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Would you take a look at this letter to family to assure them we are not truant?


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See my posts #44 and #50. Thank you all for keeping me from getting suckered into this. Sometimes I just can't believe these ppl. What was I thinking!

 

DH family is worried that kids are not getting educated due to my health being no so great. That have no valid reason to worry, but are calling us (all out of state) suggesting we put the kids in public school. Honestly, I think they are just looking for an excuse to put the pressure on to quit. We are not truant. They are opposed to homeschool and worried. DH was private schooled and they are conventional in every way possible. We really have put through the ringer as homebirth, nonvaxing, extended breastfeeding, homeschoolers! So what do you think about this letter? Suggestion and constructive criticism is welcome. All the curriculum including Geopuzzles and Book of Centuries has links provided for them to look at.

 

 

Hi Family! We are so pleased about your recent concern for the boy's education. We'd like to help ease your concern by sharing with you what curriculum we are using the 2020-2011 homeschool year!

 

Bible: My Father's World

 

Reading: Phonics Pathways

 

Math: Miquon Math and The Verbal Math Lesson

 

Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears with Handwriting Without Tears Blackboard with Double Lines

 

Science: My Father's World and Autumn 2010 Nature Study with the Outdoor Hour Challenges

 

History: Book of Centuries No formal history this year.We record events in our Book of Centuries that we come across in media, books, and conversation.

 

Geography: World and US Wall Map and GeoPuzzles No formal geography this year. We identify places on the maps that come up in media, books, and conversation.

 

Our current read aloud is On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We are recording her journeys on our US wall map as we go through the series!

 

 

There are many options for home school curriculum and many, many hours of research has gone into what we have chosen. To help get a feel for how much is available, please check out homeschoolreviews.com Some of the curriculum listed above has been recommended to us from veteran homeschooling moms that we know. One of which, recently sent off her high school graduate to the University of Idaho where he entered his field of choice as a Junior! We have been and plan to continue gleaning from these moms.

 

Hope this sets your mind at ease as much as possible!

 

Much love,

Jenny and Billy

Edited by mommyjen
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this might be unpopular ~ but i wouldn't send them anything. it's NONE of their business and i think that you might just be setting yourself up for "we looked at that; it's not REAL math/science/whatever" type comments and such...

 

they've already given you a hard time for your other lifestyle choices ~ i'd say it's time to hang out the MYOB sign. :)

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I know that the urge is to get defensive, but I would not give them this much information. I think there is too much to pick apart. I might instead send them a newsletter type of thing where you let your son(s) tell them what they have studied that month. Include pictures for the grandparents, etc... I think that by sending them the list of your curriculum choices, you are inviting critique of those choices and you will likely get some critique over the "no formal study" areas.

 

I'd not dignify them with the list of curricula.

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I know that the urge is to get defensive, but I would not give them this much information. I think there is too much to pick apart. I might instead send them a newsletter type of thing where you let your son(s) tell them what they have studied that month. Include pictures for the grandparents, etc... I think that by sending them the list of your curriculum choices, you are inviting critique of those choices and you will likely get some critique over the "no formal study" areas.

 

I'd not dignify them with the list of curricula.

 

 

Dh and I are not concerned with them not liking our curriculum choices at. all. Just want to give them a sense that stuff is getting done, maybe not what they would choose, but how we have chosen. I'm liking the idea of the newsletter though. Thanks for the input. Much appreciated.

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I kind of agree with Gwen......but we did do the 'letter' route for a few years to allay fears. When we got no response from the letters, we dropped that.

The MORE you open yourself up to examination, the MORE they will examine. You don't need their approval to do what you think is right for your children. It took me a long time to learn that, but it was SO freeing once I accepted it. We were confident in God's leading us to hs and didn't need anyone else agreeing with us. We had plenty of friends who homeschooled so if I wanted 'fellowship', I hung with fellow hs-ers. My/his family could certainly inquire but we, in NO way, were obligated to convince or persuade them to agree with us. Even though it was never said, we came to a place of just agreeing to disagree. Both of our mothers were traditional all the way, in terms of education. My mom has a Masters in Ed and STILL doesn't get it- and I've been hs for 23 years. The proof is in the pudding and your families will eventually see that your little ones are turning out just fine. Maybe one day they'll even come to a place where they can accept other ways (besides what they know) of doing things. I'm STILL hoping! :glare:

Edited by JVA
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I like the letter. I would remove these parts. "No formal history this year." and "No formal Geography this year." To a nonhomeschooling person this sounds like a negative. What you've described for these subjects w/o this statement is sufficient, imo. Also, make sure you correct your school year date.

