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I am having a bit of an internal dilemma on the demonization of public school.

 

Tonight, while at my MIL's house and having a dinner discussion with the family about a neighbor child, it once again came up that certain issues are because he is "public schooled."(The real reasons for this child's problems are that his parents are divorced, and neither one cares to have much to do with him- he sleeps over my ILs house waaaay more than he does his own, but that's really not the point) A little background: my DH was pulled out of school after K, and the remainder of his siblings never attended public school. While we plan to homeschool our child(ren), I refuse to believe the demonization that his mother puts as a blanket.

 

EVERYTHING that happens (negatively) is due to public school. She also believes that her soon to be teenaged daughter will never, ever disagree with her- because she isn't in public school. When I tried to explain it usually comes with the hormones (that and the fact that my SIL is already a little firecracker, trying to rebel at every chance) of being a teen girl and that I didn't agree that it is 100% because of public school. OTOH, my husband and his siblings received VERY poor schooling from his well-educated but lazy mother- I had to teach my husband his multiplication tables while he was in COLLEGE, he had four remedial math courses before he was able to be considered college level (he held and still holds a lot of animosity towards his mom about that), and none of them ever received any instruction at all.

 

 

Having been educated in the public school system from kindergarten until 10th grade (and homeschooled for the remainder until college), I am a bit biased, I suppose. I received an excellent education until outside factors (peers) influenced my success and homeschooling was a better option. Homeschooling ended up giving both my husband and I opportunities that we wouldn't have otherwise had as 16-18 year old teenagers in PS.

 

I guess my big question is- why must we demonize public school as homeschoolers? I really think that it turns others off to the idea of homeschooling (and therefore the possibility that they would ever consider it for themselves or their children). There are many reasons that we all homeschool, but it all boils down to... it is what works for our family at that time, right? We (as homeschoolers) feel an inclination to explain why (because others pry for information), but really- all that we need to say is it works for us, period. Is this another mommy war thing (breast versus bottle, cloth versus disposable, organic versus not, etc)? Does my MIL constantly have to push homeschooling (and demonize PS) because she is trying to prove to herself it was/is the best choice and she was "right" to do it?

 

I guess overall, I just feel like we are shutting out so many families as friends and possible homeschoolers if we over emphasize why public school is bad versus why homeschooling specifically works for us. Any thoughts? After all of these discussions with my MIL, I feel the need to send my son to the local PS just to prove a point! :)

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I don't see any home school parents demonizing ps at all. I do see ps people demonize home schooling, sometimes, not often. I used to think that my kids would not have certain attitudes or thoughts if they were home schooled, but I have been debased of that notion, lol. I would not take your MIL that seriously, I have never heard another home school parent speak like that. I think she is in a tiny minority, so far under the radar that I have been home schooling for 15 years and have not run into someone like that.

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I think you should learn to pass the bean dip with your MIL.

 

I'm very conservative, and I don't bash PS with a broad brush, and neither does anyone I know.

 

Each schooling method comes with its advantages and disadvantages. A family has to decide what set of disadvantages they are willing to live with/mitigate.

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Actually, I think it happens more than one might expect if their circle of friends are laid back about school choice. In fact, just today I asked my dd what her friends thought of her going to PS next year. "Ummm, they weren't exactly excited for me. They think all people in PS are mean." They didn't just get that idea out of thin air, ya know?

 

To answer the OP, yes I think it is just another "mommy wars" thing and no, I don't think we should demonize PS. I did at one time but look at me now! I'm sending my eldest dd off to PS next year. :)

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Hmm, this doesn't happen in my circle of friends/family. There is no demonizing on any side. The only "demonizing" I see is discussions of the poor academics at the local public schools. And then usually the public school parents are the ones doing most of the talking. The homeschool parents just nod their heads and lend a sympathetic ear.

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Thanks for the interesting points of view! It is different for me coming in on this side (getting ready to homeschool my own child versus being the child who is homeschooling), and I just don't like what I see in our local community. We have a fairly large HSing community (in our county in the tens of thousands, and in our local group over a thousand), and I hear them focus so heavily on how children are in public school, how things happen in public school when the reality is that most of them haven't stepped foot inside a PS for 20+ years. I hate that we are excluding others by turning them off at the get go (in our area), because the opportunities to educate other families are definitely there.

 

I agree I need to learn to "Pass the bean dip" with my MIL. She is a definite nut. How do you sit through long, rambling one sided-discussions about what her instagram user name should be without your eyes rolling out of your head?!

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I do not engage in those types of conversations. It sounds like a smile and nod time.

