I have gotten to the point where I am (usually) no longer shocked at the audacity of complete strangers who feel the need to give parenting advice. In the past, I was the one to respond with my own rebuttal filled with all of the reasoning for why my family's choices were the best for my family. Really, that's the bottom line, isn't it? We all find different things that work, and when they are done with love and the best intentions for our kids, that's going to be the right choice. Each family finds their own unique way. There may even be a few different "right" choices. I agonize over decisions but I never do something that feels wrong just because I heard it might be a good idea. Ironically, I do wish for good parenting advice, but so often the advice I get is not helpful at all.
A couple of days ago, at Owl's physical therapy appointment, I was in the waiting room with Herbie and got an earful of opinions on schooling. A woman I had never met felt the need to tell me why homeschooling was the best because I could teach my children better than any school and that way my kids wouldn't be labeled and put on medication. Well, I'm not afraid that the school is going to medicate my children without my consent. And I am the one who sought out a label in order to enable my kids to receive the services that will help them to be successful in school. I also feel very fortunate to be in a school district with an autism specialist who communicates with me about how my kids are doing in their classrooms, paras who really "get" my kids, classroom teachers who are willing to take the extra time to make accommodations and ask for my input, and Herbie's special ed teacher who regularly talks to me about how she wants his supports to be evolving to help him continue to develop skills. I certainly don't think the school is perfect, and there are definitely situations where homeschooling is a wonderful option, but right now public school is the right place for my kids.
I thought about saying all of these things to the angry, ranting woman. But Herbie brought me back to reality, waving the book we were reading in front of my face and shouting at the woman, "you're wasting my time!" I wasn't sure whether to laugh at his comment or try to calm him down, but in the end, I just smiled at the woman and said, "Yep!" and turned my focus back to Herbie and our book. I'd rather spend my precious energy on my kids than worry about defending my choices any more.
 


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