I have a serious question: Why do Christians feel the need to put down homeschooling and defend their choice to send their children to school (whether public or private), but non-Christians do not (at least in my experience)?
Please enlighten me….
Sue in MNMember
Perhaps they feel guilty for not homeschooling and think you are judging them. I would agree with you that it is usually the Christians that give you the hardest time about homeschooling. I’ve heard it all especially the one about your children should be salt and light in the public schools. Just thank them for their opinion and follow your own path.
Cognitive dissonance. Somewhere in the depths, they KNOW homeschooling is really better, but they don’t want to do it, aren’t ready to make the sacrifices, so to live with themselves they have to constantly justify their own choices. Anti-homeschooing non-Christians genuinely believe that we are neanderthals out to limit and lock away our kids and that public schools are TERRIFIC. So no cognitive dissonance for them.
Unfortunately, I think there can be a lot of judgement and condemnation in Christian circles. Perhaps Christians who have chosen a more traditional school path feel the need to defend themselves because they have felt judged by homeschoolers (in the same way that we have felt judged by those who send their children to school). While I have lots of reasons both spiritual and academic to choose homeschooling for our family, I need to be careful not to project my reasons on others. Christians who choose to send their kids to school aren’t necessarily bad parents – I’m sure they have their reasons for choosing what they have just as we have our reasons for homeschooling. And I have known children who have grown up to be lovely Christian people who went through the school system. Just like we get annoyed when we feel judged or get nosy questions from people about why we homeschool, I think we need to be careful not to do the same to those who have chosen a more traditional schooling route…even if it’s only in our minds and we never voice them. I know I have been gulity of judging others’ choices (even if I keep my mouth shut), and need to guard against this.
Just a thought.
I had a conversation along these lines with my pastor’s wife the other day. I was talking about how excited I am starting home ed with my little ones this year- PreK with my 4yo. I only have 15 more years to go! HAHA I also have 2 young adult sons who I home educated from K-12+. She was expressing that she felt guilt for not home educating her 2 teens. I told her this- she did with her kids and life exactly what God called her to do. He has us each on our own journey and we shouldn’t compare. *I* certainly am not called to be a pastor’s wife, so there is no reason to assume she should be a home educator. Her kids are fantastic…great family relationships, smart, and living with a real purpose even as young teens. I hope mine turn out as well.
Most people don’t see or understand that while there may be only one way to heaven, God can and does place people in different circumstances and situations to live out His love and grace in their daily lives. People tend to want to see only one way so they feel judged when someone else does things differently then they do, or they tend to feel “superior” because they think what they are doing is the “best way”. God is so much bigger than that. :-)
Thanks, all. My trouble is that I don’t really have to “say” anything, and suddenly WW3 has just opened up. I can openly and calmly express an opinion (this is still the USofA, land of the right to your own opinion, right???), and suddenly I’m this horrible person who is judging the world. I mostly have trouble with 3 people in particular who just cannot let it rest. They absolutely go out of their way to make my life miserable and insist I started it. Really? Who is judging who here? <sigh> Just so frustrating, ya know? I have said time and time again that I really don’t care how they educate their children – this is our way, and these are the reasons why we have chosen it (if I give the reasons at all anymore). Ironically, one doesn’t even have kids, but his wife teaches in a private Christian school (and she has never said anything to me). The other 2 send their kids to another private Christian school. And I agree, they are great parents, and their kids are awesome. So what is the trouble here?
I think one of the problems is that it’s really easy for us who homeschool to give the impression that we are making the morally superior choice. The Bible never says “Thou shalt homeschool.” In fact, it talks about parents putting their children under other teachers as a viable choice.
So, people who make a different choice are often automatically on the defensive around us.
Honestly, if a good private school were an option for us, I’d consider it. But it’s not, so we homeschool. But I realize that not everyone can, nor should, home educate. It’s what we do, but it doesn’t make us morally superior to others who can’t or don’t.
When I read the OP, I thought this is really two things, which I think MamaSnow was saying too, or at least that is how I read it.
The one: “Why do Christians feel the need to put down homeschooling”
And the other: “defend their choice to send their children to school (whether public or private)”
I encounter both instances, and I see a distinction as the former is an attack while the latter I think is often not.
Does this make any sense?
My point is that I try (don’t always succeed) to discern their intent. If it is just them stating their opinion and why it is better, it might be just that. Their opinion.
If it is someone actually attacking our family’s choice to homeschool, that feels different to me, and always puts me on the defense, though how I handle a response is sometimes better than others (I always try!).
I just tire of the questions such as “don’t you worry they aren’t learning enough?” or “what about middle school sports AND HIGH SCHOOL sports?”
Well, that honestly seems like such a SMALL deal to me; I just don’t get the big emphasis on it. Of course, none of our children are superstar athletes or really into sports that much, but even if they were, I don’t think playing in a brick and mortar school is the only way to go on that.
I just wonder do those who question me over and over ever question their own very different choices? Maybe they do, but it seems the accepted way is still to send your children to school, and those of us who homeschool are the exception/the not norm/the different ones. And in reality, we often are, but among like-minded believers, it can be tough to navigate these discussions for sure.
I think often what people say is more about them than you. I woudl try not to take it too personally.
I suspect non-Christians are more comfortable with the idea that there can be one way for me and one for you though personally I have known them to be pretty judgmental too. Really I haven’t had many problems with Christians. Mostly I just don’t discuss schooling with my Christian friends who don’t homeschool.
Sara, can you give us an example of a situation that has occurred? One that would be typical of how a conversation may start and develop into something more personal.
Although your questioin was general, there is obviously something more specific happening here.