 

I do not see public school as this horrible government institution determined to churn out little worker bees. Public School was not working for my kids. I know plenty of kids who thrive in public school. Homeschooling is like every other method. Some good, some bad. If another parent tries to engage me in one of those types of conversations I shut it down. It is just not good for my mental health.

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Plenty of non-homeschoolers like to blame any issue with a homeschooled child on being homeschooled. My parents are like this. I've gotten to the point where I've had to just politely stop them as soon as I realize where the conversation is heading and ask to change the subject.

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You are trying to turn a matter of your dh's family culture into a generalization for homeschoolers. I'm sure there are some homeschoolers who might demonize public school but most that I know have made thoughtful choices on the education of their children whether it is for one year or for twelve. There are some reasons why someone might not want their child in public school. That doesn't mean someone is demonizing it.

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I homeschool. My sister sends her children to PS. I live in a "not so great" school district. My sister, who lives in another state, lives in a good school district. When I complain about the public schools here I often clarify that I am discussing my schools and not hers. I don't want her to think I don't approve of her choice to send her children to PS.

 

Having said that I think DD11 would do well in PS. I just don't feel it would be the best for her and since I am able to keep her home, I do. I know many children that did well in PS, and many children that failed. I also know many children that did well being homeschooled, and a few that failed.

 

I guess I really don't know the point I am making. I think your MIL feels the need to justify her choices. I just do what is best for my children. I don't assume I know what is best for every child out there.

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You are trying to turn a matter of your dh's family culture into a generalization for homeschoolers. I'm sure there are some homeschoolers who might demonize public school but most that I know have made thoughtful choices on the education of their children whether it is for one year or for twelve. There are some reasons why someone might not want their child in public school. That doesn't mean someone is demonizing it.

 

No, no, no. The first sentence is not accurate. I am surrounded by our local homeschool culture and have been for almost ten years. It is a common occurrence around here (glad to hear it is not like this everywhere), but it especially hits a nerve when it is MIL. I don't want my children exposed to toxic thinking like that- I am especially defensive in that situation.

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I hear plenty of "demonizing" the publics from homeschoolers. I can understand somewhat where they are coming from, though. In general, it is more difficult to obtain s*x, drugs, and alcohol from a homeschool co-op. This is the type of complaint I usually run across, and as it even could be construed as objective, I'm less inclined to label it "demonizing." Bullying, however, occurs EVERYWHERE.

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I agree this happens, as broad generalizations. I've seen it here, I've done it myself.

 

For example, I know lots of homeschoolers, myself included, will watch movies that correlate to a certain topic we've studied. There's actually blogs that someone has taken the time to match up movies to SOTW. Depending on how "I" felt that day, that might be the majority of our schooling that day. "It's a Netflix-kinda school day" has been on many a homeschooling friend's FB feed. Now, when I heard my DS14 was watching Osmosis Jones in his Biology class, I thought "What!?! What a waste of time!!"...but then wait, oh, back up a minute...we've done that often at home. The difference was, they had to answer questions about the movie, while watching....I guess to ensure they were actually watching...I never would have made the effort to do that.

 

A homeschooling mom said to me that she'd never enrolled her son into a public high school because she prefers her teenage son interact with ALL ages, and not be put in a group based on his age. Ohh, yeah, good point! (and one I've heard from other homeschoolers before too) Well, okay, but I didn't realize until my son started PS this year, that there actually can be all grades in one class. If a senior needs an elective, or needs a certain class for transcript/graduation, they may be in the same class as a 9th/10th/11th grader. And then I've heard it as a negative, "What a SENIOR in a class with FRESHMAN?? Oh no!!" But wait, I thought we wanted our children to interact with all ages??? And then what is funny, almost every co-op I known, groups children together by age. Yep, those classes for high school homeschoolers, grouped by age. Huh.

 

And then the electronics thing. There's threads here on WTM on a weekly basis about how to incorporate iPads into our school days, our favorite Apps, etc , and yet when we hear of schools getting digital textbooks, instead of real ones, we are all aghast! What they don't get real books!???? We homeschoolers have a plethora of online classes at our fingertips, yet we scoff at public school students having online classes, and even the "virtual schools".

 

So there's little things that I've noticed since my son has become a public school student, that I think we homeschoolers have double-standards when it comes to some of our thoughts on public school.

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I don't see any home school parents demonizing ps at all.

 

I've seen a lot--including some on this forum. And I'm not talking about general criticism of public schools. I've heard homeschoolers say vicious things about public school kids. I've also heard public schoolers say vicious things about homeschooled kids. Neither is OK.

