Public School Moms and Homeschool Moms, can they be friends? The answer may surprise you!
You’ve begun homeschooling. You are so excited to start this journey and can’t wait to share it with your friends…. But they are NOT homeschooling. They aren’t that excited to hear about all the curriculum options out there. The weekly lunch dates you used to have aren’t happening as often now that your kids are home with you. Those midday phone calls and text chats aren’t quite the same when teaching interferes with your ability to answer…
What is going on? How can you maintain your friendships with your public school friends while homeschooling?
I believe there are three ways and all three require participation from BOTH parties, so share this with your public school friends as well 🙂
Respect Educational Choices
You have decided to homeschool. Great! Your friends may not. That’s great too! You can still be friends 🙂 the key is to respect each other’s educational choices. How do you do this? It’s simple. Don’t judge. Don’t make rude comments. Understand that YOUR educational choice is just that. Yours. Your friend does not have to make the same choice as you.
Going along with this is the assumption that your friend doesn’t respect your educational choice. Don’t assume that because your friend is homeschooling she thinks you should too. Don’t assume that because your friend is leaving her kids in public school that she thinks you should do. Every parent has to make the BEST educational choice for THEIR family. Not yours. That is what your friend is doing regardless of what that educational choice may be.
Don’t Make Rude Comments
When your friend is complaining about the homework at her child’s school, don’t respond with “That’s why we homeschool”. Can you acknowledge that it stinks? Yes. Can you listen to her complain? Yes. But, don’t make the comments. She doesn’t want to hear them.
On the flipside, when your homeschool friend complains about lack of time, grading papers, or another homeschool issue, don’t respond with “That’s why my kids are in school”. Can you acknowledge that it stinks? Yes. Can you listen to her complain? Yes. But, don’t make the comments. She doesn’t want to hear them.
Both parties are guilty of this and I know I have been guilty of it as well. For the sake of our friendships we need to choose to sometimes bite our tongues 😉
Make an Effort
Your friendship will change. This is a fact. BUT, you can make an effort to maintain your friendship. The relationship does not have to dissolve because you have made different educational choices. Schedule a play date after school hours and allow the family to get together. Attend the school recital of a friend’s child. Purchase an item for a school fundraiser. Offer to help her child with homework (if you can). Listen when she calls with a problem or make the time to call back.
If your friend is homeschooling and you are not, ask how things are going. Don’t call in the middle of the day just to chat. Respect her school schedule. Don’t ask her to babysit on a snow day (if she can, she will offer). Listen when she discusses the benefits and challenges of homeschooling.
The key to making friendships work when one family chooses public school and another chooses homeschool lies in one word. CHOICE. You have to choose to respect a friend’s educational choice. You have to choose to make an effort to maintain a friendship. You have to choose to bite your tongue sometimes instead of making rude comments. You have to choose to remember that regardless of educational choice you have one common bond and that is a deep love for your children. You have to choose to be a friend. In doing this you will be blessed to have a friendship that surpasses what some may expect.
Do you have friends who have made a different educational choice? How have you maintained these friendships?
This is one post in a series on homeschool moms and friendship. Check out the other posts here!