Saturday, July 15, 2006

Watching a paradigm-shift

I had a visitor last week, a woman who came with her daughter to visit. She is looking for someone to look after her daughter occasionally during the school vacation and had come upon a leaflet I put up at the local supermarket.

Of course, the inevitable subject came up, once she established that our two youngest don't attend preschool. I came straight out with the news that Robbie and Rowena don't attend school either, and it pretty much blew her mind. Her reaction was so strong at first ("But you can't do that - school is comppulsory!") that I thought she must be a teacher. (It turned out that she was a doctor).

The next hour was spent fielding her various questions and assumptions about homeschooling. Her greatest concern was how I found the time and oppurtunity to meet the educational needs of all my children of different ages. I have to admit that I didn't go into unschooling with her too much (I think that one paradigm blown in an afternoon was probably enough). She had what she thought was a really brilliant suggestion for me - that I send my two youngest ones off to preschool so that I can devote myself to homeschooling my two older children. I just said to her "Well we have them all at home because we find that works best for our family." Emphasising what works best for our family (while smiling sweetly) often seems to work well with people who are otherwise proving a tough nut to crack.

I think she was able to get over that homeschooling hurdle in her mind, because when she left she said how nice it was to meet people with a different lifestyle. In general she was very nice and our daughters really liked each other (it took her half an hour to drag her daughter away), so I am sure we will continue to hammer away at her educational paradigms.

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