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Homeschool Mom in AZ

Don't be a jerk at dinner parties.

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Last night I attended an Advent dinner for St. Lucy's Day.  The hostess and her husband homeschool. I homeschool.  One of the couples sends their kids to private school.  The other couple have adult children who attend public school and the husband is about to retire from decades of work in public school. 

Private school mom started talking about how bad the ps system is after hearing that the other  husband is about to retire from working in the ps system.  Really?  At a dinner party when the quality of an education wasn't the topic of conversation?  It was a get to know each other kind of conversation.  I tried to soften it with, "It depends on which ps you're talking about." 

She couldn't take the hint.  She went on, "Yes, I know there are differences between them, but when you consider the quality of our private school, the public schools are just a mess."  So I tried again to change the topic, "I'm just so glad we live in a state that has choices so people can find a good fit for their kids wherever that is.  She didn't back down, "Yes, competition will improve some things but it won't be enough."The hostess finally managed to change the topic by moving to the next course and explaining the Scandinavian food what was probably new to everyone.

Look, I have all kinds of opinions about what content and approaches should make up a standard ps education and it's different than the norm right now, but I don't trash a person's life's work at a dinner party for heaven's sake.  It's not the time and place for a public policy discussion and or criticism.  Grrr! The woman saying so is well into her 40s and is old enough to know better.

To his credit Mr. Near Retirement didn't say a word in response. He patiently endured it with a completely neutral facial expression.  A class act.

You will not be surprised that the rude woman didn't stop talking to the person to her left (me) the whole time and it was a wide ranging stream of consciousness monologue about everything she through was wrong with the fostercare system, church, Jewish/Christian relations, US Refugee policy, and some other stuff I tuned out when I was in my smile and pretend I'm listening stage at the end.  At least I had a choice of mulled wine and honeyed mead to take the edge off. The mulled wine was delicious!

Now it's time for me to make sure I don't do that kind of thing in the future because that's what negative examples are for.

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Agreed.  I have some strong beliefs about education.  We have a lot of friends that unschool; I do not think that is a wise idea in most cases.  But, I believe in everyone's right to live happily and make their own decisions and I also believe, well, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  The rude woman will get what she deserves, it's not a good idea to act in that manner; see how you've reacted, for instance!

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Some people just don't understand that everybody they meet doesn't want to know their opinion about everything. I seem to have met too many people like this. I assume that if people want my opinion, they can ask, and if they don't ask, they don't care.

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Yep. I mean, I am pretty anti-public schools. I'm NOT someone who reassesses every year and sees merit in both. Barring extreme circumstances there's no way I'd send my kids to a standard public school unless absolutely necessary. We plan to homeschool for the long term. 

 

BUT

 

My husbands aunt and grandmother were both teachers. My pastors wife is a teacher.  My step-siblings go to a regular school. The topic of the failings of public school just don't need to come up. (of course, the topic of the failings of homeschooling seems to be totally open, but that's another issue....). It is not appropriate, in polite conversation, to discuss the failings of a common parenting decision unless everyone in the room holds the same view. Gently discussing flaws maybe, since plenty of parents see the flaws and work to change them, but negative discussions about the failings, nope. As extreme as I am, I would thank that teacher for his decades of dedication to children, and his efforts against a 'challenging, changing' system. That lady was totally out of line. 

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Last night I attended an Advent dinner for St. Lucy's Day.  The hostess and her husband homeschool. I homeschool.  One of the couples sends their kids to private school.  The other couple have adult children who attend public school and the husband is about to retire from decades of work in public school. 

 

Private school mom started talking about how bad the ps system is after hearing that the other  husband is about to retire from working in the ps system.  Really?  At a dinner party when the quality of an education wasn't the topic of conversation?  It was a get to know each other kind of conversation.  I tried to soften it with, "It depends on which ps you're talking about." 

 

She couldn't take the hint.  She went on, "Yes, I know there are differences between them, but when you consider the quality of our private school, the public schools are just a mess."  So I tried again to change the topic, "I'm just so glad we live in a state that has choices so people can find a good fit for their kids wherever that is.  She didn't back down, "Yes, competition will improve some things but it won't be enough."The hostess finally managed to change the topic by moving to the next course and explaining the Scandinavian food what was probably new to everyone.

