Since starting my homeschooling journey, I have found that as with anything we do, we need support. We need the support of our family, our friends, and our community. If someone you know homeschools, be supportive, even if you do not agree with their decision. But how? What are some ways that you can be supportive, even if you don’t agree with their choices?
First of all, let’s discuss why you shouldn’t let your lack of agreeability known to the homeschooling family. For starters, everyone has an opinion of your parenting. No two parents agree, and you hate it when people criticize your parenting choices. While homeschooling is a lifestyle choice, it is very much a parenting choice. If you don’t want others to comment on your parenting choice, don’t comment on theirs. The second reason you should keep it to yourself is that it WILL cause hard feelings. No matter how you broach it, it will make the person you are talking to feel defensive and cause hurt feelings.
So what should you do with the homeschooling family? Be supportive. Here are a few ways that you can be supportive:
- Do not talk to the children about public school and all they are missing. I can’t even believe that I have to say this, but you would be surprised. My children LOVE being homeschooled. They were given the choice, and ample opportunities to change their minds. However, I have had people tell them they are missing out on things from public school. They mention class parties, friends, and even things in the future, like prom. This happened to us a few weeks ago, and luckily my daughter took it in stride, however, some kids would use this to harbor resentment against their parents.
- Keep your opinions to yourself. With that being said, if you see a homeschool family that is truly not homeschooling, speak up. However, if you know that the family is working and the kids are learning, keep the opinions to yourself. Just remember that homeschooling doesn’t have to happen during the traditional school calendar. There have been plenty of times that we worked on a Saturday evening because we had something come up during the traditional school day.
- Don’t mom shame. This goes along with points one and two, but is different just the same. Mom shaming is a direct attack on the choices we make as mothers. Every choice that we make as moms gets placed under a microscope. Imagine this scenario. You let your kid dress themselves, and they are wearing an outfit that looks truly horrible. You go to the store, and you have a hundred pair of eyes judging you. You get stares, maybe a few eye rolls or head shakings. What happens if the dad does it? Nothing. He may even get a sympathetic look or two, because at least he tried. Mom’s already have enough pressure on them, they don’t need your mom shaming comments in their head as they try to meet the impossible demands that come with motherhood.
- Volunteer to help them learn. Whoa. What? Did I really just say that? Volunteer to help the homeschooling family in your life. I’m not saying that you need to quit your job to teach the kids, but offer to help out occasionally. If you are talented in a hobby, offer to teach it to the kids. Do you have some free time during the day? Offer to help be an extra set of hands every once in a while.
- Give the homeschool teacher a break. I am one of the few lucky homeschool moms who has a tremendously supportive husband. On his days off, he is helping us work. He grabs a book and let’s the kids read to him. He helps them with questions they may have. However, even as supportive as he is, I still need a break. If you have a homeschool family in your life there are many ways to do this: offer to babysit, take the kids for ice cream, and to the park. Sometimes a twenty minute break is enough to make you go from crazed mother to June Cleaver.
- Respect their schedule. If you know that your home school family works at specific times, try your best not to interrupt it. Don’t call them on the phone just to talk. Don’t drop by unannounced. All of those little distractions can undo everything that they are trying to do that day.
- Pray for them. With God all things are possible. Pray for your homeschool family to succeed. The opposite of success is failure, and who suffers if they fail? The kids. Wishing for a homeschool family to fail is wishing that the kids in that home don’t learn.
There are many other ways to support the homeschool family. All of which involve the “Golden Rule”. Treat others the way that you want to be treated. Say and do the things that you wished others would do for you. The world has enough hate, let’s show each other love.