The Ungraceful Homeschool Community

I’ve been at the home school thing for a long time now (12 years) so I tend to forget what it is like for new homeschool moms coming into an established support group or co-op. We veterans are grounded in our method of homeschooling(at least we hope). We know what works for our kids and what doesn’t. New moms come in and ask how we do things. They want to know how we do it.

I am yet to meet a veteran homeschool mom who is not willing to tell a new HS mom how she should HS her kids. I enjoyed doing it so much that I help to write a curriculum for new Hs moms and then taught it for 3 years. I still get to speak every now & then. It is fun! But you know what? How I HS my kids is not the way that works for everyone. there is no exact formula to homeschooling your kids successfully! what works for me, may not work for you. That is the evidance of a great and might God in our lives. He created each of us so unique and our children are a perfect fit for us and our schooling methods.

I had an interesting conversation with a new homeschool mom this afternoon. She had joined a group that was a product of the larger homeschool group. She joined this group because it brought together moms with children the same age. She wanted her son to get to know other kids who were homeschooled and she wanted to get to know more moms. Sounds good huh? She quit the group.

She told me that there was so much judgement in that group because she didn’t do things just like the rest of the moms. She didn’t use “the curriculum” they thought she should use and the worst part is that she let her boys watch TV. Not just any TV, she let them watch shows that have been branded inappropriate by many homeschool moms. Her boys loved running around pretending to be super heroes. She felt no freedom to let her boys be themselves at these play dates. She spent her drive to the events lecturing her boys. “Don’t say “batman”, “superman”, and please do not tell anyone that we eat froot loops for breakfast!”

Finally she had enough & they quit the group. Soon she was contacted by 3 other moms who also quit because of the same reasons.

How many times has the Unit Study Mom secretly cast judgement on the Text Book Mom, because we all know that the text book kids don’t have near as much fun? How many times have we decided that a mom is just not raising her daughters right because her girls are allowed to wear makeup at 13 years old? What about the mom who BUYS her bread? Oh my gosh! Doesn’t she know that making it is way more healthy? And did she just give her kid a suger soaked drink box? Surely this mom is not serious about homeschooling. Afterall, she uses the NIV Bible, not the KJV! I have been there so many times it is embarrassing to admit to. I just wrote out actual things I have either said to thought about other moms.

The Lord really grabbed my heart and made me to realize that he loves me even when I don’t do what he wants me to, so I need to love and accept that homeschool mom who not only uses text books, but let’s her kids watch Pokemon on TV. Do I agree with watching Pokemon? No, but that is o’k, I can still learn from this mom and be her friend. And our kids can even play together. I have learned since moving back into a neighborhood that my kids will encounter difficult circumstances, but it only opens up more opportunities for us to talk about how the Lord expects us to act. I have learned that there are a lot of really awesome families out there who have made really great friends for my kids and …get ready… you won’t believe this…but the kids go to public school. Yes, that is right I let my kids play with public school kids. I know that is a big huge “no no” in the homeschool community, but if I had continued to judge these families because they do things differently than we do I would have missed out on some extremely great friendships with really fabulous christian women who are raising great christian kids. Is that hard to believe?

We have got to show grace as homeschool moms to other moms, whether they homeschool or not. We have got to stop judging each other and accept each other the way we are. We should encourage each other with the love of Christ. We already get plenty of discouragement and persecution from society who don’t think we should homeschool. Why do we create more tension by judging each other? We have become a very ungraceful homeschool community and we now have a reputation for being snobs and judgemental. I may be a bit contraversial here and maybe I even stepped on some toes. Maybe you don’t agree with me at all. That is just fine! I don’t have my act totally together, I’m still learning how to put grace into action myself. But I can tell you that it is a lot more fun when I can accept a mom the way she is instead of trying to change her.

Colossians 4:5, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Romans 12:10, “Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 14:13,14, “Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. Qs one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something unclean then for him it is unclean.”

2 thoughts on “The Ungraceful Homeschool Community

  1. Penney Douglas

    Hi Dana,

    Did you write this? You know that the Lord keeps dealing with me about judging and saying unkind things about people. Well, the things that have happened to the people you talked about who were judged and quit the group, those same things happened to me. But you know what? I still have the audacity to do the same thing to others. I’m trying so hard to stop judging people, because I sure don’t want to be judged.

    We have been giving kids a chance, even public schooled ones. We let them come to our house, and we explain to them when they do things that aren’t acceptable, but we haven’t had very good results. They stay the way they were and don’t honor our rules. Their families are not in the best shape, either. But I feel like the Lord has told me that I have to protect my kids from people who only pretend to be their friends, but are really using them, and will not be true friends. We live in the city now, and I have had to turn many neighborhood kids away after they’ve come several times, because they wouldn’t behave respectfully. I don’t have overly high standards. I just expect kids to act decent, and when they don’t, they lose their right to come into my house.

    But I have no right to judge them or their families. And I certainly have no right to hold any other homeschooler to my standards or my ways of homeschooling or raising kids or anything. If only we would walk in the Spirit at all times instead of walking in the flesh. I’m still working hard on that one. Sometimes I feel so immature and can’t believe I’m 44 and been saved my whole life. I’m thankful for God’s mercy, but I’m still striving to be all that He wants me to be. I just need to catch those judgmental thoughts as soon as they’re born and throw them out and ask Jesus to forgive me and help me not to even have them.

    You’ve hit on an important issue. I hope that many people will see through this article that grace and mercy and love are what God is all about and will stop being prideful and judgmental and religious. And may I be one of them.

    Love,
    Penney

    Reply
  2. Dana Post author

    Hi Penney,
    Yes, I wrote it. It is something that has laid heavy on my heart for years now.

    Please don’t think that I have this all conquered in my own life, because I don’t! I’m working on it daily. We also live in town & I have really struggled with the dysfunctional families out here. I don’t let just anyone in my house to play with my kids. If they are rude & disrespectful then of course they cannot stay. There must be boundries set. The public school kids that my kids are friends with have come from our church, not the neighborhood. I try not to judge the families out here, I do not know what goes on in their homes or in their past. But that doesn’t mean that I will let their children play in our house. There is a difference. Grace is not letting people walk all over you & hurt you & your family. I know that is not what you were saying, but I think that some people think that.
    Love you dear!

    Reply

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