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Demonizing Public School- discussion.


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#101 DarlaS

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 06:52 PM

Actually, yes! She has on multiple occasions. I find it humorous, and have told her that will likely not be the case... but she begs to differ. :glare:


That's hysterical. There is no such thing as two human beings who will never disagree.

#102 Mom0012

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 06:35 AM

I'm honestly surprised that people are irritated by this discussion. I never said that ALL homeschoolers criticized public school. I was homeschooled, my husband was homeschooled, our children will be homeschooled. I was making an observation that I see often- homeschoolers demonizing public school in many forms. If you haven't seen that in your circle or haven't participated yourself, then that's that. And nobody ever asked you to justify your homeschooling here, on this board and certainly not in this thread.

Coming in late here, but maybe it's the word demonizing that is irritating some. I have definitely seen homeschoolers criticize the public schools on these boards many times. Many have had direct experience with the schools and pulled their kids out because of those experiences. Others have had less direct experiences, but still have seen negatives. Many are homeschooling because they are dissatisfied with the public schools. Let's face it. If we all thought public school was so great, many of our kids would be there. So, I think criticizing public schools on a homeschool board is okay. I don't equate it with demonizing, or instilling fear in children about the public school system.

#103 SarahW

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 06:51 AM

I agree with you about scare tactics. I don't like them either. But the only place I've run into that sort of thing has been in blogs that are posted on this board and then shot down. ;) But I don't like people who use those kinds of tactics to bolster their argument for anything and tend to stay far, far away from them.



FTR, I heard the condoms and kindergarten talk at a Classical Conversations meeting. If you haven't run into it that much, that's fine, but in my own experience it is extraordinarily prevalent in even the unexpected places. I don't think it hurts any of us to be aware of it.

ETA: At the same CC meeting the speakers themselves engaged in a lot of "Common Core is eeeevilllll, stay far, far, far away from it!" talk. Since Common Core is a public school thing, ergo....

#104 pdalley

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 07:36 AM

The only public schools I 'demonize' are the ones I've had direct experience with. Even still it was the administrators that were the issue more so than the schools themselves. Only one bad teacher which on the balance wasn't too bad. But when you've gone through what we went through with them you tend not to be charitable. I always try to qualify that with the fact I can only speak to the local schools that we dealt with. If someone considers that 'demonizing' then that is not my problem. They didn't walk in our shoes.

No, I do not like the 'one size must fit all' public schools have come by necessity. I do not like the en masse bullying that can go on in such places. But every parent needs to choose the best option for their family. So I believe there should be public, private, charter and homeschool and educational freedom so people can choose.

#105 calandalsmom

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 08:08 AM

Probably this discussion has hit a nerve here.;)

#106 KungFuPanda

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:13 AM

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:
If the parent and child are butting heads over getting schoolwork done in a HS situation, they're going to butt heads over getting homework assigned by a classroom-based school done. Quite possibly even more so because in a HS situation, we as teachers have the power to tweak an assignment to make it less "busywork". If an outside teacher makes the assignment, then I wouldn't have the authority to change it.


This isn't necessarily true. Teens can be odd creatures at times. My own teen wasn't thrilled with the work I gave her as a new 9th Grader. She successfully campaigned to go to public high school second semester. I actually believed your statement until I put a kid in school. She is doing even more written work than I ever assigned her and she's handling it on her own. She has come to her father and me for occasional help, but we certainly don't fight or have to make her do her work. She WANTS to do good work. She likes her teachers and responds well to them. She enjoys having a variety of instructors, and even though she'll be a junior next year, there is still a newness to school because she was homeschooled her whole life. Now, there was never that much tension over assignments at home because she's a relatively easy student, but I have seen first hand that a teen can respond very differently to something coming from a teacher rather than their own mother.

As far as my inability to tweak assignments, I won't be able to do that for her in college so she might as well learn the material the way her teacher chooses to present it. Of COURSE it's not the exact way I'd do it because it's not me teaching the class. My daughter doesn't really have any learning issues that make the tweaking necessary and she's actually had very very little of what I'd call 'busy work." Having been conditioned by homeschoolers, I really expected a LOT of it and it hasn't happened in 9th or 10th.

