Homeschool Conviction

HomeschoolConvictionI recently had one of those moments of epiphany.  It was like a a huge bomb just went in my brain and I finally understood something I have spent years trying wrap my brain around.  The light bulb over my head was shining brighter than the sun.  It finally occurred to me why I find it hard to relate to or even whole-heartedly fit into so many homeschooling circles… including with some in the very group that I founded and have lead as president for over two years. I assumed it was something about me or my personality that made things not quite right.

Then a couple of weeks ago I was reading the latest edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine when I ran across an article by Familyman Todd Wilson.  I love reading his articles even if they are geared towards men.  His straight forward, humorous style, is captivating.  He “gets” this whole homeschooling thing.  You might recognize some of his hilarious homeschooling cartoons from around the web.  Like this one.. which fits me to the letter!…

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In his latest article called Dad-Conviction Todd shares an experience his wife had recently.  Because the family travels often for their ministry she had never been too involved in their local homeschool community or co-ops.  She found herself in a time in her life where she wanted to make some connections with local moms who also homeschool.  Off to different homeschool gatherings and events she went, children in tow.  They all came home smiling and reported back to Dad to that they had a great time and that they met some really wonderful people.  In the end, mom confessed  that she didn’t feel quite as over the moon about these new homeschoolers she was meeting as she wanted to be.  Something was just a bit off to her.  She shared with her husband…

“The thing is, they don’t homeschool for the same reasons or convictions that we do.  They seem to homeschool because it’s better than what they experienced in the school system, or out of convenience, or lack of money (for private schools). They homeschool one kid but not the others.  If they think the school is an okay option next year for whatever reason they’ll just switch and do that instead.”

He goes on to say that she perceives most homeschoolers she meets as homeschooling not out of conviction or a calling from God but because it’s the easier thing to do for now.  She worries that when the hard days come (and they will) “the modern day homeschooler will just look for another option to ease the pain.”

Oh my goodness I nearly jumped out of my seat!  I feel exactly like Todd Wilson’s wife!  My family has a deep conviction for homeschooling and it doesn’t seem like many other homeschool families feel the same way.  In a world where I already feel different because of our educational choice I can feel alienated even among those who have made a similar choice.  To talk with other women who don’t carry the same convictions, especially when things get bumpy, can actually be very discouraging.  I recently started such a conversation, or I should say I tried to, and the whole thing spiraled into a discussion about who was planning to send which child into what school next year. And all of the women were congratulating each other for this because they viewed the moms putting their kids in school as doing the hard yet brave thing.  NO! I was screaming inside! Sticking it out and doing what God has called you to do instead of taking the easy way out is the hard and brave thing! I was so disheartened.  It was certainly not the lift-up I personally hoped to find.  I found myself sitting in silence because to say anything to the contrary would have not have been the polite thing to do.

My family’s beliefs about education were born from my own experience as a public school teacher and our own study of scripture.  I saw first hand how absolutely inadequate the modern traditional school system is.  And I write those words with trepidation because I don’t want to seem as if I’m saying anything derogatory about my absolutely phenomenal friends and family still working in the traditional school trenches doing the very best they possibly can.  The fact of the matter is even with the most talented of teachers no school can provide the kind of learning environment that I think every child on this planet deserves.  One that is centered on God’s word, in the context of family, and full of individualization. In fact I do not believe traditional, institutionalized schooling was even God’s plan for children. Over the next month I plan to blog more about what I believe is God’s model for educating children and what I view as the ultimate model of education (an ideal I strive to meet yet will likely always fall short of).

Until then… convicted homeschool moms I’m praying for you that you can find the encouragement you need to run this marathon of educating your own children at home.  And I also pray for the homeschool community as a whole.  I fear if ever we face scrutiny or downright persecution from whatever powers that may be that we all find the strength to stick it out and now be blown away.

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