A Critique Of Comparison
She has what? She teaches how? They live where? Her kids play when? Comparing our homeschool with someone else’s homeschool is risky.
Growing up, my siblings and I would try to convince our parents to let us do something. We would use the comparison tactic, “But, she is allowed to do it”. My parents always told us something like, “If they jumped off the roof, would you do it?” This type of comparison did no good to anyone, but we knew we wouldn’t get our way.
When we grow up, we still fall into the comparison trap. We compare our “things” with other’s things. It does us no good, but it’s hard not to compare our life with someone else. We suspect that the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence.
Because homeschooling becomes our life, we sometimes, innocently, compare our homeschool to another family. We need to be careful that this doesn’t become a problem for us, and thus, become a potential problem for our family.
Before social media, the comparisons weren’t so open. Maybe when we saw other homeschool families at church or an event, we would compare our situation with theirs. I’ve noticed now, that social media and online groups have produced a huge avenue for comparisons.
Most online groups and forums that I’ve visited were thriving because of the comparison problem. Instead of homeschool moms discussing, researching, and making decisions with their husbands, they instead got advice from strangers online. There is nothing wrong with getting advice (from a multitude of counselors), but so many discussions online turn into a comparison-fest.
Many times, the advice I see given online is not sound. People online tend to have less inhibitions, and write down the first thing that pops into their heads. Emotional reactions, anger, jealousy, and other emotions don’t bring about a logical solution to issues that homeschool moms face.
And worse than just comparisons, you’ll often see mom-shaming or homeschool mom-shaming. This is a terrible thing for everyone involved. We know little of another person’s situation, and should be very careful about advice that we blindly offer. As Christians, our advice should come from a Biblical perspective.
Human reasoning is so often seen on these forums. The world view that is so common is human focused. I’ve also been guilty of comments that point the person to self-help. Saying things like, “you can do this!” or “take control and get it done”. These can be innocent, or can be seen as saying to live and strive to do things “in the flesh” vs. doing things God’s way.
It doesn’t matter if someone has a homestead and raises all their food or if someone has their 13 year old in college studying engineering. We all have been blessed with our own family. We don’t need to try to copy a way of life or homeschool that isn’t right for us. All of us are different and have different needs, gifts, ideas, and goals.
When husband and wife seek God it’s easier to trust our plan and goals for our homeschool family. We no longer feel the need to get advice from strangers or try to follow a plan that isn’t ours.
@2018, copyright Lisa Ehrman