I Forget That Not Everyone Supports Homeschooling – Good Thing I Don’t Care. Reflections, K Week 26

I do forget sometimes that not everyone supports homeschooling, and I’m always baffled every time a situation arises with someone who doesn’t.  Or rather, I’m always unprepared and don’t recognize their response as such, don’t expect it at all.  I’ve had a few incidents this week which really reminded me that not everyone understands the pleasure of homeschooling, the gentle learning that happens, the bond homeschooling kids have with their siblings and parents, that ‘school’ may take an hour or two a day but learning happens all day nevertheless in ways that seem almost imperceptible, or that learning doesn’t have to be pencil to paper with text books or tests and grades – nor, in my opinion, should it revolve around those things.  I also forget that some people highly support public school in all of it’s forms, and even think that 4-year-olds have a place in all-day classes.  I also forget that there are enough of those people around to have actually made it happen, as I seem to have more contact with people who criticize it.

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I had the ‘pleasure’ of having numerous encounters of this kind this past week.  One was directed at me by a woman I didn’t even know, perhaps I was just being sensitive, but it sure seemed like it was.  Another was with a family friend whom I forget is a strong supporter of public school and was criticizing another’s homeschooled children, perhaps without the intention of placing her opinion on myself, but well, I’m in the same boat.  The good thing is that other people’s opinions don’t tend to make me feel that I need to go along with the group – rather, the strong-willed child in me causes me to do the exact opposite.  As well, I have given great thought to what I am doing; I’m not just doing it because it seemed like a fun thing to do, no, I’ve put hours, probably days, worth of reading and thinking and writing time into why I prefer and support homeschooling, so I’m not likely to easily be swayed by other’s opinions. Nevertheless, I do tend to get caught off-guard when I encounter someone who doesn’t support it, or who criticizes it, because it seems so natural to me.

I guess the encounter that did bother me was with the woman I didn’t even know.  Monday, I had all ready had a bad day: feeling blamed for something that, in retrospect, I did not flub up myself, but had someone else make me feel guilty about my reaction to their misjudgment.  Work threatened to run into evening time that day, but Elizabeth and I had a date with a yarn workshop with 4-H and I was determined to make it there since I’ve had to reschedule her birthday party about 3 times now because of all of my out-of-state trips and I feel like I’m letting her down.  She was very excited about the workshop (you can see where this is going, right?), and we did make it on time. It took a bit to get started, with Elizabeth growing more and more impatient, and the woman who was hosting wanted us to go around and introduce ourselves.  I said who I was, that I had taught myself to knit years ago but had forgotten, that Elizabeth was my kid, and that we homeschooled.  Good.

Well, the workshop turned out to not be what Elizabeth had been expecting, and she quickly got frustrated.  She is a strong-willed child, more so that I was; luckily I’m pretty strong-willed and can stand my ground with her, but once her frustration hit, she was done with the yarn.  She’s been having a tough time since I got back from my last trip, it’s finally easing away a little, but she has been very badly behaved in general – we need to do school more than ever, right?!  For me, it’s fine if she doesn’t want to do something: it’s her body, she doesn’t have to, I told her I wanted to stay though and she would have to wait.

After she became frustrated, she kind of growled out that she wanted to leave the workshop, loud enough for everyone to hear, and some woman who was sitting at the table behind me said, “Yikes!”  Ok, not the most polite thing in the world, but we all do it at some point, I have even if unintentionally.  I can forgive a slip like that, but when that same woman began talking loud enough for the whole room to hear about how she doesn’t “coddle” her children, who are teenagers, but rather tells them when they are wrong and what about, I distinctly felt that she was directing it at me.  Ok, I can take a hit, I’m pretty secure in my gentle parenting method and understand that many people don’t understand it, but when she continued on some more, I decided that I’d had enough.  So, we left.  {Ok, let me vent one thing:  I would venture to say that assholes raise assholes.  Ok, I’m done.  Sorry about that.}

It didn’t occur to me until a bit later that perhaps she was one of those people who strongly supported public school.  I generally offer the information that we homeschool proudly, like the way a person would be proud that they adopt street cats or something; to me it is a pleasant thing, it’s as natural as, well, making babies or some other thing that you would consider 100% natural.  I feel that our results have been good – wonderful, really – and don’t feel ashamed to claim homeschooler status.  I just am never prepared for the people who would cut you down for it.