#107 SLT

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:22 AM

Coming in late here, but maybe it's the word demonizing that is irritating some. I have definitely seen homeschoolers criticize the public schools on these boards many times. Many have had direct experience with the schools and pulled their kids out because of those experiences. Others have had less direct experiences, but still have seen negatives. Many are homeschooling because they are dissatisfied with the public schools. Let's face it. If we all thought public school was so great, many of our kids would be there. So, I think criticizing public schools on a homeschool board is okay. I don't equate it with demonizing, or instilling fear in children about the public school system.


I think maybe those who are irritated by the word demonizing haven't experienced what some of us have. It's absolutely fine to criticize something, but completely different to actually demonize, and that is what I have heard a lot of here.

In response to another previous poster, I guess my use of "we" was more of a generality (because, as a homeschooler, I certainly don't participate in this, and still used the word we- so obviously, I wasn't trying to classify each and every homeschooler guilty of demonization of public school).

I guess the bottom line is, different things work for different people. Some public schools don't educate well. Some homeschool parents don't educate well. Some private schools don't educate well. People do what works for them.

#108 SLT

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:25 AM

The only public schools I 'demonize' are the ones I've had direct experience with. Even still it was the administrators that were the issue more so than the schools themselves. Only one bad teacher which on the balance wasn't too bad. But when you've gone through what we went through with them you tend not to be charitable. I always try to qualify that with the fact I can only speak to the local schools that we dealt with. If someone considers that 'demonizing' then that is not my problem. They didn't walk in our shoes.

No, I do not like the 'one size must fit all' public schools have come by necessity. I do not like the en masse bullying that can go on in such places. But every parent needs to choose the best option for their family. So I believe there should be public, private, charter and homeschool and educational freedom so people can choose.


I totally get this, and I wouldn't call it demonizing at that point. You are relaying your direct experience with a specific school (or schools). There is nothing wrong with this, at all. I was taking issue with the fact that many think that ALL public schools are terrible, bad places that produce nothing but criminals (being ridiculously dramatic here, but you get the idea).

Everyone has a right to criticize things that they've had experience with specifically.

#109 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:26 AM

Probably this discussion has hit a nerve here. ;)


Some of the over generalizations have hit a nerve for me. I don't like being lumped in a category that is basically characterized as being nonobjective and conspiracy-theory oriented. My opinions might not always be totally correct but I do try to look at things as objectively as I can to make the best decisions I can for my children. In order to do that I do have to look at both the pros and cons of all the educational choices available to me. This involves listing the cons of public schools along with the pros. There are both. I do, however, think that in my case there are more cons than pros. If I didn't think that, then I would not be busting my butt to provide an education at home for my kids. This does not mean that I bash the public schools to all the neighbors who use them. We have a good relationship and chat about how their kids are doing in school. This does not mean that I bash the public schools to all my friends (some who do not live in my neighborhood) who send their kids to public school. We have a good relationship and chat about how their kids are doing in school too. The only time I ever broke my rule to not proselytize for homeschooling is when a friend told me that her child was throwing up every single day in anxiety over going to school. I then shut up and let her do her own objective thinking through her options. (She homeschooled for a couple of years and then put her kids in another school that was a better fit.) I do not get together with other homeschoolers to bash public school. I actually used to lead a support group for homeschoolers in the area and neither I nor the leaders before me ever felt the need. We were more busy actually supporting each other.

I don't really like being told that when I say that this hasn't been a problem where I live, that I must not get out enough because it is a problem where someone else lives. Um? We live in different areas and hang out with a different crowd! And maybe those posters need to mix with different people. If the thread was asking for advice on how to handle situations where family members bash public schools then I'm sure people would elaborate on the bean dip advice that was given.

#110 KungFuPanda

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:47 AM

Weirdly, I wasn't allowed to edit . . .

