Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Enough Rope to Hang Myself

Some days, I can't win for losing.

When we made the decision to homeschool our kids, there was an attitude of skepticism among some folks that we know...an attitude that said, 

"We'll just give you enough rope to hang yourselves with. Pretty soon, you'll give up on this nonsense and send them to public school like every normal person in America." 

(Hee, hee...as if I've ever been normal!)

But, we took this all in stride, figuring that the day would come when we could "prove" to those around us that we are making the right choice.

For example, the fact that our 5 year old is reading at a 4th grade level seems like perfect "proof" that homeschooling is going wonderfully--so, please stop worrying that we don't really know what's best for our own kids.

Oh, if it were only that easy!

I have come to realize this week that some people will always choose to be uncomfortable with the idea of homeschooling, and therefore will always find a way to criticize it.

As a vocal advocate of home education, I find it pretty easy (most of the time) to answer objections to homeschooling. After all, there are only about 5 or 6 out there. Seriously! There are variations on those basic themes, of course, but at their root, there are really only 5 or 6!

This one, however, surprised me. This person (who shall remain nameless) actually used my son's high achievement in reading as a reason that he should probably be in school!

Because he's too smart for his age and that's not a good thing? Nope. That's one I've heard before...and frankly, I think it is silly and I just don't care.

No...because he's so very smart, that, surely, I cannot possibly devote enough time to him to really challenge him educationally. I mean, really, Tiana, you have two younger children, and you're pregnant, I don't see how you can keep up with him academically?

Deep Breath.

Alright...first of all...if I cannot keep up with my 5-year-old academically, it says really bad things about the public school education--not to mention the college degree!--I received. Let's not forget that I spent my work-outside-the-home years as a preschool teacher. But, even if I hadn't, accusing me of being unable to keep up with my own Kindergartener's academic ability is pretty demeaning.

More importantly, I think it is a great non sequitur to assume that, because our son is smarter than the average Kindergartener, that we therefore should stop homeschooling him and send him to an average Kindergarten! 

Nevertheless, I did my best to answer this objection calmly and respectfully, while at the same time making it clear that I am not going to change my mind on this subject.

As much as I hate to admit it, though, it did bother me. I had hoped that, once folks started to see the fruit of my labors as a homeschooling mom, that they would realize how right I am, and praise me.


For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 (NASB)

When it comes down to it, my educational goals for my children are different. I don't want what the world wants for my kids. Sadly, I think most Christians do. They may want something that is a slightly different color or flavor of what the world wants, but ultimately, they want their kids to blend into the culture around them as much as possible. They want a comfortable, pleasant existence for their children, and to avoid the possibility of being labeled "weird" or "fanatical".

The real, honest objection to homeschooling that most people have is that it is different.

Are my kids well educated? Yes! But, not in the same way as other kids.

Do my kids socialize? Yes! But not in large groups of their peers for long periods of time, as other kids are.

My methods are different.

My materials are different.

My standards are different.

And that is because my goals are different

I am not trying to please people. I am trying to please Christ. I am trying to raise my children to be fully devoted followers of Him. Everything I do centers around that goal.

When all is said and done, I have only Him to answer to. 

May He say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."


The Zoo Keeper said...

Keep up the good work! As a public school teacher who is praying to be able to homeschool her children, your 5 year old would not be reading on a 4th grade level in public schools because NCLB would cause the teacher to ignore him because he'll test well on his own. All the kids who won't test well will get her attention.

Mrs. Bridget G. said...

I love this post. People's oppositions to homeschooling is so brutal especially when it your first time homeschooling like it is for me. I could not believe the things people say as if it is THEIR children and not yours. Kudos to you!

Linda said...

one word - AMEN.

Anonymous said...

This is excellent. Our goals are, indeed, different - praise the Lord!


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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

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Our Curriculum 2010-2011

Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Math--Math-U-See Primer (Kindergarten) , Math-U-See Alpha (1st grade)
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*

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