It’s no secret that homeschooling is a challenging endeavor for families. As homeschooling parents, we have to manage a lot within our household. But, more than that, we often have to deal with the wrath of others who may not approve of our lifestyle.
Many homeschoolers feel their lives on display despite knowing this is the best decision for their family. Some families, like those raising children with special needs, have many outsiders weighing in on their decisions. From therapists to doctors to those in social services, we have many departments to answer to. We feel the watchful eye of others who almost seem to be waiting for us to fail, or to finally change our minds.
On the days we grumble in confidence, we’re told that it is our choice. And, just like that, our worth as parents is reduced to our having made a life choice that we’re not permitted to complain about.
Many of us do just that. We answer with a quick, “Fine!” when asked how homeschooling is going.
Even though we homeschool, we have a right to our feelings, we are permitted to have bad days, and we are allowed to vent every now and again. We shouldn’t have to hide in shame because an alternative choice we have made for our family doesn’t slide well with others in our circles.
The truth about homeschooling parents
Let’s start by acknowledging that everyone has bad days. As human beings, homeschooling or not, we have bad days.
Any parent experiences overwhelm, disorganization and discouragement at one point or another. Almost everyone we know counts down to the weekend when the week has tested their patience.
When it comes to sharing our feelings with others, we shouldn’t have to hide the truth for fear of having the “I told you so” finger pointed at us. We shouldn’t have to doubt our decisions either.
Many homeschoolers don’t even confess to people they meet that they homeschool. It’s just easier to evade the question than to get into a heated discussion.
Because of this, we often retreat within our family unit and keep the questions and concerns to ourselves.
We become withdrawn.
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
Psalm 38: 6-8
The truth about our expectations of others
We are often harder on ourselves than we are on others.
We don’t expect others to start homeschooling each time they complain about a child’s teacher at school, do we?
We don’t expect others to change jobs when they disagree with a boss or when he criticizes a co-worker, do we?
Similarly, we shouldn’t question our entire philosophy of education because we have a little challenge to share with others.
A little complaint about something difficult in our homeschool does not mean we need to give up our entire lifestyle either.
Come out of hiding and homeschool with pride
God doesn’t want us to hide our difficulties from Him.
O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
We aren’t failures if we have an off day or an off week. And, it’s ok to cry out for help.
Besides the available resources for homeschoolers, our greatest reSOURCE is God who will give us strength through the hardships.
We’re not perfect teachers.
We’re not perfect parents.
We’re not perfect human beings.
We will never be.
Yet, if we show up each day with grace and guide our children regardless, we will be guided in turn.
Do you ever feel yourself putting on a fake smile and chiming in with a “Fine” when you’re asked about your homeschooling journey? Or, do you answer others honestly and with pride?