I agree, I have found that more Christians are gun hoe to start the fights and continue to argue the point rather than just read the Bible and let God talk to their heart.
Odd/Funny encounter you might find amusing.
I went to a function where there were many different ladies with different denominations. So, religion had nothing to do with it. This one lady seemed to ask me why I decided to homeschool. ( backed into a corner ) I told her my reasons. Gleefully! :)
Then, the attack came. She doesn’t beleive anyone should homeschool. What about… socialization. With my rebutal. church, outside activities, they go to our business and meet several different people. We often go to the Library, ect… Then the hit with Academics,,, Rebutal… My children will be more prepared for college life due to being able to learn life skills like laundry, cleaning, cooking, and all the academics of other children. Studies show that homeschool children score higher than ps children anyway. Attack.. “Sports” Rebutal.. why would I want to put my children around a bunch of non-christian men or boys to listen to them cuss and be rude to each other???
We do fun things as a family like skating, sledding, skiing, ride bikes, ect… We can enjoy each other without all the cussing and my kids get their exercise.
I don’t think PROM was a question but she definately was on the roll. It ended with a “I still think you are doing your children a disservice and I believe that ps should be made mandatory.
The funny part of it all…… She brought a homeschooled child to the event with her. She was in the other room. Probably, listening to the whole thing. Why in the world would she ask and attack me when she had someone of her own faith she could talk to this about?
The even better part was that the event was put on by a homeschool mom and at a homeschoolers home. Not even affiliated to the child she brought or even the same denomination as the person putting on the event.
I really think she just wanted to argue. I really think she just wanted to argue with me. Because she could have argued with any one of a number of people that were there. I think we are called to be the light and salt of the world. I beleive that this is our calling to shed light and salt on some of those people that come up against us.
So, just remember…. Light burns and Salt stings. So, go out and burn and sting someone if they are going to ask you why you homeschool. (In a nice way of course..)
But make sure you have an answer to those who ask for it. Let the Holy Spirit give them the rest!
I have no ill feelings against this lady. I just found it amusing that she chose me to vent. Maybe it was a good thing.???? LOL…
Count it all Joy!
Here is what happened yesterday: As is typical of me, I often share photos that are passed around on FB – as most people do. I do share some controversial ones, and I am not afraid of a good debate. However, this particular photo was something about what schools do, just stating facts that everyone knows, and it was kind of implied that a homeschool is not like this. Honestly don’t remember details anymore, but I know it was also implied this was about public schools. I never know what will set these particular people off, so I just post who I am and what I think, trying to remember all nearly 200 people on my FB and what they’ll think of it (goodness, I may as well not post anything, because I’m sure I’ll offend at least 1 of them at least some of the time). Anyway, one of them made a comment pretending to be nice, but of course it was awfully snarky. I know this person personally, so I know the tone of voice it would have been said in. I admit I kind of lost it and said, “It’s not about you all the time, nor was I talking about private Christian schools,” yada yada yada. I am so used to hearing this kind of stuff from them and I am just sick and tired of their attitude toward me. One pointed out it looked like the workforce, as if school is preparing kids for the workforce, which I was easily able to knock down – as kindly as possible at that point, but I’m sure it wasn’t taken kindly (so much lost in the written word on the internet). Also went through point by point showing our particular homeschool is different. When the 3rd person showed up, I had had it and just deleted the whole thing. Like I said, I don’t mind a good debate, but when they immediately get defensive when I didn’t even do anything, and I can’t say anything to defend myself and feel completely beaten down, I don’t appreciate that and they’re certainly not convincing me that sending kids to a school is better…
Now, typically, I don’t fly off the handle that quickly. Most of the time it’ll start innocently enough (like the picture yesterday, or I’ll just say I love homeschooling because…), and when I get the 3rd degree in the first comment or 2 from them, I defend my position as kindly as possible, though it may not come across that way over the internet. I imagine they expect me to be snarky toward them so they are probably reading my responses in that tone of voice – even though they know me and I don’t act like that IRL with them… Of course, when they react angrily, it begins a general spiral of anger in all of us. Rarely do I pick a fight with them – in fact, I don’t think I ever have. I know I really should just leave it go when they react in anger, but that is so hard for me to do……
My husband has told me I lack tact. I don’t know about that – I do say things as they are (brutally honest, perhaps?) – but my gut feeling says I touch on people’s vulnerabilities/weaknesses and they attack because of that.
@chocodog – Yes! Light burns and salt stings! Like I said just now, perhaps I am brutally honest, and perhaps I am hitting nerves that they think they are at peace with but really are not. I know when I get immediately annoyed/angry wtih something someone has brought up, it’s usually because it hit a nerve or because I am doing something I know is wrong, or feel is wrong, but am justifying my actions to make me believe it is right. Perhaps you have hit the nail on the head. Thank you!
(And thanks for your story. It all starts “innocently” enough…)
I agree. I think it just starts out that way and we are taken wrong. They get Offended and don’t see the scenery behind the tree. Sometimes I may say something the wrong way. It sounded fine to me. But, I must have said something to strike the listener. Because BAM! I did something wrong and didn’t even think I said something offensive. Now, that doesn’t mean my opinion. I am entitled to that. If they didn’t like what I said then that is ok. They take it in a personal way. Nothing to do with my opinion. They feel it was directed to them or to them changing. I think the Holy Spirit touched their heart and they are ready to
“Shoot the messanger” I just happened to have the message
My degree is in psychology and I remember being fascinated when we studied cognitive dissonance. I see it everywhere…it’s one of the tenants of my major that actually held up when I studied those around me.
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