 

This is a very informative and non-defensive letter that is sure to help you bring them along in your decision to homeschool. It's normal for them to have their doubts and I think you're being very gracious. It's always wise to try to explain what you are doing for you family with your children's grandparents. It may take them a while to come around or they may never. At least you've tried and that's all you can do. :001_smile:

 

Edit to add: I like that you're linking them to the websites and homeschool review.com. It will help them see how wide the choices are and how more mainstream homeschooling is becoming to someone who's not done the research.

Edited by Michelle in TX
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I know that the urge is to get defensive, but I would not give them this much information. I think there is too much to pick apart. I might instead send them a newsletter type of thing where you let your son(s) tell them what they have studied that month. Include pictures for the grandparents, etc... I think that by sending them the list of your curriculum choices, you are inviting critique of those choices and you will likely get some critique over the "no formal study" areas.

 

I'd not dignify them with the list of curricula.

:iagree:

 

or perhaps a blog of your ongoing educational experiences. And on the blog your could identify your curriculum choices, and what you have planned for the year.

Edited by fairfarmhand
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this might be unpopular ~ but i wouldn't send them anything. it's NONE of their business and i think that you might just be setting yourself up for "we looked at that; it's not REAL math/science/whatever" type comments and such...

 

they've already given you a hard time for your other lifestyle choices ~ i'd say it's time to hang out the MYOB sign. :)

:iagree:

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I'd agree with the newsletter just telling the what you have done in the last month or so. If someone wants to be critical, they will find a way to do that no matter what. If you give them too many specifics, it would give them more fuel for criticism.

 

I have told critical family members about the WTM. I even left a copy conveniently on the coffee table the last time my dad was here for a visit (he picked it up and read some one afternoon). I think it helps him to know that I have a plan, and that it is rigorous, even if I don't share the details with him.

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this might be unpopular ~ but i wouldn't send them anything. it's NONE of their business and i think that you might just be setting yourself up for "we looked at that; it's not REAL math/science/whatever" type comments and such...

 

they've already given you a hard time for your other lifestyle choices ~ i'd say it's time to hang out the MYOB sign. :)

 

:iagree: No explanation is necessary....they'll only find more things to criticize.

 

Diane W.

married for 22 years

homeschooling 3 kiddos for 16 years

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I make it a habit to only answer, never explain. Just as sure as you do, someone will find something to argue with.

 

:iagree: Search the boards for passing the bean dip and apply that precept rigorously. If you feel the need to send anything make it a chatty newsletter (as others have suggested) about what you did, how much fun you all had doing X, Y, Z, how much dc learned, etc. Note the past tense here. If you do decide to send this letter or a letter like it realize that you've in effect opened the debate. Good luck.

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I wouldn't send it!:iagree: You don't owe them any explanation...not now, not when you decide to switch (math or reading or some other subject) curricula, and you don't want to give the impression that their lack of respect for you as parents is rewarded by having a say in the education of YOUR dc.

 

Nope!

 

A friendly "here is the fun we had this week with _____" is fine, but I wouldn't give an opportunity for criticism of your curric choices.

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I'm afraid they're not interested in being educated. The curriculum which looks good and familiar to you means absolutely nothing to most people. They're not trying to give you a hard time just to be nasty, but your choices (which are similar to mine) are totally foreign concepts to your dh's family. In fact they fly in the face in much that they have been taught about what to do in life.

 

Your opinion and best efforts to communicate about your choices will always be seen as hopelessly naive, at best. It will take something outside of your situation to change their minds, if anything does.

 

Tim Tebow's career at Florida (very successful quarterback and hs graduate) did the trick for my dh's family. God bless Pam Tebow!!! Dh's family are HUGE SEC football fans.:D

 

So I agree with the pps.