Anyway, the point I failed to make for the OP is that not all homeschoolers demonize public school. I think most of us just see it as a different path. There are some homeschoolers who are very vocal about their disdain for schools, but I think that they go off so often that they seem like more than one voice. Some have had negative experiences as students or parents. Some have no negative experiences and theirs is a theoretical argument. They have a right to their opinion.

I have met a few who put don public schools a lot and it seems like a defense mechanism. I know a couple families (a tiny percentage of the homeschoolers I know) who have painted themselves into a corner with homeschooling. They have undereducated their children and the years have crept up on them. They now have teens with abysmal writing and math skills so it's easier to put down schools and preach how you'd never put your kid in one than it is to admit that, in a one-to-one tutoring situation, YOU have failed to maintain minimal standards. I know one family that spends half their life driving their teen boys to a homeschooled football league. Their boys are gifted athletes. They 'could' walk to the local high school and do well on that team, but they'd never be able to get the grades! The local high school doesn't even have a math class below Algebra I.

That's not the only family I know whose kids would get a lot more education at home than at school, but returning to school woefully behind is just too embarrassing. I LISTENED to these people's assessment of our local high school and was ready for a real battle when I enrolled my daughter. It never happened. It was a love-Fest! NICE administrators. CAPABLE teachers. (Yes, there was that one exception, but one dud out of 14 teachers isn't bad.) GOOD curriculum. Granted, I'm conflicted. Part of me hoped Dd would change her mind and want to return to homeschooling, but I never wished a bad experience on her and my life is A LOT easier now that I'm not responsible for teaching high school. (The reprieve is temporary. I'll have an eight grader next year and he shows no interest in public school.)

MOST of the homeschoolers that I know are very academically minded and work hard to educate their kids. Oddly, I hear more public school criticism from the more academically relaxed set. I just don't seem to know many homeschoolers IRL who have a chip on their shoulder about 'government schools.' I certainly don't and have been fortunate enough to only have good school experiences.

#111 WishboneDawn

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 05:15 PM

Coming in late here, but maybe it's the word demonizing that is irritating some. I have definitely seen homeschoolers criticize the public schools on these boards many times. Many have had direct experience with the schools and pulled their kids out because of those experiences. Others have had less direct experiences, but still have seen negatives. Many are homeschooling because they are dissatisfied with the public schools. Let's face it. If we all thought public school was so great, many of our kids would be there. So, I think criticizing public schools on a homeschool board is okay. I don't equate it with demonizing, or instilling fear in children about the public school system.


I've been on other boards where demonize is an appropriate term. I stay away from a lot of blogs where public schools are demonized. I have been the homeschooler doing the demonizing. It's less of an issue then here but in the wider homeschooling world I don't think it's that uncommon.

#112 Homeschool Mom in AZ

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 05:18 PM

My MIL is actually of the second type- they are very opposed to gov't run schools, etc. If it were the first, she would likely have actually customized anything for all of her children. I will say, she provided them with an excellent "creative" experience (encouraged artistic/musical pursuits), but it ended there. I have a BIL who learned to read at 16, only two years before he graduated high school. She never pursued any outside intervention, and this brother has no major learning issues otherwise.

So? What does doing a bad job with academics have to do with thinking education isn't a proper role of government? She doesn't think it's a role of government. There are homeschoolers I know who do an outstanding job with academics who think education isn't a proper role of government. If you would like to make the case that it is a proper role for government go right ahead. My point is, she has different convictions and the topic. So do other homeschoolers. Why does this bother you? Why do you think verbalizing different views is a bad thing?


I don't care that she specifically adopts my views. I am a pretty laid back person. My husband and I are very open and accepting. It's hard to see others (especially family members that you live close to, and have to visit often) demonize or criticize without having any actual experience, knowledge or research on a topic.

Why is that hard for a confident and capable adult? I would call that Tuesday. I'm not going to get into arguing that people only verbalize what I consider informed, knowledgeable, researched options. It would be a much quieter world if that happened but it's not going to. I want the ignorant speaking up so I can identify them right away and not be deceived by their silence.

