One of the reasons that we homeschool is to protect our children from bullying. But what if other homeschoolers are bullying you? Bullying doesn’t always have to be outright name calling or physical contact. It can be subtler. Do you or your children experience any of these?
- Other moms avoid you
- You overhear moms talking about you
- Moms roll their eyes or mumble something softly whenever your child does something they don’t approve of
- Moms approach you directly and say something judgmental or offensive about you or your children
“My daughter has Asperger’s,” I said
I experienced this myself. One of my children regularly attended some classes with other homeschoolers and I asked to meet with each teacher. My child has Asperger’s and I wanted them to be aware of her special challenges. Another mom approached me and asked why I was speaking with the teachers. I told her, “my daughter has Asperger’s.”
She said to me, “How do you know that?”
This was the same mom who previously told me that my daughter had no manners and couldn’t keep her hands to herself. She said all this to me based on an incident where my child was rubbing her hands along all the doorways because she liked the smooth feel of the wood.
I said, “She’s been tested and four different professionals have seen her. She has Asperger’s.” I walked away, but I was angry. Why would I just make something like that up?
What You Can Do
This wasn’t the only time I ever experienced bullying at the hands of others, I just didn’t expect it from other homeschoolers, especially Christians. In addition to the one with Asperger’s, I have two children with ADHD, one of them with dyslexia as well, and a fourth child with sensory and regulation issues. I have good friends who have struggled with their special needs children and have also been judged and shunned by others. What can we do about this?
- If you are the one judging the homeschooler whose kids seem to be out of control, touching everything, throwing tantrums, yelling loudly, etc., please stop. It is very likely that this woman desperately needs your compassion and friendship. Offer to help her, not judge her. Say, “What can I do to help you in this situation?”
- If you feel bullied by other moms, you can:
- Put out educational material at your support meetings
- Offer to speak at one of your meetings about special needs
- Organize a support group in your area just for special needs homeschoolers
- Confront the women who seem to be judging you. You can say something like, “You know, homeschooling kids with special needs is really hard. I feel like I cannot go anywhere with my kid because (fill in the blank with your specific struggle). Does your child do that?”
Homeschooling is hard enough without being shunned by the very people who are supposed to be our community. Let’s show each other more understanding and compassion.
Have you dealt with this issue of bullying by other homeschoolers? What did you do?