Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From Comparing to Cooperating

Fair or not, when homeschoolers encounter other homeschoolers, we sometimes begin to compare.  She does better at {fill in the blank}, and I am worse at {fill in the blank}.  And, even if we avoid using the 'than' comparisons, we may evaluate in another way.  "Her daughter is reading unabridged classics in second grade!"  "Wow, their child speaks four foreign languages and is beginning college level courses at age 14!"  As a result, we may begin to find our value in the comparison, ranking ourselves, our homeschools, and our children.

While it is incredible to learn about, celebrate, and be inspired by the successes of others, it is important to not find our own worth in a comparison.  Each family's homeschool is unique and gifted differently.  Where our homeschool excels, another may be challenged.  Where our homeschool stumbles and falls flat on its face, another excels.  Instead of constantly comparing and evaluating, might we try another way?  A way of cooperation inspired by the timely example of Thanksgiving.

The Lesson of Thanksgiving
When the Pilgrims first came to the New World, it was autumn.  They faced incredible difficulties and unimaginable hardships that first winter.  By spring, they were fewer in number and strength.  They had to succeed or face another winter starving.  The local experts, Native Americans, taught the Pilgrims survival skills specific to the New World.  By harvest time, the Pilgrims enjoyed a time of plenty, and celebrated with the Native Americans.  They gave thanks for the bountiful harvest.

As homeschoolers, we have many opportunities to do something similar for one another by stopping the comparisons, finding value in our differences, learning from one another, enjoying the blessings of sharing, and giving thanks. 

This is something that I find here in our cooperative blog and many other helpful sites around the web.  However, the internet isn't the only place to find cooperative encouragement.  Many of us are also blessed with outstanding local support groups or fellow homeschool friends.  Each day, encouragement and cooperation may just be a click, phone call, or visit away, as we all work toward growing our homeschools

And for this I am grateful.

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