Now on to today's topic: opinions. Have you ever read a controversial article on-line and then browsed the readers' comments at the bottom of the story? Talk about explosive! Many readers feel free to spew their opinions without any thought of discretion or decency. I have quickly come to realize that it is not profitable to add my own comment or waste time reading the rants of others. It requires a good dose of humility and a discerning spirit to understand whether or not sharing a personal opinion is wise. With that being said, I'm about to share my own opinion and how it reflects my homeschool philosophy for my family. That doesn't obligate you to agree. Rather, I hope to encourage freedom and ease fears regarding your homeschool.
If I were to survey any random group of homeschool moms and pose the question: "what do you worry most about homeschooling your kids?", the predominate answer would be along the lines of, "doing it wrong", "not doing enough", or "messing my kids up". I'd venture to say our biggest fear is fear of failure; that somehow our children don't measure up. Or, even worse, that we don't measure up. When such fears start creeping in late at night, after a "bad" school day (or year), we need to pause and consider which standards we are using. The worst measuring stick of all is the one we use the most: comparison.
My kids aren't as smart as hers.
I'm not nearly as neat and organized as so-and-so.
Look at all those cool crafts/activities/projects they always have time for!
Why can't my kids love to read as much as hers?
I wish we could all play musical instruments like that family.
Man, she is always smiling joyfully and never running late!
Yeah, I've thought all those things (and more, too). Now, what I'm about to say will undoubtedly make some of you mad. I'd apologize ahead of time, but the truth is we all need a dose of biblical truth to keep us healthy. At the root of all those doubts and fear is pride! Whether we realize it or not, we are often far too concerned about other peoples' opinions of us. I confess to the same struggles. Because I feel this need to "prove" or "defend" my choice to homeschool, I want everyone to think I have it all together, that I know exactly what I'm doing, and that I have super star students who are five grade levels ahead in math and plan to attend college at 15. Okay, so I'm not really that extreme, but you get my point. Because of pride we feel the need to "be" more or "do" more than what God has called us to.
The good news is there is an easy solution to this faulty thought pattern. First, we must confess our pride and repent of it. Then splinter the measuring stick of comparison, whether you are tempted to use it against other families or even "national standards". My whole philosophy about schooling is this: all that "stuff" (testing, grades, standards, "course of study", etc.) is simply someone's opinion. Whether or not that "expert" has a few letters following his name or not, it's all someone's opinion. And that does not, in fact, obligate me to it. I truly believe the Lord has called me to this homeshcool journey, and that He will direct the path for each of my children whom He created uniquely, knows intimately, and is working wonderfully in their lives. After all, His is the only opinion that truly matters. "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Mic. 6:8)
What about you? Have you struggles with similar doubts and fears? Leave your comments below!