There’s a tendency among homeschooling parents to try convincing the rest of the world that the path they’ve chosen for education is the best. Not the best for their child, their family, or their current season of life. Just the best. Period.
Where Does Overbearing Homeschool Confidence Come From?
Why do some homeschool parents beat this drum that homeschooling is, without qualification, the best educational option? I lump the types of parents into four categories:
- On the positive side, some of these moms and dads are in the honeymoon phase of homeschooling, feeling excited about their new adventure and eager to evangelize everyone to their newfound discovery. They’re looking at homeschooling through rose-colored glasses.
- Others have been homeschooling for quite some time and have a well-rounded, more realistic perspective of the journey. Those families are fully aware of the cons, but remain convinced they’re far outweighed by the pros.
- From a more negative angle, there are homeschool parents who are a defensive because of unsupportive comments from people close to them. They feel compelled to defend their decision and maybe go a bit to the extreme in doing so.
- Still others have had homeschooling go well for them, so they pat themselves on the back and fish for compliments.
What Does Overbearing Homeschool Confidence Look Like to Others?
Regardless of what’s prompting this homeschool marketing campaign of sorts, it generally comes across to others as ignorance, insecurity, or pride. Have any of those three traits ever convinced you to change your perspective on something important? Do you feel drawn to people who demonstrate those qualities toward you when you’re in disagreement about something?
Of course not; this type of behavior is totally counter-productive.
- The mom whose kids are active and happy in public school won’t benefit from your sharing stats on social media about homeschooled kids outscoring their peers on tests.
- People will roll their eyes at your lack of knowledge when you compare the amount of money a public school gets per student compared to how much you spend to homeschool one child.
- The school staff who pour themselves into far more kids each day than you’ll ever have under your roof will not feel respected when you stereotype public school employees.
- The dad paying for private school isn’t going to gain anything by your condescending remark about wasting money on tuition when you can give your kid a better education at home for less.
How to Demonstrate Humble Confidence in Homeschooling
Does that mean we never talk about the perks homeschooling with people or ignore the problems with other schooling options? No, but it does mean we need to homeschool with a correct attitude. Once we’ve determined homeschooling is the best option available for our child at a particular point in time, we need to move forward with both humility and confidence, understanding it may not be the best available option for another child at the same point in time. In fact, it may not be an option at all.
We should focus our energy on homeschooling our own kids, not trying to convince others to homeschool theirs or make them believe we’re doing what’s best for ours. The respect we want people to show toward our choice to homeschool is the same respect we should show toward their decision to choose otherwise. The freedom we want in exercising our belief that it’s a wise choice is the same freedom we need to extend to those who believe differently. The truth is there are kids floundering and excelling, both academically and with the rest of life, in every single school setting. We would do well to remember that.
Actions that Demonstrate the Humble Confidence of a Homeschooler
- Value education itself more than where it happens.
- Trust that other families are doing what they believe is right for them, remembering that we don’t know—nor is it our business to know—all the factors that went into their decision.
- Support local schools by volunteering on their campuses, donating supplies to their classrooms, and buying tickets for their performances and games.
- Share both the highs and lows of homeschooling in our own lives, the advantages we’ve had and the struggles we face, rather than making broad generalizations that pit homeschooling against other options.
- Praise the accomplishments of kids in brick and mortar school as eagerly as we do those who are homeschooled.
- Acknowledge that every schooling option has strengths and weaknesses—objective ones that are inherent and subjective ones that vary by teacher, school, district, child, family, and season of life.
- Be approachable, sharing information about homeschooling with people when they’ve felt comfortable enough with us to ask questions.
Remember that actions speak louder than words. The way we live our lives as homeschooling families—including how we treat those who are opposed to, uninterested in, or unable to take part in homeschooling—will do far more to make or break people’s views about homeschooling than any article, statistic, or anecdote we share with them.
Let’s demonstrate humble confidence as we educate our kids at home.