Over the course of the last week, I have gotten very mixed reactions to people when I have told them my decision to unschool my son. I'm not quite sure how to react myself to some of the reactions I'm getting, but so far, we've been alright :)
The strongest reaction so far has been that of my mother. While I do have other dynamics to our relationship that make this reaction much more dramatic than it really is, needless to say, she is not exactly on talking terms with me. Her "I can't believe you are doing this!" reaction has effected me the most, and it honestly does bother me. Not that I am second guessing my decision really, but it bothers me that she can't trust me and let me do what I think is best for my son. She still thinks it necessary to hold my hand through everything, and is upset if I decide not to do things her way.
As it is "back to school" time, of course the conversation of just about every stranger we encounter goes a bit like this:
Them: "How old are you?"
Shane: "I'm 5."
Them: "Oh, you're starting school! Are you excited for school? (Are you ready for school... etc.. ya know, school related questions)
Shane: "I'm not going to school!"
I said nothing further to the checker at Wal-Greens, only let Shane carry on the conversation. I neither confirmed nor denied that he was, in fact, not going to school.
Shane has also responded with "I'm homeschooling!"
I get the look of ... well, I'm not sure what the look is. Disapproval? Disbelief? Disappointment? I don't know. But it never seems to be a positive look.
The argument I have heard the most: "He needs the social aspect of school to develop his social skills, or he's going to be socially awkward." Mmmm... yeah, no.
Do people not think a social life exists for kids outside of school? Do you really think that unschooling = locking my child up and forbidding him from being social? Seriously?
Today my aunt had a big-ish family dinner for my cousin's birthday. My aunt asked Shane about school, and Shane proudly answered, "I do school at home." It was a big moment for me, as I knew I would get those looks.
What made you decide to do that?
Well, Shane doesn't want to go to school, so he's not going.
My aunt replied: "I'm sure he can handle Kindergarten.."
I really wasn't sure what to say.
My cousin's wife, whom I was just meeting for the first time, talked about her experience of being homeschooled. We talked about the awful "A kid's gotta learn social skills" argument, and I asked her if she has ever had regrets about it. She firmly answered: "NO."
I realize this is an entirely different way of life compared to some people. I realize people are not going to understand, are going to doubt and question it, and maybe even try to sway me back toward public schools, toward the "right" way.
I also realize that what they think doesn't really matter or effect me, my son, or our way of life.