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I have not heard anything vicious, but I have heard honest criticism. I posted a story that happened to my SIL as a very general warning about the level of help a parent could receive in a large public school and some home schoolers FREAKED out. They did take it as demonizing, although the story was true, and when I clarified some of the questions posters had with my SIL the actual story got worse and not better, but I did not continue to post because the people on the board who had taken interest were thinking that I was demonizing. However, I could have missed some actual demonizing. It is a little depressing to think it is the case in the OP's whole community.

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I honestly think a big part of the issue is that many don't realize all public schools aren't what like is available to just them.. There are many great public schools and there are many horrible public schools. Thinking everyone has it like you is a mistake.

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It depends on why someone is homeschooling.

 

Those who homeschool because they believe that ideally all children categorically need a fully customized education as much as humanly possible to meet their specific, individual needs can only maintain philosophical consistency if they have to take a negative view of ps and other forms of institutional schooling (public, private, parochial and homeschooling-in-a-box options) because it's not possible to fully customize an education for each child in those environments. I assume your MIL would say this is roughly her view. There is also a small minority who are categorically opposed government run school for basically the same reasons they're opposed to government run religion and government run healthcare.

 

Others are homeschooling because they see it as one of the many categorically legitimate options (public, private, parochial, customized homeschooling, homeschooling-in-a-box, etc.) to meet more general needs in children. So,it's philosophically inconsistent to have a categorically negative view of public schooling. This type of person looks at an individual child's needs and finds the closest match they have access to from a variety of options. I assume this is roughly your view.

 

You seem to be rejecting your MIL's reasons for homeschooling and at the same time wanting her to adopt your views for homeschooling. Why should she take on your view? Why shouldn't you take on her view? (Of course the answer is, everyone's entitled to their own opinion-even if those opinions are based on what others consider faulty reasoning. )

 

What if you just accepted that she's not going to change your mind and you're not going to change hers? There are going to be plenty of people out there who are going to categorically reject the idea of homeschooling. So what? Why waste precious resources on someone else's opinion? Worrying about what other people are saying and doing can be a huge drain. Why not focus on doing what you're going to do why ever it is you're going to do it? Do you have a need for approval? If you do, why? If not, then what do you care what MIL's take on it is?

 

Anyone who decides not to homeschool because they met annoying homeschoolers who bash ps seems to me to be a bad candidate to homeschool. Homeschooling requires a huge lifestyle commitment and investment of time, money and resources. It has to be based on something deeper than an impression made by a few obnoxious people. Who does that? No one I've ever met. I would say the exact same thing about deciding to send a child to ps just to prove a point. Yes, I know it was used as a rhetorical device-I'm trying to make a point about the level of depth in the vast majority of parents. Most parents consider these things with depth and if they don't, there's nothing I can do about it so I don't worry about it.

 

Different versions of toxic thinking are everywhere. I don't shelter my kids from negative attitudes about homeschoolers or public schoolers. I say, "Yeah. Some people think homeschooling a bad idea. They're entitled to think it and say it. We're not the thought police." When they say, "But the reasons they think it's bad aren't based on anything real." I say, "Yep. Get used to it. That's how life is. You can try to enlighten them, but most people don't want to be enlightened. " in a matter-of-fact tone. If you're worried about your kids getting the wrong idea about ps kids because of what your MIL says, then correct your children's thinking by explaining your point of view to them. Don't get into the habit of trying to correct your MIL's thinking. You're responsible for them not for her.

 

Find other things to talk about with your MIL-have a list in your head before you get together with her..

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I've seen the ps bashing as pretty common actually.

 

It's rather common for homeschoolers to refer to public schools by the term "government schools." Given the political leaning of those saying it, that's definitely not a term of endearment.

 

A large swath of homeschoolers think that homeschooling is a God-given mandate - Christians sending their kids to public schools are sinning, no matter what (just because those types tend not to frequent this board doesn't mean they don't exist, js).

 

Then there are the "scare whispers" - you know the "did you hear what the government schools are doing now???" talk. I was at a homeschool gathering recently and some of the moms started discussing that in Kindergarten now the public schools are demonstrating condoms. Um, WHAAT! My kid was in public school kindergarten last year, and his teacher made my unborn baby a prayer blanket, tyvm. Honestly, where do these ideas come from? They're whack.

 

And then there are the general scare tactics. The government took the Bible out of schools. Praying in school is not allowed. The public schools are trying to undermine parental authority. The public schools are trying to make the kids communists. On and on and on. Give me a break.

 

OP, it seems your MIL is mostly under the impression that homeschooling will ALWAYS produce better results than public schools. It's not true (as your husband's experience makes clear) but I wouldn't hold out any hope that she'll change her mentality. What you can do is consider homeschooling as something that you could do well, write up what that would look like for you, and then consider whether you would be able to carry it out. And make a pact with your husband that if MIL tries to give advice about it you'll both just smile and nod.

