It Takes One to Know One

Posted by Jamie Buckland on Saturday, April 28, 2012
I read a blog last night just after I laid down and was waiting for Greg to come to bed.  You see, if I drift off before he plops himself down, I'll be wide awake for hours.  He lays down kinda like Kramer from Seinfeld entered a room.  He jerks the covers, huffs and puffs, situates, yeah, this post isn't about my hub's lack of consideration for his dozing wife, let's move on, shall we?

I read this blog and immediately my mind was busy with thoughts of how much I've personally changed over the last 5 years since the time we determined to not enroll Ethan into 1st grade, and instead, to take responsibility for his education at home.

About halfway down the comments of the blog I read, there was an interesting comment, to which came some interesting replies. A lady comments about their choice to utilize the public school system for their method of education for their children, and the author of the blog replies with, in my opinion, an outstanding comment. But in the midst of the comments, I was convicted of my own pride and it's ugly appearances it has made on my humbling journey the Lord has me on.

There are so many examples I want to bring out here, but I don't have all morning.  My dishes need washed before I can paint my nails, and my 3 sleeping babes and 1 sleeping Kramer will soon be stirring about which will detour me from my self-given manicure.

There are a few things I want to shout out to new homeschoolers, and maybe to some of you seasoned schoolers, such as myself, who could use some reminders:

Don't be on the defense.  Get your pride, and your feelings, off of your shirt sleeves.  Just because the lady at Wal-Mart looks at you at 10am on Monday morning and says, "I guess school is out today?", doesn't mean you need to roll your eyes and complain about her to 10 other homeschooling moms at the field trip the next day.  Now, I have been guilty of this.  Haven't we all?  BUT, what I think this shows is the lack of grace for others in our lives.  I daily need the reminder to extend grace, can I gently remind you other mamas, too? 

How many times has someone looked at me and said, "I could never spend all that time with my child!"?  I used to boil inside and want to scream out at them that sudden doom is upon them for not having better control of their young.  But as Ethan will be turning 12 this year, Emma will be turning 9 in a week, and Elsie was 7 months old yesterday, I must admit, I don't always LOVE spending all this time with my children. Yes.  It's true.  I said it.  I love them.  And mostly, I am raising kiddos that I like to be around. However...

There are days with this 11 year old where I want to send him to Pawpaw and just have a day without feeling like I'm either stalked or avoided.  That's how I feel most days.  Either he is stalking me and I can't get away, or he is avoiding me for fear of me making him get back to work on his school. If he weren't with me every day, I could talk on the phone with my girlfriends about things I want to talk about.  If he weren't with me every day, I could make my bed and put away my laundry without rescuing him from the claws of his sister as she retaliates to his annoyings...ah, if only.

I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I have to remind Emma to stop drawing families on her toes, or stop playing with Elsie in the floor, or stop sewing her doll a new outfit and to get back to her Reading.  If she weren't with me every day, I could look around my living room and find it clear of Emma's trail.  She really does leave a trail of belongings in every single room of this house.  It gives me anxiety.  If she weren't with me every day, I could keep a cleaner house.  Period.

But if they weren't with me every day, they would be with someone else.  And for this family, that thought right there is why we do what we do.  We are seeing the fruit of labor over the last 5 years, and that is why we will finish 5th and 2nd grade in August this year, only to start 6th and 3rd grade in September.

So when someone says to me, "I don't have the patience!", I'm learning to reply, "Neither do I."  God's grace is covering my shortcomings, my anxiety, my inferiority, my insecurities, my anger, my potty-mouth, my harshness, my lack of discipline, my warden mentality, and most of all, my blindness to my own sin.

What I see in homeschoolers is a tendency to really believe that being more different, more like Laura Ingles, or more like Joan Cleaver, sets them up higher on the pedestal.  This is what I've also come to see in myself.

It is as if some school at home just so they are different from the rest...but when we start boasting about our differences outside of Christ, the list becomes endless.  And worthless.

So we can boast about not using public school.

So we can boast about making our own bread. 

So we can boast about sewing our children's clothes. 

So we can boast about couponing.

About being frugal.

About making our own cleaners.

About choosing our children over career.

About not vaccinating.

About having babies at home.

Really this list could go on and on, but I hope you get the point.  Too often homeschoolers boast in an attempt to cry out for the affirmation we desperately desire.  This job does not come with a whole heaping of affirmation from the outside world, and thus we often have the tendency to be too involved with the online world.  That is another blog post.  Let's just say that we are all human, and fouled up, therefore there is a strong need to be validated.

Now before I go on here, I do want to add a disclaimer.  Some of us have boasted more than others, while others may have silently judged more than others.  The bottom line is shame on us for seeing righteousness in areas where none can be found.  We are all guilty of that. 

Don't get me wrong here, I am a HUGE proponent of sharing information and even posting pictures of the new outfit you made for your daughter, or the new outfit your daughter made for her doll, or how your 4 year old is learning division at the table by utilizing his sister's newly decorated cupcakes. If this is done in hopes to inspire others, encourage others, uplift others, I believe it can be used for good because I know how I've been inspired and encouraged by seeing other's accomplishments.

However, often times it is not done to encourage, rather to boast, and I believe we need to keep that in check.  There is a balance we should be praying to have.

THIS was the blog I read, and you can scroll down to read the comments that sparked this whole rant.

What I really wanted to point out was that, when we say we homeschool, there is sometimes a chance that those who do not homeschool, can feel as though we are condemning their choices of education for their children. Is this fair?  No, not really.  Honestly, we're being judged for being judgmental right out of the gate.  But I don't know how I feel about publically posting things that compare public school and homeschooling anymore.  I used to be a huge proponent, but I now wonder if the chance of offending is maybe too great, and that Facebook may not be the forum for such public tossing out of information.  This is open to conversation here on my blog, as I said, I really am on the fence on this one.

I know for me, I'm praying to have more opportunity in the real world, not in this online world, to connect with people, to share my passion for homeschooling, and to encourage those using public or private schools to make a difference on their journey, too.

I've failed greatly when it comes to being gracious in the past, so it is true, it takes one to know one.

May our confidence be found in God continuing the perfect work which He has begun.

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Jamie Buckland
Jamie Buckland
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