Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A bit of a rant...

Let me apolgize upfront that this isn't my usual sunny alternating with doubting self. I am just frustrated and venting. If you want to read on after that intro, God bless you. :)

I fully understand that homeschooling is something that you sometimes need to experience yourself or see done through a close friend to fully understand but I really get tired of defending myself. I also find it really creepy how people just assume that I need a monitor to ensure I'm doing a good job. Even more frustrating than those who think I need a monitor are those who think THEY are my monitor. I encounterd both of these individuals tonight. The following conversations took place within two hours of each other, while I was trying to work no less.

A woman questioned me extensively tonight about who I report to, who makes sure my kids are learning, who oversees my children's education. Ummm... no one, me, and me. Of course I always think of the perfect thing to say after people walk away... I should have asked her who she reports to, who makes sure her kids eat a balanced and healthy diet, who oversees her children's eating habits. I'm holding onto that one for next time. People have just handed over education for so long that people just can't wrap their brains around it being done any other way. I understand that, I will even admit that I used to be one of those people who just didn't understand... however I would never have been so rude, so presumptious to grill a casual aquaintance and (intentionally or not) imply that they were somehow lacking the skills needed to properly parent/educate their children.

If that had been the only incident of the evening regarding homeshcooling I would have probably been irritated but let it go pretty easily. But it wasn't the only incident. An older gentlemen took it upon himself to tell me that it was fine for me to homeschool my kids when they are small but as they grow up they need to be in school. (Ironically someone else made the exact OPPOSITE argument a few days ago.)This conversation began with him asking me if all the people in our homeschool group thought this was a good alternative. What kind of question is that? OF COURSE THEY DO THEY WOULDN'T BE HOMESCHOOLERS IF THEY DIDN'T THINK THAT. I didn't say that though, instead I said, in my sweetest voice, that actually most of us think that school is the alternative education.

He was a bit flumoxed by that but not so much that it stopped him. He preceded to tell me they would miss out, wouldn't be ready for the "real world" (I often wonder what fairy world we live in now if it isn't the real one), and how on earth would they get into college. The college bit really got me because he said, and I quote, "You can't do anything with a high school diploma, those kids gotta go to college." Umm, yeah, if you can't do anything with a high school diploma then why exactly do we need one? I patiently explained that I have talked with people at universities about their admissions processes for homeschoolers, that I actually know homeschoolers who *gasp* went on to college, and that NINE of our esteemed US presidents were homeschooled so I thought the "real world" wouldn't be an issue. He then pressed the issue about sports, prom, and countless other "essential experiences" that my kids would be missing. Again, with great patience I told him that some homeschoolers organize their own proms, that there are homeschool sports leagues, and that my kids get lots of experiences that traditionally schooled kids miss that we think are essential.

Breathe in, breathe out. I'm glad I can rant here because I was thinking about what I would say here while patiently smiling at these people and answering their very nosy questions.

Tomorrow we are going to a beautiful park to soak in the sun and run and play with friends while the kids in traditional schools get the "essential experience" of sitting quietly in a desk with all the window shades drawn so the sunshine doesn't distract them. And the only person I will report that to is me (and maybe you guys).


Rachel said...

The excessive testing and No Child Left Behind approach to measuring "achievement" (or is it measuring failure) hasn't made homeschooling easier. Everyone else is getting tested to the gills, why shouldn't you and your kids?

Glad you have a place to rant.

Hope said...

That's so true about the testing... funny thing is when I was a teacher I used to do workshops on how to improve test scores and only about half of it was teaching the material on the test- the rest was all about strategy. So I KNOW that test scores don't really mean much

sunnymama said...

Oh I can understand why you needed to rant after that! It sounds like you were more patient than I would have been with these people. I haven't had to deal with a lot of these questions yet as sunnyboy is only 2 and I generally avoid the question of 'school' with most casual aquaintances at the moment. Funnily enough though I ended up having a conversation today with someone who asked when he would be starting school and I brushed it off with "oh he's too young for that yet" and she asked about nursery so I said "no I won't be sending him". She was amazed and asked if that was allowed? I explained there was no requirement to send him to nursery and then she came back and said "and what about school?". I thought I can't avoid this question anymore so said he wouldn't be going we would be home educating. To my surprise she said "That's great. I don't like the system either". I can only hope that all such conversations in the years to come go as well as that one :)

jennifer said...

Thank you thank you thankyou!!!

I don't deal with alot of these questions...but I'm exceptionally fortunate in that I live in a community where HS'ing is the norm.

I can imagine how you must have felt, and I find your patience inspiring. YOur a great mom who's doing the greatist thing you can do for your children. Why to take control of a situation that can quickly control you!