I offended a lady the other day. It wasn't my intent and I still am surprised that our conversation offended her so greatly. I did apologize for offending her, but still have not changed my opinion, because as the parent I am the one who is the best judge of what is best for my children, not anyone else.
This situation was caused by me inquiring about putting my two youngest daughters in an activity. I was interested in something very specific and was asking very specific questions about what would be taught in the class. When I told her that one of the particular styles that were being taught would not work for our family, she became VERY offended. I was not saying there was anything wrong with it, or that it shouldn't be taught, I just said it wasn't what we were looking for. The rest of the conversation was spent by her trying to convince me that I was wrong. That there was no difference between the style I was inquiring about and the others that would also be included. I was told how much children that age enjoy such activities and that my girls would just love these classes. I thanked her for her time and told her I would have to speak with my husband. But, here is the thing. They are MY girls. I know what is best for them, not some stranger who has never even met them. And, if there is something that I feel isn't right for my children, I should be able to have that opinion without people trying to convince me it's wrong.
It is the same with homeschooling. 10 years ago when I first started telling people of our decision and why we were making that decision, everyone tried to convince me I was wrong. It didn't matter that I had very legitimate reasons for making the decision, or that we are in fact the parents, everyone else felt that their reasoning was better and we should listen to them, not our own hearts. (By the way, I no longer feel I have to defend my decision to homeschool. I just say something like "We are educating our children the way God has led us to." and end the conversation.)
The same things happen over books, movies, activities (even church activities), and medical decisions. It even happens within the homeschool community over what educational styles or curriculum you choose to use. If you decide to take a path that many other people do not or choose not to make a decision that others do, they will try and convince you that you are the one that is wrong.
Your children were given to you by God for a reason. It is our job as parents to be the ones to make decisions for our children. I think that God gives us "mommy instincts" for a reason and we need to listen to those instincts. That doesn't mean we will always make the right decisions. We will make wrong decsions too many times to count. We will second guess many deciisons that we do make.That also doesn't mean that we should not ask other people for help or advice. Many times we can learn a lot from those who have "been here done that." But that does mean that if you have strong feelings about something, other people should not try to convince you that you are wrong. They are your children and your opinions and feelings are the ones that really matter. You do not and should not have to justify your decisions to anyone except God and your spouse.
What that also means though, is that in return, we should not expect everyone to feel the same way we do about things. I am very passionate about homeschooling but not everybody is. I do not want people to try and convince me that I am wrong for homeschooling and should not try and convince others they are wrong for not homeschooling. I will answer questions I am asked honestly and will try to encourage those who are interested as best I can, but I am not looking to "recruit" everyone to homeschool. The activity that I don't feel is right for my girls is right for a lot of other families and would not try to convince people otherwise.
In the end I think it comes down to respect. We are all just trying to do the best we can with our children and make the best decisions possible. We need to recognize that and respect other people's choices. We need to do our best to build up and encourage, not tear down and criticize.
Just a few thoughts that have been on my mind.