Crafting ... a life.

An online acquaintance of mine was recently struggling with criticism from others over her decision to homeschool. She asked if she was the only one who felt alone. 

She also asked us for our "why."

Her question brought so many feelings to the surface for me. 
Here is my response.

To:         Any mom feeling criticized, overwhelmed, and afraid to fail.
From:    A mom who's been there.

"As a family that feels a strong conviction to be a part of both worlds, I implore you not to stoop so low as to trash public schools in order to build yourself up while you homeschool.  I'm certain that we all feel misunderstood at times - wherever our children are being schooled.  I've received it in both scenarios.  I'm sure parents with their children in Christian or charter school face the same judgement.  No, you are certainly not alone.  You need support and are getting the opposite, and it hurts.  A lot.  *sigh* ...

That being said - these criticisms can be a catalyst to seek God directly for your "why," as you so wisely mentioned.  If we're honest - there are pros and cons to ALL methods: Christian schools, public schools, and homeschools.  Only God can show you why it matters right now for you and your child/children.

"I implore you not to stoop so low as to trash public schools 
in order to build yourself up while you homeschool."

I have found that when I focus on the positive and our goals, it helps more than trying to argue that one way is "right" or "wrong." I think if you openly acknowledge there are good and bad with all situations, and seek God for clarity on why YOU are doing this right now, you will not make enemies but find respect and middle ground. ❤️. Hugs.

My "why":

There are amazing opportunities in homeschooling that we can explore when not in public school.  One huge advantage is making the most of our time with our children.  Another is simply being able to give them more time to move, create, and build outside of the classroom setting.

A big one, for me, was to remove them to a quieter, gentler atmosphere in their tender middle school years.

We have three boys, ages 17, 14 and 10.  They have all been in public school primarily, but came home for certain middle school years.  These were not simple or easy times, but they were treasured.  My youngest and oldest especially needed a break from the noisy, busy, sometimes cruel school setting, as they went through their first awkward stages of puberty.  Our middle school is 5th - 8th and so they would have entered that world at just 9 years old.

Our middle son is much more socially skilled, and did well in 5th. He came home only for 6th grade, and it was a good year but not an easy one for us.  He seems to bond more with us when he's busy with sports, school and band ... and we can just be his parents not his school teachers, too.  But he did value his time at home for several reasons.  For one thing, it made him appreciate his school.

Our youngest is home now, and is maturing rapidly in social skills, self-control, etc. because he simply has less adversity, stress and noise at home.  He can read for hours one day, and jump or bounce like crazy in the middle of math the next.  No one here makes fun of him for doing so, nor does he get in trouble for his very real need to be LOUD and MOVE.

I pray he has the same emerging experience in his years home that our oldest had.  

They're brilliant kids but young for their grade and had some lack in social awareness and maturity. Our oldest returned to school in 7th grade after 2 years at home, and was a completely different person in the classroom and social settings. He had to deal with himself at home - set his own goals, with no one to blame if he got off track.  It is so healthy to learn these things.  Upon returning to school, he made decent friends and teachers called us at home to commend him.  He has always been a great student, but the self-discipline he forged at home has served him very well for his future.  So has, I believe, the chance to raise chickens and go on "field trips" with just mom, and all sorts of other types of learning we were able to count as "school," like the year we did a "Home-made Christmas" and developed both his hands-on artistry/photography and his confidence to care for others.

The last "why" is one of the biggest.  It is the chance to immerse them in science and history from a Christian perspective, since most of their lives they haven't received much of that at school.  Reading the classics, sharing read-aloud novels together ...  stories based on real heroes and morals ... these are precious gifts for us and our little ones, no matter where they might complete their schooling in the future.

I hear your heart and know how you long to be understood, accepted and commended by those you love in this. I pray right now for you to see clearly your "why" without focusing on anyone else. Battle it out.  Ask for wisdom and clarity. Figure out what you truly believe this opportunity can do for your children.

Once you are certain of that - you'll have the focus you need to withstand your worst days.  It will give you a humble way to respond (not react) to your critics, hear their concerns, and appeal to them with honest, fun stories of your best and worst moments at home.

By His Grace...


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