Since moving to our new place, the kids have had the opportunity to endure a lot of ignorant comments. Among those are comments about homeschoolers. (I will blog later about the other bigoted, offensive things my kids have heard lately.) Maybe our past neighbors thought this stuff, but never said it out loud, but these neighbors have no problem making comments that tell my kids "homeschoolers are stupid and socially awkward."
Here are a few comments spoken directly to my kids while I was not around: (Imagine that! I'm not constantly beside my children!)
by a mother: homeschoolers just don't do as well academically/don't go to college.
by a teenage kid: (referring to another homeschool kid in the 'hood) He's socially awkward because he's homeschooled. (In that same breath, she said, "His brother isn't. He's cool. And you guys, too." Well, obviously public school didn't teach logic to this particular teen.
by their peers: "What's 11x12? You can't answer fast? See? Homeschoolers aren't good at math because they are homeschooled."
I AM proud to say that Hannah told the kids she couldn't think of the answer off the top of her head right then and asked the kids the same question back. They couldn't answer quickly either.
I don't mind hearing negative comments myself, but when people, especially adults, put down my kids, you're going to stir some coals in this momma.
|Kenzie, in China, learning how silk is made.|
What? No kids her age?! You mean she has to interact with adults?!
|TJ at Tiananman Square with his favorite friend and guide, George.|
|Hannah, overcome with emotion seeing her brother for the first time|
and witnessing 13 other families meet their kids for the first time.
For the past 5-6 years especially, I have been extremely careful not to put down public school. (Okay, I DID just make my own snide comment about logic, but I digress.) We have chosen to homeschool for reasons that are unique to The Brown Seven. I don't expect any other family to embrace or desire homeschooling. I don't view public school as evil or stupid. I certainly wouldn't say something to another kid about how horrible public school is for them. I pray I've never even said anything to a child that implies that. Hearing other's rude comments will certainly keep me mindful of my own speech.
So how do I handle this issue with my kids? When they come home with these stories, how do Ken and I instruct them? We see it as an opportunity to practice graciousness, respectfulness, and intelligent conversation. That's why I love that Hannah answered a question with the same question. Without being rude or disrespectful, she basically showed the boy that one multiplication question can't prove you have no knowledge of math, homeschooled or otherwise. We are teaching our kids to consider others' perspectives. Maybe that mom who bashed homeschooling had a homeschool mom make her feel bad for sending her kids to public school. Maybe not, but let's give people the benefit of the doubt.
Developing Christ-like character is a major goal in our homeschool and a major reason we homeschool. These difficult people and situations will help us in achieving that goal, so I'll choose to be grateful.
(PS. I spelled derogatory wrong and had to use spell-check to make it right. And I have a bachelor's degree. What does that say about the quality of my education? Right! Nothing!!)