“If you find yourself making parenting choices based on your concern about how other people will judge your decisions, that’s probably not the right parenting choice…”
Has a random phrase on a podcast every caught your attention and made you stop and think for the rest of the afternoon?
The Mom Hour is one of my comfort-listen podcasts. It was one of the very first podcasts I ever listened to, and is the only one of those first podcasts that I still enjoy on a regular basis. It is neither a faith-based nor a homeschool podcast, but I truly love having it on while I go about my daily chores each week.
And as Meagan and Sarah discussed the issues of holiday parenting choices in a recent episode (the above opening blog post line is a paraphrase of what was said), I was completely struck by how it applies to homeschooling!
Do you find yourself making choices in your homeschool (about curriculum, educational philosophy, co-ops, etc) primarily because you’re worried how other people will judge you?
Those are probably not the best choices for your own unique homeschool family.
“That book isn’t really a good fit for my kid, but everyone else in our circle seems to think it’s the best option.”
“That curriculum gives me a headache and makes my kid cry, but the moms on the internet all rave about it, so it must be good.”
“If other people in my homeschool group knew how much screen time I allow my kids, would they still respect me?”
“I know my child is on sensory overload and needs a break, but the other co-op moms might judge me if I let them go hang out by themselves instead of participating in this group activity.”
“What if the other homeschool moms find out I let my kids read twaddle?”
…And all those other opinions we secretly worry people hold:
What, you’re teaching your 3-year-old how to read? Don’t you know you’re supposed to wait for formal lessons?
What, your kid is 8 and barely reading? What did you do wrong?
Why don’t you do more outside activities? Aren’t you worried about socialization?
Why does your family participate in so many activities? Don’t you remember that homeschooling is about HOME?
And the list could go on…
Your homeschool family is unique.
You are an individual. Your spouse is an individual. Your children are unique image-bearers of God.
Your homeschool does not have to look like anyone else’s.
So take the time to research, read, and ruminate.
Pray, seek wise counsel, and consider all your options.
And then make the decision that is best for your particular family.
Don’t pick a curriculum or make any other decisions about your homeschool based out of fear of what other people will think of you.
(Especially not random people in that random Facebook group whom you will probably never meet in real life.)
Y’all know we talk a lot about identity around here.
Is it found in our own or our children’s accomplishments?
Is it found in how well we check the boxes of a particular homeschool method?
Is it found in how awesome all those other homeschool families think we are?
Is it found in somehow measuring up and making God proud of us?
I love the Heidelberg Catechism’s pastoral approach to theology, and Question 1 sums up this Truth so well:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
Finding our identity in Christ sets us truly free as we homeschool to glorify and enjoy Him to the best of our ability with the unique gifts He has graciously given us, with the unique limitations and weaknesses He has graciously bestowed on us, and with the unique strengths and passions with which He has graciously blessed us.
So I’ll just leave you with this question today:
Why are you making the choices you are in your homeschool?
Are they based out of fear of man? Idolatry? Performancism?
Or are you resting in the perfect work of Jesus on your behalf as you seek to humbly, brokenly, and joyfully walk in the good works He has prepared for you?