Monday, November 21, 2011

Crab of the Day: In Defense of Homeschoolers #homeschool

Sometimes, people amaze me with their rudeness.

Just the other day, I had a conversation with an acquaintance who now works at the fitness club I belong to (and was at work during this conversation).  I have always thought her to be a nice woman, so I mentioned I was very frustrated with my daughter's behavior.  Her first response was that maybe I needed to send her to school.  She does not know the reasons I homeschool (primarily because I have a gifted child and the school cannot meet her educational needs--been there, done that already).  She went on to say that my daughter needs to be around kids more (as if she knows how much my daughter is around children, which is a lot).  When I said that my daughter is gifted and the schools couldn't meet her needs (why was I defending myself?) her response was, "Oh, you had her tested?"  No, sweetie, doesn't take a rocket scientist to detect that my child is gifted.  When she was reading at two and reading chapter books at age four (and comprehending it all), I think that is a pretty good indication.  I told her I didn't need to pay a thousand dollars for a test to tell me what anyone who has ever worked with this child knows--she is gifted.  Then she said that I should skip a grade.  I explained educationally that would not be any benefit for her and that socially, I, as a counselor, I don't agree in grade skipping for most children.  She also informed me that the schools here are beefing up and are jumping the curriculum up a grade level (seriously?).  When I told her that still wouldn't meet my daughter's needs, she said, "She must be a genius" in a very condescending way.  After that, she told me my daughter needed to spend more time away from me (as if she is in my household or has talked to my daughter to know).  On that note, the conversation ended.

I started thinking about it.  Yes, as homeschoolers, we often have to defend our choices.  I don't mind questions.  I don't even mind people disagreeing with my choice to homeschool.  What I do mind is people being rude and telling me what I need to do for my children.

Her critical, condescending comments were eating at me.  In fact, I was thinking so poorly of her behavior that I had a choice name for her in my mind.  Today, when I saw that woman all sorts of thoughts ran through my mind.  I thought about going back to her today and sweetly asking in the same tone of voice as she did, "So, since the schools have beefed things up, does that mean they are teaching Latin in kindergarten?"  (Yes, my girls are learning Latin.)  Or ask if her first grader knows all the states and capitals (like my kindergartner does).  Or ask if her first grader can explain photosynthesis.  But, I sorely realized that I would be acting just like her.  As much as I wanted to ask those questions, I took the higher road.  After all, maybe, just maybe, she didn't realize how she came off to me.

So, I confronted her and explained that I found our previous conversation was upsetting.  She just looked at me.  I went on to explain that homeschooling parents do not make the decision to homeschool lightly.  I explained that we research, pray, research some more, pray some more.  I explain it is a very difficult decision and that we made the decision because we felt it was best for our children.  Her response, "Okay."  Yep, okay.  Guess she didn't get it so I went on to explain that I felt many of her remarks were extremely critical and condescending.  She looked at me and said, "Okay."  Nothing more.  I realized then that she isn't a nice person.  She didn't care that she was rude and offended me (a paying customer at that).

"Okay."  I guess okay is enough for her life and her children.  I want more than okay for my children.  I want my children to be happy, productive citizens.  I want them to use their God given talents fully to help others.  Stealing the slogan, I want my children to "be all they can be."

Oh, and by the way, I do have conversations with my children about homeschooling and going to school.  That night, I reminded my daughter that if she ever wants to go back to school, I would fully support it.  Her response was, "I don't learn anything there, mom.  Plus, I want to be with you."

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