Someone’s Watching! Homeschooling by Example
- Friday, March 18, 2011
A young mother came up to me, almost nervously, and said that she and her husband had been considering homeschooling their children. Her husband was all for it, but she had really been struggling with the idea and just wasn't sure what she wanted to do. That particular day she had met our grown son, Jonathan, and had suddenly come to the marvelous conclusion that she would homeschool! As she was talking with me, she said, "I just needed to see if homeschoolers . . . ummm . . . if they . . . ahhh . . . well . . ." At this point she looked toward the ceiling, searching for the right words.
I supplied them for her. "You wondered if homeschoolers were normal?"
"Yes—that's it!" she sighed, with a relieved look on her face. "After seeing your son, I called my husband on his cell phone and said I'm fine with homeschooling! We're going to do it!"
Being watched is pretty much a fact of life. Let's face it, whether we like it or not, whether we're having a good day (or week, or month, or year—or life!) or not, the probability is good that we're being watched. Those against homeschooling are watching—sometimes waiting for any excuse to point a finger of blame or accusation. Fellow homeschoolers are watching—looking for help with their problems or for encouragement or affirmation in their calling. Our children are watching—looking, learning, and "catching" life from us. And God is watching—always ready to help and guide!
Sometimes it feels like negative spectators and commentators abound, and just about anything negative can, and will, be blamed on homeschooling. Of course, I guess we all know that the public school system doesn't produce anyone with a speech impediment or a spelling problem. Certainly no public-schooled person is shy—in fact, every single one of them is an eloquent public speaker. It also goes without saying that every public-schooled child is a math and geography whiz. And it's common knowledge that all public-schooled kids have wonderful manners and social graces befitting royalty. Isn't it? In fact, the public school is turning out such amazingly perfect, upstanding people that it's simply astounding! Skeptical? You can prove it to yourself. Just go out to any mall, restaurant, or public place and look around; I'm pretty sure it's like I said—you'll be astounded at what you see and hear!
Therefore, with all the evidence right out there in plain sight for all to see, if a homeschooler has a problem in any area of life at all, it simply must be because of homeschooling. Right?
It's unfortunately true that many people buy into that philosophy, even though the obvious facts prove otherwise! Sometimes even we, as homeschooling moms, assume that any weakness or problem, perceived or otherwise, must be our fault. It must be because of homeschooling. We beat ourselves up and dwell on our shortcomings. We may even develop tunnel vision and focus almost totally on a particular problem area to the exclusion of just about everything else. You know what? I think it's high time we realize that everyone has faults, insecurities, problems, and weak areas. And it's because we're people—not because we're homeschoolers!
No one is perfect, but thankfully, by the grace of God and with His help, the homeschooling lifestyle is usually the best possible way to deal with our problems. We can and should seek the help of God, through His Word and input from godly people around us. After that, as homeschoolers, we have several other powerful and effective tools at our disposal. We have flexibility in our scheduling and curriculum choices, opportunity for one-on-one teaching or tutoring, and time to focus on relationships or discipline. Our kids can be with adults more than they're with their peers (that alone can all but eliminate some, though not all, kinds of problems!). And to boost our confidence even more, we have statistics on our side, showing that, on the whole, homeschoolers surpass public and private schoolers hands down—spiritually, academically, and socially! We have strong reason to celebrate homeschooling and to joyfully be the best we can be in front of a watching, though possibly skeptical, world!
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