Can’t We All Just Get Along??

Yesterday I had my first taste of the prejudice and strong opinions within the homeschooling community.  I always hoped and imagined homeschoolers, no matter their philosophy or teaching styles, united as one working together to help their children get the best education that they as parents could offer.  I imagined homeschooling parents to be friendly folks who would be excited to meet other homeschoolers and share the cool things that they were doing in the home.  The internet is full of supportive folks on the homeschooling websites and forums and I thought (prayed) that was a good sampling of real life….I was wrong.

My utopian views of homeschoolers were shattered yesterday.  I found out that a woman in my son’s art class was homeschooling her children and was super excited to talk about her experience.  I shared that I have been considering homeschooling and she asked what my plan was.  I made the mistake of telling her that my philosophies land somewhere between the classics and Unschoolers but that I have plenty of time to figure it all out.  All she heard was “Unschooling” and she jumped up on her soapbox and let me HAVE IT!  I heard all about how Unschoolers are lazy, use it as an excuse to do nothing and are not teaching their kids a thing.  She had nothing positive to say and was so heated in her discussion with me (her tone was not very nice) that a bunch of other moms then started telling me that I was making a mistake by Unschooling my kids (they had not heard any of my prior conversation and assumed that I was Unschooling).  I had 4 moms (who know nothing about Unschooling or ME) jumping down my throat about how kids need instruction and I am fooling myself if I think otherwise.  Finally one mom who had been quiet stood up for me and said to the group…”She is an educator, I am sure she knows she has to teach her children”.

This unwarranted attack opened my eyes to the divide within the homeschooling community.  The homeschooling community, just like the rest of society, is filled with opinionated people who are prejudice against anything that they don’t understand, threatens their way of thinking or goes against their philosophy or methods.  I learned that the word “Unschooling” is toxic to most people and from here on out will use words like “Interest Led” or “Leadership Learning”.  I also learned that I need to be guarded when it comes to sharing my hopes and dreams for my children’s education, even with other homeschoolers.  Hopefully if we do choose to homeschool, we will find others out there who are kind, caring, open-minded, accepting and will welcome us for who we are.



Filed under Home Schooling

5 responses to “Can’t We All Just Get Along??

  1. Katherine Gasper

    OMG–I am so sorry that happened to you! It’s so ridiculous, especially when many homeschoolers, (that I have encountered) have little to no education background and are just basically using the same traditional methods you find in public schools on their kids, just at home! I feel for you. I’ve encountered those not-so-nice and very outspoken, opinionated people too–and it hurts. Sadly I feel like I’ve discovered that “freedom” in this country often means freedom to do what everyone else does–everyone the same, on the same path, same beliefs, same ideas. It’s a travesty–it’s OK to be different as long as you’re not TOO different, or different in a certain sense. Terrible! I still struggle with people’s unwarranted opinions about homeschooling, but one thing I have discovered is that my son doesn’t seem bothered by it at all. Now when people ask why he’s not in school as we are out and about, my shy little guy confidently answers, “I go to homeschool.” And I just smile proudly as they look at me quizzically, but we haven’t (knock on wood) met anyone who’s been rude enough to answer that. We are so conditioned to think “different is bad”, but I have to believe there are others out there who rise above the robotic beliefs and know that different is good, and finding what works for you is OK, even if it strays from the norm. I’m with you!:)

  2. Mimi

    I am in your corner. Happy to share your enthusiam. Yes, keep most of your plans to yourself. You pretty much have to be undercover even from the other homeschoolers. Always good to turn their question back on them… …” don’t have a plan yet… tell me about YOUR plan?” Get them talking about what they do… Possible that they are unschooling an don’t even know it… HA! Even so… you will find out where they are coming from . Isn’t it fun to have people expose themselves like that. You’ve got her number… tolerence for differences is not being taught in her homeschool!!! Unschooling! What a trigger word! You WILL find likeminded people along the way. Still trying to find my box of materials for you.
    WIll chat soon…

  3. Kacie

    Yikes! Too bad those women don’t realize they were talking to one of the most talented teachers iIhave ever met..too bad for them. People would learn so much more in life if they would just be open themselves up to new things. J knows one of my favorite motto’s is “I don’t judge” Love ya J. KR

  4. Mom

    Wow! I guess there is always going to be someone that wants to hear themselves talk, no matter what they are talking about. I would have thought that this woman would have probably encountered her own negative responses from people when she told them her plan (even just homeschooling), that she would have been more sensitive to others. Obviously not. I agree, she probably isn’t teaching acceptance of differences in her “home”. Oh well, you are never going to make everyone happy with your choices, but the point is they are your choices, your children, your plan. Whatever you choose to do, you will do it incredibly! I am excited to see what will happen. Happy I can be a part of it.
    Love ya!

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