It’s Okay to be a Dinosaur
At the Team KEMP Academy, we love dinosaurs! Initially, our interest in the prehistoric creatures came from our oldest son Bear’s desire to study them and play with them. We do a unit study every year, going more in depth as to dinosaur traits and newly discovered fossils, and of course, our preschoolers enjoy watching Dinosaur Train.
My other view of “dinosaur” came as I was talking with a friend and describing how some people have perceived our family’s decisions over the years. I told her, “people hear that I am a housewife and homeschooler and immediately look at me like I’m a dinosaur.” She agreed, and we laughed, both realizing that even though homemaking and homeschooling have been around for generations, it is often viewed as an old and even ancient way of life.
Approximately four years ago, I was in tears as I talked to my husband about how I felt like a local dinosaur. Occasionally, amongst family, friends, and church members, I felt awkward and misunderstood as it pertained to other’s opinions of our household. The opposition wasn’t daily; however, over time, responding to the comments, remarks, and questions weighed heavily on me. I didn’t have doubts about the choices we made, but it appeared that others could not understand why we chose to be “different.”
“Why would you homeschool all of those children? Oh no! I couldn’t be at home with my kids all day.” “If he works, how do you earn money?” “Don’t you want to have your own money?” “You are just homeschooling because you don’t want to go to work.” These are just a few of the questions and comments that I have heard over the years.
If you have ever been interrogated, offended by commentary, or happened to hear what the grapevine has said about your decisions then hopefully these four points will motivate you to keep pressing on.
· Understand that people have questions and be ready to answer them. Sometimes people are genuinely interested in your story, and you do happen to be the ONLY dinosaur (homeschooler) that they know. As I have matured along our journey, I realize that every inquiry is not meant to offend; sometimes people just have questions.
· Don’t take it personally when people oppose your family decisions. Disagreements are realistic. Respond with peace, and avoid a defensive attitude. Remember that their opinion does not change God’s design for your household. Every person that has disagreed with our decision to homeschool has come back and complimented us for the same because the fruit of our labor speaks for itself.
· You need a support system! Our family prays daily for God to bless our household with friends and supporters; He has done just that. We have been blessed to have people come into our lives that are an asset to our life style. We attend a church that has a homeschool co-op, and our local library has monthly homeschool classes; so we have gained many friends by attending both consistently.
· Always encourage, call, and check in with new homeschooling families. I remember having questions as a newbie, and I am forever grateful for my homeschool and teacher friends who answered every single one without hesitation. Our pastor was a principal, and he would often reach out to us to see if we needed any supplies or resources. You never know how your wisdom, hugs, and funny stories from bad days can help comfort a family new to the wonderful world of homeschooling.
As you read this post, I hoped you felt inspired and strengthened knowing that every urge to homeschool was from God — pulling, pushing, and guiding you towards your purpose. The crazy questions and rough days are temporary, will pass, and ultimately, be replaced with precious memories and meaningful conversations. Stay prayerful and allow God to add people to your support system, so there will be no lack in your life or your children’s home education experience. Remember to encourage your fellow “dinosaurs” because we NEED each other! There may not be billions of homeschoolers, but there are more than enough of us to ensure that we never walk alone.
Ta’Neisha Kemp – I’m a proud wife that spontaneously serenades her husband in public. I’m a cool mom that has dance battles with her children. I’m the keep it real friend that doesn’t tell your business. I’m also the lady that cries actual tears while watching romantic comedies and reading books. If you’re a homeschool teacher that enjoys a quick “I totally understand” moment in between subjects and chores, then we just became best friends. I’m a proud believer, living a balanced life where taking care of my family is my ministry! Blog: Marriage, Motherhood, and Makeup http://married2kdk.wordpress.com