I'm a homebirth, extended nursing, non-vaccinating, homeschooling mom. I've adopted internationally which is a magnet for very negative comments on the internet. Nothing I've done has been mainstream. I've heard ludicrous, ignorant, remarkably uniformed opinions about all of those choices. I've also heard people making the same choices I have made say ludicrous, ignorant, remarkably uniformed things about the mainstream choices. If I found it hard to hear different points of view I would have to lock myself in a closet with pillows over my ears and give up any hope of a happy contented life.

Trying to get everyone to agree to your standards is pissing in the wind. It's also a drain on the quality of your life.


What if you just accepted that she's not going to change your mind and you're not going to change hers? I have. I started this as a discussion about the HS community as a whole, though the discussion started with my MIL.

Did you assume your MIL's convictions were unique to her, or did you think this was an age old controversy that's been around as long as hsing has been? Do you genuinely think people are going to change their minds from one camp to the other? I'm not being snarky here because I do live in the largest homeschooling community in the US. (Or at least it was a few years ago. The county PHX is in has 10,000 homeschooled kids in it. That doesn't count the kids who are doing ps at home online because AZ doesn't legally recognize them as homeschoolers. For those that do consider them homeschoolers, it would shoot that number up higher.) I'm encountering far too many hsers from all over the spectrum who are genuinely surprised other homeschoolers are so dramatically different than them.

In my 13 years of homeschooling I cannot count the number of times I have heard people lament that the homeschooling community is too _____________________________ for their tastes and they wish they could find better homeschooling support. Too conservative. Too liberal. Too Christian. Too secular. Too academic. Too manual labor. Too character oriented. Too this. Too that. Everyone is anti-ps. Everyone is pro-ps. All I hear in my head when they say things like that is, "If only everyone saw it my way , it would all be better."

Certainly don't need approval. Didn't need it when I met DH as a young teenager and she didn't want us talking, didn't need it when we got married (she told us less than a week before our wedding it wasn't the "right" time), etc. I care because I spend (IMO way too much) time with this woman who tries to tell me how to homeschool my children,

Then don't spend as much time with her and set a boundary regarding her unwanted advice.

when she did a terrible job of it herself. She tells us to not to academics, because character training is SO much more important. DH and I don't have to see why it is either/or... all or nothing. We plan to have a strong academic background for our children, as well as character studies. What it comes down to is- listening to her babble is annoying. But, ultimately I don't really care what she thinks.

Your post does not at all give the impression you don't care. You said before it's hard for you to hear people (especially close relatives) criticize you when they don't meet your criteria for opinion formation. If you're having boundary issues with your MIL then you need to set the boundaries and enforce them. You can simply tell her what you just told us one time in a calm, pleasant tone of voice and then refuse to talk about it more. There are plenty of threads about setting boundaries with relatives. You and your husband have to set limits about spending time there are how you will act and react when you're there.


I wasn't serious that I would decide not to homeschool because of other's opinions. I was mostly joking that I would like to send my son to PS just to spite my MIL. But the truth is, I DO think my son could receive a quality education at a PS.

Some homeschoolers will agree with you and others won't. You'll point out why he could and they'll point out why he couldn't. Get used to that in the hs community. There are different people with different ideas. You're not going to change their minds. Be glad we have differences in thought. I won't attend a church where everyone homeschools. Why? Because even monolithic thought that makes the same choices I do or has the same motivations I do is monolithic thought. It's always better to spend some time around groups of people that have different ideas than me.

However, for our family homeschooling will be best. Homeschooling isn't something I know next to nothing about. As I said before, I have been highly involved in our homeschooling community for over ten years. It isn't something that I would ever give up because of other's opinions. And the idea that one needs to justify what works for their family is ridiculous to me.