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I see the demonization of public school quite often. In my Christian homeschool group, there will inevitably be someone who will comment that homeschool mothers are holier than public school moms simply because we homeschool or something to that effect. It always leads to hurt feelings because there are families who do both (just as I did my first year of homeschooling, and I will have one each next year).

 

 

 

In the earlier years, I think it’s easy to get on the bandwagon of homeschooling =good and public school =bad. It’s a mommy war thing of justifying your choices as good.

 

 

 

However, I don’t know how anyone can be involved with a significant amount of homeschoolers and not see that it’s not a panacea. If one thinks this, they have serious issues with delusions or else are not in tune with the world around them (I see this quite a bit actually –lots of denial issues)

 

 

 

I see cliques, bullying, age segregation, poor education, poor manners, dysfunctional families, and more often than not, extremely poor socialization skills. The mean girls in our homeschool group (moms and daughters alike) are as bad if not worse than what I experienced in public schools (and they are the ones who tend to claim that homeschooling doesn’t have bullies and cliques LOL).

 

 

 

Homeschooling didn’t make my kids like each other. It didn’t keep my daughter from getting hormonal attitudes. In the classes I teach, I have had homeschoolers not be able to stay awake because they were up all night partying the day before. I have seen drops outs, runaways, rebellious children, sneaky children (Courting only families whose kids have already kissed/had boyfriends that parents don’t know about are quite common, etc.) amongst homeschoolers (even Christian ones) and very spiritually mature, well-mannered, well-educated public schoolers. I see bright, advanced kids in homeschool and public school. I see poorly educated in both too. I see socially adjusted kids and social misfits in both. For any generalization that one can say about either group (and I do see some –usually social related), I can name an exception.

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I see the demonizing of public schools all the time on homeschool groups, on here, IRL. I think I tend to notice it because I have one that has always been in public school, has graduated with a good education, and is now in college doing very well. I homeschool because my son has some needs/quirks that I don't think will be well served in the public schools (or private school for that matter) no matter how good they are. I certainly realize that not all public schools would qualify as acceptable, much less good or decent, but I don't think schools as a whole are inherently bad.

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I agree this happens, as broad generalizations. I've seen it here, I've done it myself.

 

I've seen a lot--including some on this forum. And I'm not talking about general criticism of public schools. I've heard homeschoolers say vicious things about public school kids. I've also heard public schoolers say vicious things about homeschooled kids. Neither is OK.

 

I've seen the ps bashing as pretty common actually.

 

I see the demonizing of public schools all the time on homeschool groups, on here, IRL.

 

I agree with all the above posts. I'm sitting here with my mouth hanging open at all the people who've said they haven't heard PS being demonized. I don't know how one could open this forum w/o seeing it. All. The. Time.

 

I think homeschoolers do it to reassure ourselves that we're doing the right thing by homeschooling. We engage in it as group activity because almost all humans we want our decision to homeschool affirmed by others. And bashing public schools is, of course, essentially affirming that homeschooling is better. Like Dorothy (Where's Toto) said, I suspect those of us who have both homeschooled and public schooled kids notice it much more. When someone is agreeing with you (for the vast majority on here that would mean agreeing with homeschooling) then it's easy to not notice, I guess.

 

I think the world would be a little better place if we all tried to not engage in generalities. Some public schools are downright horrible. Some are great. Some kids who are being public schooled would be better served by being homeschooled. Some homeschoolers are doing a very poor job, and some homeschooled kids would be much better served by being in their local public school.

 

Whenever I talk to people IRL I point out that homeschooling isn't a choice that works for everyone, for many reasons. Because it really might not be the best choice for that kid and that family at that particular time. And the last thing I want to do is come across as someone who is bashing anyone's choice for schooling their kids.

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It depends on why someone is homeschooling.

 

Those who homeschool because they believe that ideally all children categorically need a fully customized education as much as humanly possible to meet their specific, individual needs can only maintain philosophical consistency if they have to take a negative view of ps and other forms of institutional schooling (public, private, parochial and homeschooling-in-a-box options) because it's not possible to fully customize an education for each child in those environments. I assume your MIL would say this is roughly her view. There is also a small minority who are categorically opposed government run school for basically the same reasons they're opposed to government run religion and government run healthcare.

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.

 

Others are homeschooling because they see it as one of the many categorically legitimate options (public, private, parochial, customized homeschooling, homeschooling-in-a-box, etc.) to meet more general needs in children. So,it's philosophically inconsistent to have a categorically negative view of public schooling. This type of person looks at an individual child's needs and finds the closest match they have access to from a variety of options. I assume this is roughly your view.

