#FlipTheScript was trending on Twitter some time ago and it caught my interest. It was being used by those in the adoption community to advocate for changing the conversation surrounding adoption. The goal of the hashtag was to hear less from adoptive parents and more from the adoptees themselves. It was important. It was brave. And, yes, maybe it made people a bit uncomfortable at times.
It caught my attention because I have a topic where I believe the same flip needs to happen. Homeschooling.
Homeschooling, like adoption, is incredibly difficult to talk about because it inherently means talking about our family. Our loved ones. Most of us who were homeschooled fully believe that our parents had the best of intentions. But trying to explain where those good intentions went wrong is tricky. It is bound to be a difficult conversation and to bring up some points of tension.
This post isn’t about my own experience with homeschooling (K-12 for those wondering) . My story is one tiny piece in the puzzle. Rather it’s a nudge, a push even, for us to #FlipTheScript for the greater homeschooling community. Let’s move the conversation away from simply the parents and give a platform to those who were homeschooled themselves and then actually listen to them.
As we talk about homeschooling I have one plea. We must stop seeing homeschooling as binary (good OR bad) and starting viewing it as nuanced. Because that’s the truth. It IS nuanced.
We need to stop listening to only the BEST homeschooling stories (“She got a full ride to Yale!!!”) or the WORST homeschooling stories (“He couldn’t do 3th grade math as an 18 year old!”), pitting those two against each other. Instead we need to listen to more normal homeschooling stories that will sound more like this: “Here’s what was great about it and here’s what didn’t work at all.”
Flipping the script on homeschooling doesn’t mean that homeschooling parents shouldn’t have a voice, just as the original #FlipTheScript didn’t mean that adoptive parents should keep silent. Everyone should have a voice. Everyone has a piece of the story. But for too long homeschooling parents have been the only ones being heard and I believe that it is time for that to change.
It takes intentionality for us to #FlipTheScript. This probably won’t happen naturally. It takes a commitment to moving away from the dichotomy and move into that uncomfortable grey area. It might take humility and bravery too. And all of us, whether we’re the one talking or listening, must enter this conversation in a shroud of grace.
It might not be easy. But it is time to #FlipTheScript.
We’re preparing for you. We’re anticipating you. We’re so in love with you.
Your brother is learning all about babies. He’s taken to carrying around a stuffed animal, swaddled tightly. If ever I raise my voice or laugh too loudly, he urgently silences me. “Shhh, Mama! Mine baby is sleeping!” He knows the name we’ve selected for you (he’s the only one who does) and he sing-songs it to himself or to me or to daddy. At my doctor’s visits, he loves to help listen for your heartbeat. “Swoo, swoo, swoo!” He says. Last week my doctor told him that he thought the heartbeat sounded a bit like a train coming down the track. Brother stopped still in amazement. Yesterday we were at the park when he heard a train in the distance. “Mama! It’s like mine baby’s heartbeat! Choo, choo, choo, choo!”
Your daddy is working hard to be ahead on homework and research before you come. He’s also trying to wrap his mind around the idea of two (two!) children. And he ever so graciously picking up the slack that I’m dropping without a word of complaining.
And me? Well, I can’t wait to meet you, my little darling. I feel you churning and kicking within me. I feel the effects of your little life as I lay awake at night with heartburn or hang my head over bucket for the umtenth time. I know it is going to be so worth it in the end.
I’ve purchased some new things for you: clothes that seem impossibly small. A bassinet, since we never had one with your brother. With nine weeks left until we meet you, it will soon be time for me to finish up all the shopping I have left to do, to pull the other baby things out of the basement, and carve out a bit of space for you in this house.
We’re preparing for you in other ways too. Preparing space in our hearts for you and preparing the warmest, most loving environment to bring you home to. I’m praying for you and your future years, but also praying for us as we learn to be the parents that you need.
Oh, baby! I can’t wait to have you in my arms.
I’ll be frank: I’m a picky parent.
ESPECIALLY when it comes to clothes.
When I’m shopping I’m looking for items that are classic and comfortable. I steer clear of shirts with characters or words whenever possible. Instead I lean towards items with vivid colors or captivating patterns. I prefer clothing that doesn’t have gender-specific implications.
I’ve been eyeing your products for awhile. They are priced a bit higher than I’m used to spending on children’s clothes so I waited until I was ready to pick out a few favorite items. Your baby clothes are so darling that I had a terribly time trying to decide what to buy, but eventually I narrowed it down to a few things for the not-yet-arrived baby and a couple things for my three year old.
Our order arrived last week and I was absolutely smitten from the moment I pulled the clothes out of the package. I loved the vibrant colors. I loved the quality – I’m sure we’ll be able to use these through multiple children or pass them along to others when we’re done. The baby clothes were incredibly soft and comfy, just the way that kids’ clothing should be. So was the emerald green shirt for my son. He immediately put it on and said, “Thank you for buying me the new shirt, Mama! I so happy!” I was happy too.
Thank you for the rainbow of colors, the lack of characters, the absence of words, the classic silhouettes, and the comfy fabrics.
The Picky Parent
In case you’re wondering, this post WASN’T sponsored by Primary.com. In keeping with my theme for this year, I’m writing a public thank you note each week to an individual, a company or even an object for which I’m grateful. This week I’m grateful for Primary.com!