I hear people say this all the time and I have to ask, Do people really demand you justify your choices? Every situation I've been in people were just making chit chat about what they do. Anytime I've seen anyone justify their behavior, no one ever actually NEEDED to. They did it on their own. I've heard many a ps parent go off for a long time on how great their ps is when all that happened was, they asked me what school my kids went to. I said, "We homeschool." and bam! On and on they go with endless details about their school. The "need" to explain was a product of their imagination. I've watched homeschoolers do the same thing. If no one asked, "Why do you homeschool?" or "Why are you homeschooling that particular way?" then no one cares. No need to volunteer an explanation.

Would be nice, but this problem is more about MIL/my relationship than the issue at hand. My MIL's diatribe against PS last night sparked a bit of thought in my head about mommy wars and it extending far past the young child age (where it seems like it would stop). It extends into when children are grown, and mothers who are unsure in their past decisions (could I have done it better?) need to justify it to nobody but themselves that they did the right thing.

Or they're simply talking about things based on their genuine convictions and not based on an insecurity. Some people do it out of conviction and some out of insecurity. It's a bad idea to lump them all together.

So what if they're doing it for any given reason? Shutting down debate or discussions people choose to participate in is unnecessary. Simply decide for yourself if you're going to participate or not. If people want to argue about something I think is pointless, then they can. I'm not their referee, their mamma, or their Holy Spirit.

Overall, it is a complaint of our very conservative, Christian homeschooling community and their view on homeschooling versus public schooling. As someone else mentioned, it's a "holier than thou" perspective.

If someone does something because they believe it's the right thing is it automatically holier than thou? When you do something you believe it is the right thing to do are you being holier than thou? And so what if they are? Do you really think people who genuinely do have a sinful, pride based, holier than thou attitude are going to change their minds if you point it out?

Around here, there is also a large element of elitism present- we can afford to do this, look at us. In MIL's case, she just can't see why anyone (single mothers included) can't just quit their job so their kids don't have to go to the terrible and evil government run schools. That sort of thinking is obviously delusional (which isn't uncommon).

Really!?!? I have never once heard anyone say they think a single mother could homeschool. Most can't. I've also heard people sound shocked at hearing about the very few single mothers I've known that were able to manage working and homeschooling. I've heard plenty of people claim they couldn't possibly afford to homeschool and then look surprised when I point out that there are people with more kids than they have homeschooling on one income that was less than their profession usually makes. When they ask how I point out the lifestyle norms of most of the homeschoolers I know, they seem surprised people would be willing to live so humbly without any extras. So there's a lot of discussion than can happen either way on that.

You seem to make a lot of assumptions about the mindset of the people you disagree with. Elitism, delusion, insecurities, etc. Be very careful when telling others what someone thinks when they haven't told you directly themselves. That's a recipe for trouble. I don't know anyone who would like it.

To address the last sentence- as I said it would be nice to have a list of things to talk about and actually be able to use it. My MIL is all about herself and has a list of unimportant, ridiculous things to "talk" (one sided) about for hours at a time. I honestly had a recent conversation (well, I listened to her conversation with herself) that lasted about 20 minutes as to what color she should paint her front door. As I listed above, I also listened to her talk for over 10 minutes about what her instagram account name will be- she has been debating this for months (seriously? who has time for this?), but as I said that issue is another issue altogether and shouldn't really be lumped into the homeschooling demonization topic.

One person's demonization is another's legitimate criticism. I would bet most people on this board would have different criteria for what is "demonization." In general, using such dramatic, subjective language doesn't set up a productive, constructive discussion. It's usually better to stick to direct quotes and specific philosophical points of view.

There are plenty of threads here about annoying relatives incapable of back and forth, give and take, 2 way conversations. You're not going to change your MIL. You can have a generous attitude and listen to her talk for what ever amount of time you and your husband have specified for your visit and later spend time with people who appreciate your input or you can sit there and resent her monologues. You can set limits with her about unwanted advice and frequency of visits and take the consequences or you can let people overstep their boundaries and take the consequences.

#113 SLT

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 07:10 PM

So? What does doing a bad job with academics have to do with thinking education isn't a proper role of government? She doesn't think it's a role of government. There are homeschoolers I know who do an outstanding job with academics who think education isn't a proper role of government. If you would like to make the case that it is a proper role for government go right ahead. My point is, she has different convictions and the topic. So do other homeschoolers. Why does this bother you? Why do you think verbalizing different views is a bad thing?




