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I homeschool because our options are limited here in our Western town. I'm not sure if we ever moved if I'd continue to homeschool, but would probably put my children in a Christian school. With that said, I find it very unhelpful to hear comments like:
"I commend you. I could never homeschool."

This comment came after a family member who is visiting watched us homeschool. My almost 8 year old is a challenge, in every way, and if you've been reading over at Lisa Writes lately you'll notice her post about her contrary child. Well, he's mine.

This remark is more of a backhanded way of saying, "I think your kid is obnoxious and difficult, and you must be a saint to put up with him everyday when you could send him to school for free."

To which I think: "Yes, he's a challenge. But I know this is the right choice for our family right now and even if it IS difficult I will persevere. And I know the only way I can have any success is by God's grace and mercy on our family, because His power is made perfect in my weakness. Any gains we make spiritually, academically, emotionally will be because in His unmerited favor he chose to bless our endeavors. It's certainly not because I'm the most patient, devoted teacher. But I can see His hand in using the difficult season of homeschooling to mold me into a more patient and devoted mother, instead of the quick-tempered feminist I have been most of my life."

7 comments:

Hey sweetie! I hear the pain in your voice. I cried when I read your post. It reminded me of a time in my life when someone said something about my child, and it cut me in half. I was pregnant with #2, and #1 was 2 years old. Every doc appt was a NIGHTMARE. Miz #1 took advantage of mommy in the stirups! I heard one of the nurses whisper, "She's cute, but she's a monster!" I cried for over an hour in the car. They didn't know me, nor my daughter. they only caught her during unsupervised times, a mere glimpse of a person does not define them. Know that all of us homeschool moms stand with you, difficult child or not, because we are all ONE in Christ Jesus. You are loved.
Amy R. : )

September 20, 2007 at 12:26 PM  

You go, girl! Every family's choice is based on so many individual factors. You are choosing to use this time to grow spiritually yourself. I find that highly admirable. Those of us with kids that others find "difficult" can certainly relate to all you're experiencing. Sometimes I wonder what they all say about me, my parenting, and my boy behind my back. Someday though he's going to surprise them all.

Just last week at a parent-teacher conference, his wonderful teacher told us that she asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up. He said,"I think I would like to act. Not professionally. Just in high school drama or something, but other than that I just want to do whatever God wants for me." So-called difficult boys do have shining moments.

September 20, 2007 at 1:47 PM  

I've had much the same comment in regard to staying home with my children; I always cringe just a little because invariably the statement is made in front of the person's own children, effectively telling them: I could never stay home with the likes of you! Maybe I'm too sensitive or defensive! Anyway, you are right on: I must do what God has called me to do, believing He will provide. It's all by His grace anyway! ;-)

September 20, 2007 at 2:33 PM  

People are rude!
You are taking the right perspective that this hsing time is a blessing, really, to give you opportunities to grow and understand the fruit of the Spirit, that others don't get. That's how I look at being a SAHM and hser. Through the years (and this ain't bragging) I see I have more patience and tolerance in the midst of chaos, than my husband or sisters who don't do the same. So even though, at times, I'd like to throw it all in and send the kids to a mediocre public school, eat bon-bons all day and enjoy the soaps (not!), I know what I'm (we're) doing is right, the best.

September 21, 2007 at 6:25 AM  

ok, all. Now for an unpopular point of view - as I've read the other four posts. Could it be possible that all sides of the schooling get EXTREMELY defensive when another side is even potentially critical? I am, myself, very tired of it all. We should give each other more grace and trust the Lord is leading each His own way. Additionally, isn't it possible that these critical people (like Julie's family) are just seeing the true fallen nature of each one of us? Let's not take it so personally, espcially knowing they can be that way too! Let's been honest! We are all obnoxious in our own way and we all have our bad days. Sometimes our children happen to exhibit their "difficult" side to strangers who end up thinking we are totally bad parents. For those doing "Seeking Him" this is an evidence of our pride...
We need to just be so much more loving in my opionion. J - if this doesn't post, that's ok! Hope you are having a better week! God bless!

September 22, 2007 at 5:16 PM  

I read this post this morning and have been thinking about it all afternoon. Because you were there, you know the tone in which the comment was made. If I had said this, which in fact is a comment that I have often thought about homeschoolers, it would be in this tone: I commend you for putting your children first, for putting aside your own selfish desire to have a chance to have time alone each day...a chance for grown-up time...for bon-bons and soaps (lol). I am a Lutheran school teacher...our families make sacrifices to send their children to a non-public school. We also have families that complain because we aren't "year-round" schools, because they don't want their kids at home with them. Others send one of their two kids to day care any day they aren't in school so they don't have them at home at the same time. These families would NEVER sacrifice of themselves for their children's best interest. Each child, even the "best" is a challenge in their own way in a learning environment. In my eyes, this is not a behavioral comment, but one that DOES raise you up a mother who has a deep concern and love for her family. I was blessed to have Lutheran schools available for my kids - until high school. Although I hate them being in public school, I truly believe I could not teach them the things they've learned there in high school. They have been blessed with amazing minds, and excellent teachers. Hang in there, and know that your choice is a worthwhile one.

September 23, 2007 at 3:27 PM  

Some good thoughts, ladies. It is very discouraging as a mother to hear someone make a negative comment about your child. It feels like it's a reflection on your parenting, and if you're anything like me, that is something I'm very insecure about, particularly as a pastor's wife.

There are expectations on the pastor's family that far exceed that of many children.

As for schooling choices, I think most people, who are reasonable, respect a person's right to choose what's best for their family. I'm glad we live in a place where we CAN choose without fear of legal problems.

The bottom line on my experience is this: the comment was made after a very difficult morning homeschooling a very difficult child while someone else was watching. Most definitely NOT an ideal circumstance.

September 23, 2007 at 3:55 PM  

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