Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Homeschooling and Others

Recently, I had a conversation with a woman (who we are familiar with but not close to by any means) who I could not figure out for the life of me.

Here is how it went.

Lady: Addie, did you go to school today?

Addie: (looked at me a little confused) No. (We had school time, but she did not "go" to school.)

Me: I home school her.

Lady: Well, yeah, I know you are working with her at home being a former teacher and all, but, I mean, is she in VPK? She's 4, right?

Me: No, she's not in VPK. I am homeschooling her. (VPK is Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten in the state of Florida. That means we can choose to/or not to have our child in this program.)

Lady: Oh. (frown) Is she going to be ready for Kindergarten next year?

Me: She's actually graduating from Kindergarten this year.

Lady: Oh! (surprised) So she's actually a year ahead of where she should be?

Me: Yes.

Lady: Isn't that going to be a problem down the road? If you ever decide to put her in school, how will they know where to put her?

Me: We don't intend to ever put her in school. But if for some reason we decided to go that route, I would hope they would do a placement test. We'll cross that bridge if we ever come to it.

First she was bothered that my daughter was not going to be ready for Kindergarten (Seriously! Isn't Kindergarten supposed to be where children begin their educational experience?), and then she was bothered that my daughter is actually ahead!

As a homeschooling mom when homeschooling was the most unpopular thing to do, my mother had to answer lots of questions, accusations of social sheltering, and comments from fellow Christians who believed that because my sister and I were being home schooled the unsaved were not being reached. I remember her having pains in her chest after having to explain herself for the hundredth time why she and my father had chosen to home school us.

Today, homeschooling is widely accepted, not only in the Christian community but also in the public schools where they are making it possible for students to take their courses at home through virtual schools. And yet, here we are in what is considered a "progressive" society, and we still want to keep children in a box because it is easier to lump them by age into a grade than to look at a child's personality and ability and go from there.

I guess the part of the above conversation that left me reeling was how this woman, who has two children (late elementary and junior high) of her own, was so overly concerned about my daughter and the choices Brian and I were making concerning her education.

She is not the first person who has ever been "curious" and opinionated about homeschooling, and she will certainly not be the last. If anything, I am learning which people truly are curious and which are just being nosy.

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