 

Look, I have all kinds of opinions about what content and approaches should make up a standard ps education and it's different than the norm right now, but I don't trash a person's life's work at a dinner party for heaven's sake.  It's not the time and place for a public policy discussion and or criticism.  Grrr! The woman saying so is well into her 40s and is old enough to know better.

 

To his credit Mr. Near Retirement didn't say a word in response. He patiently endured it with a completely neutral facial expression.  A class act.

 

You will not be surprised that the rude woman didn't stop talking to the person to her left (me) the whole time and it was a wide ranging stream of consciousness monologue about everything she through was wrong with the fostercare system, church, Jewish/Christian relations, US Refugee policy, and some other stuff I tuned out when I was in my smile and pretend I'm listening stage at the end.  At least I had a choice of mulled wine and honeyed mead to take the edge off. The mulled wine was delicious!

 

Now it's time for me to make sure I don't do that kind of thing in the future because that's what negative examples are for.

 

Having read this, all I can think is there's a reason God gave you two hands:  One for the mulled wine and one for the mead.  What a night!

 

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Last night I attended an Advent dinner for St. Lucy's Day.  The hostess and her husband homeschool. I homeschool.  One of the couples sends their kids to private school.  The other couple have adult children who attend public school and the husband is about to retire from decades of work in public school. 

 

Private school mom started talking about how bad the ps system is after hearing that the other  husband is about to retire from working in the ps system.  Really?  At a dinner party when the quality of an education wasn't the topic of conversation?  It was a get to know each other kind of conversation.  I tried to soften it with, "It depends on which ps you're talking about." 

 

She couldn't take the hint.  She went on, "Yes, I know there are differences between them, but when you consider the quality of our private school, the public schools are just a mess."  So I tried again to change the topic, "I'm just so glad we live in a state that has choices so people can find a good fit for their kids wherever that is.  She didn't back down, "Yes, competition will improve some things but it won't be enough."The hostess finally managed to change the topic by moving to the next course and explaining the Scandinavian food what was probably new to everyone.

 

Look, I have all kinds of opinions about what content and approaches should make up a standard ps education and it's different than the norm right now, but I don't trash a person's life's work at a dinner party for heaven's sake.  It's not the time and place for a public policy discussion and or criticism.  Grrr! The woman saying so is well into her 40s and is old enough to know better.

 

To his credit Mr. Near Retirement didn't say a word in response. He patiently endured it with a completely neutral facial expression.  A class act.

 

You will not be surprised that the rude woman didn't stop talking to the person to her left (me) the whole time and it was a wide ranging stream of consciousness monologue about everything she through was wrong with the fostercare system, church, Jewish/Christian relations, US Refugee policy, and some other stuff I tuned out when I was in my smile and pretend I'm listening stage at the end.  At least I had a choice of mulled wine and honeyed mead to take the edge off. The mulled wine was delicious!

 

Now it's time for me to make sure I don't do that kind of thing in the future because that's what negative examples are for.

 

Oh, for crying out loud.

 

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She may have read your statements as continuing the conversation. Sometimes you kinda have to acknowledge what they say without agreeing and bring up a new topic all in the same breath. Or at least that is what I notice my super crazily socially competent friends doing. I am generally lost in scenarios like that. And with some people even that doesn't work...

 

That must have been a difficult night.

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Ugh! What an unpleasant experience. I think you handled it wonderfully, and the man did as well. Did she know two of you were homeschooling? I wonder if she thought she'd have "partners in crime" to bash public schools (probably she assumed you and the other homeschooling mom felt the same way as she did). Yay for mulled wine :)

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Having read this, all I can think is there's a reason God gave you two hands: One for the mulled wine and one for the mead. What a night!

 

Amen.

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Ugg. Not only is she rude, but she also lives in a fantasy world. Scratch the surface of ANY education system and there will be holes somewhere - even in her private school. (And my homeschool, of course, though I never claim that it's perfect). She's just pouring out a lot more money than most and hoping for the best.

 

Glad you didn't have to sit next to her, and could enjoy the mulled wine!

Edited by wintermom
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Last night I attended an Advent dinner for St. Lucy's Day.  The hostess and her husband homeschool. I homeschool.  One of the couples sends their kids to private school.  The other couple have adult children who attend public school and the husband is about to retire from decades of work in public school. 

