And my homeschooling mother is out watching Shakespeare at the local gardens, so I can't vent at her. So you get the blessing of my rant. Aren't you lucky?
My MIL, with whom we clash on everything from religion to breastfeeding to cosleeping, has never approved of homeschooling. Nor has FIL, but this seems to be mostly a MIL-driven issue. In the past they didn't know much about it, so I'm not sure why they were against it - maybe because of how I turned out. :p
Anyway, we started semi-officially HSing DD two weeks ago. She'll be five in March. One week ago MIL and FIL sat DH down at their house and urged him to "seriously reconsider" homeschooling. I was not present.
Via DH, MIL's reasons were thusly:
-DH works from home and homeschooling will cause more interruptions to his day, raising his already considerable stress level
-We need time alone as a couple
-We're both sick all the time
-She's been doing research and believes that children can only develop properly away from their parents - case in point, the other night at their place when DD hurt herself and wailed for me
To which I would have responded, if she'd said this to my face:
-Currently, we do our schoolwork when the baby's asleep. So it's actually the least interrupty time/s of the day for DH, because DD and I are occupied together. Also, if DD were at school all day, she wouldn't be around to play with the baby, which she does a lot; which would mean he'd get bored and lonely and raise everyone's stress level. :p So for now, it's a non-issue. In a few years? Maybe; but DH is working towards being able to work less then, in part so he can take a more active role in homeschooling.
Also, the thought of trying to find a semi-acceptable school for DD, get her enrolled a few weeks late, deal with uniforms, fees, stationery, lunchboxes, schoolbuses/carpools/driving in from the country twice a day, fundraising, PTAs, sports days and the like is enough to make DH and me take to our beds with the vapours. It sounds ghastly. Homeschooling is WAY more fun and easy right now. And DH is quite enjoying it - we're watching documentaries about ancient Egypt at lunchtime, and he likes to see her show off her freshly-completed work.
-We actually have a fair amount of alone time as a couple; and if she is concerned, she could offer to babysit the kids once in a while. :p Never has.
Plus, if the point of sending DD to school is so that DH can uninterruptedly work during school hours, how will we be getting more alone time again?
-We're... not both sick all the time. DH gets tension headaches fairly often because he has appalling posture, but I'm not sure how putting DD in school would help that. We both had the stomach flu recently. That's about it.
-DD did apparently go a bit nutso at their house the other day after falling and hurting their cheek. When DH brought her home I discovered she'd actually bitten the inside of her cheek and drawn blood, so it wasn't just a tumble (in MIL's defense... sort of... nobody checked inside her mouth at the time, so she didn't know that).
The thing is, though, DD is generally quite happily independent. She's shy in new situations (as my sisters and I all were when we were small and public-schooled), but around people she knows she's very outgoing and cheerful. She goes to the in-laws every Monday night with DH for dinner and doesn't pine for me in the slightest, for instance. They've seen me come pick her up on occasion, to a casual "Oh, hi Mum" response or (regrettably) a whiny "I don't WANT to go!"... which hardly smacks of excessive clinginess to me.
Today SIL came over and filled in a bit more info. Apparently MIL had talked to her about it too, and was quite upset. When talking to SIL she didn't mention our alone time or DH's stress levels, just the development thing. Apparently she's firmly convinced that it is necessary for a child's brain and emotional development to be taught by someone other than a parent.
The irritating thing is, MIL has never actually asked us about DD's curriculum, our homeschooling philosophy, or... well, anything. And I'm pretty sure she has a view of homeschooling which involves mother and child locked together in a room 24/7, probably with a barred window.
As it is, DD escapes my (snort) eagle eye already to be taught and/or supervised by other people quite regularly. Sunday school on Sundays; a Bible study creche on Thursdays (a vaguely kindy-like environment - toys, playdough and snacks); semi-regular gymnastics lessons on Fridays; and music lessons on Saturday. We'll likely also do fortnightly group homeschool lessons of some sort during the two colder terms; we've started going on field trips; and I'm very open, as finances and time allow, to DD being tutored by other people in art, science, languages, underwater basketweaving or whatever takes our fancy. Plus we have plenty of playdates. I didn't start homeschooling to lock her away from the world.
So, anyway. Grrrr. I know she means well and is genuinely concerned, and she loves DD (not sure about DS, but that's another story for another time). But it really irks me that she went about it in a behind-my-back, divide-and-conquer sort of way with DH, and that she didn't think to actually ask us about homeschooling before assuming the worst.
So. Anyone know the research to which she's referring, regarding child development? I'm not sure if it was real studies or just editorials and opinion pieces she read, honestly, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Has anyone else dealt with this?
Also, any tips for graciously handling this situation? I don't need snarky responses - trust me, I have plenty of those. :p I'd like to be able to acknowledge and defuse her fears, educate her a bit about homeschooling in general and our style of homeschooling in particular, and (in an ideal world) also make it clear to her that she's welcome to respectfully ask questions about our choices, but to address them to us as a couple (or heck, me as the primary homeschooler), not to DH without my being present.
Sorry for the novel!
Edited by Smokering - 2/17/13 at 11:09pm