 

You seem to be rejecting your MIL's reasons for homeschooling and at the same time wanting her to adopt your views for homeschooling. Why should she take on your view? Why shouldn't you take on her view? (Of course the answer is, everyone's entitled to their own opinion-even if those opinions are based on what others consider faulty reasoning. )

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.

 

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. There are going to be plenty of people out there who are going to categorically reject the idea of homeschooling. So what? Why waste precious resources on someone else's opinion? Worrying about what other people are saying and doing can be a huge drain. Why not focus on doing what you're going to do why ever it is you're going to do it? Do you have a need for approval? If you do, why? If not, then what do you care what MIL's take on it is? 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, 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.

 

Anyone who decides not to homeschool because they met annoying homeschoolers who bash ps seems to me to be a bad candidate to homeschool. Homeschooling requires a huge lifestyle commitment and investment of time, money and resources. It has to be based on something deeper than an impression made by a few obnoxious people. Who does that? No one I've ever met. I would say the exact same thing about deciding to send a child to ps just to prove a point. Yes, I know it was used as a rhetorical device-I'm trying to make a point about the level of depth in the vast majority of parents. Most parents consider these things with depth and if they don't, there's nothing I can do about it so I don't worry about it.

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. 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.

 

Different versions of toxic thinking are everywhere. I don't shelter my kids from negative attitudes about homeschoolers or public schoolers. I say, "Yeah. Some people think homeschooling a bad idea. They're entitled to think it and say it. We're not the thought police." When they say, "But the reasons they think it's bad aren't based on anything real." I say, "Yep. Get used to it. That's how life is. You can try to enlighten them, but most people don't want to be enlightened. " in a matter-of-fact tone. If you're worried about your kids getting the wrong idea about ps kids because of what your MIL says, then correct your children's thinking by explaining your point of view to them. Don't get into the habit of trying to correct your MIL's thinking. You're responsible for them not for her.

 

Find other things to talk about with your MIL-have a list in your head before you get together with her..

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. 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. 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).

 

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.

 

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I think homeschoolers who demonize PS too much are cutting off their nose to spite their face. I could see situations where DD needed to attend a traditional school, and I don't want her terrified of the place. One of my friends has her nephew visiting this summer-said nephew is from a family similar to the OP's MIL-and she tried to convince the 7 yr old to try out the boys' class at the gymnastics gym, since her DD and DS attend classes there and he would just have to sit and wait. The kid very literally had a panic attack at the word "class", believing that his aunt was going to force him into school. I can't think of many things that look less like a traditional school than a gymnastics gym (I have to say it's probably a good thing that he's not with her during the school year-I'm betting he'd really freak out at the church education building where we have our co-op, which DOES look like a school!)

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I agree with all the above posts. I'm sitting here with my mouth hanging open at all the people who've said they haven't heard PS being demonized. I don't know how one could open this forum w/o seeing it. All. The. Time.

 

 

I've seen homeschoolers almost literally demonize public schools by calling them evil and demonic. That's an extreme example and not the norm, but the view is out there.

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I hear public school bashing all.the.time at local homeschooling events (and for bonus points, they lump in private and charter schools,). The community here isn't anywhere near the size of the OP's.

 

I feel very uncomfortable when it happens. Only my youngest has been homeschooled and only since fifth grade. My older two were served greatly and prepared strongly by their choices of high schools. I know of other "mixed" families in this particular homeschooling community. I think we just bite our tongues and stay silent.

 

(I just deleted a long rant about the quality of academic learning in the local homeschooling community. You're welcome ;) )

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I agree with all the above posts. I'm sitting here with my mouth hanging open at all the people who've said they haven't heard PS being demonized. I don't know how one could open this forum w/o seeing it. All. The. Time.

 

Sorry, I must be feeling defensive. I just have to say that of the 21 posts up to yours, only 3 posts said that they hadn't seen the demonizing. One of those was mine and I specifically wrote "in my circle of friends and family" because I truly have NEVER seen demonizing of the ps by them. I definitely have seen it on these boards, but I have seen so many shades of crazy on these boards.... Anyway, I had to post because there really are some groups of homeschoolers that don't demonize public schools, that simply feel like they are doing what is best in their personal situation, the same as everyone else is. I hate whenever whole groups get painted with a broad brush. Many homeschoolers don't demonize ps and I, for one, can't get on board with "we" as stated in the OP.