My other incident was much less interesting, just talking to a friend who was criticizing that someone she knew homeschooled their kids, and all they did was an hour of school a day on the computer and that was all.  As well these kids were not expected to go to college, rather they were expected to not go to college and she wondered what they would do with their lives.  To this I had little response in the moment, I’m very ruminative and tend to think up my excellent and passionate arguments about 2-3 hours after the incident, as a general rule.  I said something about unschooling to my friend, but not too convincingly, and then we parted ways.  My mom later mentioned that this particular woman is very pro-school, all the way down to pre-k, and so the whole thing didn’t surprise her.

I guess my thought on the college thing is that college doesn’t get you a job.  College gets you student loans, unless you have parents who can pay for it, but it doesn’t guarantee you a job.  I think the stats are somewhere around 50% for people who actually get a job in their academic major.  In the area I live in, it almost useless to get a college education because wages are so low that it’s particularly draining to pay back loans.  I personally have a B.S. in environmental biology: fairly useless in this area, but I stay for my family.

Out of curiosity and exasperation, I was perusing the USAJOBS webpage the other day, which is the home of the job listings for careers available with the federal government.  When I got out of college, I could have procured a good job with a BS, but by the time I was coming out of the Peace Corps, just before the economic depression, what I could have gotten with a B.S., I suddenly needed 1 year of doctorate work for – so it didn’t just jump to needing a master’s, but needing education above that!  I’m not sure that the standard is so high anymore, but what I found still didn’t impress me.  These days, a master’s degree will get you a salary of $30,000 a year!  Holy cow!  After feeding your student loan, you haven’t got much to feed your family with on that!  The other way you could go about doing it is to work from entry level and up – which is basically what you have to do with a B.S. anyway.  What I’m getting at is that I’m not sure that a college education is the magic hat for getting what you want in a career; I’m not saying that if my kids want to go that I would dissuade them, but neither do I think it’s the winning lottery ticket is all.

And good thing I don’t care – about any of it, right?  If I cared much about what other people thought…I have no idea where I’d be, really unhappy is all I know.  I’m not afraid to stand up for what I feel is right, or rather, to live the way that I feel is right.  I can’t do anything else, as a matter of fact.  How could I possibly live my private life doing things that follow the band wagon just so I could say so later, when those things felt like an abandonment of my principles?  I’m not saying that public school is bad, nor people that support it – go ahead, support!  But don’t think that you need to change me and my opinions just because you have your own.  Nor do you have to be rude about it.

Share your thoughts:  How do you react when you encounter people who do not support homeschooling?

 

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4 thoughts on “I Forget That Not Everyone Supports Homeschooling – Good Thing I Don’t Care. Reflections, K Week 26

  1. I had similar encounters this week and wanted to write something about it. I have given up to “convince people” to homeschool , but I do not mind to give advice when people come and ask, which happens more and more often. What drives me very mad though is when people in general are just still so misinformed about homeschooling and spread that wrong information. Then I will not be quiet 😉

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    • Yes, I have no intention to try to convert anyone, merely I wish to renounce the negative view surrounding homeschooling. A few bad cases make everyone think all homeschooling is bad. Opposite that, it’s ludacris that serious problems in the public school system don’t turn those same people off.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You keep standing proud, girl! I’m with ya on everything here! I used to be more sensitive, but honestly now- just like you said, I really don’t care. And I think it’s the rebel in me that also in some ways enjoys that we’re “different”!

    Liked by 2 people

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