“I feel strongly that children need to grow up and function in society.”

This was said to me recently when another parent learned that we homeschool.  How does this idea even still exist?  No, I mean, seriously.  Are people STILL so ignorant that they believe homeschooling a child will render them incapable of functioning in society???

I’m a very fervent believer that children need to learn how to work with others in joint decision-making, on a team, taking direction from other figures of authority, and just understanding basic, NORMAL, day-to-day social interactions.  And really, I think this is what people are thinking that homeschoolers just toss to the wind “in exchange” for the academic benefits (or whatever other benefit they think the parents are gleaning).

NO.

Although this mother made the (obligatory but often not genuine) comment that she has no issue if someone else wants to homeschool.  I wish I’d had the presence of mind to say “I don’t. I think they should be homeless and unemployed so they can live with me forever because I love my kids SO much that I can’t bear the idea of ever being without them!”  Regardless, she thought that I (who she knows nothing else about) is just too stupid to understand that’s where homeschooling will land my kids.  Wow.

This is a woman who puts her 4th or 5th grade child (who also has an Asperger’s diagnosis, like BigGuy) on a public transportation bus for a 90-minute ride one-way (without traffic) into the city of Chicago to attend a school that she feels is his best placement and she implied that this was on the local district’s dime to address his special needs.  When I asked what time he got home each day, I forgot her response but dad noted “unless there’s a single drop of rain”.  Traffic here is insanity going in and out of the city.  It’s like trying to go to the Jersey shore on a Friday… every day.

I’m not entirely sure if she felt that homeschooling in GENERAL was a problem (I believe this to be true based on some of her comments) or homeschooling a kid with Asperger’s was a problem (since apparently her child is also high functioning Aspie). Not that it matters. I made it quite clear that a major reason we homeschool is specifically to give our Aspie a lot more one-on-one training in social skills; and he has far surpassed what people would have thought was possible with him.  

Of course, she had no interest in asking about any of that. She even started listing out different schools that could potentially be better fits than the public school. I think she was surprised that my responses to each one showed that I had thoroughly checked them out and had reasons she couldn’t argue for not having our son enrolled in one of them.  But at no point was she ready to acknowledge that homeschooling could be a valuable option.  She also never asked about my background or training (which is actually irrelevant to homeschooling–but someone with this mindset might have thought to ask these questions as if they mattered).

The greatest irony of the whole thing is that she was wearing a Stanford sweatshirt.  Well, here’s what Stanford has to say about homeschoolers.  🙂

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