Homeschooling the “Right” Way?

I haven’t done much homeschool blogging lately. I’ve been more caught up in my recent health journey and have focused most of my writing energies there, but yesterday I stumbled on a blog post that troubled me. And if something troubles me, I’m likely to write about it.

So if you’re not a homeschooler, please bear with me for a little bit while I share some thoughts concerning a troubling trend in the homeschool community.

Homeschooling the Right Way?

The blog post I read was about homeschooling. And pajamas.

I wasn’t so much bothered by the author’s insistence that wearing PJs during the homeschool day is bad, though I do disagree with her position. What did trouble me was that the article was published to begin with. If it had been written in a more tongue-in-cheek style, I could have dealt with it. But it wasn’t.

The author is making a judgment call.

“Staying in one’s PJs all day, while comfy, does not contribute to an atmosphere of striving for excellence. Like it or not, our clothing makes a difference not just to others, but to ourselves as well…

“Do we not want to inspire them to learn well, to grow strong, to pursue truth with enthusiasm and gusto? Can we really mobilize this army while they (and we) are still in our pajamas at dinnertime?

“Let us ride forth with purpose, raising up a generation that will strive for excellence, that will be equipped for good work . . . that will get dressed in the mornings.”

The author is making a clear link between striving for excellence and being dressed a certain way. And by saying there’s a right way to dress when homeschooling, she also saying there’s a wrong way. She’s imploring the homeschool community, en mass, to “please get dressed”, urging us to change the way we dress within the confines of our own homes. And why? Because she feels more energized and productive when she chooses, as she puts it, “to get dressed in clothes that make me feel good.”

But the issue is really not pajamas. This is about one homeschooler insisting that her way of doing things is the right way. And that all homeschoolers should do likewise.

The modern homeschool movement was begun by people who made a conscious decision to go against the grain. They were convicted by the belief that they had a responsibility to do what was right for their families, even though that meant bucking the cultural “norm”. Heck, what they were doing wasn’t even legal! But lately it seems there is a growing trend within the homeschool community toward the insistence on a right way to go about the business of educating our children. And if there’s a right way—and you aren’t doing it that way—you’re wrong. There are homeschool “experts” around every corner telling us how we should school our children…and even sometimes how we should live our lives.

They tell us what our school day should look like.

They tell us what curriculum we should and shouldn’t use.

They tell us that “cyber schooling” isn’t homeschooling at all.

They tell us that “school-in-a-box” curriculum will keep our children from loving learning.

They tell us that we shouldn’t give our children tests. Or grades. Especially grades.

And now they tell us that if we’re not wearing the proper attire we will negatively impact our children’s ability to make it in the real world. And that we will be a really bad testimony to the random person that might drop by our home and find us in—gasp—our pajamas.

All of this can make a homeschooler who is doing a great job with her kids feel completely inadequate. I’ve interacted with these dear women. And it breaks my heart.

Can’t we be content to peacefully coexist with all our individual preferences and differences without insisting that others do things our way? Can’t we support each others freedom to make the choices that seem right for us? Can’t we be a community that is characterized by grace rather than judgment?

And whatever we do, can we please stop squabbling over insignificant issues like pajamas? Seriously.

Advertisements

16 responses

  1. You go! I agree completely. I think next week Richard and the kids need to celebrate Linda Difino week and homeschool in their jammies all week long!

  2. Yes Yes and YES!!! It’s one thing to feel like you have to defend your decisions to traditional schoolers…it’s another one altogether to have to defend how you choose to school your children to others who supposedly have made the same choice as you have. It shows me that the reasons for homeschooling are so very very diversified now vs. when homeschooling began. Sometimes I feel I get more encouragement from my public school teacher friends than I do in reading some homeschool blogs. Great post Linda. Preach!

    • Yep. This (clearly) riles me up far more than having to defend my homeschool practices to critics of homeschooling. And I’ve done plenty of that too.

      And by the way…if this is the Debra I think it is…you’re doing an AWESOME job!! Keep it up! 🙂

  3. And another thing…if there’s only one way to homeschool your child, then why don’t we just all put our kids back into the traditional school where they only do things one way. Oh wait…that’s why we DON’T do traditional school…so we can school our kids the way that WE know they learn best.
    Oy – now I’m fired up!

