I'm convinced that Jean Paul Sartre was the original inventor of headphones. Imagine when he scribed, "Hell is other people", he was probably trying to drown out the noise of unsupportive family members and unfiltered neighbors offering their unsolicited opinions about homeschooling with the even noisier sound of his singing aloud to himself. In his existentialist play, No Exit, discontent with his hell-mates stemmed from their continual reminders of his past transgressions and lingering temptations. Although Sartre's crimes-du-jour were manslaughter and various sensual misdemeanors, it's conceivable that what he was really busy with was how to avoid the temptation to justify his choices and if weakened, redirect his personal course and follow the crowd.
What happens when you are surrounded by unlike-minded folks? Do you run and hide in the protective bubble of your tribe? Oh wait, where's your tribe? Facebook groups, homeschool co-op members, the five other alternative education families in the school district? Do you protest and try to sway and recruit to our side? Do you tune out just enough that you are still present, plug into that “happy place” and bear witness to the challenge really before you - being you, despite of who you are being with?
One of the top 10 issues modern home/unschooling parents have is negotiating the social ebb and flow of having a different learning lifestyle. This is code for dealing with the judgement of non-homeschooling families. While it may be counter-intuitive, this is where I encourage you to yank off the headphones, quiet your loud defensive chatter and just listen. And learn how to take the heat and walk through the fire.
Whether you choose to homeschool, support charter systems or pay into private schools, you have children whose educational success you value and encourage. Abandon your potential need to be right, fear of being wrong or insecurity that you are an island in the midst of a vast sea of non-homeschoolers. Instead, put your personalized teaching and learning to practice and inquire about their child's successes and academic pursuits. While the traditional school structure may not align with your homeschool lifestyle, there may be programs, events, resources, and strategies that can be authentically incorporated; or at least considered.
Lastly, your choice to home/unschool is a personal and family-centered lifestyle decision. Some things in life are not up for conversation. Remember that, stand strong and carry on.