It’s overwhelming enough to get geared up for all that is involved in educating your own children this school year, but it really feels like a thankless task when those you care about have something unpleasant to say. Whether it is a neighbor or friend, or closer to home in a beloved husband, parent or mother-in-law, it can really sting and break your confidence.
I’ve been homeschooling for 24 years now. Trust me, I’ve heard my share of homeschool criticism directed at me personally. (I was going to list a few comments, just to give you a taste, but I realized that they still feel distressing to me, so I’ll spare us both!) For years, it hurt and made me want to draw back from the person who was speaking. But as the years have gone by, I have come to see their comments as a form of “condensed love”.
Those who voice their doubts truly care about us and our children. They are afraid. I think fear is their dominant emotion. Homeschooling looks very daring . . . and exciting. . . but it flies in the face of the traditions they were raised with, for better or worse. Which creates doubt. The big “IF” rears its ugly head!
I think this is how the thought process goes on in the brain of your critic: “(Your name) _______ is homeschooling her children. That is not how I was raised. That is not what I am doing with my children. She is going against the time-proven establishment. This cannot be right. Oh no! What if she is right? IF she is doing the best for her children, then I have to examine what I am doing, and consider other alternatives. NO! That can’t be. That is not comfortable. Therefore, homeschooling cannot be good.”
Love for you and your children makes many if’s threaten: What if the children become social misfits? What if they don’t learn anything? What if they can’t go to college? What if she exhausts herself and ruins her health? What if her housekeeping never gets done? What if the children turn into juvenile delinquents? What if they have no friends? What if they miss out on all the great stuff school has to offer? What if she has less time for me? What if we have less in common as she homeschools? Those if’s are concern-motivated.
Instead of feeling annoyed and irritated when I get homeschooling criticism, I want to see it for what it is. Honest concern. Pressure is just really love all wound up into a tight bundle.
Because that is what it really is.
I feel better already!