5 years ago, my husband and I made what some of our friends and extended family (and acquaintances, neighbors, church members and complete strangers) saw as a radical parenting choice.
We pulled our 6-year old son out of public school to homeschool him.
Oh the horror! Of all the crazy things we could’ve done, this one seemed to top them all.
You can read our story HERE. It turned out to be one of our best parenting decisions ever, which of course is only our opinion.
Of course, our opinion is the only one that matters.
But that hasn’t stopped all the homeschool critics from expressing their 2 cents nonetheless. I think they just can’t help themselves.
Soon after we started homeschooling our young son, a few well-meaning members of our church expressed their “concerns” for his welfare. They were certain homeschooling would mean that he would grow up in a bubble, over-protected from the world. How would he know to say no to drugs? How would he stand up to bullies? How would he know how to interact with his peers? How would he (fill in the blank).
Oh, there have been no shortage of concerns about our homeschooling over the years. I had to laugh (to myself) the other day when a friend of mine said, “I know the socialization thing has been debunked, but……” And then she went on to share one of her other fears about homeschooling.
To these concerned homeschool critics, some of which are cherished family and friends, we have learned to politely listen (trying not to roll our eyes), smile, and then walk away. It doesn’t change our opinion of homeschooling, but hopefully they feel better after airing their unfound worries with us. And most of the time they drop the subject afterwards.
We used to feel the need to justify our choice to homeschool, but now we simply let it go at, “We are doing what is best for our family.” There is no need to explain why homeschooling is best for our family unless they ask. Then we list off one of the many benefits in as few words as possible. For example, I have often said, “Homeschooling stabilizes our family with all the moving around we do.” I love that particular reason because people don’t know how to respond to it. Most of our family and friends think our moving around is just as crazy as homeschooling our children. *grin*
Sometimes we come across another kind of homeschool critic. These are the naysayers who do it for sport. They are easily recognized, especially in comment sections of education-related articles. They claim parents are not smart enough to teach their own children, homeschooling is the lazy approach to education which is best left to the professionals, and there is going to be a whole generation of homeschooled adults who can’t get jobs or function in the “real world”. These homeschool critics are simply not worth our time and effort. Nothing we say in return is going to change their narrow minds about homeschooling, no matter how stupid their comments. As Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.” As my husband says, “You can’t change stupid.”
It used to bug me to no end to come across a homeschool critic, especially when it was a close friend or family member questioning my parenting because I’ve chosen to homeschool. I used to stay awake at night thinking up clever responses to their uninvited critiques. Then one day I remembered the wise council my father always gave me when I was a teenager convinced the world was against me. He told me that it doesn’t matter what others think of me. In the end, my opinion of myself is the only thing that counts.
Thanks, Dad. And, thanks for never being one of my homeschool critics.
I will never let the homeschool critics out there ruin my sunny outlook on homeschooling. I’m doing something different than the norm, and I love it. Homeschooling rocks!