I've had homeschooling on my heart since Franky was a baby and I am super grateful to live in a country and in a state where I have the opportunity to homeschool him. In light of recent events, I am especially grateful that I can keep my babies home. On the way home the other evening, as our kids slept peacefully behind us, Ryan confided, "I've always supported your want for homeschooling, but for a little while there I thought about talking to you about sending them away for a year and seeing how it went..." He stopped and glanced into the back seat,"But after what's happened recently...all those kids...I'm glad you want to homeschool and know it's what's best for our kids." I trust the decisions I make for my children and it really makes me feel good to know he trusts me too.
I find it so frustrating how much criticism I hear of parents who choose to school their kids at home because most of us homeschoolers don't judge those who send their kids away to school. To each their own, right?
Once upon a time it bothered me to hear people bashing homeschoolers and really irked me to hear comments like, "but your kids will be SO socially awkward." Ummm, I know plenty of people who were publicly schooled who are a heck of a lot more socially awkward than any homeschooled kid I know. And my kid? Socially awkward? He couldn't be "socially awkward" if he actually tried. He has never stepped foot in a public school and has to be the most outgoing kid I've ever met. Seriously.
I think most of the fallacies about homeschooling come from a massive lack of knowledge. I think people imagine Little House on the Prairie when they think homeschooling. There are co-ops, there are learning groups, there are social groups, you name it, they have it. Will my kid miss learning to play a musical instrument or playing a sport or attending senior prom? Nope. Thanks to living in a metropolitan area, we have all of the above right at our fingertips. And I don't think people realize how big the homeschooling community really is.
I'm not one to try and convert anyone into doing anything, so I really just don't understand when I see people trying to convert others. You wanna send your kids to public school? Send 'em. Who is anyone to judge? A long time ago I cared what people thought of me and then I grew up and realized that what others think doesn't really matter. What matters is what my dad calls your "immediate immediate family," which is your spouse and children. Then comes the "immediate family," which includes siblings, parents, grandparents, and then "extended family," which are the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
I remember venting to him on many an occasion about my irriation about the comments being made about my choice to breastfeed, to VBAC, to cloth diaper, to homeschool, to start paying attention to my health. He said, "Mija, someone will always have something to say, but that's their problem, not yours. You focus on your family, which is you, Ryan, and your children. At the end of the day, they are all that matters and your happiness and well-being are centered around them." His wisdom never ceases to amaze me and he's always so spot on with his advice.
I guess mostly it just makes me sad to see parents talking badly about the choices other parents make or worse, making constant comparisons. Whose kid is smarter because they're public/homeschooled, whose kid talks more, walked first, sprouted the last tooth. Who cares? They all excel on their own time. I think it makes me sad because I feel like if people spent as much time supporting eachother as they do downing eachother, the world would be a much different place.
Over the last few years, I've really taken the things my mom, dad and stepmom have told me to heart. By ridding yourself of negativity, your start to focus on what's really important and what really matters. If people are making you feel badly about yourself or your choices, keep your distance. If people are shoving their beliefs down your throat, smile politely and walk away. I use the art of distraction with my children like it's my job. As soon as the first ill-informed comment comes my way about homeschooling, I neither agree nor disagree, I simply become immediately distracted by my children. No point in creating an argument over something when both parties are not as informed as they should be.
I know this post is totally random and very soap-boxy, but sometimes you just need a space to think it out. I try to avoid controversial topics here because, frankly, I suck at confrontation and would sooner avoid it. But when something I'm passionate about is constantly bashed, I can't keep quiet about it. If only people focused as much on their own as they do everyone else's, huh?