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Homeschooling stigma & judgement


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Hi all!

 

Please let me know if this doesn't belong, as I can see most topics are from wonderful homeschoolers helping each other!  My question is a bit different; I've decided I'd like to homeschool my current Kindergartener for his 1st grade year.  He attends public school currently, so we'd begin next year.

 

We've started to "tell" close family and friends, and this is what we've received:

 

"You're selfish and want to keep your child home just because you miss him"

"You're too overprotective and can't shelter your child forever"

"You should sit your child down with a psychologist first to see what his issues are" (he has NO issues)

"You can't handle teaching your own children; they don't even listen to you for simple things!"

"Your child will become socially awkward and not be able to get a job"

 

And truly - the list goes on.  But, I haven't even started homeschooling, and I've been in tears over this multiple times already.  My heart and head know this is something that would suit us perfectly for SO many strong reasons (none of the above listed), but I'm already finding it hard to defend and we haven't even talked about it beyond close family and friends.

 

How do you all deal with things like this?  When you decided to first homeschool, did you have people opposing you?  Did they finally come around, or will I have to deal with this our entire homeschool career?

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful responses, and again, if this should be posted elsewhere - please let me know.  I admire you all so much!

 

Sandy

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"That's an interesting perspective. I (or we if your spouse is involved) make decisions about my child's education based on what I feel is best for them.

 

So, what did you think of (the football game, the storm last week, etc.)?"

Edited by maize
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I am so sorry. What an ignorant bunch.

 

To make this simple, you don't have to defend a perfectly legal and legitimate method of making sure your children are well-educated.

 

You just have to become the type of person whom people would rather not criticize. Don't be susceptible to it. Don't allow it. Don't ask what people think, and if they foist an ignorant opinion on you, have some responses ready, depending on the audience and the type of relationship:

SNARK RETORTS THAT WORK (They'll think you're not nice, but do you care? Some of these "opinions" are NOT nice, and I'd be dishing it right back. Not a good option for Grandma, probably, but for your peers, why not.)

 

"Wow. Since I'm the one actually taking on this responsibility, it's probably for the best that I'm the one who's actually researched it."

 

"Those are strong opinions from someone who's never homeschooled. If we fail, I'll remember you're the one who thought we would."

 

"It's not really up for debate, thanks."

 

"Since homeschooling is legal and lots of people have done it successfully, I'll probably talk about it more in the future with people who know how it works and not with people who think it can't be done."

 

LESS SNARKY RETORTS THAT ALSO WORK

 

"Well, the proof's in the pudding, they say! Check back with us in a few years. I think we'll accomplish a lot, as others have."

"Those sound like stereotypes for me -- I'm going with the logic that says homeschooling is legal everywhere for a reason. I think our family will be fine."

"I wasn't really polling for advice? Just letting you know that we're making this change."

"Yes, all parents have a lot to learn. I'm gaining experience every day, and I'm happy with my children's behavior. I'm proud of them."

 

NOT SNARKY AT ALL (this is for people who love you and your children, and who have a legitimate reason to express concern about something they don't understand, not for the people - friends? - who just called you a crappy parent)

 

It sounds like you've not met many homeschooling families, nor heard the success stories of well-educated and well-adjusted children. Are you open to discussion about it? I can also tell you how our state laws protect children's right to education. I can show you some of our books, and tell you about all the support available to me, if you'd like to come over and hear more about it.

 

I know that my plan is legal, and likely to succeed, but I'm willing to set your mind at rest if you'd like to learn more. Homeschooling is a proven method; success depends on the willingness of the parent to do it will. I'm definitely willing. :)

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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You don't need permission.  You don't need to explain yourself.

 

Just do what you want and think is best.

 

If pressed, say just that.  "We are doing what we believe is best for X, and we will always consider our options as we go along.  Home schooled kids do very well academically and otherwise"  Change subject. 

It didn't happen to me but I was an old mom. 

Edited by TranquilMind
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Wow, okay, I think you need new friends if they've said any of the above! Questions are one thing and are honest. But those sound like...accusations!

