that I agree with your perspective and like how you articulated that. As a mother, I so value having other parents in my life who do things differently! I find it so helpful to have friends on different ends of various spectrums; more than anything it helps me identify what is genuine and useful for me.

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  6. Pingback: Homeschooling & the Mommy Wars: What I Wish We Were Saying | Writing the Wind

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