Post from the Past: Why do people hate homeschoolers?

This is probably my most popular post of all time:

Today, you can read many blogs and articles that discuss the issue of homeschooling in today’s world. And that’s natural; homeschooling is becoming the norm in many Christian circles (speaking from my own experience). The idea is hitting home with thousands of people across the nation as they consider their alternatives. Homeschoolers are out there. They need help. They need encouragement. But once in a while, they need a good kick in the pants.

People hate us.

I met a lot of strangers over the summer. One day, I conversed with a very personable woman at my son’s swimming lessons. We had been chatting for several minutes, when she asked my son what grade he would be going into. He responded with, “I’m in second already.” It was the middle of July. She looked at me kind of funny, so I said, “We homeschool, and he’s doing a few subjects over the summer.” She didn’t say anything at all. In fact, she immediately turned her entire body from me and started talking to the person sitting on the other side of her. She didn’t speak to me or look at me again for the rest of the week.

Why?

Why do some people treat homeschoolers that way? If we had been born into some other era, homeschooling would be normal. But in today’s world, it’s looked upon with disgust and mistrust. As I was writing yesterday’s post about the ability to conduct good conversations, I mentioned conversing about the topic of homeschooling. I began to honestly ask myself, “What causes people to respond to us with hatred?” I could give the obvious answers: we are the minority, people are afraid of things that are “different” or things they don’t understand, we live in an age that believes that the public education system is one of the crowning achievements of our society, some people are uncomfortable with the thought of families separating themselves for God, etc. All of those things are true, and there’s nothing we can do about them. We aren’t wrong to homeschool, so we do it anyway, and that’s that. It doesn’t matter what other people think. But people have another reason to hate us, you know. One that does matter. One that is our fault.

If you take the time to research, you can find a lifetime supply of “homeschooling-how-to” articles or “why-you-should-homeschool” articles. More and more, however, your search will also turn up very defensive material. You will find things like:

“The parents of public-schooled children are just jealous because homeschooled children perform better on tests.”

“Some families aren’t thrifty enough to live on a one-income budget, so they sacrifice their children instead of their stuff.”

“Many moms can’t stand to be around their children all day because they are just selfish.”

“Parents today have become too lazy to discipline and teach their own children because they know the school system will do it for them.”

And you know what? Those statements do apply to some people. But we’re missing a key point here. Here’s why they hate us:

Because we think we are better than them.

They stereotype us because we stereotype them. It seems that “we” are always flaunting our superiority over “them.” You know, we aren’t better people. Our sin is so disgusting in the sight of God as to make our righteousness indistingishable. We don’t deserve God’s love and grace anymore than anyone else on the face of the planet. God doesn’t love you more than he loves any other person.

It seems the more we try to obey God, the more “together” our lives are, the more we look down our noses at other people. Just one example (of many) from my own life: There have been a couple of long periods of time that I went without darkening the door of a church building. The strangest thing though: as soon as I started going back to church, I started looking around at all of the other people in my life and judging them for being out of church. Could my memory of my own sins be any shorter? Every time I make a positive change in my life, I struggle with this. I am not better than anyone else. I am not better than anyone else.

It helps me to remember my sins, how I’ve lived in the past, how I would live if I didn’t know Him, how I fail every day (even though I know better – even though I know how much it hurts God). Shouldn’t that make me worse than the rest, instead of better, since I am fully aware of how much my sin hurts Him? It’s a good thing God loves us all equally. In addition to lots of personal contemplation, I pray for humility all the time. It seems my prayers can’t keep up with my arrogance however, because I am always facing this issue.

Homeschoolers in general seem arrogant to me. Am I wrong? I’m sorry if I’m wrong. However, if there’s anyone out there who’s like me and needs help with this issue on a daily basis, here’s what I think we should do: Stop worrying about how other people live. Stop comparing yourself to them to make yourself feel better. Compare yourself to Christ, see how short you fall, repent every day, always do your best, and love everybody. A humble, righteous lifestyle speaks for itself, as does homeschooling. Maybe if we can change our arrogant attitudes, the fog of rage would dissipate from the eyes of onlookers, and they would be able to see us clearly.

You say you are training your children up to be witnesses? You be the witness. They will have a good example to follow. Love and respect people; it’s a great place to start.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matthew 22:37-39

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4 responses to “Post from the Past: Why do people hate homeschoolers?

  1. Pingback: Free Homeschool Placement Tests and More! « On Planting Seeds…

  2. I’m sure you have gathered from my blog that I am not a religious gal. But I must say, I love this post. I have been in the place where I felt “superior”. Maybe because I was pushed into a corner by attackers and felt the need to defend my choice? I don’t know… But when being comfortable and secure in the decisions we make for our children and family turns into feeling that we are making a better decisions than others are, it isn’t good. I know I have done this, and I feel that I no longer do because it is more important for me to make others feel loved and respected than to get them to see how valid or beneficial to my children my choice is. I think a lot of other moms now just view me as the crazy hippie artsy mom who lives in the “round” house with all the kids LOL… And personally, what they do with their kids is their business, and what I do with mine is my business. We’re all different. And they are welcome at my house with their kids just as I seem to be welcome at their places with my kids.

    Regardless of things that may come up on the internet though, as adults, as parents, we should be more open-minded and kind. Turning one’s back to another because of their educational choice is not either of these things. A grown up should be able to engage in a decent conversation about such things without feeling threatened or being rude.

    It was… judgemental of this person to immediately lump you inot the category of Snooty Superior Homeschooler. It was unfair.

    I hope that in the future they take the time to chat and get to know you a little better…

  3. Thank you so much for leaving such a thoughtful response. I find that the more comfortable I am with my decisions, the less I feel the need to defend them. I just live my way, and try not to pretend that I know enough about another person’s situation to think I know what’s best for them too. Yeah, it would have been nice if she had given me a chance – especially since we had already been enjoying our conversation, but I must say that for the most part, homeschoolers have built that stereotype for themselves. I’m sure I’ve contributed to it in the past – I grew up homeschooling, and I was awfully proud of it. My son is proud of it too, even though I try to reign him in. He’s seven, and has a big mouth! 🙂

  4. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment and letting me know about this blogpost.

    I agree with what you say.

    Unfortunately, there is a certain segment of homeschoolers that really DO feel that homeschooling is the better choice, indeed, the ‘godly/biblical’ choice. And they make no apologies for it. They don’t believe they are ‘flaunting their superiority’, rather, they are ‘encouraging others to raise the bar’.

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