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Why Do People Think It's Okay to Question Your Decision to Home Educate?


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VENT WARNING

 

I was getting my hair cut and colored yesterday by my SIL's friend, who was auditioning for a job at a hair salon. During the cut she says:

 

"You know, it wouldn't be the end of the world if Melissa went into school here. It's a great school district and it would be good for her".

 

What, do I have a sign on me that says "Talk me out of home schooling"? I didn't even say a word about it to bring up the subject and she knows next to nothing about me.

 

I just don't get why it's okay to say stuff like that to me, but God forbid I say "Hey, home schooling is an option" when they complain about their PS education of their kids.

 

I need to get a thicker skin. It's been 6 years of home education and this still gets under my skin.

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For the same reason some people feel it's okay to ask questions like, "When are you due?" "When are you going to stop having children?" "When are you going to have another child?" "Are they adopted?" "All they ALL YOURS?" ....I could go on. Some people just have no tact. Luckily, we can always come vent here. :)

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For the same reason some people feel it's okay to ask questions like, "When are you due?" "When are you going to stop having children?" "When are you going to have another child?" "Are they adopted?" "All they ALL YOURS?" ....I could go on. Some people just have no tact. Luckily, we can always come vent here. :)

 

I must run into all the tactless people then. It seems like I have to defend our decision every time I meet someone new and even family members who think they have a say so.

 

Perhaps I'm inviting it somehow?? I can't imagine I am if these comments come out of the blue.

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You're giving your baby FORMULA? (with #1, who was physically unable to nurse after pumping wasn't enough to keep my milk from drying up 6 weeks post-partum).

 

You're STILL nursing? (with #2 and #3 after they were about 6 months old)

 

You've got your baby in DAYCARE? (with #1, when DH was a full-time grad student and we needed my salary & health insurance benefits to keep a modest roof over our heads and food on the table)

 

You are a SAHM? Don't you know that 50% of all marriages end in divorce? (after #2 was born)

 

You vaccinate? Don't you know that vaccines cause autism?

 

You don't follow the CDC vaccination schedule? You are selfishly putting everyone else at risk!

 

I just cannot win...

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I think it's a lack of tact too. I shudder to think of the responses I would get if I treated some of my acquaintances the way they treat me. "Won't your kids be weird by going to the public school?" or "What made you decide to send your kids to the local school?" or "Give me a list of all the social opportunities your child has so I can determine for you if that's enough."

It's really quite hilarious to think about it in the reverse.

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You're giving your baby FORMULA? (with #1, who was physically unable to nurse after pumping wasn't enough to keep my milk from drying up 6 weeks post-partum).

 

You're STILL nursing? (with #2 and #3 after they were about 6 months old)

 

You've got your baby in DAYCARE? (with #1, when DH was a full-time grad student and we needed my salary & health insurance benefits to keep a modest roof over our heads and food on the table)

 

You are a SAHM? Don't you know that 50% of all marriages end in divorce? (after #2 was born)

 

You vaccinate? Don't you know that vaccines cause autism?

 

You don't follow the CDC vaccination schedule? You are selfishly putting everyone else at risk!

 

I just cannot win...

 

 

Good points. I guess I never run across those issues. I've really been lucky I guess. Home education has been the only big thing people choose to harangue me about.

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I think it's a lack of tact too. I shudder to think of the responses I would get if I treated some of my acquaintances the way they treat me. "Won't your kids be weird by going to the public school?" or "What made you decide to send your kids to the local school?" or "Give me a list of all the social opportunities your child has so I can determine for you if that's enough."

It's really quite hilarious to think about it in the reverse.

 

 

I tried that once. It went over like a lead balloon. She looked at me like I had three heads or something and said "You're the one who's doing something different than society".

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I think I am a bad ass and most people don't mess with me :p. but, I find it funny that people will think it judgmental if we mention homeschooling would be an option for a child.

 

I am moving to a place where the schools are considered all that and a slice of pie. So, we will see how things go. I made have to put on my tough skin.

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I tried that once. It went over like a lead balloon. She looked at me like I had three heads or something and said "You're the one who's doing something different than society".

 

 

I would get a new hairdresser. Your money, your time, and you are paying for someone to share their bad manners with you.

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I do think with one child you hear it more, or at least people feel the need to point out how much you are clinging to this child. They need socialization, this poor lonely, desolate, child without peers during the day!! :svengo: Somehow if they have siblings, homeschooling is more understandable, at least that's my IRL experience.