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I'm so happy to see homeschoolers pointing out in this thread that public school is not all bad. Frankly, as an afterschooler I do sometimes feel abused on this forum. Even many of the afterschoolers would be homeschoolers if their family situation allowed it. That's how I started as well, and I can see ways that homeschool would benefit DS, but, now that he's made so much progress to overcome his dyslexia, I'm seeing again how good his public school experience is for him.

 

Because I send my child to public school, and also know and respect many homeschoolers, I have often found myself in the middle in school related discussions. Just a few weeks ago in my Sunday School class one public school dad was going off on how homeschoolers are overprotective and don't want to let their children become independent (it was in the context of a video series about parenting). There was a homeschool dad in room, but he chose to remain silent (perhaps because it's his wife who does the homeschooling), so I spoke up briefly and noted that developing independence in your children is more about parenting style than schooling choices. Other times, I've heard my neighbor (the husband, not the wife) say very negative things about public school. I occasionally speak up in defense of public school. Other times I just keep my mouth shut.

 

The local elementary school my son attends is very good overall. They don't have appropriate intervention for dyslexics, but we've been able to address that outside of school, so, as time has gone on, that has become much less of a problem. This particular school has a lot of differentiated instruction, and a wide variety of kids can thrive there. That said, our local middle school is quite bad for both academic and social reasons. If we don't get DS into a different school, DH may actually overcome his philosophical dislike for homeschool and agree to homeschool DS for those years.

 

Our good local elementary school, however, would not be a good fit for all kids. The homeschooling family I know best has three (out of four) 2E kids who learning needs and capabilities are so diverse I don't think any school could serve them well. It's a blessing that their mom decided to homeschool them before they were born. The fourth child could thrive in any school setting, which means homeschool is working well for him, but public school could be just as good for different reasons.

 

I'm thankful that we have lots of educational choices in the U.S. and many other western countries. I will always defend a parent's right to homeschool, but I'd like to get more respect from homeschoolers for my right to make the public schools the primary partner in my children's education.

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I know nm means never mind but what does nt mean?

 

No text is what I mean by it. I reread my post and it didn't convey well what I was trying to say, so I deleted it. In summary, I don't think anyone is equating criticism of public education at any level as demonizing public schools--but I already said that above.

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It goes both ways. FWIW, I probably wouldn't homeschool if the ps was awesome. But we have had really horrible experiences. I'm sure there are great schools out there. And every kid is different. What might be great for one student might be terrible for another. So yes, I do have criticism of schools (not just public), but I wouldn't consider it demonizing. I certainly don't believe they're evil. lol

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Homeschoolers are self-selecting. It takes a lot of work to hs (if you are really hsing and not nonschooling). People only do this if they feel they have strong reasons to. A lot of those reasons are their specific experiences with their local public schools. If you've had to pull a child because of their poor treatment at the hands of the ps, it's not surprising that you have a low opinion of them.

 

In my own case, it's taken years of good speech and social skills classes to overcome a truly disastrous experience with our school's PPCD program and improve my opinion of the Special Ed services they provide. I still wouldn't enroll Geezle in our local middle school, but I have a much better opinion of them than I did 8 years ago. Back then, I was disgusted with them because their attitude was disgusting. That's not demonizing, that's my opinion based on my actual experiences.

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Sorry, I must be feeling defensive. I just have to say that of the 21 posts up to yours, only 3 posts said that they hadn't seen the demonizing. One of those was mine and I specifically wrote "in my circle of friends and family" because I truly have NEVER seen demonizing of the ps by them. I definitely have seen it on these boards, but I have seen so many shades of crazy on these boards.... Anyway, I had to post because there really are some groups of homeschoolers that don't demonize public schools, that simply feel like they are doing what is best in their personal situation, the same as everyone else is. I hate whenever whole groups get painted with a broad brush. Many homeschoolers don't demonize ps and I, for one, can't get on board with "we" as stated in the OP.

I have not either. I'm feeling equally irritated.

 

Either way, I don't need to defend myself about being a homeschooler on the one place in the world I generally feel comfortable as a homeschooler (meaning this board). So that's the last I'll say about any of this.

 

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.

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Homeschoolers are self-selecting. It takes a lot of work to hs (if you are really hsing and not nonschooling). People only do this if they feel they have strong reasons to. A lot of those reasons are their specific experiences with their local public schools. If you've had to pull a child because of their poor treatment at the hands of the ps, it's not surprising that you have a low opinion of them.

 

In my own case, it's taken years of good speech and social skills classes to overcome a truly disastrous experience with our school's PPCD program and improve my opinion of the Special Ed services they provide. I still wouldn't enroll Geezle in our local middle school, but I have a much better opinion of them than I did 8 years ago. Back then, I was disgusted with them because their attitude was disgusting. That's not demonizing, that's my opinion based on my actual experiences.

