Jump to content

Menu

Do you ever feel wary about telling people you homeschool?


pinkmint
 Share

Recommended Posts

I guess most of my question involves scenarios like doctor's office visits. I have been known to err on the side of paranoia but it feels like I get awkward silences, side eyes and uncomfortable subject changing etc when the staff ask me if my child needs a doctor's note, or ask if they have to go back to school after the appointment and I say "we homeschool". 

 

Same kinda thing seems to happen with people we meet at the grocery store during the day when all the "normal" kids are at school. 

 

I'm just wondering if anyone else feels this way. I guess my worst case anxiety scenario is that someone is going to try to call CPS on me just for being not normal. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me in particular it probably also adds to my self-consciousness that my kids are on medicaid (which they can see at doctor's offices) and I already feel like people are drawing conclusions about my life choices and parenting. That's why I try to look put-together and dress business casual when we go out.

 

I guess it also doesn't help that my dad, for example, tries to demand that I put my kids in public school. He's not supportive at all. So we are definitely feeling against the grain a lot.

Edited by pinkmint
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, not usually.  The rare exception has been with social workers (therapists).  I'm upfront that it's not on the table for discussion.  One claimed that was not at all a problem because she homeschooled her own kid.  She called helping him with his homework and taking him to museums after school "homeschooling" and pointed to that when I told her that her negative attitude towards homeschooling was not going to work for me.  I told her that's highly insulting and would be like me claiming to be a therapist because I give my friends advice and listen to their problems.

 

You are not abnormal for homeschooling. 

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

About the note for school at medical appointments:

 

If you want, you can say, "No, thank you," which has never got a second glance for me. I don't say why, and nobody ever asks.

 

Or say, "Yes, please," and just take the note. All it's going to be is a slip of paper that leaves with you, for your child to turn in at school. You can save it with your attendance records or throw it away.

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

About the note for school at medical appointments:

 

If you want, you can say, "No, thank you," which has never got a second glance for me. I don't say why, and nobody ever asks.

 

Or say, "Yes, please," and just take the note. All it's going to be is a slip of paper that leaves with you, for your child to turn in at school. You can save it with your attendance records or throw it away.

 

The nurses at the ped's office love me.  They start with their 10,000 page reports for the school and I say I don't need that.  They are like "YAY!!! Less paperwork!!!"  LOL

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The nurses at the ped's office love me.  They start with their 10,000 page reports for the school and I say I don't need that.  They are like "YAY!!! Less paperwork!!!"  LOL

 

LOL! Mine, too. Easy peasy.

 

I don't tell all my kids' specialists that they homeschool. (We have a lot of medical stuff in our family.) Specialists have a way of entering a room without looking at the whole child in the first place -- if they're there about the feet, they walk in looking at the feet. LOL So no need for life stories.

 

I do tell the offices that are going to see them regularly and frequently, like family doctor, eye doctor, dentist, orthodontist.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes I think it can vary depending on how you say it. We named a daughter a very unusual, very long name. If I act apologetic when I give her name for an appointment or whatever, I often get negative reactions. If I matter-of-factly say her name, and spell it without batting an eye, no one comments unless to say, "how pretty!" The same can be true for telling others you homeschool. A cheerful, confident response to their question may go over better.

 

I DO worry about our new neighbors. They moved in right when nice weather started, and we had a week off. So my kiddos are outside playing during the day...setting up pogo stick obstacle courses, pitching their army surplus tent, checking on our tacky-looking frog pond, and tying slacklines to our jungle gym. For a newly married, childless couple, they must really wonder about us. And I do fear they will think we don't actually school them since they've been outside so much. We start early in the day and are winding down for the end of our school year. But the neighbors don't know that...

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, but we live in an area where homeschooling is very well regarded, or at least that's been our experience. Honestly, if it comes up, people just get so excited.

 

The other day my son was ringing up an older woman at the bookstore where we volunteer. Since it was around 10am, she casually asked him if school was out (we'd had an ice storm). He said no, he's homeschooled. Honestly, she got so excited and started gushing about how wonderful it is he gets to have this (bookstore) experience as part of his studies and on and on. It was sweet. But that's how all the reactions are that we get, very positive. When we started out we lived in a place where we literally were the only ones homeschooling and people there were very upset about our choice. There was definitely a lot of suspicion and resentment (how dare we go against the establishment! Who do we think we are?). So for me anyway, I don't worry about it here but I might in a less accepting community.