I think you are taking my words out of context- I replied that she was of the second type (someone opposed to government run schools), not of the first who homeschools to primarily completely customize the curriculum and educational choices of her children. This is not her. That is why I said if she was of the first type, she would have cared more about the academic offerings (of which there were none) to her children. I don't care that she has a different opinion. I care about vehement, angry arguments... especially when they are presented in front of my children. I also care because my husband was "educated" by her and had a serious problem when he entered college. It took him an extra year to catch up with high school (and lower) level classes to be able to attend. I also have several brothers and sisters in law who are still under her wing. They have a long road ahead of them. I care about under-education of children, whether public, private or home and I certainly care about it when it is our own family. Using the guise of "homeschooling" to keep your children home, isolated (the only friends the siblings need are each other), and uneducated is abhorrent. To think that is better than public schools, just because? Plain sad for the children who have no choice in the subject. Anyway, that is all I will say on that subject.

#114 SLT

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 07:15 PM

when she did a terrible job of it herself. She tells us to not to academics, because character training is SO much more important. DH and I don't have to see why it is either/or... all or nothing. We plan to have a strong academic background for our children, as well as character studies. What it comes down to is- listening to her babble is annoying. But, ultimately I don't really care what she thinks.

Your post does not at all give the impression you don't care. You said before it's hard for you to hear people (especially close relatives) criticize you when they don't meet your criteria for opinion formation. If you're having boundary issues with your MIL then you need to set the boundaries and enforce them. You can simply tell her what you just told us one time in a calm, pleasant tone of voice and then refuse to talk about it more. There are plenty of threads about setting boundaries with relatives. You and your husband have to set limits about spending time there are how you will act and react when you're there.


I don't care that she objects to strong academics. She would never, ever be able to change my mind that academics are not an important part of homeschooling. That is specifically what I ultimately do not care about. She will object to our homeschooling method, and I don't care.

#115 54879525

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 07:16 PM

I think you are taking my words out of context- I replied that she was of the second type (someone opposed to government run schools), not of the first who homeschools to primarily completely customize the curriculum and educational choices of her children. This is not her. That is why I said if she was of the first type, she would have cared more about the academic offerings (of which there were none) to her children. I don't care that she has a different opinion. I care about vehement, angry arguments... especially when they are presented in front of my children. I also care because my husband was "educated" by her and had a serious problem when he entered college. It took him an extra year to catch up with high school (and lower) level classes to be able to attend. I also have several brothers and sisters in law who are still under her wing. They have a long road ahead of them. I care about under-education of children, whether public, private or home and I certainly care about it when it is our own family. Using the guise of "homeschooling" to keep your children home, isolated (the only friends the siblings need are each other), and uneducated is abhorrent. To think that is better than public schools, just because? Plain sad for the children who have no choice in the subject. Anyway, that is all I will say on that subject.


I too would find this upsetting. Luckily, I have not come across too many homeschoolers in this category. But yes I have come across them.

I guess her objection is formal academics rather than public/government run schools though. I've come across those types as well.

