Can’t We All Just Get Along? ~ a back-to-school dilemma for Moms

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Archived post from August 2013

Comparison.

It’s like a slow cancer eating away at a mother’s heart over the years. As Moms we can compare ourselves in just about every area of our lives, and we do.

As the school bell prepares to ring and we prepare our families to head back to school, there’s always a lot of talk in the Mom-World about school choice. More than ever before there are options for every type of learner and learning style. It is a great day in many ways to be an unconventional learner, because accommodations for disabilities, and learning struggles abound.

In the thirteen plus years we have been educating our children, we have pretty much done it all. We have homeschooled alone and homeschooled with community groups. We have attended public school, private school, virtual school, and a homeschool hybrid school where they go to class 3 days and are home 2 days. I’ve made lesson plans, kept attendance, taught my own children to read. I have also dropped them off in the carpool line and entrusted someone else to do all of the above. I have overseen a virtual classroom and dropped my son of at the public school to play sports. Yes, we have done it all.

Something that has been present no matter what school environment we chose is, comparison.

The private school criticizes the public school. The public school criticizes the homeschool. The homeschool criticizes the private school. And the Moms, do the same.

Can’t we all just get along?

As Moms it is such a waste of personal energy to be critical of others who choose to educate their child in a way that is different from our own. (And be careful, as your children are probably mimicking your opinions to their friends who are educated in different ways. Ask me how I know.)

Another consistency I have found no matter what school environment we chose is, imperfection.

There is no perfect way to do school. None. There is only a fitting way to do school for you, for your child, for your family.

There have been times when yes, I have had two children in separate schools and they both thrived in their respective school.

So, why do we care where Suzy Q sends her kids to school?

What is at the root of this comparison that often sets us against each other as Moms? It is this, when someone else chooses another option for schooling other than the one we have chosen, if we are not confident in our own choices, then we begin to feel as if we have made the wrong one. We feel for some reason, as if their choice, means there is something better out there and we either don’t know about it or aren’t willing or ready to re-arrange our lives to embrace it. The angst is not really with the school choice, its with our choice. Every method of education requires some measure of sacrifice.

Maybe you just don’t want to homeschool your kids. Ever. That’s fine. Sometimes I don’t want to either!

Maybe you don’t want your kids in a private school. You don’t want to pay rising tuition prices, or you don’t want a Christian school that focuses more on the length of a boy’s hair than the depth of his heart. Been there, I understand.

Maybe you don’t want to send your kids to public school. You don’t want them to be exposed to a more liberal world view, you feel your particular child isn’t ready. It’s not sheltering them, it’s knowing your kids heart and acting accordingly. Trust me you should always follow your instincts as a Mom in that area.

In the end, whether its school or how many extracurricular activities you participate in, you MUST do what is in the best interest for your family and your child. No one, I repeat, no one will advocate for your child. You have to be their advocate. Sometimes that means choosing the road less traveled when it comes to school and activities. Sometimes that means sending your child to the public school across the street, or bringing education a little closer to home, or maybe giving them something in between at an academy.

What matters is your child being in an environment that fosters learning, exploring, growth, and maturity in their academics, their faith, and their community. And yes, you can do that whether or not you are in a public school, a private school, or a homeschool.

So stop comparing yourself to another Mom and the school choice her family has chosen. It doesn’t mean you are wrong and she is right. It also doesn’t mean you are right and she is wrong.

Don’t be a part of any environment that touts their method as being the only way to school your children. It’s just a bunch of narrow-minded baloney.

Every mode of education we have employed in our home has taught me and my family greatly. Homeschooling taught us the value of family time. Being near to each other, doing meals together, choosing curriculum geared toward their passions. Private school taught us the blessing of seeing our kids bond with their classmates, the opportunity to talk about God in their learning environment. Public school taught us the thrill of watching our son participate in competitive sports, the challenge of maintaining his faith in a very volatile environment, and releasing him to do it on his own.

I am deeply grateful for each year of school we have had. So I encourage you today sweet Mom Friend, pray about where your child needs to be every year, and what teacher they will have. Listen to The Lord and do what He says, even if it goes against the norm, even if it costs you. Let Him have the final word on what is best for your child. Not your neighbor, not even your best friend.

If someone else chooses to do school differently this year, wish them well. The world is hard enough, let’s rally up girls! Let’s give each other support.

Let’s encourage one another to train up their child in the way they should go.

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