OK, moms, let's talk community. Specifically your homeschool community.
Homeschooling is as varied as...well, as the people who choose to homeschool.
Classical versus unschooling, Apologia versus anything else, government directed versus parent directed, organic versus non-organic, attachment parenting versus schedule driven, religious versus non-religious, skirts versus yoga pants...the list is endless and unfortunately, so is the list of people who've been caught in the crossfire.
Somewhere along the way, probably as far back as Cain and Able, it became an "us versus them" mentality. We looked around at how others were homeschooling their children and felt...threatened, prideful, fearful, insecure...and we began to let those feelings erode our homeschool community. Instead of embracing and loving our differences, they have become the rocks we've used to bludgeon each other to death, leaving many wounded homeschool mommas in our wake.
We seem to have forgotten just how alike we are and have instead chosen to focus on the differences. Consider the fact that most of us have given up livelihoods, careers, newer cars, vacations and Pinterest worthy homes in order to focus our attention on our kids. That in itself is a point of unity. Friends, we're all on the same team! Your homeschool may look nothing like mine, but we're still working toward the same goal - a desire to train our children's hearts in the midst of educating their minds.
I know some amazing families whose homeschool experience looks nothing like mine. The beauty of these differences are the opportunities they afford us to learn from one another.
- A college professor/homeschool dad whose kids could talk circles around me on the subject of politics on any given day.
- A sweet mom whose laid back approach has allowed more time for her daughters to perfect their various skill sets and interests.
- The family who travels extensively, forgoing traditional learning in favor of an interactive experience.
- A friend with a child in public school, one in private and one learning at home as they search for the best fit for each student.
- One of my closest friends using the resources offered by IDEA to help her kids get an amazing education.
I am a stronger mom and teacher (heck, I'm a better person) for having known each of these families. I could easily have looked at the different ways they chose to approach their kids' education and assumed them to be wrong based on the fact that they're different from mine. Had I done so, I would have missed out on amazing friendships and experiences. I would have missed out on community.
If you were to drop by for the afternoon, I would offer you my cozy chair, along with a cuppa joe and ask you about your story. Your story is what makes your homeschool unique. I want to understand your journey in order to come alongside and encourage you. Imagine what would happen in our homeschool community if we set aside the "my way or the highway" mentality and genuinely sought to understand and encourage one another on this crazy ride called homeschooling? The impact would be significant, not only for our generation, but for future generations as we lead by example.
So how about you? What does your community look like? Would you say it's characterized by a heaping dose of grace or maybe a bit too much criticism? Have you been guilty of judging? If we're honest, I think we all have at some point along the way. It's time we recognize we're on the same team. It's time to come alongside one another with love and grace in an effort to build bridges rather than burning them to the ground. Time to stop walking in fear of the unknown and recognize that our differences are our greatest strength. Time to lay down the rocks and pick up the pom-poms. Time to become each other's biggest cheerleader.
Gimme a U! Gimme an N! Gimme an I! Gimme a T! Gimme a Y! What's that spell? UNITY!
And UNITY homeschool mom, starts with yoU!