 

If you decide to homeschool high school, it starts all over. People that get you homeschooling elementary and middle school, don't understand why you'd homeschool high school. It's SO important, how could YOU pull it off.

 

I'm also in my mid 40s, I've gotten a lot more assertive about idiotic comments. It took me years to develop tact, 40s seem to have eliminated the tact and helped me embrace the glare, the stare, and OMG! why would say that type of look.

 

Most people have no clue the angst parents go through trying to decide whether to homeschool or not. I try to cut the ignorant some slack and just use pat sayings. The stupid get comments, like, "well have you ever tried to have two non-morning people get up and ready by 6:45 a.m.? That's when the school bus comes by our house." or "It's worked so far, we just decided to finish the whole education this way." For the snobs I say (and have said), "They don't teach Japanese or Philosophy at our public school." or "Ds needs time to explore his computer programming and design hobbies. He couldn't do that in public school. Gosh, I think he may take over the world from his room before he graduates."

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I think I am a bad ass and most people don't mess with me :p. but, I find it funny that people will think it judgmental if we mention homeschooling would be an option for a child.

 

I am moving to a place where the schools are considered all that and a slice of pie. So, we will see how things go. I made have to put on my tough skin.

 

 

Ha ha - yeah, all that and add some bling here. Funny thing is - Clark County Nevada is NOT the shining beacon of good schooling...LOL

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I would get a new hairdresser. Your money, your time, and you are paying for someone to share their bad manners with you.

 

 

LOL - no worries about this. I was doing HER a favor by being a hair model for an audition to get a job at a salon. She's not my normal hair dresser and I didn't have to pay her. LOL

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I tried that once. It went over like a lead balloon. She looked at me like I had three heads or something and said "You're the one who's doing something different than society".

 

 

You could reply, "Yup, that's the point, isn't it?"

 

Of course, we embrace our weirdness here.

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I tried that once. It went over like a lead balloon. She looked at me like I had three heads or something and said "You're the one who's doing something different than society".

 

 

This is really what it boils down to. When dh and I decided to take contract work in Alaska you should have heard all the stupid stuff people, including family, said; when we decided to work on our sailboat after we left Alaska so that we could start cruising for a few years, you would have thought that was the end of the world. (DD came along so our cruising has been postponed a few years.) Even when I didn't put socks on my newborn in Florida in the summer when we were outside I got comments. I was in shorts and some old lady thought my kid was going to freeze to death because she didn't have socks and shoes on.

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My standard response to service providers/restaurant servers who question my son not being in school is, "Well, I'm paying for ___, instead of your input in raising a child."

 

Other people, who I am likely to see again, I say, "Well, I'm his parent, and this is the decision we made after extensive research. If you would actually like to research homeschooling as an educational path, we can discuss this further after you've completed your research." {insert crickets chirping} If they are going to be rude, I'm not going to treat them with kid gloves.

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I love this quote - I think it's from a poster here, actually. In her signature maybe, but I can't remember who it is to give proper credit. Anyway, it is:

 

I've seen the village, and I don't want it raising my child(ren).

 

I like to imagine that a one-liner like that can shut a person up fairly quickly. So far, I've not needed it, though. Pretty much everyone that I associate with here are homeschoolers.

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VENT WARNING

 

I was getting my hair cut and colored yesterday by my SIL's friend, who was auditioning for a job at a hair salon. During the cut she says:

 

"You know, it wouldn't be the end of the world if Melissa went into school here. It's a great school district and it would be good for her".

 

What, do I have a sign on me that says "Talk me out of home schooling"? I didn't even say a word about it to bring up the subject and she knows next to nothing about me.

 

 

I think there is something about hairdressers. I might be tempted to say, "You know, I would rather just discuss hair with you." I don't ask them for personal advice, and I don't understand why they think it's relevant. I had a hairdresser want to discuss my relationship with my mother (including if she approved of my marriage) -- in front of my kids. I had another who teasingly said I was pumping out kids. Not the case. I stopped going to both.

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I think it's time to forget the idea that you have defend yourself. People can talk all they want, you don't have to answer. :)

 

FWIW, I'm perfectly ok with saying something like "We're just weird like that." Or I might mention that I have no interest in getting up that early. I try a bit of humor and move on with my life because really I don't care what a stranger (or non-strangers) think.

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Because if it isn't what they do they feel threatened by it and feel the need to make you feel bad or try to change your mind.

 

 

This is my MIL. Whenever it comes up she makes a point to tell me how HARD my SIL works with her children and how hands on she is = always at the school, etc...

