Every so often on the homeschooling message boards that I occasionally read there will be a post that tells a story something like this:
My 10 yr old son can’t read. I’ve been just waiting for him to be interested but I’m now pregnant and on bed rest with my 8th child. That and my chronic disease have me exhausted and the medications I’m on make my head a little fuzzy. My husband recently lost his job and our house will go into foreclosure at the end of the month. We will be moving into my in-laws basement. My husband and his parents do not support homeschooling so they will not help with the teaching. Do you think it’s ok if we just take the rest of the year to pursue interests?
Invariably, the responses will all be along the lines of “don’t worry, homeschooling is giving your kids so many good things, just take the time, your kids will be fine.”
And while I think it’s great to reassure each other and support each other, I think the truth is more complicated.
The truth is that homeschooling is not always best.
Homeschooling might not be best if it’s not working. If a child isn’t learning. If they aren’t thriving. If family stresses are so great that homeschooling is adding an overwhelming burden. There might be circumstances or seasons of life that make homeschooling not the best choice temporarily.
Obviously we can’t make choices for someone else, nor should we. And as a homeschool community it is good to support each other. However, sometimes support is saying “it’s ok to stop” as much as saying “no matter what you should keep going”. As a community when we pretend that there is never any other choice we do ourselves a disservice and we destroy our credibility.
Don’t get me wrong. I think homeschooling is often best. I think we should do everything we can to support others in our community. But I also think we should admit that homeschooling is not necessarily best just because it’s homeschooling. If we aren’t being honest with ourselves about that then we run the risk of becoming complacent and not pushing ourselves to be the best we can.
Homeschooling can be the best choice for many families. It is for us right now. It might not always be the best choice for us though. And if that becomes the case I hope I have a community that can support that choice.