If you are not a homeschool mom or don’t homeschool the same way as a friend it can be very hard to encourage the homeschool mom in your life. Sometimes friends will unknowingly hurt feelings or do more harm than good. Homeschooling can be hard and overwhelming but it doesn’t have to break your friend. You have the power to encourage them and equip them to succeed. I’m going to share how to encourage homeschool moms so that you can be there for your friend without giving bad homeschool advice.
Bad Homeschoool Advice – How to Encourage Homeschool Moms
These are based on my experiences. Please comment if there is something I should add to this post. I’m going to share some of the common ones people say and ways that you could reword them to encourage someone.
“Maybe you should stop homeschooling.”
This one always breaks my heart. As homeschool moms we can have really hard days. Kids have attitudes, things in the house break, life doesn’t go to plan, and kids get sick. Do your friend a favor. Don’t start with the fact that they should quit. There are situations where homeschool moms do need to step back and seek out other options. However, if this is your first go to it can be taken the wrong way.
Instead, ask, “What are you struggling with? Is there a way to work through it? What could you change to make things better?” These questions will give you a better picture of what is going on. It may be that she’s had a hard day with a child with a learning disability or she just needs a night out.
“You should have expected this to happen. You chose to homeschool.”
This is another one that crushes my heart. Making the choice to homeschool is about what educational option is best for a child. There are few things worse than having someone use that choice as a reason why you should be unhappy.
Instead, offer ways they can work through it. Suggest resources you know of or offer help working with a child. On some days, the best you can do is be a listening ear and be there for them. Listening may help more than a well-meant statement.
“Maybe you aren’t depressed. Maybe it’s just the fact that you homeschool.”
I will always be very honest and open about my depression. I am currently doing well treating it but it went for a very long time untreated. Depression is a mental condition. It is not a result of your surroundings or because of how you choose to school your children. If you have a friend struggling with mental health issues of any sort, be a support. Don’t blame homeschool.
Instead, encourage them to seek out the help they need. Make sure there is no thought of self-harm and call for help if there is. Instead of blaming homeschool, be a support and stand with them as they work through their mental condition.
“You’d be happier with a real job.”
I am a working homeschool mom. I work from home but I have a “real job.” That said, let me be clear. I have been a working stay at home mom. I have been a self employed homeschool mom. I have been a homeschool mom who didn’t work. None of those choices validated me or took away from my value. In fact, happier really depends on your definition of happy.
Instead of using this phrase, attempt to see how your friend defines happiness. What brings them joy? If homeschooling genuinely brings them joy most of the time, going to work would be the opposite of helpful for them. It could very well make the situation more difficult.
“You are ruining your relationship with your kids.”
There are situations when this could be very true. In fact, my daughter and I had some serious struggles in our relationship when we fought over our old math curriculum. Between my untreated depression, and her undiagnosed dyslexia we were in an unhealthy place. We needed some space and some help with both of our issues in order to have a healthy relationship with one another. If you are making this statement in love because you see a situation like mine, it can be healthy and needed.
I would encourage you to offer help and support in this situation. I didn’t need someone to tell me to send my kid to school and quit homeschooling. I needed someone to speak in kindness that I needed to get the help that could change it all. Speak out but do it in kindness.
Did I forget to add something to this list? Leave me a comment and let me know.
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