 

Lady - I'm not commenting on SIL every time we talk about home education. Get over it.

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I think sounding upset or defensive about it gives people more grist for their mills, thinking that it is weird or anti-social to homeschool. So I usually just joke about it--hairdressers, orthodontists, the neighbors, whatever. They can think I am crazy or stupid, but they aren't going to end up thinking I owe them an explanation. Now, if someone wants to really ask, and really hear all the advantages, that's fine and I will explain them. But that brings us to the real reason I suspect so many people question--they take you homeschooling your kid as a judgment that they are settling for second best for their own kid. Or see you as better than they are as a parent b/c you can stand to be around your children all day. How many times did I hear "You must be a saint!" because I was homeschooling 3 kids? No, not a saint--my kids are actually pleasant people! But if I say that, then they start to wonder why their children aren't so pleasant.....

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Have you all encountered these questions from women or men? So far, men find it great that I homeschool, but women question when DD will be sent to a real school, when she will face the chance to deal with bullies, when do I ever have alone time, how I can stand to be with her day in and day out, etc. DH pushes me to say that DD is accelerated in some areas and needs individualized attention, but guess what, admitting that will invite further criticism.

 

 

 

 

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I'm really starting to think that many of the people who make comments like this do it because they feel insecure about their own choices for their children. You'd have to be blind and deaf to have missed all the publicity about the schools in this country and how epically they're failing. Obviously, as homeschoolers, we know this. So does the person making the snarky comments. Add that to the many school shootings in the last few years, and the unspoken narrative that people get from us is something like, "You really think I'd send my child to a potential warzone where they're going to be failed in every possible way?" (I'm not saying we're saying that, but that general thought is at the heart of a lot of people's decisions to hs.) This makes people feel bad about not hsing their own children, so they have to turn to the "weird, unsocialized homeschooler" defense.

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I hate when I say (when ASKED about our schooling -- because we will go somewhere and my DS8 is with us) "We homeschool." and they say, "OH I COULD NEVER DO THAT."

 

Then proceed to give me their list of reasons as to why they could NEVER do this.

 

I DIDN'T ASK YOU!!!! Thank you, goodbye.

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This is our fourth year and I still hear it quite a bit. I'm rather sinister, so I like to say things like, " Well, I let them out of the basement at least once a week." I don't mind answering questions from people who are sincerely curious, but the criticizers get messed with.

 

I just had a mom ask me, completely seriously, when I am going to let my kids go back into the real world. I explained to her that while she views homeschoolers as living in a bubble and public schoolers as "normal", we have the opposite viewpoint. My kids go everywhere with me, so am I not living in the real world? It's hilarious.

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Two thoughts...

 

When someone has made critical comments to me about homeschooling, I *try* my best to remember never to vent in front of that person. Sometimes I think venting about a hard day (which we all have, regardless of our occupation...) opens a door for criticism. My MIL is a former public school teacher, and there was a time when I had to carefully choose my words around her. She's long since come around and is now a huge proponent of homeschooling.

 

We are in our 6th year of homeschooling, and I have to say that the negative comments are almost nonexistant anymore. Everyone who knows us knows that my kids are in multiple extracurricular activities, church, etc., so that takes care of the "socialization" question. When a stranger makes a negative comment, I usually respond by inviting one of my kids into the conversation by asking them, "What do you like about homeschooling?". Hearing my 10-year-old discuss his opinions of the Bristish taxation of the American colonies, or how he finished his Zoology curriculum in 3 1/2 months, or the latest NASA satellite launch, or why my 8-year-old DD wishes she could live in Colonial America, usually shuts up the criticism pretty quickly.

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Year after year of the SAME questions!!!

I don't get defensive anymore. I do think that part of the reason I was more upset by the questions and irritated by them for the first 4 years we were home schooling is that I personally was worried sick I was doing the right thing!

What I find funny now is that people who have known my sons for years, compliment them, and see how well educated they are (and 'socialized' - whatever that means), still ask me the same questions and vent all their worries about home schooling. Really????

I also can't stand the, "Well - I don't mean you, you're different!"

Yeah - and how many other home schoolers do you personally know?? None?? So - really????

Anyway - it never ends.

For people I actually feel are genuinely interested and not just being rude I try to engage them in a conversation about pros and cons, and what home schooling is really like. Many people just have no real idea of what home schooling is.

