The Homeschooling Mom Is Not The Pinnacle of Christian Motherhood

I’m not sure where it started, but somewhere along the way, “Homeschooling Mom” became portrayed as the pinnacle point of successful Christian motherhood.

  • She grinds her own grain for morning breakfast.
  • She sits down with each child and teaches them everything they need to learn based on their own individual interests.
  • She becomes an expert at teaching reading.
  • She spends every waking minute absorbed in creating a home that is warm, encouraging, and a perfect haven of happiness for all who enter.

There’s a problem with this. It perpetuates the myth that the “best” thing for kids can only be provided by families with the time, energy and financial resources for a mom to stay home.

What does that say about families that are not in a position to do this? Do they have to be resigned to second-best?

When we elevate a form of parenting or schooling in this way, we eliminate the need to rely on a Savior. We’ve put an unsustainable burden on the shoulders of parents. The Homeschool Mom becomes the de facto Savior of the family. When she doesn’t meet that arbitrarily set standard, she feels crushed.

What about the family that is serving in a country overseas where homeschooling is illegal?

What about the family where the mom is undergoing cancer treatment?

God is no more or less able to work in my child’s life based on how I choose to school my children.

I grew up attending a small Christian school. When you imagine “small”, you should probably cut that number down by about 60%. It was a fine school, but it wasn’t perfect. I was bullied in elementary school. I spent most evenings lying on my bed crying because the girls at this nice little Christian school were awful. What do you do when the only girls in your grade are mean? I also had some great experiences and was able to do some things I would have never done at a bigger school– every student was in the annual Christmas program and choir to make it work. I probably would have been too shy to do that at a bigger school. Years after I graduated, my mom told me that she wished they had sent us to a different school. My parents chose what they thought was best. It worked out fine in the end, in spite of the school I attended. And I expect most people can say that about the choices their parents made in regard to school. There were good and bad things for the homeschoolers, the public schoolers and the private schoolers.

What’s my point? There is no one thing that is the ultimate of parenting perfection. There is no one-size-fits-all best for educating your kids. There is certainly not one way that makes you a better mother than the others.

As a mom who has taught her children at home for 5 1/2 years, I’m troubled by what I’ve seen in some of the homeschool community. I see lots of pressure on moms to have a picture perfect life and lots of moms who are discouraged because it’s impossible. We have no idea how to follow the interests of three different children who have no interest in ever cleaning their rooms or their bathrooms. There is a part of the homeschool subculture that promotes a very specific way of life that I cannot and will not live up to.

Home school your kids.

Public school your kids.

Private school your kids.

Don’t make the decision based on anything other than what is best for your children and your family. Don’t buy the lie that one choice makes you a better mom than any other choice.

The ironic thing about trying to reach the pinnacle point of ultimate Christian motherhood, is that it’s about trying to control an outcome that is uncontrollable.

2 thoughts on “The Homeschooling Mom Is Not The Pinnacle of Christian Motherhood

  1. Very well put. I agree with everything you said. Some of us have the financial means to stay home with our kids, but that is getting to be more and more of a minority. I never took for granted the fact that we were able to get by on just Don’s income so I could be home for those years. And I never took for granted the fact that my kids were all compliant little miniature adults, which made home-schooling them a breeze compared to what other moms and dads have to deal with. I guess I never felt homeschooling made me a better parent – just a far luckier parent. And I certainly don’t think that parents who home school are better, since I have some of both among my own offspring. And I think they are all doing a great job!

  2. I honestly never even knew that Christianity and homeschooling were intertwined until recently. I grew up in a community that was predominantly Christian, but I didn’t know a single family that homeschooled. My daughters attended a Christian preschool, and all of the children I knew attended public school or private school afterwards. I’m not saying this to disparage homeschooling, only to share that in my world I’ve never felt any sort of pressure to homeschool in order to be a “good Christian mom.” And I’m very grateful for that! I am more than fine with admitting that I am not cut out for home-schooling. Even if I had all of the time, finances, and resources in the world, I don’t have the temperament or the patience! But I don’t think that makes me any less of a mom, or of a Christian. I’m very grateful for all of the gifted, patient teachers who have been and will be part of my children’s lives.

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