 

We are fortunate that our doctors are totally onboard too. They think it's fabulous and always take extra time to give him extra information, just assuming he's interested (he always is). I think we're really lucky here.

Edited by MEmama
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that making it sound positive will tend to get positive reactions. The rare times I get asked what I "do", I answer in a happy voice that I GET to stay home and homeschool my son. I do feel fortunate and I let it show. Who can argue with that? :)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I'm wary, but for a different reason than you.

 

Part of why we homeschool is so my kids can be themselves without taking on labels and identities handed out to them by their peers and teachers. I want for them to not have to be the smart one, the slow one, the pretty one, the awkward one, good at math, bad at math, etc. At some point I realized that the more often homeschooling comes up as a subject with random strangers, the more my kids receive the label of homeschooler. That label comes with its own set of projections, expectations, stereotypes, and awkward assumptions.  I think it's counterproductive for me to have homeschool conversations in front of them.  I even avoid conversations about homeschooling with other homeschoolers in front of them.

 

It really hit home for me when we were having dinner with a former hs family and their grown kids. The dad started talking about homeschool kids being more mature, and I responded that I really didn't feel that I could say homeschooling produced any certain type of kid, but that all kids and families are individuals and I've met both amazing and horrifying kids from both hs and public school. His son was audibly agreeing with me. Even as a former homeschooler, he did not WANT the label of "better." Why? Because anytime we give credit to the method, we take credit away from the individual.

 

So, all that to say, yes, I avoid bringing it up when I can. When I can't, I state it as fact and move on. If they ask anything else (usually of the "how do you like it?" variety) I don't give elaborate answers.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No I don't get wary. No one has ever given me a hard time. I know a few people wish I didnt or simply don't understand why I do but they'll never say a word because they know I will shut them down so quickly they won't get to finish their sentence. I have no problem with constructive discussions about why we home school, how we home school, or our future plans and goals. I'll even accept constructive criticism from someone who takes the time to educate themselves on what homeschooling can actually be. But any negative comments generated from ignorance will not be tolerated.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is common enough here that no one ask. We schedule dentist visits after 3pm and optician visits on weekends because I don't drive so we didn't need a doctor's note even when kids were in public school.

 

I did have someone think my kids were playing too much tablet games while waiting because the other kids were doing homework. He was curious and polite, asking about workload and playtime balance since he didn't know any homeschoolers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OP, about being concerned with stigma (medicaid plus homeschooling) -- my family doctor is very aware that our local schools do not offer sufficient support for many students with special learning needs, including profoundly gifted children. He is never surprised at homeschooling, nor astonished to learn that near-or-actual poverty and hs'ing go hand in hand b/c of the loss of a wage earner.

 

I'm sure that not everybody is as enlightened as Dr. C, but it might help to think of them as ignorant instead of worrying that they're thinking you're ignorant. KWIM?

 

I've always done the same as you regarding dressing up a bit and keeping a calm, professional demeanor. I have found that if I look and behave as if I meant to live the way I do, I get less feedback about it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our pedi and dentist like that we homeschool - easier for them to get us in for an appointment since we're not taking up all the after school time slots. :-)

They enjoy our scheduling flexibility. 

 

Also, I wouldn't think twice about your kids being on Medicaid. I do medical billing and at least 60% of the claims I process are people on Medicaid. It's not a stigma at all and no one bats an eye here if someone has Medicaid. It's actually better than most of the other insurance companies as far as what it covers, payments and customer service. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think the area you're in probably make a huge difference. Around here in a low income community homeschooling is not normal at all, and a lot of people probably don't know what it is and don't trust it. 

 

And as to Tibbie's comment, I wonder how many people out there are at or near poverty and homeschooling. It would be nice to meet people who are in a similar situation to us. I feel pretty isolated when I see every other homeschooler seems to live on a huge piece of property with a nice big house while we rent in a cramped low-income neighborhood. We are very much the weirdos here but thankfully no one bothers us. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think the area you're in probably make a huge difference. Around here in a low income community homeschooling is not normal at all, and a lot of people probably don't know what it is and don't trust it. 