 

I agree. This is not demonization. This is expressing your own personal experience and opinion of your local public school system in an articulate and not offensive manor. This is not the kind of experience I have had in others preaching their anti-PS agenda.

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As I've said before on other discussions here, I do think homeschooling varies a great deal in different areas. I can relate to what the OP is saying as I've been in areas where I heard again and again, "Don't worry about academics; focus on character." Over and over. For whatever reason, they never figured out that it was possible to do both. Many people would felt that homeschooling automatically resulted in a superior education. "You guys are homeschooled, so you know the answer to this..." I think groups of these people form and sadly influence new families around them. Oftentimes, when families of older children speak with great authority, young parents incorrectly think they must know what they are talking about. Young parents are hungry for answers and are often easily misled. Clearly, OP does not fall in this category.

 

OP's MIL sounds like one that bought into the idea that homeschooling is automatically a better choice. Focusing on character and ignoring educational basics like multiplication tables and reading (!) lacks critical thinking, in my opinion. When groups within the homeschooling community have these attitudes, (typically in less dramatic fashion than OP's MIL) they can often become poor examples for homeschooling.

 

OP, if your homeschool group has this flavor, I'd encourage you to find a new group. If homeschooling is that prevalent in your community, I can guarantee that some other frustrated homeschool mom has set up another group somewhere, and it could be filled with those that value education and academic excellence.

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SLT, you have some control over the positive and negative forces in your life.

 

You can shut down conversations with oddball relatives. Bean dip, leave the room, minimize opportunities for their ignorant diatribes. These talks are a negative influence on you and a bad example for your children.

 

You can opt out of negative homeschooling communities and join more positive people or start your own group with a different focus and tone. You have the right to choose friends who are more like yourself in open-mindedness and positivity.

 

You can call people out on illogical statements. We do it to each other on these forums all the time, partly because we are intelligent people who get annoyed by endless defenses of unworthy premises, and partly because when you teach logic to teens it's good to keep your own logic skills in good condition. Ask people to clarify, quantify, prove, defend.

 

If you do all these things, you'll find that your circle of people will become entirely different, and your own impression of homeschoolers will change, as well. It's possible you were raised in a bubble, among a certain type of homeschoolers. You can break out of it entirely. As you are determined to be a different kind of homeschooler, you will meet others who are the same.

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OP, if your homeschool group has this flavor, I'd encourage you to find a new group. If homeschooling is that prevalent in your community, I can guarantee that some other frustrated homeschool mom has set up another group somewhere, and it could be filled with those that value education and academic excellence.

 

Lisa, thank you for your thoughtful post. Lots of interesting points. As far as our local "group," we've been a part of a few so far, but I haven't found one that fits us just yet. While we classify ourselves as Christians, the Christian groups in this area are just as you spoke of. Very low quality, if any, academics and character is the main/only focus. Focusing on character is not a bad idea, however as you pointed out before you CAN do both- and you can do both well!

 

As my little ones get older (and they are both still young), I hope to find a group that we can fit into academically. It is very important to me for my little guys to have a very strong academic foundation that will open the doors to the future that they want. I don't want something that I do to hold them back from being a doctor or a lawyer if they would like to be, which has been the case in my ILs situation.

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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.

Well, the first 4 paragraphs in your OP sound like a very specific problem with your MIL - I hope you figure out a way to deal with that.

 

Your last 2 paragraphs are filled with WE this and WE that. I don't feel comfortable being lumped into this category. I would feel equally uncomfortable with someone posting 'why do we (homeschool moms) dress so frumpy - it sends a negative message' or 'why do we fail to teach our kids basic algebra'? These parents might be out there. There might even be whole groups of them, but I am not one of them.

 

I'm not mad, though. I'm just adding another view point to the discussion you wanted.

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You have a completely different perspective. Nobody in my family was homeschooled. I barely know any other homeschoolers. I'm always the odd man out. Last week a neighbor girl told my son she thinks public school is better because she knows a homeschooler who can't read so homeschoolers must be stupid. I mean THAT is the kind of crud I come across. Not ever the other way around. So as the minority who is picked on I don't feel much sympathy towards this discussion.

 

I can totally understand this. I left public school, and all of my friends (and their judgements, and their parents opinions) to be homeschooled. On my own accord. I fought my parents hard for the opportunity. I had a LOT of opposition, but it worked out. I was able to start college early, I met my husband and the list of positives can go on and on.

 

Even though our homeschooling community is HUGE, there are still a lot of people who think all homeschoolers are dumb, and illiterate (and I come across them often as we still go to traditional playgroups where most parents will send their children to public school). I'm sorry that your community where you are isn't large, and I understand that must be tough.

