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"I heard" vs. "I read"

Why is one superior to the other?

I belong to several homeschooling groups, including a couple of discussion groups on Facebook. Recently I commented that I had heard that you cannot homeschool foster children (you can’t) in Missouri, which is one of the things that makes us wary of becoming foster parents (among other things, including our budget and our limited space). Another group member—one who has definitely ruffled my feathers a couple of times already, and as an owner, I think she should re-think doing such things—demanded to know why I didn’t “research” such findings instead of just going by what I’d “heard.”Well, I didn’t exactly say that I had heard it through the grapevine like gossip; I came back to the discussion and told her that I had “heard” from first-hand sources, including foster parents in other homeschool groups that we are physically in as well as my dear friend, who is a social worker. Was I not clear enough, or was it simply the fact that my ears had witnessed facts and not my eyes that rubbed her the wrong way?

Yes, I’m an unschooler who questions every. Single. Thing. So of course I wouldn’t research something before adding it to my life—why on earth would I want to do that? (Insert eye-roll.) I am still a bit amazed that this person, who claims that technology is the best thing since sliced bread (depending on the day and the issue, I could agree) and is all about communication, thinks that since my information was heard and not read, it’s simply not valid—or that I’m not looking into it deeply enough.

It just reminds me, sadly, that even when I associate with others who supposedly support the lifestyle that we lead—and there are few of them enough as it is, living far away enough as it is—there are still going to be people who judge, who assume the worst (or simply assume erroneously, as she did here), and perhaps that it’s simply human nature to nitpick even in the middle of trying to support one another.

It’s really discouraging for someone like me who already feels alienated often due to so many things (and has since I was old enough to meet other people), who hates labels, who struggles reaching out as it is, fearing this judgment and not being accepted. It’s pretty much everywhere, and perhaps the thing to do is not hope that it doesn’t exist—but continue to work toward changing it as well as reinforcing my own backbone and learning not to take it, or anything, personally.