I happened to have an interesting conversation about home education at a salon while having my haircut earlier today. It started with the hairdresser asking me how my day was and I told her my toddler gave me a hard time as I was getting ready to get to the salon this morning. She then revealed to me that she is a single mum of 2 under 5 girls and that what she goes through everyday is not nearly as bad I go through with my son. And somehow while she was washing my hair the conversation turned towards education and schools and I outrightly and quite honestly told her that I plan to home educate my son when he is school age and don’t intend to send him to school as most do. To which she replied with the most disdainful mocking laughter saying “I would never do anything of the sort cause my children are intelligent and they deserve a good school education and it would be wrong for me to deny letting them be with other children”
I was offended to say the least. But I took it on the chin. She made sure her other colleague who was cutting another client’s hair heard what she was saying which made them both snigger as well. Anyway, I knew there would many more such occasions where I’d be questioned for my choice to home educate and thought I should use these instances to mentally toughen myself up. Somehow for a wee second I regretted telling her of my home education plans though; maybe it was mocking laughter and the judgemental looks I received.
Anyway, I let her have her moment and rant about how her two kids are the most well behaved, read lots of books and how they teach other adults about etiquette. She might have mentioned how ‘school’ (private nursery) might have played an important role in how they’ve turned out for now. I don’t remember though.
As she chattered on, mentally I started to switch off; I just stopped bothering about convincing her or vindicating my choice to HE. I decided it just wasn’t worth it wasting my breath on explaining things to cynics.
A little bit later though, I was much more relaxed, and somehow words just started flowing out of my mouth; from deep down within my heart, all the reasons why I choose to go against the crowd and why I feel so strongly about educating my son myself just naturally and eloquently flowed out of me . I didn’t care if she or anyone else overhearing me thought I was loopy or weird.
For a brief moment, the brusque hairdresser actually fell quiet and started listening to me, all the while deftly fashioning my bob. I could see that she started to see things from where I was coming from. I didn’t put forward anything new that other home educators who’ve gone before me haven’t already discovered for themselves. But to her, it was all new and although it baffled her yet it all started to make sense in her mind. Her opinion of me changed. I could tell. After some thought she said ” I would rate you as a parent. More mothers should be like you”
I don’t know if that’s a victory for Home Educators but it certainly taught me how to handle cynics and critics should I encounter them again. If you ever happen to be in my situation, just remember to breathe; after the initial reaction of shock and horror has passed and when they’ve said all they’ve wanted to, just give your honest view whether they want to accept it or not. I guess also that my demeanour spoke much more than I could have ever spoken about HEing in the one hour I had with the hair dresser.
Look at what the Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:22-26
Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God.
Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey.
You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands. (The Message Translation)
After I paid for my haircut at the till, the lady thanked me and said ” thank you for educating me about Home Education”. Phew, what a day!