  4. As a former homeschooler student who wore pajamas as much as possible, and who refused to wear any denim (except of the jumper variety) for the first 10 years of my life, I’d like to say that now I wear “real clothes” every day, even though I’m a nanny and got sneezed and coughed on about 500 times just this week alone. And for the record, nannies are like the occupational equivalent of homeschoolers, because most of them dress like slobs at least 5 days a week. So by wearing “real clothes,” clearly I am head and shoulders above the rest. Perhaps my pajama-clad teacher taught me something about dressing for the real world after all.

  5. And I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that my pajama-clad teacher had these really cool slippers that had Winnie the Pooh and various Chinese words on them. So if we had worn “real clothes” everyday, I would never have learned Chinese.

  6. FIRST LET ME SAY THAT.. IN OUR HOME, WE HOMESCHOOL BECAUSE WE CAN DO IT OUR WAY…CONSIDERING THAT OUR WAY HAS NOT SO MUCH CHANGED BUT EVOLVED OVER THE LAST 7 YEARS FROM A STRICT DISCIPLINARY CURRICULUM NOT UNLIKE PUBLIC SCHOOL, 5 DAY WORK WEEK, GET OUT OF BED GET YOUR CHORES DONE AND GET DRESSED FOR SCHOOL BY 8 AM ….TO MORE OF THE UNSCHOOLING VARIETY,A RELAXED YEAR ROUND SCHOOL AND WORKING ON WEEKENDS EVEN WHEN SOMETHING COMES UP DURING THE WEEK WE DON’T WANT HER TO MISS…

    …WE ARE OFF ON THE NEXT 6 YEARS OF THIS HOMESCHOOLING ADVENTURE FULLY PREPARED TO OPEN OUR MINDS AND TO EVOLVE SOME MORE..NONE OF US HOMESCHOOLERS CAN HAVE THIS FREEDOM UNLESS WE ARE FREE TO ACCEPT ALL FORMS OF HOMESCHOOLING . IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO GET TOTALLY CARRIED AWAY WITH WHAT WE HAVE FOUND THAT WORKS FOR US BUT SOMETIMES IN OUR ENTHUSIASM WE DO AND WE COME OFF SOUNDING LIKE WE ARE INTOLERANT OF OUR FELLOW HOMESCHOOLERS WHEN WE MIGHT NOT HAVE MEANT IT THAT WAY AT ALL.AT EAST I HOPE IT IS MOSTLY THAT WAY… I DON’T KNOW ABOUT ANYONE ONE ELSE BUT I DID NOT GO TO ALL THE TROUBLE OF HOMESCHOOLING SO THAT OUR CHILD COULD LEARN HOW TO THINK JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE THINKS..NOPE!!! THAT WAS NEVER THE PLAN. AND NEVER WILL BE NO MATTER HOW MUCH OUR HOMESCHOOL STYLE EVOLVES… THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO REPLY ……

  7. If I could hug your neck right now, I would. I homeschool because I know my children and i know what they need. I’m not perfect, though and neither is our clothing. One of my children works best in their pajamas until a certain time of day and then, they’re ready for clothing. There’s a sensory issue there and until their body is ready for the roughness of clothes (because we can’t go out and buy all of the comfy clothes that child would wear) pajamas are a good option until the child is ready.

    For me, I might get up, walk/jog and not have a chance to shower and some nights (especially lately), I may not get sleep due to our current mourning over the loss of Grandma – on those mornings, I drink some coffee, teach some lessons, take a nap and then shower and dress.

    Homeschooling the best – way – is what’s best for your family and the season you are in.

    Everyone knows their child best. It’s time to get out of people’s homes and stop being experts and let parents be the parents God created them to be. But, that’s my ‘non-expert’ opinion.

    • Ahhh…my friend! I would give anything to have a hug from you right now!! Maybe you should come to Chicago next month for 2:1 Conference. 😉

      And yes…the right way…is the way that works for you and your family. I think the experts sometimes forget that concerning their own children, the parents are the experts.

      I think your “non-expert” opinion is perfect.

      Love you!!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Would love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s