 

And as to Tibbie's comment, I wonder how many people out there are at or near poverty and homeschooling. It would be nice to meet people who are in a similar situation to us. I feel pretty isolated when I see every other homeschooler seems to live on a huge piece of property with a nice big house while we rent in a cramped low-income neighborhood. We are very much the weirdos here but thankfully no one bothers us. 

 

I live in a low income community.  There are around 150 homeschoolers in my district. 

 

Of course some people are prejudiced towards people with low incomes, but what can I say?  Some people are just unreasonable twits. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my professional circles, to which I am about to return, it is virtually unheard of. I'm trying to avoid mentioning it simply because people have no context and it would derail the conversation entirely. I'm also not interested in advocating for homeschooling.

My DH on the other hand, covers tech companies and a lot of "internet of things" stuff, so it is actually frequently a topic of conversation in his world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I avoid the question unless it's relevant. DD14 answers for herself these days for the most part and she chooses how to answer the "why are you not in school" questions. Sometimes she says she home schools and sometimes she just says that she is just done for the day. Homeschooling isn't unusual here, so people don't really make any comment about it (other than Cool! Wish I was!).

 

Professionally it's a little weird because I work full time from home and people forget that I homeschool. DD14 had to go into the office with me the other day and hang out while I talked to someone. I came back and she was talking skiing and computers with the folks in the office area. She is as tall as I am these days and gets mistaken for one of the college interns at my office when she comes in with me. She thinks that's pretty cool though.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My DH on the other hand, covers tech companies and a lot of "internet of things" stuff, so it is actually frequently a topic of conversation in his world.

At the moment, hubby's coworkers kids are either homeschooled or private schooled. He has coworkers that were homeschooled. The gossip of the day tends to be about math education.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not wary at all, because if it does come up and the person is disapproving, what are they going to do? Scowl at me? Make a snarky comment? Report me for doing something 100% legal for which I am meeting all state regulations? 

 

I've had people (rarely) make rude comments about it, and I just roll my eyes and walk away. I stopped caring what other people think a long time ago.

 

As for the income thing, just keep reminding yourself that it's none of their damn business. There's no law that says only wealthy people can homeschool. I've met homeschoolers with a huge range of incomes and situations, and honestly, income doesn't seem to factor in much when you get right down to day-to-day life. When you're sitting down with your kid to do math or read a story or watch a science documentary, the amount in your checking account is completely irrelevant. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I avoid talking about it because it either starts a boring or uncomfortable conversation or it makes it easy for people to make incorrect assumptions about me.  Since I'm often trying to integrate into a new social group, I don't want "homeschooler" to be the first thing people know about me.  I really avoid it when we're living in a country where it's not common because that starts an entirely different conversation.  

 

(There was one time in Kyrgyzstan when dh was interviewed in the weekly expat feature in the local newspaper- there aren't a lot of expats in Bishkek- and the interviewer mostly asked him about homeschooling since our kids' schooling obviously came up.  We had strangers on the street who recognized us from that column and asked us about homeschooling.  And I hope I'm not retelling a story I've already told here. I get more repetitive as I get older.)

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, but after 14 years it gets tiring, even if the reaction is positive. It's just not something I care to discuss much anymore. I don't care what disapproving people think - I just don't want to have to deal.

 

Yeah actually I am so over talking about it.  It's just something I do.  Like it or lump it.  Whatever.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No.  Homeschooling is not popular here, particularly in the high school years.  But it doesn't matter.  We are a homeschool family.

 

Doctors love us because we can be flexible with appointment times.  Yesterday the allergist was telling me how great it is that we (kids and me) all come into the room together for their appointment and that the kids do the talking.  I thought that was unremarkable - one is technically an adult, and the other is not far behind - but she said even young adults come in with their parents and mess with their phones while mom or dad do all the talking. 

 

(We don't go all together for other doctor appointments. But there's nothing particularly personal about the allergies so no one needs privacy.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No generally speaking, I don't give a hoot what people think about it. I told one of my oldest's public school teachers that middle child was homeschooled and it was clear she wasn't happy about it and felt awkward. I was friendly and nice, she was judgey and cold. Whatever her problem was, it is exactly that... her problem.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess most of my question involves scenarios like doctor's office visits. I have been known to err on the side of paranoia but it feels like I get awkward silences, side eyes and uncomfortable subject changing etc when the staff ask me if my child needs a doctor's note, or ask if they have to go back to school after the appointment and I say "we homeschool". 