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For those of you who haven't ever seen PS demonized:

 

http://indoctrinationmovie.com

 

You are welcome.

 

I was trying not to name names, but YES!

 

Do these people even realize how many moms they make cry on the first day of school every year? Homeschooling moms too, just think about all those poor children being bused away from their mommies to be indoctrinated!

 

grrrrr...........

 

 

So clever though, the capital "N" in the title. It's not just any indoctrination, oh no. It may just be a conspiracy.

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Sorry, I must be feeling defensive. I just have to say that of the 21 posts up to yours, only 3 posts said that they hadn't seen the demonizing. One of those was mine and I specifically wrote "in my circle of friends and family" because I truly have NEVER seen demonizing of the ps by them. I definitely have seen it on these boards, but I have seen so many shades of crazy on these boards.... Anyway, I had to post because there really are some groups of homeschoolers that don't demonize public schools, that simply feel like they are doing what is best in their personal situation, the same as everyone else is. I hate whenever whole groups get painted with a broad brush. Many homeschoolers don't demonize ps and I, for one, can't get on board with "we" as stated in the OP.

 

I'm going to use TracyP's post as a jumping off point because I agree with her.

 

Yes, I was one of the people who said the same thing. I might not have said "in my circle of friends and family" but I should have. I have seen it on this board but I wasn't counting that - as much as I like discussing things here, I don't count the internet as my immediate circle of experience. Also- when people have been extreme on this board there have been a bunch of posters jumping in to correct that.

 

I'm sure there are people who have dropped the parenting ball. And I'm sure there are people who have dropped the homeschooling ball. And there are teachers at both public schools and private schools who have dropped the ball. i've seen rare examples of every single one of these situations. To be honest I have the most examples of teachers who have dropped the ball but I'm not going to make a huge a-ha! point of it because I have known more teachers in my life (I taught for many years both publicly and privately) than I have homeschoolers. I also have a huge number of examples of parents (of kids who are schooled in many different ways) who have seemed to have dropped the ball but it is harder to quantify that and prove it. The point in all of this is that while I don't doubt that your MIL has dropped both the parenting and the homeschooling ball, the homeschooling part is not all that common in my experience. In fact the homeschoolers I know in real life are much harder on themselves and their performance as teachers than any other teachers I know.

 

Also - there isn't necessarily a correlation between "people who verbally demonize public schools" and "people who have failed at homeschooling". For one thing, many of the people I know who do spout off with one sided comments (usually in politics or religion in real life because the evils of public school doesn't come up) are not, if you really sit down and talk to them that one-sided. That is another reason why I don't count people who I've seen on this board doing it because I don't really know deep down what they think because often their strong statements aren't generalizations on every single public school out there but are directed to their neighborhood school where their child had difficulty. They just aren't good at articulating that. And even then, many of the people on this board who seem one-sided from their posts also seem extremely committed to doing a good and thorough job as a homeschool teacher because they don't see any other options for schooling where they live.

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It's rather common for homeschoolers to refer to public schools by the term "government schools." Given the political leaning of those saying it, that's definitely not a term of endearment.

 

 

I personally think the term "government-run schools" is far more accurate than "public schools". Public facilities are open to anyone who wants to use them. If I don't like the public library in my town I am free to drive over to the next one and use theirs. Ditto with the public pool, public parks, recreation programs (though I will have to pay a higher fee to enroll my kids), etc. But if I decide that I like the "public" school in the next town over (which, like nearly all California schools gets the bulk of its funding from the state's general tax revenues) better than my zoned school, I am S.O.L. It may be run by the government, but it isn't available to the general public. Only those who can afford to pay exorbitant costs to buy or rent within the neighborhood have access to that school.

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I personally think the term "government-run schools" is far more accurate than "public schools". Public facilities are open to anyone who wants to use them. If I don't like the public library in my town I am free to drive over to the next one and use theirs. Ditto with the public pool, public parks, recreation programs (though I will have to pay a higher fee to enroll my kids), etc. But if I decide that I like the "public" school in the next town over (which, like nearly all California schools gets the bulk of its funding from the state's general tax revenues) better than my zoned school, I am S.O.L. It may be run by the government, but it isn't available to the general public. Only those who can afford to pay exorbitant costs to buy or rent within the neighborhood have access to that school.

 

 

In the parts of Minnesota in which I've lived, kids can go to any public school they want. When I was a teen, I switched to a school in a different district an hour away because it was smaller and we thought there might be less bullying. (There wasn't.) So that varies by state or school district, apparently.

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