by Lynna Sutherland
As homeschool parents, we sometimes face criticism from others about the educational choices we’ve made for our kids. It’s easy to get into a defensive posture and have responses ready to ward off that criticism. But it’s important that, in formulating our response, we’re actually honest with ourselves and others.
What Homeschoolers Are Missing
One of the criticisms launched against homeschoolers is that they will miss out on important things by not being in a traditional school setting. We tend to defend ourselves and respond to that complaint in one of two ways.
Sometimes we dismiss all of the things they will be missing as things that aren’t desirable anyway. Sure, they’re missing out on peer pressure. And silly fads. And school violence. And bullying. Good for them! We’re so glad our kids are missing these things.
At other times, we try to explain how our kids don’t actually have to miss things by being homeschooled. They can still be on sports teams. Homeschoolers host their own proms. We have yearbooks and bands, too. We’re not missing anything!
Is That the Whole Truth?
But if we really want to work through this issue in a way that will be believable to others and—perhaps more importantly—supportable in our own thinking as we wrestle with our choices, we need to dig a little deeper. The truth of the matter is that your kids are missing out on good things by being homeschooled.
Let’s be honest. Homeschooled kids miss opportunities that public school kids have. And public school kids miss opportunities that homeschool kids have. And homeschool kids miss opportunities that other homeschool kids have! Why? Because we’re all finite beings and no one (and no mom) can go everywhere and do everything!
So What’s the Benefit?
The real benefit to homeschooling isn’t that your kids won’t miss anything, or that your kids will only miss stuff not worth experiencing. The blessing of homeschooling is that we get to be purposeful about what we include and what we don’t. You’re not raising generic kids. You’re raising your kids, members of your family. And within that family, you’re raising individuals.
So, next time someone says that your kids are going to miss out on things by being homeschooled, you don’t have to be caught off guard. You can calmly explain that while every choice opens some doors and closes others, you’re thankful to have the freedom and flexibility to choose with intentionality what opportunities are best suited to your family and the unique learners God has asked you to shepherd!
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You might enjoy “When God Writes Your Lesson Plans” by Melissa Barnes.
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Lynna Sutherland blogs at Homeschooling Without Training Wheels, where she loves to remind moms (and herself!) of the freedom and flexibility that come with homeschooling! Lynna and her husband have seven children. The motto of their homeschool is “Wisdom Is the Principal Thing” from Proverbs 4:7. You can also find Lynna on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Lynna hosts a private Facebook group called Family Schooling without Training Wheels specifically for encouraging parents in multi-age homeschooling and outside-the-box approaches to meet the needs of their unique family.