 

Private school mom started talking about how bad the ps system is after hearing that the other  husband is about to retire from working in the ps system.  Really?  At a dinner party when the quality of an education wasn't the topic of conversation?  It was a get to know each other kind of conversation.  I tried to soften it with, "It depends on which ps you're talking about." 

 

She couldn't take the hint.  She went on, "Yes, I know there are differences between them, but when you consider the quality of our private school, the public schools are just a mess."  So I tried again to change the topic, "I'm just so glad we live in a state that has choices so people can find a good fit for their kids wherever that is.  She didn't back down, "Yes, competition will improve some things but it won't be enough."The hostess finally managed to change the topic by moving to the next course and explaining the Scandinavian food what was probably new to everyone.

 

Look, I have all kinds of opinions about what content and approaches should make up a standard ps education and it's different than the norm right now, but I don't trash a person's life's work at a dinner party for heaven's sake.  It's not the time and place for a public policy discussion and or criticism.  Grrr! The woman saying so is well into her 40s and is old enough to know better.

 

To his credit Mr. Near Retirement didn't say a word in response. He patiently endured it with a completely neutral facial expression.  A class act.

 

You will not be surprised that the rude woman didn't stop talking to the person to her left (me) the whole time and it was a wide ranging stream of consciousness monologue about everything she through was wrong with the fostercare system, church, Jewish/Christian relations, US Refugee policy, and some other stuff I tuned out when I was in my smile and pretend I'm listening stage at the end.  At least I had a choice of mulled wine and honeyed mead to take the edge off. The mulled wine was delicious!

 

Now it's time for me to make sure I don't do that kind of thing in the future because that's what negative examples are for.

That's hilarious.

 

I mean, they DID have an interest in education in common, but gee, you think as a host, you might introduce everyone in such a way as to demonstrate biases so people could avoid rudeness.

 

Or at least say something like, "Mrs. X, you do recall that Mr.Y is a retired public school teacher, so we want to be respectful to all viewpoints on this.  So...about that Scandinavian food...."

 

This reminds me of a dinner party story I may have told here.  Spouse and I were invited to dinner by the boss, along with some other young couples.  Host and wife were Jewish.  Knowing full well that spouse was a practicing Catholic at the time (because Boss and he had discussed it, spouse came in with ashes on his forehead, blah blah), they invited us on a Friday during Lent and served Prime rib.  Then the wife launched into a pro-choice rant at the dinner table.  I kept my mouth shut, I promise. She then launched into an angry rant about how we young wives would never see our husbands and would be raising our children alone.  :0  Fortunately, one of the husbands was a skilled topic-changer and kept railroading the ever-worsening conversation through to better topics, desperately searching for something we could talk about.  I will never forget when we left.  We (the young couples) were getting into our respective vehicles and the other husband did a big "Whew" (wiping hand across forehead). 

 

It's funny now.  I mean COME ON.  We joked for years that we should invite that couple over, serve ham,  and talk about pro-life rallies we planned to attend.  ;)  (We didn't). 

Edited by TranquilMind

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Ugg. Not only is she rude, but she also lives in a fantasy world. Scratch the surface of ANY education system and there will be holes somewhere - even in her private school. (And my homeschool, of course, though I never claim that it's perfect). She's just pouring out a lot more money than most and hoping for the best.

 

Glad you didn't have to sit next to her, and could enjoy the mulled wine!

This is so true.

One of my kids told me that the meanest, most judgmental students encountered were at the private Christian school.  And the nicest were at the gifted school that happened to be a public charter.  Those kids, mostly high IQ nerdy types, knew exactly what it was like to be bullied and went overboard in being kind to everyone. 

Edited by TranquilMind

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Haha Pass the Mead!!

 

I have a family member that used to corner my sister and force her to talk about her health issues at every single children's birthday party. My poor sister finally started avoiding said family member and the name has become a by word for us. Some people are so self focused they don't consider others' feelings

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Well, TranquilMind wins this one. Abortion at the dinner table. I'd just about rather have a child stick their feet on their placemat repeatedly. That lady should get some kind of recognition in the Inappropriate Hall of Fame.

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Well, TranquilMind wins this one. Abortion at the dinner table. I'd just about rather have a child stick their feet on their placemat repeatedly. That lady should get some kind of recognition in the Inappropriate Hall of Fame.

Ha ha. 

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