When it comes to school . . . . . . . .
I titled this entry so that anyone who wasn't interested in hearing my views on homeschooling, and may be offended by reading what I have to say on the subject could just politely skip this particular segment of my blog. I have had this on my mind a few days, and have held back from ranting about it - however, I have come to the conclusion that since this is a "homeschooling" web-community, and since this is MY blog - voicing my thoughts and opinions are what it is all about.
I have always tried to speak my mind with respect for my audience. My husband and I feel that keeping our children home from school is best for them, which is why we homeschool. Through the years, I have found opportunities to encourage people who were interested in homeschooling to take the plunge. However, I have found times when I had to respect the fact that someone could not, would not, or did not want to homeschool their children, and support them where they were. I am sure I have not done this perfectly - knowing my propensity for mistakes - and yet it has always been my heart to encourage others. I have not always found this respect to be mutual.
This weekend was a perfect example. I found myself sitting at a wedding reception next to my dad's cousin - a sixty-something, long-time school teacher. I remember being a little girl and going to school with her for a day while visiting them in Pennsylvania. She has an excellent rapport with children, and I am sure that she is a wonderful school teacher. While sitting at the table, we were having very pleasant conversation - about our move to Texas, things I remember about her parents, what she has been up to, the weather, etc. when my oldest daughter Kendra walked up. "So what grade is she going into?" the cousin asked. I told her that she is in ninth grade. "So is that high school where you live?" I replied that it was indeed high school, however, she wasn't going to the high school because we homeschool. This woman who had been the most delightful conversationalist to that point, looked at me with wild eyes, threw her hand up and said, "You don't even want to go there with me." and did not speak to me further for the rest of the night. She did not ask any questions about what kind of education we were giving our kids, what they were involved in, how they scored on standardized tests - NOTHING. She made up her mind long before ever having this conversation with me what she thought of homeschooling, and nobody was going to change her mind. I didn't even try. But as I thought on it, I got more and more upset.
I know I have a problem with expecting people to treat me the way I treat them - and that has been a disappointment many times in my life. I did not pass judgment on her as a school teacher - I know many teachers who are very gifted and talented and have much to offer children. However, the thing that people tend to miss is that we homeschool our children mainly beause we want to pass on our faith to them, and we as their parents want to be the primary influence in their lives. We want our children to grow up to be godly young men and women. That goal is more important than math, spelling, reading history and science. Those are things we are also giving them, but even each of those subjects are taught with a worldview that shows them God's hand in each of these areas.
But here is where I err - talking to the world, and all they hear is blah, blah blah, blah. That's alright, when people see a difference in my children's lives, I will be able to point at what made the difference. We nurtured them in the ways of the Lord, going against the flow in a culture that doesn't know Him.