We're on our last week of school here, and I know a lot of moms who are thinking about their school options for next year. I know homeschool moms who are struggling with whether to send their kids to public school next year, and I know public school moms who are thinking about homeschooling.
No matter the decision to be made, though, there's a common thread in all of these conversations -- guilt. As these moms struggle to decide what the best option for their kids is, each mom feels as if their decision might fail their child. Or they feel like the decision they made for this year finishing up has been a failure.
And you know what? Whatever community they are currently a part of generally isn't helping. Having one child in public school this year and one child doing school at home has given me a foot in both worlds. It's given me an opportunity to see both sides of the story and be a part of both communities. What I've discovered is that in both communities, public school and homeschool, there's very little tolerance for the other choice. Everyone is convinced that their choice is the best and when someone dares to suggest that they are thinking about a different option, that person is immediately flooded with opinions about why a change might be wrong.
Whether your child is in public school, private school or homeschool, it doesn't mean that your choice is the best for everyone. It simply means that the decisions that you've made are the ones that you think are best for your child. Sharing your story with someone else is helpful when trying to make a decision. Sharing your judgment of a different decision is not.
We're told over and over again in the Bible to not judge others. We haven't walked a mile in their shoes. We don't know what it's like. You might think someone else's child would benefit from being homeschooled, but you have no idea what the parent/child relationship looks like behind closed doors. You don't know the financial situation. You don't know whether that would cause hardship or frustration.
By the same token, you might think that someone else's child would do better in public school, but you don't know how that child learns. You may not know the reasons behind him being homeschooled in the first place. You may not know anything about the public school that child would attend.
Instead of dishing out judgment on other people's school choices, we need to be handing out encouragement and gratitude. We need to be thankful that we have these options available to us. We need to remember that not every kid and every family is the same. We need to build each other up instead of tearing each other down.
As parents make school decisions for next year, let's all be supportive of those choices. We don't have to understand all the reasons behind them. We do need to hold our judgment and offer our encouragement.