Yeah, I've had people tell me it's illegal and educated people ask me if I've recieved government permission to do this (that is, in fact, how it works in Israel). I explain that my children are both below the age for maditory kindergarden and they start asking for birthdates, etc...so that they can confirm. She was born a couple of months after the deadline, so there is usually some discussion about "my luck" and how I'll have to get my permission for next year.
In Israel the whole homeschooling thing is such a mess. The govt. just came out with new regulations. It involves describing in depth your type of schooling and why you chose it. It also forces you to submit a curriculum and demonstrate that your child will be "keeping up" with their class. They want exit projects...proof that you have followed your own syllabus. There is an interview BEFORE permission is granted and again at the end of the year to review what happened. Then you must do it all over again for EACH child for every year. Can you IMAGINE?! For a 5 year old!!!
I am absolutely sick about the idea of inviting a panel of Ministry of Education people into my home for that interview. And because the regulations are so new, no one really knows how they will pan out in practice. I, understandably, do NOT want my children involved in such a meeting and am trying to figure out if I need to hire a babysitter to take them to a park when we talk or what. I guess I'll cross the bridge when we come to it (next school year, aparently).
I have been told that I am ruining the fabric of the community/society in which we live by not sending my children to daycare/preschool (no choices here in Israel...your kid age 3+ goes in at 7am and comes home at 1:30pm, 5 days a week, your child younger than 3 goes in at 7am and stays until 3:30pm. so this is clearly not even like a preschool, but more like a daycare.) I've been told that as an immigrant I am forcing my children to be "different" and not assimilate into Israeli society. I'm put on the spot...like "don't you want YOUR children to be like OUR children?" which quickly turns hostile, "do you have a problem with OUR children?!" This of course is in addition to the absolute hostility that I hear when anyone gets wind of the fact that my children aren't vaccinated. Or, even sometimes, that I homebirth.
There IS a homeschooling community here in Israel. Its been estimated that about 200 families in the whole country homeschool.
I've been told that my children are small for their age (I've also been told they are tall for their age or big for their age as well, lol). I've been given suspicious looks, as if what am I trying to hide by keeping them at home. I've been told that it's important for them to go to daycare so that someone else can evaluate them and make sure they are okay and don't need some extra help and care. Ive been told that it's important to have an objective opinion to see how they measure up to their peers in age.
I've been told that I'm denying them a social life. That they will never be able to thrive as human beings without learning how to interact with other children. I've been told they will never be able to make friends (even by parents whose children play at our house on a regular basis with my children
) I've been told that they will never learn to speak Hebrew or understand Israeli culture. I've been told that I can't keep them in a bubble forever. Hell, I've been told that I am "overestimating the importance of parents in children's lives." I've been told that what really matters to children are their peers and because I am denying the peers the role of promince in my children's lives, I am hurting them in some way. I've been told that they will always be ostricized. I've been questioned about my own academic achievements, or whether or not I am qualified to teach my own children. Shouldn't I have a masters degree, once they get into grade level? Shouldn't I want what is best for my children (having someone with advanced degrees to teach them). I've been quizzed about what we "do all day at home" and when I explain that we are unschooling, I get the "how do you know your children will ever learn ANYTHING?!" and the "Isn't that just negligent of you?"
I could go on all day. It really does still bother me a lot. Mostly because the legal status of Homeschooling, I feel, is NOT on my side here. If I KNEW that I were totally protected by the law, I think I would feel instantly and completely better about all these comments.