I am through with trying to please people. I have only myself to blame for any annoyance I feel because, well, I don’t know why I did a darn fool thing like try to begin with!

When I first made the decision to homeschool, I knew it was the right thing to do, but I confess, I lacked the courage to truly stand up for what I believed in. I was stuck in two modes – I was either trying to convince others that I wasn’t stone barmy and just about begging for their approval or plain trying to avoid any discussions on Ms M’s education because I was afraid that someone would point out my failings and inadequacies. I don’t know why I didn’t simply stick to my guns and have the gumption to just tell certain characters to mind their own business and leave us to our decisions. I don’t know why I felt I had to defend or explain myself.

Not everyone criticised me in an outright manner. Sometimes, I would get loaded questions that would make me literally bristle. One that would often crop up would be, “Does Ms M have friends?” This could be broken down into many other questions like:

  • “Don’t you think that she needs some friends?”
  • The poor thing doesn’t really have friends, does she?
  • … and the cruncher… Why don’t you send her to school where she can have more friends?

Trust me, I am not paranoid… I AM protective over my children (which mother is not?). However, I do appreciate good and constructive advice. I get intensely irritated by stupid (I know, it is a rude word to use, but I can’t think of a more appropriate one to be honest…) remarks by people who know nothing about homeschooling and have only preconceived notions.

I also dislike that my children and I are subject to intense scrutiny and criticism simply because we have chosen to try homeschooling. I am expected to be a super mum who is supremely well-balanced in every way while Ms M and Bear are expected to be ideal little angels who surpass their peers in every aspect of development and never ever slip up. I used to always feel anxious if they misbehaved and often over-reacted in chastising them… one of the reasons was that I knew sooner or later someone would remark that they need some schooling “like other (normal – yes I know they really mean to say this!) children”.

Now though, I think… stuff it.

Why should I put up with it? After all, it is awfully rude that people would judge and undermine without trying to understand in the least. I find it really unfair as well that such people feel that they can say as they please about homeschoolers without being concerned in the least about respect and wisdom. I wonder how these people would feel if I were to suggest HOMESCHOOLING the minute they mention any problem that they or their kids have with public school. I am quite sure my advice would not be well received.

I am tired of people feeling sorry for my children – a volunteer teacher who had met my children and me on all of maybe 3 occasions confided in me that she felt “sorry” for Ms M. Apparently, my daughter was too well-behaved in her workshop – obviously I had robbed her of her childhood!

I feel blessed for the few folks who have given me love and support… they have given me nothing but encouragement and this has translated into more positive homeschooling days for us. They have advised and yet, understood that we have problems and bad days like everyone else.

At the end of the day, we don’t have a spotless record and I am sure that in some people’s eyes, we will never measure up, but why should that pressure me? If my mission is to raise Muslimahs who are passionate about Islam and `ilm, who are driven and who are, to borrow a fellow homeschooler’s words, “life-long self-learners”, then I need to stop worrying about other people’s standards and criteria.

What I do need is to remind myself that I am answerable only to Allah. I need to better myself as a parent, facilitator and fellow student. I need to be stronger and not take out my insecurities on my children. They deserve better than that from me.

We have our highs and lows… we need to work very hard in the coming months to make up for lost time.

But in shaa Allah, we are OK… we are more than OK.