It was a blessed morning in church. We had a visiting pastor from Africa who was there to share about missions and opportunities. I saw him standing, alone, fidgeting with the collar of his African style coat and I gulped. This was my chance.
I’ve long had a tugging on my heart for missions and I was convinced God ordained this moment for me to begin my journey to Africa. I approached him and began to make small talk. Surprisingly, he asked what I did for a living.
I told him I homeschooled my kids.
He was very interested.
We spent the next few minutes chatting about curriculum and how we choose it, homeschooling law in America, and the similarities and differences in views on education in our respective countries.
What the heck?
I guess my God- ordained moment is still to come. Though he did wrap up our conversation by encouraging me to come to Africa and even pulled my husband over to encourage him as well, the better part of our conversation was about homeschooling.
And I am finding this to be more and more the case.
The checker at Trader Joes. An old friend I bump into. Family members at a party. Everyone has a ton of questions about homeschooling and how it works.
Don’t get me wrong, I love talkin’ homeschool. It is one of my favorite things about our life and I tend to get overly excited when anyone shows the least bit of interest. And, for the most part, my experience has been pretty positive.
Of course, there is the occasional criticism, skepticism, or insult. But those don’t bother me much anymore. Time is a great confidence builder.
Sharing details of how we homeschool doesn’t bother me, either. What does get my palms sweating is the responsibility I feel to portray homeschooling correctly.
I am the kind of person that takes a while to process things. I’ve had many brilliant conversations in my head on the way home from parties. When I’m put on the spot, though, I come up short. Twirl my hair. Say “Um.” A lot. Wonder, in fact, just why am I homeschooling and just what are the benefits for my kids.
I’m afraid I’ve been a less than stellar ambassador more than once.
However, an interesting thing has happened. The more I swallow my nerves and speak up– however ineloquently– the more comfortable I’ve become. While my conversation with the African pastor didn’t go quite as I’d hoped, I realized something on the way home.
I didn’t twirl my hair even once.
I didn’t stammer or falter, or come up blank. In fact, I had a perfectly normal, friendly conversation with a complete stranger about the benefits of homeschooling, my philosophy on education, and homeschool laws in America.
I was totally myself, totally comfortable, and my palms were totally dry. Maybe it was a God-ordained moment after all.
If you’re like me and a little socially awkward, take heart! Keep answering the questions and sooner or later, you’ll find yourself chatting about educational methods with the checker at Trader Joes as easily as if you were discussing your favorite pasta sauce.
And if you find yourself twirling your hair and coming up blank? Relax. Time is a great confidence builder.
Do you get excited when people ask you about homeschooling?
Angela writes about homemaking, homeschooling, and striving to be a wife to rush home to. Get a peek inside her school room here.
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