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I would go more on the lines of - "These are the homeschool laws for our state which we are following to the letter: . . . "

 

Then I might have a paragraph which states "We are excited about learning xyz. We'd love to tell you about what we are learning but are not interested in discussing our decision to homeschool itself."

 

:iagree:

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this might be unpopular ~ but i wouldn't send them anything. it's NONE of their business and i think that you might just be setting yourself up for "we looked at that; it's not REAL math/science/whatever" type comments and such...

 

they've already given you a hard time for your other lifestyle choices ~ i'd say it's time to hang out the MYOB sign. :)

 

:iagree: Absolutely! Throw the letter away and ignore them. It sounds like someone is spreading around your business and needs to stop.

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I agree with the others; I wouldn't respond. The reason they keep critiquing your parenting choices is because you let them. Be confident in your choices, then pass the bean dip. They will eventually realize that not only do you know what you're doing, but that their input will not change your minds.

 

If you do decide to pass it, note that there are a couple errors that might cause concern--one sentence fragment and a couple capitalization errors. I'm not trying to be critical; I just wouldn't want you to add fuel to their fire.

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I agree that educating your DH's family somewhat is a good thing, however, I think you went into too much detail on what you use (and DON'T use). I fear they will pick apart the fact that you are doing no formal history. I'd also be leery of listing everything and pointing them in the direction of Homeschool Reviews for several reasons. First off, while there are many positive reviews of curriculum, there are bound to be negative ones as well. If they are against homeschooling they are more likely to focus on the negative reviews. Also, if they venture over to the message boards there they may see some posts/behaviors that are negative and not representative of homeschoolers as a whole. If they think your life-style choices are nutty now, you don't want them to even know that board exists!

 

If you want to share with them, a better way to do it would be to list some of the concepts your kids are learning this year. "In math this year Tommy is focusing on adding and subtracting single-digit numbers, skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, learning the value of money, and telling time by the hour and half-hour. We're also working on identifying geometric shapes." I think a list of what you're doing instead of what you're using is both more meaningful and will hopefully show them not only that they ARE doing something, but HOW MUCH they are doing.

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I wouldn't send the letter.

 

We had a blog where I did a weekly write up about our learning. Family didn't care. They either support your idea or they don't. And they don't have to. You don't have to defend yourself to them.

 

If anything...perhaps say something like 'that private education gave me the knowledge to make this decision to homeschool' :-)

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I think it's better to let achievement speak for itself. I, too, wanted to share all we did--I practically forced my parents to go thru dd's history notebook in first grade. They thought it was cool, to learn all that, but the socialization issue was still unaddressed and caused some concern (not that they voiced very much). They really were not as excited as I was about her curriculum. :D

 

Remember, too, that many, if not most, schooling folks find homeschooling to be an indictment of their own choice to use a brick and mortar school. In fact, many people feel the same about any choice that is different than their own. It's rare to find someone who says your choice is just as valid as theirs, because something made them think their own choice was BEST. I think there are a ton of very rare folks on these boards--but in the rest of the world, not so much.

 

So, I would ditch the letter, handle everything face to face, and just keep raising a wonderful child whose education is broad and deep.

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I would not send a letter. It is not their business.

 

I would tell them that yes we do many things differently than them, but we are not them and neither are our kids. They are being cared for and educated and to insinuate otherwise is an insult to us. As we are the parents of these children, no one in this conversation wants more or better for them than us and no one in this conversation knows these kids better than their parents. (If they pushed my buttons wrong, I might also note that as we are a product of their parenting, they need to think carefully about how they criticize us.)

 

Yes. Brutal honest, but I was in the hospital with baby number 6 and not feeling to inclined towards charity at that precise moment. But it was wondefully effective.

 

What I have found helpful is to send an end if year letter. Kind of like those christmas letters everyone hates. ;). In it, I write in a conversational manner about all the things we have enjoyed that year. Positive testing results, favorite science or history topics, maybe their best essay of the year, extracurricular stuff and so on. I include some pictures, maybe their best art work too. I used to do this every year way back when I didn't have a blog. I guess I should do it again. My in-laws never really said much about it to us directly, but I heard through the grapevine that they showed those letters to all the grandparents, aunts, and uncles. And it greatly reduced their hand wringing comments.

