“So, tell me how homeschooling is going.”
There are few questions I dread more than that one at Micah’s doctor’s appointments. Not because I don’t have an answer but because I never know how people will react to the answers. I immediately feel the need to defend our decisions and explain our reasoning as if every question were a trial.
Instead I’ve been striving to give simple answers. I’m not answering to them for how we are educating Micah and you don’t answer to people who ask you either.
Thankfully the Bible gives us some clear parameters for parenting. But there’s still lots of gray area that we get to color however we want depending on our personalities and our kid’s personalities and our life circumstances. Because of that it’s easy to feel insecure, especially with our educational decisions. For us that’s homeschooling but you might be surrounded by homeschoolers and chose to send your child to school.
So how can you breathe a little easier when faced with questions?
Know your reasons and stand by them. Why did you decide to do what you’re doing? Chances are you didn’t make that decision lightly and you should remember that when people start asking questions. Write your reasons down and review them when you get discouraged. Practice the bullet point version in your mind that you can tell people if you want to. Your why is powerful. Your why will even sustain you through your own questions. (And motherhood is one thing I do not have figured out.)
Resist defending your answers. You can’t stop others from asking but you don’t have to answer. Answer what you want and then redirect the conversation or walk away. You don’t have to argue or convince anyone else that you are right. It’s waste of your words and your peace of mind.
Remember you are still learning. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to have all the answers now. You do not have to know your plans for high school when you have a kindergartener. You need to know what to do today and personally I feel better with a plan for this week too. You can change it and tweak it and try something else if it doesn’t work.
Education isn’t a contest. I’m not going to compare my kids with your kids or with thirty kids that are close to their ages. If it takes my boys longer to learn to read than yours that’s ok. If your child struggles with science you can take it slower than your local class. You can supplement with tutors and online programs. You are doing what’s best for your child, not what works for the average child (if there is such a thing).
Does this apply to more than just education? Of course it does. We have so much freedom for our own families and that’s part of what makes this journey so beautiful: our pictures are unique. My family will be different than yours and yours will be different from your best friend’s. And that’s really just fine.