If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Comparisons? No Thank You...

It hit me today that, with very rare exception (i.e. maybe once every few months), I have left all homeschooling message boards/forums. Why? Because when I do go on such boards, I automatically start comparing our style of education to those portrayed, and that often leads to feelings of panic and inadequacy. I've come to realize I don't miss those feelings, and that in fact, comparing what we do to what others do is like comparing apples to oranges.

Realistically speaking, we are far, these days, from the classical education end of the homeschooling spectrum. We don't quite fit the "standard" definition of the other endunschooling—either. Hmmph. I guess labeling doesn't work?

I used to frequent the message boards/forums for ideas, for book lists, for reassurance that I was following the "right" path at the "right" time. Now it feels like trying to do this...


Maybe the error in on my part though. Maybe I need to look at use of such boards in a different light. Sometimes there are gems hidden in there, like long threads on how unschooling works, or books that delighted someone, projects that brought something to life for a child.
Do you like homeschooling message boards/forums? Do you find them helpful, or overwhelming? Has your view of them changed over the years?


  1. I understand so well!
    I took me years to be able to just call ourselves homeschoolers, labels are tricky.
    I do like forums but more for camaraderie and companionship. I do try to not worry about what we do as opposed to what others do... to borrow the phrase: Comparison is the death of joy. I need my joy so I try to keep my eyes on my own work! But like irl friends some times it takes a little forum hopping to find your home and given the nature of any relationships there are times when it is time to move on to a new forum or group.

  2. As the owner of a homeschooling site and forum, I'm coming to this from an obviously biased angle. But I still know exactly what you mean. It's hard to read the posts of others without doing the comparison tango. But I wonder if we shouldn't think of our social communities as more like coffee shops. When we go to coffee shops to hang out with other people, we don't usually compare what kinds of coffee we are having with what our friends are having. They have their favorite way to have their coffee and we have ours. Big deal, right? Instead, the reason we're there is to give and receive camaraderie. Weirdly, it's less about the "content" of our conversations there, and more about the support we create for each other just by having them! :)

    1. Exactly. I like the coffee shop analogy.

  3. I love some aspects of the forums; for example, the curriculum board at Well-Trained Mind's forums has been really interesting and I've learned about some great products both there and at simplycharlottemason.com's boards. I have to avoid the other boards on the forums, though, because either I start worrying about our methods, such as they are (which after 11?12? years is probably kind of dumb) or I get annoyed because there always seems to be someone who lurks waiting to tell others what they are "doing wrong". I strongly dislike seeing homeschoolers tear each other down instead of building each other's confidence, no matter how sweetly worded it is.

    One thing that other commenters have mentioned that I do like is the sense of community when you find the right board; when we lived in an isolated area of Quebec it sometimes felt like a lifeline.


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

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