I’ve been homeschooling for a few years now, and I’ve learned some things along the way. There seems to be this invisible line that separates the moms who homeschool from the moms who don’t. I don’t like that. In many ways it makes me feel like an outsider…the mom who’s too busy being with her kids to develop friendships with other moms. That’s a tough pill to swallow, and here’s what I’d like to say my non-homeschooling friends.
- Just because I homeschool doesn’t mean I don’t need breaks from my kids.
In fact, I need breaks from my kids. No one needs to be around the same people ALL. THE. TIME. I love those little boogers, but, my goodness, do I need space from time to time. On more than one occasion I’ve had a friend ask if I really enjoy the idea of alone time. “Of course!” I respond. “Then why do you homeschool?” Choosing to homeschool my kids had nothing to do with a need to have (or not to have) my kids around me all day long. So yes, I do need breaks from my kids…just like every mom does.
- Please don’t forget about me!
There’s definitely truth to the old adage, out of sight out of mind. When I can’t meet up for middle-of-the-day shopping excursions or a lunch date, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hang out! If I say no, please don’t think that means no forever. It means I really want to hang out with you, but I just can’t make it work. I don’t have a job that brings in money, so hiring a sitter for a middle of the day adventure with a friend doesn’t work with my budget. But if you really want my company, we can get creative in ways to make it work. Yes, being creative usually means a little more work, but friendships are worth the effort. So I’d say, just because I homeschool doesn’t mean I want to be left out of your fun friend plans.
- I don’t judge your decision, so please don’t judge mine
This one is tough. We’re all human and we all judge, whether we admit it or not. And us moms are the worst at judging our fellow mom friends! Let’s be honest here. I remember when I first started telling people I was going to homeschool, a well-loved friend asked me why and then tried to convince me it was a bad choice. I was hurt. Really hurt. I interpreted it as she didn’t have confidence in my abilities or desires. I didn’t judge her for her decision to choose a different education path for her kids, so why would she judge me? Why can’t we just support each other? We may not agree or understand everyone’s personal decisions, but can you at least support me as a friend? Please don’t make me feel like I’m making the wrong choice just because it’s different from your choice.
4. Don’t tell me you could never homeschool.
When people find out that I homeschool, I often get the response, “Oh, I could never do that!” That’s just not true. The majority of moms could homeschool! The thing is, you have to want to homeschool to make it work. If you have no desire to teach your kids, then homeschooling probably isn’t the right choice for you. But us moms are pretty dang awesome, and we can do just about anything we set our mind too. So I really do believe that most people could rock the homeschool choice. But I also know that if your heart isn’t into it, it’s not worth all the time and energy you’d have to give to make it work. So believe in your abilities and don’t think I’m a saint because my education decisions are different than yours.
5. Ask me!
If you have questions about what I’m doing with my kids’ education or why I’m doing it, ask me! I don’t mind questions. In fact, I’d rather have questions than unspoken thoughts. Want to know why I chose to homeschool my kiddos? Ask me! Want to know what in the world we do all day? Or how I make it through a week with my three children by my side all day long? Ask me! I love that homeschooling is becoming more accepted in our country (especially in the Nashville area!), but there are still people who don’t get it or agree with it. If you’re one of those people, ask me your questions. I’m not going to try to convince you to homeschool, but I will tell you why I decided to homeschool.
Even though I’ve made my own circle of homeschooling mom friends, I don’t want to leave my friend circle at that. I want to hang out with all my friends. So if you don’t homeschool, but you have a friend that does, please go the extra effort to let her know she’s still valued and loved by you. I promise it will make her day.