 

Same kinda thing seems to happen with people we meet at the grocery store during the day when all the "normal" kids are at school. 

 

I'm just wondering if anyone else feels this way. I guess my worst case anxiety scenario is that someone is going to try to call CPS on me just for being not normal. 

 

Not generally, although I don't always feel the need to say that we're homeschooling. For example, if we're at the grocery store and someone asks why the dc aren't in school, I just say they're off for the day. We hsed in California, where homeschoolers file a private school affidavit and name their schools, so if someone asked my dc what school they went to, they could say the name of their school. Or we can say there was an in-service day. When you tell the staff that you're homeschooling, look 'em right in the eyeball and smile your biggest and sweetest smile. 

 

I understand your fear about CPS, because in many states, that's the avenue that school officials and others who disagree with homeschooling in general use to get homeschoolers. It is still not very common in most states, however. And I have never heard of a homeschooler being accosted by CPS in a grocery store. :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to. We have a routine now, so checkers/etc now ask about my youngest son if he's not with me.

 

Eta: except for one guy in our bank. I avoid him because he thought he had the right to quiz my son on his time tables long ago. He's an idiot.

Edited by MooCow
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't wear a "Number 1 Homeschool Mom" t-shirt when I'm out, ;) but I do answer the question if asked.

I have seen a t shirt that shows a picture of a 1950's b-movie actress looking like she's scared and screaming and it says "oh no I forgot to socialize the children!!!"

 

I admit I'd wear it at least as a night shirt.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mention it unless someone point-blank asks.  But then I confidently respond with, "YES, WE HOMESCHOOL" and I stand with my hands on my hips and a sneer on my face and an attitude that conveys, "AND I DOUBLE-DOG DARE YOU TO CHALLENGE ME ON IT". 

 

So there.

 

 

This is pretty much what I do.   I don't enjoy anticipating negative reactions - kind of like the scene in Cars where Lightning says he's a famous race car and the others all lock their door and give a fake smile - I've lived a lot of those moments.  But it works out better to boldly own it than to give the impression that I will entertain anyone's unsolicited advice.  So I proclaim it with a smile, a chip on my shoulder, and a line in the sand in front of me.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends on the person I am talking with. 

Generally, no, because homeschooling is very common here and I am prepared for all the standard replies.

 

There are a few specific people and a few general groups of people who are dogmatically opposed to home education (not interested in the facts or in discussion of educational philosophy, just in asserting their opinions and poorly thought through objections) that I find tiresome and with whom I avoid the topic. My in laws fall into this category.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me in particular it probably also adds to my self-consciousness that my kids are on medicaid (which they can see at doctor's offices) and I already feel like people are drawing conclusions about my life choices and parenting. That's why I try to look put-together and dress business casual when we go out.

 

I guess it also doesn't help that my dad, for example, tries to demand that I put my kids in public school. He's not supportive at all. So we are definitely feeling against the grain a lot.

 

I understand how you feel.  Our family had to use medicaid for a while, and I always felt self-conscious about it.  My dad is not supportive of homeschooling, either.  He likes to share news articles with me about the great charter schools that are closest to us.  And about Finland. 

 

To answer your question, I don't feel wary.  I don't bring it up, but I don't act like it's a big deal when it is brought up.  We get raised eyebrows and disingenuous questions from strangers. But, it doesn't bother me anymore.

 

I wouldn't worry about CPS, as a general rule.  No sense in borrowing trouble from tomorrow, you know?

 

:grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes I think it can vary depending on how you say it. We named a daughter a very unusual, very long name. If I act apologetic when I give her name for an appointment or whatever, I often get negative reactions. If I matter-of-factly say her name, and spell it without batting an eye, no one comments unless to say, "how pretty!" The same can be true for telling others you homeschool. A cheerful, confident response to their question may go over better.

 

I do that too. Say it smilingly as though they'd be kind of an idiot if they objected, and generally they say something neutral or nice. The very rare occasions there is anything negative, I make out I'm sorry they know stupid people.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did have one time when a pediatrician went into what seemed like "socialization" type questions after DD mentioned she was homeschooled (things like other activities DD did, sports, etc) until the Ped said "I'm going to order blood tests now and get you a couple of copies of the physical report because in the next year, cheer and tumbling are going to require one, and it will save you an appointment that your insurance doesn't cover." Turned out she was right-6 months later at the start of what would have been DD's 6th grade year, all of a sudden all her sports activities wanted a new physical on file. Apparently schools require it to enter middle school, and therefore other programs file suit.

