One would think that with all the challenges we face as homeshooling moms, we would be some of the most supportive women on earth. We live daily with a choice that takes us out of the mainstream in our communities, churches, families, and friendships. We should create a tight network of support for one another simply on the basis of that alone.
Instead, it’s amazing how ugly homeschool moms can be toward one another.
I mean, seriously, people.
What do we possibly have to gain when we tear down another homeschooling mom or belittle her choices?
What does it benefit us when we make snarky comments about the challenges faced by another mom who is trying daily to do right for her child?
I observed recently that there are three popular and well-used ways to tear down a fellow homeschool mom.
Ignore What She Is Actually Saying
Does anyone actually listen any longer? I mean really actively listen with the goal of understanding, not just wait for the other person to take a breath so you can jump in with
your obviously superior viewpoint?
Does anyone actually read any longer? I mean utilize critical thinking skills to ascertain what the author is saying as opposed to assuming you already know what she is saying before you even start reading? It’s unbelievable the way people make assumptions without listening to or reading what is actually being said.
I’ve read comments on homeschool blog posts and homeschool Facebook discussions and I would swear I didn’t even read the same thing as some of the other commenters. I can’t figure out what they read because their comments are so obviously driven by their own agenda/anger/perceived superiority and not at all what the original author had to say.
Not only do commenters ignore the intent of the author, they are so quick to jump on other commenters.
Does it improve our homeschooling experience to take down another homeschool mom?
What does someone possibly have to gain by doing so?
Demonstrate A Total Lack Of Empathy
Empathy is defined this way on Wikipedia:
Empathy is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference, ie, the capacity to place oneself in another’s shoes.
The key here is “from within the other person’s frame of reference.” Unless someone develops this ability, they have little chance of becoming a positive influence on the lives of others.
If you cannot remove yourself from your own frame of reference and try to completely place yourself in someone else’s (especially if you strongly disagree with them), you are never going to be a very good friend, neighbor, sibling or parent.
I’m amazed at the callous comments homeschooling moms will make to one another on social media. They demonstrate a total and complete lack of empathy. It is obvious because instead of engaging the topic at hand in a thoughtful way that demonstrates some ability to consider different angles, they simply repeat more stridently their particular view and strongly imply the other mother is an idiot for not thinking the same way.
Homeschooling moms are a diverse bunch. There is no stereotypical homeschool mom. We cover every end of every spectrum – political, religious, financial, educational philosophy, etc. But we all have this in common – we want a positive education for our child.
Why is it so hard then to be empathetic toward another mom who might make a choice different from our own, but for her own very good reasons?
Use Inflammatory Language
Nothing says love and concern about the well-being of another homeschool mom like inflammatory language. Examples?
- “I would never consider….”
- “Why would anyone ever…”
- “I can’t believe someone would think…”
- “What kind of mom would…”
- “I don’t get moms who…”
- “Any mom who would…”
Each of the examples above includes both inflammatory language as well as a distinct lack of empathy.
Being a homeschool mom is challenging enough. Do we really need to attack other homeschool moms with inflammatory language?
Does it make us feel like a better person to know we’ve put someone we’ve never met in her place or reduced her to tears or feelings of humiliation?
Should we be proud of taking down another mom who is struggling to just get through the day with her child?
We’re really so much better than that. We’ve already taken on one of the biggest challenges of our lives in deciding to homeschool.
Treating other homeschool moms with kindness should be a piece of cake compared to that.
Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies
I wish everyone could just be more supportive of one another and everyone’s choices.
I have often thought the same things as you have just shared. In fact, it is one of the reasons I have left a lot social media homeschooling sites. I don’t have the heart and time to dig through some of the negativity to find the inspiration. When I do find a site/blogger/homeschool parent that feels the way do, I very much appreciate it. Thank you again for sharing.
I joined one Christian homeschooling FB group and didn’t even last 48 hours. It was so negative I could hardly believe it. There are good homeschooling FB groups, but you really have to search for them.
I’ve been fortunate enough not to see or experience these things in my homeschool community (online or IRL), but it’s shameful. I try not to read comments on ANYTHING anymore.
“I can’t figure out what they read because their comments are so obviously driven by their own agenda/anger/perceived superiority and not at all what the original author had to say.”
That seems to be standard online behavior.
I take that back. I just saw it happen on a homeschool FB page I manage. Wow. Rude.
I know you are super social media savvy so I was surprised when you said you hadn’t witnessed any of it. I have to admit I laughed out loud when your follow-up comment came through later on. 🙂
Wow. Great article. We’re basically doing this thing on our own at this point. I got so bogged down with negative comments and snide remarks that it was impacting our own homeschool journey and our choices. I think the styles of homeschooling are great, but I feel when you gravitate to one of them, moms tend to be legalistic with it, where we are more loose. So, I was hearing it from all sides. “Oh, that’s a lot of workbooks you’re using!” Or, “Well, Charlotte Mason wouldn’t do it that way.” I actually had one crazy mom stop talking to me, because at her “unschooling group”, I mentioned preparing my child for college, if that’s what they wanted to do. You’d think I said I like to drown cats and tear the wings off of butterflies. (You can’t make this stuff up you know.)
And, the other thing that is so strange (what you mentioned) was the lack of empathy. No one can seem to accept you for who you are. “Oh, you do that differently? I can’t talk to you.” I mean…how is this an attribute of a Christ-led life exactly??? Yeah, I don’t get it.
I think it’s rather difficult to find some good FB pages too…I’m on a few, which is nice. I gotta say though, it’s been a tough face-to-face experience for us. Although, my kids are just THRIVING doing this thing with just us! It’s actually been really nice. Is it okay to say we’re not anti-social, but just ant-negative-tearing down-inconsiderate-malevolent?
How about being excluded because you school differently or do not want to join the “group” in the area ( religious reasons)? Yes, we are excluded and have NO support. I have been homeschooling for nearly 23 years and this just blows me away.