Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mondays Our Way:Playing Defense

This is obviously not a newsflash for anyone, but not everyone homeschools. Not everyone believes in homeschool and in fact there are actually people who are opposed to it. Of course this is the case with pretty much every parenting decision out there-bottle vs breast, co-sleeping vs cribs, spanking vs timeouts-whatever you decide there is always someone who thinks what you're doing is wrong, and that's cool. Diversity of opinion makes the world go round, and as long as everyone is feeding/clothing/housing/loving their kids that's all that matters. Right?

Unfortunately there will always be that one person who just can't help but butt in. You know this person-the one who makes it their personal mission to try to "make you see the light" (the light being their parenting style). If it's a person in the grocery store or a nosy neighbor it's pretty easy to smile and nod and just go about your business...

but what do you do if Buttinski McKnow-It-All is among your close friends and family?

I have a couple of particular relations that keep trying to "talk me out of homeschooling". Their first plan was to just ignore our intention to homeschool altogether. They've spent the first 5 years of Monkey's life saying,

"You know, when he goes to school...." "Just wait until he's in school...." "Once the kids are in school...."

I've mentioned to them 8739498731099999 times that our kids are already in homeschool, and that we have absolutely no intention of placing them in public school, but they have simply chosen to ignore it. It's almost as if they were trying to trick me into sending Monkey to somehow if they acted as though he was going I'd just get confused and send him.

Unfortunately for them I have a five year old-I'm not one myself.

Now that Monkey's would-be Kindergarten enrollment is coming up soon, they've decided they need a new strategy. I like to call it the "oh THAT old thing". Every time I mention something about homeschool their response is,

"So you still think you're going to do that?"

Then they proceed to tell me everything I "haven't thought of"....Some homeschooled kids are "behind" (I don't actually believe in "behind" but that's a whole different post), Homeschool kids don't get enough social interaction (like I've never heard that before), etc. etc. Then they start backpedaling-they're only saying it out of concern....

You know, you have 2 babies under 2 to take care of-homeschooling would be so inconvenient.

You know, having to come up with your own curriculum could be really challenging.

You know, it's nice to get a break from the kids when they go to school.

I know. I know. I know. But kids are always inconvenient, most parts of parenting are challenging, and to be honest no matter how much they make me crazy (and they DO) I really feel no need to send my children away 8 of their 13 waking hours 5 days a week. And still these people don't think we should be homeschooling, so they simply refuse to let it go.

You would think that such blatant opposition would be fairly rare, but pretty much every homeschooling parent I know has at least one friend/relation who are like what's to be done about the close people we love who do NOT love the fact that we homeschool?

First I would recommend addressing their concerns point for point. Explain to them your motives in homeschooling, your approach, and your thought process. Offer to send them email links to more information. Try to set their minds at ease, after all they are friends/family.

WhenIf that doesn't work, I recommend attempting to agree to disagree. Let them know that you respect the fact that they have a differing opinion, but they need to respect the fact that your child is yours to raise as you see fit.

If all else fails, you just have to set a boundary and agree not to talk about it. If/When they try to bring it up, I'd simply say "I understand you have opinions about homeschooling, but we are very confident in our decision and are really not seeking any input right now" and just leave it at that.

At least, that's what I've done. What about you guys? How do you defend your choice to homeschool?


Sarah said...

Just popping in from SITS - have a wonderful week!

Jane In The Jungle said...

With ya on this one! I also homeschool, have 4 kids but the youngest is 3. My SIL asked if I was sending her to preschool??????? Uh, no...she has it here. She was absolutely appalled at my response. Just hang with it, once you have all 3 schooling, maybe they'll finally get the hint!!
Over from SITS.

Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility said...

My kids are too little to "be in school" yet, but I am going to begin doing some home pre-school with Rose this fall.

If it were me, and my relatives were making a bunch of excuses about how inconvenient it will be for you to homeschool with other little ones around, I would simply say, "oh great! So what time will you be coming by to babysit/help with chores? Thanks for the offer!" That would probably make them stop. ;)

Anne Alagna said...

The easiest response for me was always "Gee, and you didnt agree with me about **other situation** and that turned out great too."

Wifey said...

Great way for you to handle it. It's amazing how people can be so bold and butt into personal decisions.

Oh, I've been MIA for awhile, you're blog is looking great!

Winks & Smiles,

Kimberley said...

Well we don't homeschool in our house, but I think your response is perfect. Your children.... your choice!

Opinions are like bellybuttons, everyone has one :-)

Jen said...

My kids will go to public school. You know that. But I did/am choose(ing) to home preschool them.

I had one aunt and a couple of friends who were very adamant that I was making a "Horrible decision, and setting up my children to be behind once they start Kindergarten".

I chose to ignore it. For me the situation is "easier" because my kids will go to public school as soon as Kindergarten rolls around and these people will no longer be complaining to me.

I don't know what to tell you, other than as long as you know you're making this decision because it is in the best interest of your kids and not because you just don't want to "let them go", then I'd say, just ignore the critics and enjoy your days!

MrsM said...

Sarah-Thank you!

Jane In The Jungle-Hopefully =) Thanks for visiting!

Muthering Heights-Muah ha ha ha. I like the way your mind works!

Ann Alagna-That's a good comeback!

Wifey-Thanks! I think it happens with every parenting decision, but for some reason I've hit a lot of people who are upset about homeschooling.

Kimberly-You're absolutely correct. Although I didn't hear it "bellybuttons"...LoL

Jen-Ignoring is a good call!

I do (obviously) have trouble letting go, but I have actually been adamant about homeschooling since before I even had Monkey....he was about three before I realized what a benefit it was not having to drop him off with strangers and bawl my eyes out!

As you (probably?) know I am a pretty hard core Libertarian and always have been. A large portion of Libertarians homeschool-it's kind of a natural conclusion for a person who has the kind of mindset that makes you a Lib.

Maybe that's the problem....none of the other people in my family are Libertarian! Aha! =p