(Alert: No matter how it first appears, this post is NOT about home schooling)
The woman said what so many have said to me over the last sixteen years when hearing that I home school my children.
“You must be so patient…I could NEVER teach my own children, I’d go crazy!”
Such comments are meant to be kind, but somehow I’m always left feeling rotten after I hear them…not because I doubt my decision, but because I’m left with the feeling my choice to home school has made the other woman feel guilty, or ‘less’ than I am.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t know ANY home schooling mom, in fact, who woke up one day and said, “How can I make other women feel terrible?”
We home school because we want to do it, not to indict those who don’t.
But it brings up a good point: Why do we care what other moms do with their kids?
Their choices to do something other than what we choose to do are not (usually!) judgmental statements what we have or have not done.
So why do we take them as such?
Early on in my home schooling life, this kind of thinking ran rampant. What curriculum do you use was not a question of simple curiosity, but a cry to find out if what I was using was good enough as what my friend was using. Because, what if there was something else better out there and I was denying my child THAT curriculum? My friend’s child might start doing better in school than my mine, yikes!
We’re not always motivated by competitiveness, but sometimes we don’t realize when we are.
Insecurity is usually the culprit. If Jane isn’t doing X, and I am, than am I wrong/stupid/uninformed/lazy? What if I’m doing X and Jane isn’t?
Which is how we end up buying new curriculum each year for ten years before realizing we liked the original curriculum best, after all.
When the young mamas in my life ask for my advice in regards to schooling choices, I tell them this: Does home schooling fit your personality?
Because sometimes it doesn’t. And it’s true for every issue a mama faces. Sometimes there is a wonderful new (discipline technique/book/system/guru) out there that sounds AMAZING, but just isn’t our thing. It doesn’t fit with our lives, our schedules, our personalities, our preferences. Home schooling is the absolute WORST thing for some mamas and the absolute BEST for others.
Who cares? Vive la difference!
Winnie-the-Pooh wisdom encourages us to apply this filter to any issue and ask…Does X fit you? Home schooling might be a great fit for an Owl Mama or a Rabbit Mama, but kill a Tigger Mama’s spirit. OR if the Tigger Mama finds some other Tigger Mamas to bounce the home schooling path with, she might love it.
A Kanga Mama might be overwhelmed (or threatened) by a Tigger Mama’s social schedule, but the Kanga Mama may intimidate the Tigger Mama because Kanga makes the best class mother EVER while Tigger is too bouncy to settle down and make those awesome cupcakes or Pinterest her Halloween costumes.
Vive la difference!
For the same reason we tell our kids they don’t need to fit in, neither do we…
You were made to be zesty…or a great listener. Eloquent…or thoughtful. A social butterfly…or a contemplative.
Whatever it is, revel in it, and be the best IT you can be.
Pooh wasn’t the smartest animal in the wood, but he was uniquely smack dab in the center of his Poohness. That’s all God wanted him to be. Not high-strung like Piglet or organized like Rabbit. Just Pooh.
Are you okay, just being whatever Hundred-Acre Mama you were made to be?
And, remember, when you refuse to enter the competition, you automatically win the blue ribbon.
Vive la difference!
Read here for more about Hundred Acre Mamas…