 

I've also noticed recently that I seem to get asked that question most by people who follow up with "I homeschooled my kids" "I was homeschooled until 9th grade, and I wish I'd been for high school because I was SO BORED!!" "My grandkids are homeschooled..." etc. It's kind of like wearing a sweatshirt with a tiny out of state college name on it on it leads to running into the only other person in the city who has even heard of the school.

Edited by dmmetler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My kids are already an oddity since I don't drive and they have double first names with no middle names. Confused the admins most of the time except those used to dealing with chinese names.

 

I do think it reflects badly on people who looks down on someone on medicaid unless the person dress up. I have many affluent relatives who don't dress up unless for weddings and just ignore people who snub them.

 

I find it weird that people would think that families on medicaid or lower income in general should not homeschool. A middle income household could opt for parochial or private school if their assigned public school is not suitable for their kids. A lower income family might not have that luxury. For example if I put my kids into the cheapest decent local k-8 private school and pay for afterschool care and childcare at that school so I could work full time, I would be out $42k per year. So I would need to bring in a net pay of more than that amount to bump up net family income, without taking into account childcare tax credits and higher tax brackets.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No... but I live in a very homeschool friendly area, which is something I'm grateful for. I don't know that I've ever received a negative comment regarding our decision to homeschool. Only one pediatrician was "off" about it - and she just kept asking when we would consider, and *if* we would ever consider, sending the children regular school.

I've received QUESTIONS about it (the typical "what about socialization" comments and such) and some negative personal anecdotes (which, I have to say, were valid concerns coming from the position this person was coming from and what they had seen), but that's it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't get comments all that often, and they are almost never in a negative tone. Perhaps it's because it's not all that well known to the general population in Canada - not many people have pre-conceptions about something they know nothing about. Our city has tons of homeschoolers, which surprises many people who haven't heard of it.  It's very easy to play up a couple benefits quickly and in an upbeat fashion, then get on with my business. 

 

The most annoying conversation was in a line at a store in the US. The lady obviously had some strong, negative opinions. I answered politely and positively, then, when she just went on and on, I cut her off with a, "That's all I want to discuss with you."  It was effective.

Edited by wintermom
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, after 6 yrs of homeschooling I just don't care what anyone thinks anymore.  This is what works for my family.  Also, please do not supply me with a list of "excuses" for why you do not/could not homeschool.  Do what works for your family.  I don't care.  

I live in an area with a fairly high concentration of homeschoolers, and even more charter-schoolers, so the whole thing isn't such an "alternative" choice here.  I can count on one hand the times I've had negative comments.  Most of the time people are positive and enthusiastic about it.  We had a waiter light up like a Christmas tree and tell us about how he was homeschooled.  I had one cashier at Target say wistfully, "Oh I wish I could homeschool my kids"  :crying:.  My pediatric dentist was telling me he was hoping his wife would choose to homeschool (their kids are very young still).  

Even among my public schoolteacher friends, one of whom was downright hostile about it (one of my very few negative experiences) and another one who was wary about it, they seem to have come around to the idea.  I still get comments like "supermom" and "I don't know how you do it!" and "it works because your kids are so smart" but I just take them as positive and move on.  I don't engage anymore.  If people ask me questions, I give a few superficial answers and move on.  Most of the time they're just making conversation.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes, though I'm actually less weary telling doctors/dentists/etc than I am random people. Thankfully homeschooling is somewhat normal around here, I usually see other homeschoolers out and about. I'm really trying to not care though, I want people to realize homeschooling IS normal!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The longer I hs'ed, the more wary I became about saying anything about hs'ing - no matter where we lived ... drug-infested apartments, middle-class neighborhoods, out in the woods.  At this point in our lives, I never mention it unless asked, and my kids do the same at college.  If they're asked, they simply say "Yes" and move on, unless the person is another hs'ed kid.  In that case, they have fun talking with them.  :)  If it's a professor, they try hard not to let it get around to the hs'ing question because grades are at stake and their reactions can be unpredictable.

 

I've had negative reactions from strangers even as recently as a little over a year ago - 2 retired ps teachers, husband and wife - even though my kids are grown and in college.  They're rare, but unpleasant nonetheless.

Edited by _kathy_
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...