Homeschool Pride: It’s Gonna Mess You Up
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It’s perfectly fine to be proud of our work as homeschooling parents, right? Perhaps. But watch out—I’ve found six ways that homeschool pride can actually mess up our homeschool experience if we’re not careful.
(Don’t want to read the whole post? You can listen instead by pressing play on the podcast player above.)
Here are 6 ways that pride can creep into our life as homeschooling parents.
1) Homeschool pride tells us to care what other homeschoolers think.
It makes us compare our homeschool set-up to how other homeschools are set up, and contemplate who is doing it best. It makes us worry about what and how we are or aren’t teaching our kids.
Homeschool pride can trigger those what am I doing wrong? thoughts. Like when you’re freaking out about something your kids haven’t learned yet next to a mom whose kids of the same age learned it two years ago.
Homeschool pride is a big reason why some groups in the homeschooling community can’t get along. And homeschool pride can sometimes make homeschool co-op days rather uncomfortable, amiright?
2) Homeschool pride skews how we view our progress.
It tricks us into feeling that what we are doing is better or worse than what’s actually going on. It makes us second guess where we are. All. the. time.
Sometimes pride is that thing that makes us look at another kid’s science fair project and mutter to ourselves, whoa, I’d better step up my game with the kids. It’s that thing that makes us feel like slackers when we meet a 12-year-old who is already taking college courses.
But pride can make us go the other way, too.
Homeschool pride is that thing that makes us smirk when we see another kid’s math work and think my kid is younger and way further ahead…
I mean, you don’t need to fess up to me if that little thought has ever flown through your mind at any point in your homeschooling journey. Ima just gonna leave that there for everyone to ponder.
3) Homeschool pride makes us overly concerned with “grade levels”.
Sometimes I think homeschooling parents are so desperate to have others know that they are doing a good job and that their kids are actually learning that they have to super inflate all the positives.
Homeschooling has given us the option to tweak what “grade levels” mean, but I think sometimes (if we’re completely honest) we’re doing it as a prideful thing.
Here’s the thing. When I was in public school elementary, I was in advanced reading and advanced math. I had a friend (the same age) who was so far ahead in math he actually walked over to the junior high school to do his math classes. But when people asked what grade we were in, we answered the regular ol’ grade we were in. It never would have occurred to us to separate out all the grade levels.
Grade levels as a homeschooler can be tricky. As homeschoolers, we aren’t bound to keep our kid in a certain grade, and they are free to work at whatever pace they’re naturally at. But I think sometimes we need to check ourselves. If your 10-year-old is “advanced” and doing mostly 7th grade work, you might try to pass him off as an 7th grader. However, If your 10-year-old is “behind” and mostly doing 2nd grade work, are you going to tell people you have a second grader?
No? That’s pride.
4) Homeschool pride makes us think we have to do everything differently.
It’s what makes us think that as homeschoolers, we have to reinvent the educational wheel about everything. That somehow what we are doing is completely different or needs to be completely different than anything and everything that has ever been done in public school.
Because different is better and we’re better than them, right?
(Yes, that was sarcasm.)
5) Homeschool pride makes us think non-homeschoolers can’t understand us.
It’s what causes us to assume that public school teachers or parents of publicly schooled children will never, ever “get” us. That they can’t help us or give us suggestions because they don’t “know” homeschoolers.
Homeschool pride gives us the false belief that public school teachers or parents of publicly schooled kids don’t care about us or what we’re doing other than to tell us we are doing it wrong. That all information educational professionals have is somehow less than or completely irrelevant because it’s coming from someone with a teaching degree employed by a brick and mortar school.
6) Homeschool pride turns education into a race or a contest.
Education is neither or race nor a contest (at least it shouldn’t be) but that’s what sometimes happens when homeschool pride takes over. When we’re changing things to be more structured or more relaxed, not based on what actually works for us, but instead how it looks to others or helps us to fit under a certain homeschool label, we know we’re headed for trouble.
What’s the real problem with homeschool pride?
Here is the real problem with pride in homeschooling. You can be proud of your homeschool life or your pride can be hurt by it. And the problem is that both of those things directly have to do with us as the parents.
Wait a second. Why is that a problem?
Okay. True confessions. Let me tell you about a time early in our homeschooling journey when Yours Truly fell into a pit of nasty pridefulness.
My oldest was 4ish and he was reading (and, sidenote: did I congratulate myself for his ability to do that? Of course. Go Team Mom!) I bought a whole series of books for him to work through as he was improving his reading skills. As he would work through a level, I’d move him up to the next level. And as he moved up through the levels, I got rid of the books from the previous level—because those were the easy books, right?
One day, my son asked me where all those easy books had gone. I explained to him that he didn’t need them anymore. If he could read the harder books, why did he need the easy books? And he looked up at me with these big eyes and said, “But mom, I liked those other books!”
Friends, that mama mess right there was brought about by pride. It’s what makes learning to read all about check marks in a box and being able to tell your mom friends my son is reading at such and such level and it totally ignores the point of learning to read which is gathering information and enjoying stories!
I realize now having my son plow through those books was more about what it made me look like as a homeschool mom than it had anything to do with him. Pride.
Pride is what fills our heart when our kid answers a question correctly because it makes us look good, right? Ha! Take that naysayers! You said homeschooling wasn’t going to work and it totally does!
Conversely, your pride can be hurt when you’re basing everything around your child’s academic performance. When somehow that performance reflects poorly on you as their teacher, it becomes great, now everyone is going to think I’m an idiot for choosing to homeschool because my kids couldn’t even answer that question.
But here is something I’d like you to consider for a moment. Homeschooling is not about us. It’s not about how we look. It’s not about what people think about mom and dad. It’s about our kids.
I do think that homeschooling is a family affair and that a mutual respect needs to be in place in order for it to be successful. But having said that, I think if you choose to homeschool, you have to know that your children’s educational needs come before your fear of what people think about them.
Homeschooling is about the kids. It’s not about you. Repeat until you believe it.
A healthy dose of homeschooling pride is fine. It’s perfectly acceptable to be proud of the choices you’ve made and the things that you do as a homeschooling parent! Just be sure to keep your pride in check, and that homeschool pride isn’t making you do crazy things.
You know, like throwing away books that are too easy.
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