I’m a homeschooling mom. Goodness knows, my kids and I get many-the-good-laugh out of all the jokes that increase in circulation during “back to school” seasons. My favorite is the popular meme that shows a battle-fatigued woman sitting at a desk, cup of coffee in hand, talking to herself. The caption reads: “Homeschool Parent/Teacher Conference” We get a kick out jokes about walking around the house to “change classes” or kids not knowing what grades they are in.
It’s all in fun, and much of it is very funny! Aside from the fact that we homeschoolers provide oodles of material for the latest comic fare, there are many other things I love about homeschooling. It allows us to help each child reach his or her full potential as a child of God. There’s no hard-fast rule that every student has to use the same book or learn at the same pace as his/her peers. Homeschooling provides an opportunity for every student to customize education according to individual weaknesses, strengths, passions, goals, etc…
Through homeschooling, I have learned to help my children celebrate their individual gifts and talents, and strive to improve in areas where they struggle.
Once you’ve been away from the “outside school system” for a while, you notice things you may not have noticed before. For instance, I’m no different than any other parent who enjoys slapping a decal that publicizes kids’ sports teams onto the back window of the family vehicle. However, a recent trend strikes me as peculiar. Sports stickers are being replaced with those that read, “I am the proud parent of an honor roll student at such-and-such a school.”
At first glance, this seems harmless. Why wouldn’t a parent be proud of a child’s academic achievements? Deeper thought leads me to believe there’s a huge difference between pep-club-spirit-decals advertising a general sports team and drawing attention to a child’s particular situation.
Let me clarify. In short, what about all the hundreds (if not thousands) of kids who work really hard in their studies, but, for whatever reason, can’t seem to achieve higher than a “C” average? Some may have identified learning disabilities while others are simply just “poor testers.” (Another blessing of homeschooling is that I do no have to limit my children’s learning experiences by “teaching to the test.”)
Every time I see one of these vehicle decals, I cringe. Who knows? Rather than cringing, I suppose I could see it as a tremendous entrepreneurial opportunity to create new decals that say things like, “Proud Parent of Average Student”, “Proud Momma of Struggling Reader” or “Proud Parent of Kid Who Knows the Material but Gets Nervous Taking Tests.”
The sports sticker on the back of my 15-passeneger van merely says, “Buck Valley Baseball.” It does not say, “Proud Mom of Boy Who Hit Two-Run Homer in the Final Inning with Two Outs to Win Play-Off Championship for His Team.” Was I proud of my son in his moment of baseball glory? You bet your bottom dollar, I was! Do I feel the need to plaster it across my van window for all the world to see? Nope. I’m just as proud as the teammate who tried his very best in that game, but struck out every time he stepped up to the plate.
Education is more about inculcating a love of learning, then providing resources, tools and opportunities that teach kids how to learn than it is about getting one’s name on a list of “the elite.”
Perhaps, we should consider the potential impact those honor roll decals might have on kids in the vehicles behind who try their very best, but never seem to “make the grade.” Where are their stickers? Who’s proud of them?
I know I am.
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.