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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Telling others about the decision to homeschool

Jeana started a post about hidden messages in homeschooling conversations on her blog.  Part of this "conversation" really struck me:

Me: We homeschool.

What I meant: We homeschool.

What (oh let's just call her a she, even though sometimes it's a he) heard: We homeschool because we think that public schools are the spawn of Satan and private schools are his stepchildren. I think my kids are infinitely more Godly and righteous because of our choice, and any parent who does not homeschool is sentencing his/her child to eternal torment and, at the very least, exclusion from any playdate that involves my perfect offspring who by the way just this morning memorized the entire Bible while I multi-tasked by grinding wheat with one hand and handstitching a dress with the other while I gave birth to my forty-seventh child.

Her: We don't homeschool because (fill in the blank)

To fill in the rest of the conversation with what I usually feel-

What I hear: Your kids are going to be freaks with no social skills, and you're over-controlling and over-protective, and need a life of your own.

     *We awkwardly end the conversation and drift off to talk to someone else.

I am the first to admit that I am defensive when it comes to our choice to homeschool.  As soon as someone asks, "Is your daughter in preschool?" I'm preparing myself to be judged.  It often feels like getting past this conversation is the first step to making a new friend. 

I really don't think homeschooling is for everyone.  We personally feel that God has called us to it, not as a trial, but as a committment, unless He possibly shows us something different.  Whether someone else homeschools, or does public or private school, I respect it as long as it is a decision that was thought through and prayed through and the family feels like it is God's will for them.

But how do you get past the fear of being judged?  How do you get past the awkwardness that I feel so often when meeting a new mom?  How do you make the conversation comfortable for the other mom?  I'm sure she must feel it, too.

What do you do in this situation?

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