Friday, November 20, 2009

The Lighter Side of Homeschooling

Sometimes we can’t believe how critical others are about homeschooling, and sometimes their enthusiasm shocks us. I once experienced such fervor during a conversation with an acquaintance (I’ll call her Mary) whose daughter was struggling with some peer problems at school.
The mother called me quite distraught, detailing the teasing and bullying her daughter endured each day. She met with teachers, principals, parents. She knew she couldn’t hire a body guard, or try to squeeze herself into one of the desks in her daughter’s classroom, so she gave in to the last hope of a desperate parent. She inquired about—homeschooling.
I got the call one afternoon after her daughter had been home for almost a week. I shook my head as she shared with me the details of their ordeal, for I had received other calls just like that one many times during my long tenure as a homeschool mom. She asked the normal questions—was it legal? How did I get started? What about socialization?
I assured her that the decision to homeschool was a difficult, deeply personal one that should only be made after much soul-searching and prayer and that I would be happy to help her. I hung up the phone feeling the satisfaction of using my experience and wisdom to aid a Christian sister in need and marched my sympathetic, nurturing self into the school room where I gathered catalogs and books to get Mary started on her family’s new adventure.
The next morning the doorbell rang, and on my front porch stood Mary and her daughter. “My, they are eager to get started,” I thought. “My talk must have really inspired her.” Before I could turn to fetch the materials I had collected, Mary’s daughter walked through my front door, and Mary was turning to leave.
Like during a movie with a surprise ending, I replayed the previous day’s exchange and realized she never once mentioned her homeschool. She referred only to my homeschool. She never asked about what curriculum she should order. She asked about what I used. She thought I was going to educate her little darling.
That is not what I had in mind at all, and I’m sure the surprise was evident in my bulging eyes and gaping mouth. There was no graceful way out of it. We were both doomed to embarrassment.
She apologized many times, and I reassured her of what I assumed I had offered in our phone conversation—that I would help her teach her child.
I never heard back from her. The rumor was that she sent her daughter to a new school. I hope she is doing better there.
So on those days when you can’t face another math lesson or failed science experiment, on those days when this homeschooling thing seems too hard, remember—it is. But also remember what Mary never got a chance to discover—it’s worth it. To God be the glory!


  1. Amen. To God be the glory!

    Thank you, ladies, for your encouragement.

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving.


  2. Great post. Wow! I never heard of someone else assuming another mom would teach their child, though she probably heard what she wanted to hear.

  3. LOL! Too funny. I never had anyone assume I would do it, but I had a number of people ask me if I would.