Edited by Martha
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I'd also be leery of listing everything and pointing them in the direction of Homeschool Reviews for several reasons. First off, while there are many positive reviews of curriculum, there are bound to be negative ones as well. If they are against homeschooling they are more likely to focus on the negative reviews. Also, if they venture over to the message boards there they may see some posts/behaviors that are negative and not representative of homeschoolers as a whole. If they think your life-style choices are nutty now, you don't want them to even know that board exists!

 

.

:iagree:Julie said it better than I would have. There are some wacky posters/topics at HSR and I wouldn't want your family to latch on to that as a true representation of homeschoolers.

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Do not send the letter. I have been in your shoes. At least your family is calling you and not being concerned to others about your child's well being. My step-MIL works in the school system and I do think that they see it as a rebuke against their choices.

We had a situation where things were brought up and finally my husband had a frank discussion with his father. His father was very surprised that he felt so strongly about the homeschooling. He thought it was all me pushing it.

So what I would suggest instead is that if this is just your dh's family that you defer to him. Let him have the conversation and tell them thank you for the concern but it isn't warranted.

It took my dh telling his father that we were homeschooling b/c it was right for our children and that it wasn't up for discussion with us or about us to other people.

I tried telling step-MIL how we homeschooled and sending links to our blog and it got me nothing but her voicing her concern to others and how worried she is about my children. A frank talk from dh and the matter disappeared.

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DH family is worried that kids are not getting educated due to my health being no so great.

 

We really have put through the ringer as homebirth, nonvaxing, extended breastfeeding, homeschoolers! So what do you think about this letter? Suggestion and constructive criticism is welcome. All the curriculum including Geopuzzles and Book of Centuries has links provided for them to look at.

 

Hi Family! We are so pleased about your recent concern for the boy's education. We'd like to help ease your concern by sharing with you what curriculum we are using the 2020-2011 homeschool year!

 

Bible: My Father's World

 

Reading: Phonics Pathways

 

Math: Miquon Math and The Verbal Math Lesson

 

Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears with Handwriting Without Tears Blackboard with Double Lines

 

Science: My Father's World and Autumn 2010 Nature Study with the Outdoor Hour Challenges

 

History: Book of Centuries No formal history this year.We record events in our Book of Centuries that we come across in media, books, and conversation.

 

Geography: World and US Wall Map and GeoPuzzles No formal geography this year. We identify places on the maps that come up in media, books, and conversation.

 

Our current read aloud is On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We are recording her journeys on our US wall map as we go through the series!

Some of the curriculum listed above has been recommended to us from veteran homeschooling moms that we know. One of which, recently sent off her high school graduate to the University of Idaho where he entered his field of choice as a Junior! We have been and plan to continue gleaning from these moms.

 

Hope this sets your mind at ease as much as possible!

 

Much love,

Jenny and Billy

First, I am really surprised most said not to send it. I don't know your relationship with these people, it is apparently not good anyway.

Second, like someone else said, if you do send it, you do have some errors in the letter which may add fuel to the fire.

Third, I would not mention veteran homeschooling moms. We are just as unsocialized, uneducated, possible poor health, breastfeeding for too long, homebirthing and non-vaccinating as you are or may be -- I'm just saying that it would probably be their opinion, in the eyes of your relatives.

Fourth, I don't think I would send the letter either. It sounds like you are trying to have a kinder approach but it would seem to me at this point in your family's life, your decisions will never mesh with what they feel is correct or appropriate.

I agree, it is your husband's place to approach the situation and tell them it is time for them to Mind Their Own Business. Sounds like they live in a box.

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I wouldn't send it. To someone who doesn't homeschool or read homeschool boards obsessively, the curriculum choices will mean absolutely nothing. I also don't think it's incumbent upon you to put their minds at ease. The whole thing sounds very defensive to me, sorry to say.

 

Tara

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this might be unpopular ~ but i wouldn't send them anything. it's NONE of their business and i think that you might just be setting yourself up for "we looked at that; it's not REAL math/science/whatever" type comments and such...

