Let’s be honest. I mean, like brutally, painfully honest. The homeschooling community can be one of the most challenging groups of people you will encounter.
(Can I get an amen?)
The homeschool community is the group of “open minded” people who really aren’t. It’s the people who say “teach your kids the way that works best for your family” while telling you every reason why the way you’re doing it is wrong. It’s full of unschoolers who say you aren’t unschooly enough, homeschoolers who say you aren’t structured enough, people who want to fight about curriculum, co-op wars, what you should expose or not expose your kids to, people who want to argue if the term homeschooling can be used interchangably with unschooling, or if school should even be part of the word because we should all know that school is that evil place where children go to rot and wither away. It’s the community of people that are supposed to help and uphold and support you but many of us shy away from because we feel anything but help and support when we’re in it.
You. Guys. Please Stop.
The bickering in the homeschooling community is exhausting. And frankly, completely pointless and stupid.
For awhile, it was hard to be a blogger/author/speaker voice in that community. I spent a lot of time explaining who I was and who I was not. I would be doing my thing, living life the way it worked for us, trying to talk about this huge middle ground of homeschoolers that I honestly believe exists…but I would often get muffled out by the screams of the extremists on either end.
And don’t get me wrong. I don’t care if you’re a radical unschooler or an ultra conservative Christian homeschooler. That’s great. Seriously, it is! But can we all just have a voice as homeschoolers and stop worrying about where we are on the spectrum of how it’s done?
Here’s the thing, dear homeschool community.
We’re all more alike than we want to admit. We took our kids out of school (or didn’t send them in the first place) for whatever reason. Do you understand that simple fact makes us all part of the same camp? Why are we setting up little separate tents around little separate bonfires?
There was a time I wanted to stop writing about homeschooling. I wanted to pull out of the community because I just didn’t see how my lil’ voice could be heard. I got frustrated. I wanted to pick up all my toys and go home. I wanted to quit.
A certain eldest son of mine reminded me that I can’t just stop talking because everyone else is louder, and that by keeping silent, I’m not helping the people who need to hear what I have to say.
He reminded me that when the middle stops talking, people stop believing it exists. And the middle is HUGE so it needs to be heard! We don’t need people in the middle to start thinking they are wrong. We don’t need people in the middle to think if they haven’t picked a side, they’ve screwed up. We don’t need anyone thinking they have to be one place or the other.
Dearest homeschool community, we don’t have to be one place or the other. We just need to be where we are. We need to start supporting each other, regardless of whether we’re in the middle or on the very edges of the homeschooling community. We need to learn to get along with people who teach and learn and live differently.
Why? Because all of our kids are watching.