The number of homeschooling families is quietly growing across America. Homeschoolers are appearing in more and more churches. Some homeschooling families are blessed to have other homeschooling families in their congregations. Other homeschooling families are the lone rangers in their congregations. Stereotypes and misunderstandings about homeschooling can sadly follow us into our church lives as well. Here are some things that homeschooling moms wish their pastors knew.
#1 Homeschool Moms and SAHM are not the same
Invitations to join the Wednesday morning Bible study are sweet, but we can’t come. I am sure that other members of the church share the same frustration. Just because we are not working at a job outside of our home, doesn’t mean that we aren’t working.
We have some flexibility, but we have work that has to get done. We are full-time school teachers for our families. Stay at home moms with younger children are in the same boat until their children are in school. Both sets of moms have their plates full. Homeschool moms wish their pastors knew how hard they worked at home.
#2 Don’t assume we have more time than others moms
Homeschool moms tend to be more involved in our children’s activities and leading in areas at the church. We have gotten over the fear of not being the professional experts, and we know how to dive in and learn how to do it ourselves.
Our problem is that we tend to do too much!! We are more than just a full-time teacher and homemaker. We are also often the children’s ministry volunteer, the dance mom, the soccer mom, the scout leader, etc. We want to say yes when the pastor asked us to help out, but sometimes we need to say no. In fact, those busy moms that work full-time jobs are not any busier than we are. Go ask them to help out too! Remember, homeschool moms have a full-time responsibility at home.
Need help saying no? Read “Just Say No for Homeschool Moms.”
#3 We are Teachers too!
Homeschool moms wish their pastors knew that they are teachers too. When you gather the teachers and other school staff at the front of the church to pray for the new school year, don’t forget us. Our student body may be small, but we are still teachers in your congregation. Our students are still members of your children’s and youth ministries.
Many times the church pastors will attend events at the local schools to show their support. Remember that homeschoolers have events too. Come to our events as well. Homeschool teachers and students need your support too.
#4 Our teaching experience is just as important as Public School teachers
Homeschool moms wish their pastors knew that our teaching experience is just as important as public school teachers. We both are teachers with valuable classroom and learning experience. When making decisions about our children’s ministry programs, school teachers should not be the assumed experts.
In fact, Christian discipleship and public school education are NOT the same things. (This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.) One system exists to create workers for our economy, and the other focus on faith formation. The educational theories of the public school are not founded upon a biblical worldview. Our programs for children and youth in the church should not be modeled after the failing public school system. Many times the wisdom and experience of a Christian homeschool mom are far more relevant to the church setting than that of the public school teacher.
We don’t just teach math or science; we use those subjects to point our students back to God. We are used to being creative and adapting the needs of our particular students. These skills are often needed in our church classrooms.
We know that the default at church is to listen to the “professional” teachers, but honor us with pointing out our unique experience as well.
#5 Do your research about homeschool
Homeschool moms wish their pastors knew the facts about homeschooling. Frankly, we homeschool because we God called us to homeschool. If you can educate yourself all about the local football team stats, then you can educate yourself about homeschooling. If you can know all about the local schools, you can learn about our school.
Learn about your state laws. (The Homeschool Legal Defense Association has an easy to understand link to each state’s laws here.) Visit the local homeschool co-op and learn about all the opportunities for homeschoolers in your area. Take the time to ask your homeschool families about why they homeschool. If you want an honest and complete answer, ask them when they aren’t around public school families.
#6 Don’t suggest to me that my children should be salt and light in the public school
Would you have the guts to tell that high school mom that her son shouldn’t play football because of their idolatry of sports? Do you have the guts to speak to those high school girls about the lengths of their skirts? No, I didn’t think so. You may have concerns, but you don’t want to offend those families so you keep your thoughts to yourself.
Telling me that my child should be sent into the danger zone of public school to be salt and light – is even more offensive to me. We are choosing to homeschool precisely for our children’s spiritual health. When there are upwards of seventy percent of Christian who go to public school, waking away from the church after college – why should my child follow them down that path? Homeschool moms wish their pastors knew and RESPECTED their spiritual conviction to homeschool their children.
Curious about how many homeschooled kids walk away from the church? It will shock you. Check out “The Top Reason to Homeschool.”
Finally, Christian Moms need their Pastors
Homeschool moms wish their pastors knew that we need their support. Christian homeschool moms are not perfect, and we are not spiritual giants. We are simply Christian parents who are convicted that homeschooling is the best way to raise disciples.
We still need our pastors’ love, support, and understanding. We will still struggle with how to have healthy marriages and how to handle parenting challenges. Our children will not always be perfect just because we homeschool. We still need the guidance and advice of our pastors.
We deal with enough stereotypes and negativity – we long to have our pastors recognize and respect our sacrifice for our families. We long to have our pastors defend us and stick up for us too. We are raising the next generation for Christ, and we want our pastor’s support.