#116 PeacefulChaos

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 07:20 PM

I haven't read all the other replies because I'm sure everyone has had different experiences with this sort of thing.
I will say that I get really annoyed when people assume things about the public schools that are not necessarily correct. To the point that when we decided to homeschool, I emphatically pointed out that it had NOTHING to do with our public school experiences with the boys, but was a decision based solely on what worked for us. We have had people in our area who say things like, 'Well, the public school is not even an option' in a very snotty tone when I know for a fact that they are basing their opinion of it on hearsay. I think it's a stupid way for those people to act. I've ALWAYS felt it was a stupid way for those people to act, when I was a public school parent and as a homeschool parent.
I try to make sure that people know that our experience with the public schools (though limited) was great. I make sure not to say bad things about the school because, honestly, what do I actually know about it? I get so annoyed with that around here... we have a couple of private Christian schools and a private non-Christian school and people are constantly talking about how bad the PS system is here. Educationally I know that it isn't up to great standards (I know that much from the facts reported in the newspaper, etc) but I do see a whole lot of demonizing of the school here, as well as the 'public schooled kids' around here.
I'll also point out that before I understood the full workings of HSLDA (I wasn't a member, but got their emails or something, which I no longer do because I can't stand them) and got their correspondences, I saw a whole heck of a lot of demonizing of PS there. A lot of the talk was about how bad the government is and how they are consistently trying to take away our rights and how terrible the PS is because of XYZ... It was obnoxious.
It's ALL sickening and obnoxious. I can't stand that there are people who are so judgmental of it.

#117 Homeschool Mom in AZ

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:14 PM

I think you are taking my words out of context- I replied that she was of the second type (someone opposed to government run schools), not of the first who homeschools to primarily completely customize the curriculum and educational choices of her children. This is not her.

You missed my point entirely. BOTH groups have categorical philosophical objections to ps. Which ever category she's in, she has a completely different set of convictions and you're not going to change her mind. Stop wasting your time on this with her and everyone else. It's as pointless as trying to convince someone of a different denomination that your Scriptural interpretations are right an theirs is wrong. It's like trying to get someone to change their political convictions-they're not going to. It's like trying to convince someone who schedules crib sleeping to co-sleep. It's like trying to get a bottle feeder to relactate and breastfeed. You're just volunteering yourself for another battle in the mommy wars.

That is why I said if she was of the first type, she would have cared more about the academic offerings (of which there were none) to her children. I don't care that she has a different opinion. I care about vehement, angry arguments... especially when they are presented in front of my children.

Then you and your husband need to set healthy limits about what you are going to allow around your kids and what you aren't. You'll have to plan ahead when you will leave or ask her to leave. Don't keep going back there and trying to get her to behave or trying to convince her to behave. She's not going to. Stop trying to manage other adults-you can't. You can only manage yourselves.

I also care because my husband was "educated" by her and had a serious problem when he entered college. It took him an extra year to catch up with high school (and lower) level classes to be able to attend. I also have several brothers and sisters in law who are still under her wing. They have a long road ahead of them. I care about under-education of children, whether public, private or home and I certainly care about it when it is our own family. Using the guise of "homeschooling" to keep your children home, isolated (the only friends the siblings need are each other), and uneducated is abhorrent. To think that is better than public schools, just because? Plain sad for the children who have no choice in the subject. Anyway, that is all I will say on that subject.

You can't control other law abiding citizens just because you strongly disagree with them. If you have grounds for accusing them them under your state's educational neglect laws then go ahead, but if it falls short of that you can't fix everyone else's bad decisions. You can't make someone else a good parent. There are things other people do that I consider bad and damaging to children, but it's not my job to intervene unless it's criminal. I've seen crappy homeschooling but nothing criminal. If I did, I'd turn them in and let the state handle it.

Your MIL has made her parenting decisions and now you make your parenting decisions. You can offer tutoring to your husband's siblings, but inserting yourself between your MIL and her minor children is asking for serious trouble that can permanently damage your extended family relationships. Do you think other people should intervene in how you parent?

I ask that as someone who has had to look up how to turn in my brother's spouse for what might have been abuse and put him on notice that if he didn't intervene with his spouse I would absolutely do it. He got it together and reigned her in more forcefully and my sources of information closer to the children are on notice to inform me if they see anything that crosses the legal line. If any abuse ever happens I'm obligated to immediately intervene legally. Until then I simply pointed out my concerns once and explained what I would do it ever became legally recognized abuse. I volunteered to help with the kids any time in any way. Then I kept it to myself and kept my eyes and ears open.

You can volunteer to help with academics with your husband's siblings to give your MIL a break, but short of that there's not much you can do. Pouring all this emotional energy into being upset about her homeschooling views and practices and other homeschoolers' views and practices is a decision that will only cost you in the long run.





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