Stepping up on my soapbox for a minute …

Sometimes it feels like everyone’s looking for shortcuts and magic tricks to ease the job of parenting or turn it into a simple recipe you can follow with guaranteed results. Well, as a mom of three (two are grown and the youngest is high school age), I can attest to the fact that there’s no magic formula. There’s just (fallen, sinful) human beings doing the best they can while raising other (fallen, sinful) human beings.

I’m thinking about this at the moment because an acquaintance of mine took me aside the other day and told me that she’s decided she’s going to homeschool her kids because she’s so impressed with the results I’ve had with my kids. Not the educational results (which are great, by the way) 🙂 but the character results. She wants her kids to be like my kids when they grow up … and somehow she’s gotten the idea that homeschooling was the key to my successful parenting.

Hmmmmm. Well, there’s a problem here.

I happen to be privy to her parenting “style” … and consequently believe with all my heart that homeschooling is NOT the answer for this family.

This particular mom is over-the-top out of control emotionally. She yells at her hubby and kids constantly (even the baby!). Throws things. Criticizes and nags and humiliates her family in public (and private). Honestly, I think sending her kids to public school five days a week could turn out to be a lifesaver for them!

So, does she ask for much-needed tips on parenting … or help with self-control … or information on healthy family dynamics? No. She just asks for recommendations on how to teach her child to read. The “magic wand” of homeschooling won’t make this mom with the poor parenting skills into the proud mother of model citizens.

She needs to back it up a few steps and take a good honest look in the mirror first. Unfortunately, she’s not a teachable sort of person. Can you tell I’m frustrated with her a little bit? Or maybe it’s a lot a bit. 😉

I’m thinking that she’s made a good start by looking for examples of the types of results she’d like to see with her kids. And she’s obviously spent some time trying to decipher where that success comes from. But rather than asking me what I think my “secrets” of success are, she chose one idea and decided to throw herself into it without first examining if it’s the right fit for her family. Or if it’s even the missing piece she’s looking for.

It makes me sad. Sad for her. Sad for her family.

So, are you the parent of young kids and looking for parenting success ideas? Look around you. Find the older moms and dads with the kids you admire. Ask them what they recommend or ask them to tell you in their own words about their parenting choices. Watch their family dynamics. Be honest about your own shortcomings. Remain teachable. Ask for reading recommendations. Be willing to change!

And don’t forget that there’s no one-size-fits-all parenting solution that will work in every family in every circumstance. Repeat after me: “There are no magic wands!”

Homeschooling is a great choice for many families … but it’s not the only choice. And for some families, I believe it isn’t even the best choice … or even a choice that should be considered seriously until other deeper issues — besides educational outcomes — are dealt with in the family’s interpersonal dynamics.

Okay, I’m stepping down off my soapbox now. 🙂

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4 responses to “Stepping up on my soapbox for a minute …

  1. Be patient with your friend. I have learned so much about life that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t had to dive in to homeschooling. I can tell you that reading Charlotte Mason’s books changed not only my homeschooling philosophy, but my parenting philosophy. Hopefully your friend will learn what it really important as she goes along.

  2. So what are your secrets? 🙂

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