I love to see all of your comments about the different materials you are using. I love to “listen in” on the homeschool forum and Facebook group discussions. There is such variety in homeschooling. We all find the products we love; we’ve all experimented with products we haven’t loved so well. And experience teaches us pretty definitively what works and doesn’t work for our family. And then, an evil creeps in—the evil of criticism. Combatting criticism in your homeschool is no small matter.
Have you heard it, or worse, been the victim? Perhaps you landed on what you thought was the miracle cure for your kids’ education, only to have someone rip it to shreds and inform you of how dangerously close you are to ruining your child’s life. Feeling discouraged and maybe even paralyzed, you probably saw another enemy begin its work: fear. I have no idea what I’m doing.
Many of us are not surprised by criticism that we may encounter from those who don’t homeschool. We, in a sense, almost expect a little resistance from those who haven’t grasped the scope of what we are doing. But from within our own circle of friends, that criticism can be especially poisonous.
Is there a right and wrong to homeschooling?
Awhile back, I read a fantastic article from the father of a family that had homeschooled. As he was looking back on all his years of experience, his conclusion was that homeschooling does not guarantee perfect kids. Private and public education can produce godly adults, too—I’m married to one! And homeschooled kids are not exempt from the temptations to go astray.
Now, in the same way that a particular location of education does not guarantee specific results, neither does a particular method of homeschooling. Of course each of us has deep convictions about the method we are using for our families, and we should. But our method is not going to guarantee brilliant, godly adults; and another family’s method is not going to guarantee failure.
Your family, your lifestyle, your children’s personalities and learning styles, your goals, your priorities for your family are all things the Lord will use to direct you to the method of education that you use for your homeschool. But just as it is His grace working in your life that has brought you to the place where you are now, it will be His grace at work in the life of your child that will make him all that he is to be. And God should get the credit for that result—not homeschooling, not “unschooling” or “classically educating,” and not a particular curriculum.
This road of godly parenting is challenging enough. Let’s help each other along the path rather than become an obstacle.
What’s the key to combatting criticism in your homeschool?
If I could narrow it down to just one key for combatting criticism in your homeschool, I’d probably say conviction. Be convinced that you are on the right path for your family and your child’s particular needs. Prayerfully come to that conviction. The application of those priorities can always be adjusted, but your vision ought to be clear, regardless of what others do or don’t see.
We are going to face criticism. It’s part of life, part of living in a sinful world. Christ himself was “reviled and yet reviled not again” because he entrusted himself to the Father. And that’s our hope. Entrust yourself, your family, your children to a good God who is powerful enough to work all things for good. Trust Him, and take the criticism with a grain of salt.