This isn’t the kind of thing I usually write about. If you’ve been here very long, you know my posts are usually informational. I try to be encouraging. And, generally, try not to bring anybody down.
However, something is troubling me today, and I wanted you to know.
It’s time to start a conversation. Because things just aren’t right.
Get ready for a longer post than usual. And thanks for reading all the way to the end.
In the last few years, I’ve noticed something. Or maybe I’m just now paying attention.
More and more rude status updates on social media. More and more mean things written as comments, too.
You know what I’m talking about.
Snappy criticisms. Snarky comments. Nasty references to other people.
Sure, sure. They’re JK. Or end with a smiley. But, sincere? I think not.
With the homeschool year just beginning for so many, I’ve begun hearing folks talking about things that went down last year, too. And I have to tell you, I don’t like it. A woman I hardly knew approached me at Target the other day, apologizing for something I wasn’t even aware of. Um, thank you, lady. But, wait…what?
So, I’m a realist. I know this happens. And I know it isn’t limited to homeschool circles, either.
And in case you find me judgmental, let me stop you right now. That’s not what this is about.
But I care. And, the honest truth is, I guess I’m a little over-protective, too.
You see, this is my space. My community. My people. It’s about tradition, too. And it’s undermining a pattern of community and sharing that has been the trademark of homeschooling for so long.
Not to mention, it’s uncharacteristic. Painful to watch. And, okay, I’ll just say it…just plain icky, too.
Why, this summer alone, I have witnessed on my very own screen —
- a new homeschool mom ask a question, and be slammed for not already knowing the answer;
- a woman asking an innocent question and told said question will not be answered as it was posted it in the wrong place;
- a woman talking about other women, no names, yet leaving no doubt as to the identity of her victims;
- another woman talking about other women in plain sight — tagging her victims by name;
- a mom alluding to a conflict online, then revealing the entire situation on another forum — leaking more than enough to make the connection;
- a mom choosing not to take a dispute off-list, instead choosing to update the world with a quote, hidden within a cautionary infographic, with precision aim…;
- a woman who posted a vague — yet nevertheless wounding – status update clearly targeted at a nearby group.
And, believe me, I’m not even looking. I’m busy. And, ordinarily, I try to avoid it all.
So, “Mommy Wars, Homeschool-Style” — is LIVE and on the air. Or, maybe, “Mean Girls: Homeschool Edition”? Coming to a homeschool group near you.
Shocked? About this? Or, about me writing about it?
Someone needs to. I volunteer.
It makes me sad to see women — yes, women – do this to one other.
Last I looked, we were in this together.
I promised myself I’d never write the, “When I first started” speech…but…this situation really warrants a reminder.
When I began homeschooling, a small group of moms gathered at a nearby park once a month for conversation. Everyone was invited.
There was a sign-up sheet for field trips. No pressure, but everyone was invited.
And, occasionally for a party or two. No pressure, but everyone was invited.
You had a question, it was answered. By another mom who cared. By someone who remembered where you sat, and wanted to make your seat a little bit more comfortable since she’d been in that same seat before.
You had a baby, you got a gift basket. You were sick, you got a meal. You had a question, they gathered ’round to help.
Everyone was invited to everything. And everybody came.
You were supported, you were loved. Everybody cheered. Yea, that’s right — everybody.
Today, the growth of homeschooling equals more people, more groups, more discoveries, more opinions. That’s okay. It’s all good.
But, in another way, it’s also not okay.
It’s not okay for us to compete so much. To clash so publicly. To judge so much.
Actually, it’s not okay at all.
If we have learned anything along the way, ladies, it’s that homeschooling is different for everyone. Surely, we all realize there is no right way, and certainly no wrong way. We know this, right?
If we remember anything, it’s that homeschooling is still good, no matter how it is done, and by whom. We know this, right?
If we do anything right, it is by recognizing that all children deserve the chance to belong, to be included, to be successful, to join in, and that the mistakes of us moms must never impact our kids. We know this, too.
So, I’m thinking some of us have forgotten.
Or we’d never be acting this way.
So, let’s turn this around. I’m happy to shine the light on this problem if it may be of help to others.
So, I’m writing about it today. And I’m asking you:
If you have an opinion (a helpful, thoughtful, honest one), post a COMMENT.
If you know a solution (a real one, not a cheeky one), post a COMMENT.
If you have a reference to an article, link or blog (one that helps, not for self-promotion), post a COMMENT.
Or, if you just plain old have something to add to this conversation (without bashing), post a COMMENT.
I’ve started it. Now, let’s finish this together.
And if you feel led to share this post with others, do it now. A conversation is only that when we start talking to one another.
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. The founder of homeschool groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame and with no teaching background whatsoever. A liaison for regional school-to-home organizations and a homeschool leader in Florida, Marie-Claire also mentors homeschool families nationwide. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., Home Education Council of America, Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool, and many other events. Her articles have appeared in and on CONNECT, Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of other blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.