Monday, August 29, 2011

Boasting Homeschoolers

Today I met that mom. That homeschooling mom I hope I never come off to be. To be fair though, she wasn’t actually the mom, she was the mom’s “assistant.” Yeah. I know. Anyways. I originally thought the lady was either grandma or just an older mom with still some little ones in the nest.

While waiting for our little ones to finish up a make-up class in gymnastics, we went about small talk as all moms do during this time. Honestly, I started this whole thing. If I could only go back and hit “rewind.” I noticed a girl of about ten doing some copy work beside me. Being that it was ten in the morning, I could only assume that she was homeschooled. The four other children surrounding this lady only reinforced that this family was probably homeschooled. (Isn’t it funny how we fall prey to stereotypes?)

So I asked, “Are you homeschooled?” And here begins the cat and mouse chase. Or could have anyways. This time, I decided, I’m not falling into this battle. I’m going to try to ease right on out. But she wouldn’t stop! Ahhhhh!

"She (insert Mom’s name) does so well with the children.”

“The four year old even writes the whole alphabet.”

“He’s potty-trained and he’s only two.”

“They do so good picking up they’re toys and are such a good help to their mom.”

“Yesterday me and the four-year old went out to pick beans. Because they have a garden you know. She was so excited to help.”

And on. And on. And on. I simply smiled and said, “Really.” And “that’s so good.” Friends…if I ever go on like this to you. Please slap me in the face and tell me to shut up.

Nothing has changed me more from being the competitive person I am than having children. I have even considered unschooling my children just to get away from the hoopla of the pressure placed on us by society. Having children I have learned that each and every child is different in each and every way. They all have strengths and weaknesses that are different from every other child, even the ones in their own home.

Seriously. I get so tired of the “let me one up you” nonsense that goes on between mom’s of young children. Let me preface by saying, I get tremendous support from what I like to refer to as “veteran moms.” They are so encouraging in saying that reading to them right now is enough. Read them good books and take them outside. Teach them good habits and obedience. Worry about the other stuff later…when you have to. Whether your child knows his alphabet at two or five…when they’re seven…it really doesn’t make a difference.

But just around the corner is that mom. You know her. The one who can’t wait to tell you her two-year old can count to 100, is beginning lessons in Latin, and they spend an hour a day doing creative crafts. Oh wait, and they were potty-trained at 18 months. The one who loves to make you feel…not good enough.

So, it is now time for confession, I’m going to let you in on some things. I don’t care that my 2 year old is not potty-trained. I haven’t even attempted it because I don’t want to…I’m tired. And, again, I don’t want to. My near four-year old doesn’t know how to read because I haven’t taught her to and because we spend our days doing other things…like playing and sometimes watching Dora. Gasp! Just the other day I was so impressed that Lily knew about stamps and the post office. How? Team Umizoomi taught her about it. My daughter is so cultured she can sing songs about hot-snot-sundaes and the gaseous affects of beans. And I taught them to her! Much to my chagrin, my kids laugh when they pass any kind of gas…while they’re saying “excuse me” of course. And often the only way I can get my kids to pick up their toys without their father threatening them is to tell them I'm going to suck them up in the vacuum. Actually, now I don't have to tell them that because as soon as they see the vacuum come out...they start scrambling. Even the two-year old.

In conclusion, Moms, stop bragging and competing with each other and start supporting each other. I’m not like you and much of what comes out of my children’s mouths may absolutely shock you…as it does me. Reality is, if I were a fly on the wall in your house, you, too would be embarrassed by what I saw. Be real and…


Ma said...

This is just what I needed today!

I was doing my blog reading and saw that another homeschooling momma I know is doing WAY more than me.

I have been tempted to "unschool" too. Thankfully, I do have a good somewhat unschooling mother in my support network.

I'm currently in a potty training war with my nearly three year old and if it weren't for her moving up out of the nursery at church this fall, I wouldn't be.

I think our kids would have a good ol' time together, even if the four year olds can't read:)!

Persis said...

Good post, Michelle. I don't like the pressure of living up to the idealistic do-it-all, spelling bee winner, entrepreneurial, Harvard scholarship winning, homeschool family.

Let's just be real people who want to raise our kids in a godly way for His glory, even if it looks different from family to family and child to child.

Saint Shellie said...

Unfortunately I was one of those moms... in the beginning! Having just about no support from friends or family, and of course anyone else, I felt the need to "prove" that homeschooling actually works! Thankfully I have learned that I no longer need to do that. I have also learned that by trying to be that perfect homeschooler with perfect learners who can do everything NOW does nothing but cause confusion and frustration. It doesn't help your kids to push them too hard when they are young. I now tell newbies to relax and not to fret!! You are right, Michelle, when you say that we need to support each other and not try to "out do" one another. May God give us the grace to educate our own kids the way HE tells us instead of looking to the world for what is "expected" of us. This was a great post.

Petra said...

Amen! I am so thrilled to read that you are allowing your kids to be kids and to have fun. Yes! No boasting please (and that goes for grandmas too). :-)

Petra said...

I am so happy to read that you are allowing your kids to be kids, and to have fun! You're so right, such boasting is so very unbecoming!

Kim said...

There's a time, a place and a way to boast. I was one of those moms who never boasted about her daughter and lo and behold she grew up to think that I did not hold her in high regard for the things she had done. Of course, I did not home school her, though. I am on my second try here with my son. I begin home schooling next week. I have learned that you do need to brag A LITTLE about your children, but only to close loved ones and in a very happy but non-overbearing way; never to the extent you mentioned. I do think, though, that our children need to hear us talking about their accomplishments once in a while but most about things they do like telling the truth, doing a kindness, going on a mission trip, doing well on a test in a subject they don't excel in for example. I hope you understand what I am saying. I know the kind of bragging you're talking about and it is because of that type that I didn't brag at all the first time around.


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Liz said...

I am like one of the moms above. I homeschooled and loved it, but found myself making "excuses" for why we were doing it. It was something we considered for years, and that one year that we did, it was definitely God preparing us for some big changes in our lives. Am I a bad mom for not continuing? No. I find that I am reluctant to mention an accomplishment one of my children has acheived lest another moms get mad. It's a double edged sword.