Friday, October 26, 2012

Teaching My Own: Support For The Dream

As I eagerly began my new life as a homeschooling parent, I was completely caught off-guard by one unanticipated dimension of this lifestyle.

Some people thought I was weird.

Well, let me be more specific. My mother, who was winding down a long and illustrious career as a public school teacher, was not excited about my dreams. As best I could understand, she saw my decision to homeschool as a vote of no confidence in her professional abilities. Although I tried to explain that I thought she was a great teacher and would love to include her in our homeschooling adventures, she could not rally support for this new idea. From that day to this, she has quietly disapproved of our lives as homeschoolers, which has been a big disappointment to me.

But honestly, it's not that surprising. My mom values tradition and predictability over innovation and change, so I can see where she was coming from. Also, I was well aware that it's fairly common for grandparents to struggle with their offsprings' decision to homeschool their grandchildren, so I was not caught off guard by her disapproval.

The bigger surprise was the way my friends reacted.

Before I explain, first let me say that I respect all mothers who try to do right for their children. Anyone who has been at this mothering game for more than a week or so would agree that there is no one correct way to raise a child, and we moms spend a huge amount of time and energy trying to figure out what is best for each one of our little darlings. Whether a mother decides to send her kids to public school, private school, keep them home to homeschool, or ship them off to French boarding school, matters not to me. What is important is simply that she cares.

So while I was (and still am) wildly enthusiastic about homeschooling, I have always appreciated the fact that it's not for everyone. And I have tried not to judge those who choose a different path than me.

Sadly, my decision to follow my homeschooling dreams was difficult for many of my pre-homeschooling friends to accept. Some were threatened, some were jealous, some were just put off by the whole topic. Because I was no longer part of the local elementary school moms' network, I was quickly cut out of their social scene.

To be perfectly honest, it was a hurtful thing to see how quickly my so-called friends dropped me out of their lives. Even worse, the ties between their children and mine were damaged, and that was much harder for me to take.

Now I'm not complaining too much. Our new friends in the homeschooling world were quickly filling in these gaps, and to a certain extent, it was healthy for us to move into a group of families who shared our educational dreams. Time certainly does heal all wounds and I can look back on this time now and see the blessings.

Yet this short chapter of my homeschooling story is important. Many homeschooling moms have dealt with this same situation, yet this consequence of homeschooling is rarely acknowledged or discussed.

Moms who homeschool take a road less traveled, and the people closest to us do not always understand. Like all moms, we are willing to make sacrifices for the welfare of our children, but it really hurts when our family and friends do not support our dreams.


  1. Good for you for sticking with your convictions. This post makes me even more grateful for the unbridled support we had from our entire family--grandparents, aunts, cousins,etc. JoAnne

  2. Lucky you! That's so great. I'm sure glad our paths eventually crossed.

  3. Lucky you! That's so great. I'm sure glad our paths eventually crossed.


Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!