Charlene Notgrass
Have you ever felt like you made someone feel self-conscious by simply existing? This was a phenomenon I noticed soon after we made the decision to homeschool. It seemed that with many people all I had to do to intimidate them was simply to say the words, “We homeschool.” Immediately they became defensive. Often they revealed their insecurities.
“I could never do that!”
“My kids would never listen to me if I tried to teach them.”
“Could I hire you to homeschool mine, too?”

Those are almost direct quotes of things people have said to me. You have probably heard them, too.
Sometimes people simply try to connect and relate.
“There’s a lot of that now.”
“Our pastor’s family homeschools.”
“The schools aren’t very good where my friend lives so they are going to try homeschooling their third grader.”
Sometimes people are questioning or outright oppositional.
“I’ve always thought we should support our local schools.”
“How do you know they are learning what they need to know?”
“Why do you think you can do a better job than trained professionals?”
I have often wondered why people think it’s okay to voice their opinions about something you have decided about the children God has given you. What if the roles were reversed? What if you went on the offensive and other mamas were in the role of explaining. Let’s pretend you have just met Susan.
Susan: Hi, my children go to Walla Walla Elementary.
You: I could never do that . . . or . . . my kids would never listen to a teacher who wasn’t their mother . . . or . . . could I hire you to drive my kids to public school?
Let’s try that again.
Susan: My children go to Walla Walla Elementary.
You: There’s a lot of that now . . . or . . . our pastor’s children go to public school . . . or . . . my friend wasn’t very good at homeschooling so she sent her child to public school.”
One more time.
Susan: Hi, my children go to Walla Walla Elementary.
You: I’ve always thought we should teach our children at home . . . or . . . how do you know they are learning what they need to know . . . or . . . why do you think a trained professional can do a better job than you?”

I understand that relatives feel a need to understand why you have decided to homeschool, and I believe they should be given kind and respectful reassurance. However, I am sorry that strangers sometimes believe they have the right to question, challenge, and criticize you. That’s just plain ol’ bad manners, in my opinion.
So this fall, when the school questions come up even more than the rest of the year, I encourage you to do everything you do with your children in keeping with your convictions before God. Do that and then when people challenge you, remember the example of Jesus. Only in Him can you have the confidence to do what is right, in spite of the discouragement of other people.

. . . while being reviled, He did not revile in return;
while suffering, He uttered no threats,
but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously . . . 
1 Peter 2:23 NASB

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