Sunday, July 6, 2008

Homeschooling Haters

I was sitting at a table at a wedding reception yesterday when I was approached by a woman who is barely even an acquaintance of our family. I should note that she was not coming over to my table to say a friendly hello, but rather to grab a piece of pottery that was sitting directly in front of me. I didn't mind at all that she was taking it, but it was a bit immature for a woman of her age. You see, the groom made enough pieces for every family to take one home as a souvenir of the wedding (a very nice gift if you ask me). I have no idea how many hours he must have spent making the numerous pieces. But, I digress.

Let us get back to my encounter with the not so charming lady. Well, what followed after her awkward intrusion was an even more unpleasant conversation. I reminded her of who I was since she said she recognized me but could not recall how she knew me. I reminded her that we had met at her house about a year ago at a retirement party that she hosted for the mother of the groom. I think the mutual friend is the only thing I have in common with this woman.

Anyway, after reintroducing myself, my daughter, who had been playing with the other kids there, came over to the table. Rose entered the conversation for a minute or two. The woman asked Rose the usual questions that kids get asked by adults. How old are you? What grade are you in? Where do you go to school? Rose informed the woman that she is six and is homeschooled and she just finished kindergarten. Then, Rose ran off to say goodbye to her friends because it was almost time to leave.

I was left with the woman who proceeded to tell me what great teachers the local elementary school has and how great the school system is. Then, she made sure to tell me that she is not an advocate of homeschooling. By Rose stating that she is homeschooled, had this woman concluded that we believe that the teachers and school system are subpar? We did not say it because we do not believe it. Also, did I ask her for her opinion about homeschooling? No, I did not. So, why did she feel the need to specify that she is not an advocate of homeschooling? Did she think that it mattered to me? It does not matter to me what her opinion is. In fact, I would not be homeschooling if I had any doubt about whether or not it is a good choice for my family. I don't mind others having a different opinion than me, but I do mind others being close-minded and rude.

Am I an advocate of homeschooling? No. Am I an advocate of public schools? No. Am I an advocate of parents doing what is best for their families in their particular circumstances? Yes. It is not a question of which form of schooling is better, but rather which form of schooling is better for a particular family.

I am tired of the negative reaction I get from others concerning our choice to homeschool. We are taking it one year at a time. We just started a year ago and for right now it is working well for our family. Do I think my kids will eventually go to public schools? Maybe. I simply don't know at this point. I am okay with this since I don't know what the future holds for us. Why must so many people be so uncomfortable with this?

Are there studies that show homeschooled children grow up to be misfits? Are we ruining society? My husband, children, and I are active in the community. We aren't sheltering our children. We protect our children as parents should, but we are not closing ourselves off from the outside world. Is that what people think? When are people going to open their minds and drop the stigma of homeschooling?

Seriously. If you are against homeschooling, then that is fine. Why not ask yourself a few questions, though, before you close the book on homeschooling. First, do you have children? How can you know what is best for your children before you know them? Second, are you opposed to homeschooling in general or are you opposed to homeschooling your children? There is a difference. One can recognize that homeschooling is not the best option for his/her family while acknowledging that it may be best for another's family. And, lastly, if you have considered all there is to consider about homeschooling and you still come to the conclusion that you are against it, then can you have a little respect for other parents and their rights to decide what is best for their families?


Anonymous said...

Amen. I hope I remember the words of the last paragraph. It is a great way to close the conversation with respect.

ellieandavasmommy said...

Okay, so I didn't even know you had a blog...and here is my 2 cents worth in the conversation. If people want to approach you and tell you they don't like homeschooling, you should think of a good comeback regarding public schools (and/or private schools). Just a thought! I know it's not always the best idea to retaliate, but it might be something to consider if people are always hounding you... Even if you just say, "I'm glad to know your opinion, but I've made my choice (thank you very much!)." Hope Luke feels better soon!