 

they've already given you a hard time for your other lifestyle choices ~ i'd say it's time to hang out the MYOB sign. :)

 

:iagree:

 

I think you should shorten it to:

 

Dear Family,

 

MYOB

 

Sincerely,

 

Me

 

:iagree:

 

I started a blog mainly so family could see what we were doing if they were interested. I didn't seek approval or permission.

 

MANY families homeschool through long-term or chronic illness. :grouphug: It's hard enough to not feel well and then have family on your back...:glare:

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I would not send the letter. It enhances the precedent that you have to report to them to convince them of your sincerity and success. It is really none of their business what curriculum you use or how you plan your days.

 

I would just smile and say, "Your family, your choices, my family, mine." and leave it at that.

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Thanks for all of your advice. I'll need to check with dh first (he is all for the letter idea) and let him read your posts, but at this point I'm over it. For one, a letter of this sort will always appear defensive.

 

Also, forgive me, I failed to mention that the letter was not a final draft (2020-2011 school year:D), but I do appreciate the spelling/grammar help. Grammar does not come easily for me and it shows when I write things up quickly. I always have to go back and make a real effort to make a post/letter/email grammatically correct. I'm looking forward to beg. formal grammar with the boys so that I can get it down this time!

 

Thanks elegantlion for you comment. You hit it home. It hits a nerve when they are pressing for public school because of my health. Kinda like kicking you while your down. My MIL is like this: nagged me for years to wear my hair down ( I like it up) and when I started wearing it down (on my own accord) she asked my why I never put it up. I have many, many similiar stories. When we were expecting our 4th, we called her to tell her the happy new and she let a dramatic silence go by and then said, "Oh". They have been hounding us about quitting after number 2!! I just don't understand them. My family is so easy going and lets me live my life!!! Grrr. I'm pretty sure they think I'm just not good enough for their son. Richie Rich meets Orphan Annie, lol.

Edited by mommyjen
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Ha, I've thought about this letter backfiring. The thing that makes me want to go ahead and send it is that I think part of their fears is just fear of the unknown, KWIM? Some education on my part may help alleviate their worries.

They won't get it. Really.

 

You can tell them that you are in compliance with the homeschool laws in your state, and that your dc are happy and learning. That's all they need to know.

 

You could recommend that they do some reading about homeschooling, and give them titles of books. If they care enough, they'll read them. Otherwise, they'll just have to trust you and your dh that you care about your own children's education much more than they do, and that if you and he were worried, you'd put the dc in school.

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They won't get it. Really.

 

You can tell them that you are in compliance with the homeschool laws in your state, and that your dc are happy and learning. That's all they need to know.

 

You could recommend that they do some reading about homeschooling, and give them titles of books. If they care enough, they'll read them. Otherwise, they'll just have to trust you and your dh that you care about your own children's education much more than they do, and that if you and he were worried, you'd put the dc in school.

 

:iagree:

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this might be unpopular ~ but i wouldn't send them anything. it's NONE of their business and i think that you might just be setting yourself up for "we looked at that; it's not REAL math/science/whatever" type comments and such...

 

they've already given you a hard time for your other lifestyle choices ~ i'd say it's time to hang out the MYOB sign. :)

 

I agree. You owe them nothing :grouphug:

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I'm sorry, but I wouldn't send them a single thing. Your kids, your business.

 

Yep, if they didn't think your kids were growing well, would you follow up with weekly menu plans? They need a gentle nudge back over the fence, not an invitation to set up camp in your front yard.

 

Barb

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Yep, if they didn't think your kids were growing well, would you follow up with weekly menu plans? They need a gentle nudge back over the fence, not an invitation to set up camp in your front yard.

 

Barb

 

I tend to agree. Polite and kind, but it's really none of their business. :)

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Okay, I'm breathing a sigh of relief and thanks for the reminder that I owe them nothing and will only be inviting further harrassment by them If I send such a letter. I'm telling you all and it is a major understatment when I say that these ppl are CONTROLLING. From how I wear my hair to dh's facial hair. I kid you not. My MIL threw a royal FIT/scene at our wedding because we weren't gonna cut the cake and feed each other! I could go on. Those are all "nice" examples.