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Have you all encountered these questions from women or men? So far, men find it great that I homeschool, but women question when DD will be sent to a real school, when she will face the chance to deal with bullies, when do I ever have alone time, how I can stand to be with her day in and day out, etc. DH pushes me to say that DD is accelerated in some areas and needs individualized attention, but guess what, admitting that will invite further criticism.

 

 

 

SO True; homeschooling is a Mommy Wars subject. How do you like the dynamic when you meet a couple and the man thinks hsing is a great idea but the wife is totally threatened!!!!

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Ohmygosh. YES!!! A thousand times YES!

 

Folks were relatively quiet about their disapproval UNTIL we crossed into 9 grade. Then you would have thought it to be outright abuse by the way people reacted. Sheesh. You would have thought that 8 years of proven success under your belt would have been enough to allay the naysayers, but nope! I actually think the comments and confrontations were worse when starting 9 grade than when we started with kindergarten.

 

I guess I'd better bone up on my quick witted quirky responses then, eh? We plan on home schooling all the way.

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"You know, it wouldn't be the end of the world if Melissa went into school here. It's a great school district and it would be good for her".

 

FWIW, I can't hear tone, but I would not take that comment as an attack on my choice to homeschool. It sounds more like a person looking for validation that the local school district is okay (perhaps they have a child there?).

 

If someone said what your hairdresser said to me, I would say, "I'm really glad to hear you have had a good experience with the schools around here. We enjoy homeschooling in our family right now, but if it ever stops working for us it is awesome to have a good alternative."

 

I will freely share with people that we have good schools in our area and I am glad that they are available if we find that homeschooling stops working well for our family. I don't get bad comments from almost anyone. Or maybe I do, and I don't realize they are bad commments?

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FWIW, I can't hear tone, but I would not take that comment as an attack on my choice to homeschool. It sounds more like a person looking for validation that the local school district is okay (perhaps they have a child there?).

 

If someone said what your hairdresser said to me, I would say, "I'm really glad to hear you have had a good experience with the schools around here. We enjoy homeschooling in our family right now, but if it ever stops working for us it is awesome to have a good alternative."

 

I will freely share with people that we have good schools in our area and I am glad that they are available if we find that homeschooling stops working well for our family. I don't get bad comments from almost anyone. Or maybe I do, and I don't realize they are bad commments?

 

 

You're right. I'm pretty good at reading tone. I actually think that this was just a mining question - to see what I felt about the schools. That's why I answered her in that vein - I'm just venting here that I'm growing tired of strangers questioning me about our choices, that's all.

 

What I found funny though, is that the school district we are in right now is NOT a good one. It's near the bottom of all of Nevada and she's telling me that it is one of the best.

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What I found funny though, is that the school district we are in right now is NOT a good one. It's near the bottom of all of Nevada and she's telling me that it is one of the best.

 

That is funny. I'm not sure how you can truthfully respond to her when you know the school is quite poor.

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Honestly, I think it's because we live in a society that hasn't yet figured out how to "do manners" since we decided to treat everyone as peers and do away with sidling formalities.

 

It used to be that (a) you didn't speak to "your betters" except with deference, and (B) the higher classes were taught formal etiquette in a way that was not about 'nicities' but more about pride and shame... And, probably, © the etiquette of "your betters" was to be admired and imitated.

 

This etiquette had many unfortunate rules of strict formality which built walls between people and had other unfortunate results -- so I'm not glad it's gone, it's just hard to be living in the generation where we actually haven't replaced that system with anything at all.

 

Most people say anything they think, and think that's being friendly because it's informal, genuine and often interesting (such as a topic with opposing view points). And such people do not admire the restraint of truly considerate and mannerly people around them because they don't know that those people are "doing manners" -- they think the mannerly person is being genuine and genuinely has no hard feeling nor ever has anything not-nice that they think and refrain from saying aloud.

 

It's a tough spot to be in, but I don't think most people are being knowingly unkind. They just have never been taught that it isn't polite to give voice to disapproving personal remarks/questions. They think that their ride if things would be interesting to you, and that you would be happy to satisfy their curiosity though a bit if banter.

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I don't mind when people ASK us about homeschooling, at all.

 

It's the "it would be good for her" comment that this woman made that bugs me.

 

There is a difference. Most people I meet are genuinely curious, just like they are about our adoption. Others are just plain rude.

 

Right, yes, there's a huge difference. I have had numerous polite interactions from genuinely curious and interested people IRL. Just a couple of weeks ago, I spoke with a grandfather whose DIL was planning to homeschool and I mentioned this board and the book for her. He said she already had the book - great start, huh?

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