Edited by mommyjen
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Don't send it. If they are going to be in a snit over your hair etc., etc., they don't want to get it. They have no actual interest! That is a shame, and :grouphug:.

 

BTW, not that it matters, but I recently discovered that my neighbor, who just passed his boards to be a neurosurgeon, was homeschooled; at the time it was still illegal in the state they were from. When I met his mom I said "You're my hero!". :D

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this might be unpopular ~ but i wouldn't send them anything. it's NONE of their business and i think that you might just be setting yourself up for "we looked at that; it's not REAL math/science/whatever" type comments and such...

 

they've already given you a hard time for your other lifestyle choices ~ i'd say it's time to hang out the MYOB sign. :)

 

I have to agree. I wouldn't respond. It's none of their business. You don't want to open it up for discussion.

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Agreed with others that listing your curriculum choices opens them up for debate. Maybe just say that you are in compliance to the letter with all the homeschooling laws and that you have programs for each of the subjects that you listed that, as you said, were chosen with care after a lot of research.

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Okay, I'm breathing a sigh of relief and thanks for the reminder that I owe them nothing and will only be inviting further harrassment by them If I send such a letter. I'm telling you all and it is a major understatment when I say that these ppl are CONTROLLING. From how I wear my hair to dh's facial hair. I kid you not. My MIL threw a royal FIT/scene at our wedding because we weren't gonna cut the cake and feed each other! I could go on. Those are all "nice" examples.

Oh, well, now that you've clarified what's going on, I'll say it again: DON'T SEND THEM ANYTHING. DON'T TELL THEM ANYTHING.

 

How your dc are doing is their business, in a sense, because they're family, KWIM? But these people are way over the top and shouldn't be appeased at all.

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Oh, well, now that you've clarified what's going on, I'll say it again: DON'T SEND THEM ANYTHING. DON'T TELL THEM ANYTHING.

 

How your dc are doing is their business, in a sense, because they're family, KWIM? But these people are way over the top and shouldn't be appeased at all.

 

This! Thanks for helping me think this through and that is spot on. Last time MIL was visiting I was so nervous about h'sing in front of her, but I decided to do a art lesson from Artistic Pursuits with the children. How much trouble could I get myself into with that? She literally was snorting in the other room and was so visibly upset. I didn't ask why. I have no clue if she thinks I'm inadequate to teach a 6 and 5 yo (at the time) art??? I don't know what I'm gonna do next visit. Take time off school?

Edited by mommyjen
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I have no clue if she thinks I'm inadequate to teach a 6 and 5 yo at the time art??? I don't know what I'm gonna do next visit. Take time off school?

 

Yup. Art is nice, but learning to establish appropriate boundaries with toxic friends and relatives is an education we should all receive in childhood.

 

Barb

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This! Thanks for helping me think this through and that is spot on. Last time MIL was visiting I was so nervous about h'sing in front of her, but I decided to do a art lesson from Artistic Pursuits with the children. How much trouble could I get myself into with that? She literally was snorting in the other room and was so visibly upset. I didn't ask why. I have no clue if she thinks I'm inadequate to teach a 6 and 5 yo (at the time) art??? I don't know what I'm gonna do next visit. Take time off school?

 

YES!! If she makes you nervous to do school, don't do while she is visiting. One of the perks of homeschooling is more time with family (even the members who drive us bonkers ;)). Let them spend more time with grandma, maybe schedule a field trip to a park or childrens' museum.

 

I've been homeschooling for six full years and I enjoy my MIL when we can see her. However, she intimidates me! She is ubber smart and I would never attempt to teach a lesson with her in our midst.

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Guest climbingmomoftwo

I agree. Do not send them the letter! I believe it will only give them more fuel for the fire. Someone mentioned that they might start critiquing the curriculum, and I think this would probably be the case. If anything, simply tell them that you have researched the curriculum that you are using thoroughly and that you are confident in your decision to homeschool your children. The proof is in the pudding, when it is obvious to your in-laws that your children are learning they will stop feeling the need to question your every decision. Parents in ps do not feel that they have to write letters to family members explaining why they chose a ps, so why should you? You have made the RIGHT decision for your family, and that is the most IMPORTANT thing. Don't ever let anyone make you feel that you are doing something wrong. Good luck!

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