 

I mean, have you heard anything supportive or encouraging from family or friends??? Is there anything positive you can latch onto?

 

Like many people, I received the usual questions about exposing my kids to the world, socializing them, and (the best question that true friends ask) staying sane myself. (Oh, and then there were the teachers, who said, "I'm so glad you're doing it," whom I could have hugged.)

 

I guess maybe in your shoes I would just stop telling people, avoid them, and curl up in a fetal position feeling like an abject failure. Oh, wait, no, don't do that. But seriously, those are some aggressive comments and lacking in manners. Follow the above advice. And maybe keep a few gift-condition books of manners in your handbag? My goodness.

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Wow, okay, I think you need new friends if they've said any of the above! Questions are one thing and are honest. But those sound like...accusations!

 

I mean, have you heard anything supportive or encouraging from family or friends??? Is there anything positive you can latch onto?

 

Like many people, I received the usual questions about exposing my kids to the world, socializing them, and (the best question that true friends ask) staying sane myself. (Oh, and then there were the teachers, who said, "I'm so glad you're doing it," whom I could have hugged.)

 

I guess maybe in your shoes I would just stop telling people, avoid them, and curl up in a fetal position feeling like an abject failure. Oh, wait, no, don't do that. But seriously, those are some aggressive comments and lacking in manners. Follow the above advice. And maybe keep a few gift-condition books of manners in your handbag? My goodness.

 

That's what I thought. For normal people, you don't really need to say anything much, just "we've researched it, it's legal, we're trying it for this year, we'll be fine..." bean dip.

 

But these are some seriously aggressive "friends." YUCK.

 

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How do you all deal with things like this?  When you decided to first homeschool, did you have people opposing you?  Did they finally come around, or will I have to deal with this our entire homeschool career?

 

 

:grouphug: When we first began homeschooling, not a single extended family member thought it was a good idea.  Some even went so far as to tell us that we were going to "ruin our kids." 

 

The vast majority have come around and some are now actually "pro-homeschooling, but there are still a couple of individuals who still don't approve of our choices and think that our kids " missed out" by not attending regular school. 

 

You may have to "deal" with these comments your entire homeschool career.  However, you don't have to let these comments get to you.  I have an extended family member who asks me every single time I see him when I am going to put my kids in a "real" school and get a "real" job.  I never respond to the comment and always change the subject.  (I also only have to put up with him at large family gatherings, which makes it easier since they don't happen too often.)

 

It is no one else's business how you raise your children and you don't have to justify your decisions to anyone. 

 

Good luck on your homeschooling journey.

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Congratulations, you've now identified the people in your life who don't respect you or your parenting decisions. Be aware of this moving forward. If they are family members, be aware that they may try to undercut you with your children. Establish your boundaries and take the respect you deserve as the parent of your child. 

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Here's a fun story.

 

When I got pregnant for the first time at age 29, I worked in an office with Mike.  Mike was single and about 26 years old and had a lawyer personality, which meant he knew absolutely nothing about pregnancy and childbirth but was very vocal about what he thought he knew and was willing to argue a point to death.

 

I read a bunch of books about pregnancy and childbirth and after about 4 months of research decided to go with a midwife.  I mentioned it to Mike one day.  He just about exploded.  "What?!?!  That's so medieval!  Are you going to start going to the local witch woman for herbs next time you get the flu!?"  He went on in this vein for quite a while, totally mocking my decision.

 

My mind went blank and I couldn't think of a single thing to defend my choice.  I became furious at the tirade and stormed off to lunch.  

 

When I came back, Mike was sitting at his computer.  I came in, steely-eyed and angry and refusing to look his way.  We sat in silence, staring at our computers for a few minutes.  

 

Then Mike quietly broke the silence by saying,  "Did you know that there are fewer C-sections when a woman uses a mid-wife rather than an OB?"  

Huh?  

 

"And did you further know that there are fewer interventions for the mother and higher apgar scores for the baby when using a mid-wife?"  

 

He admitted, "As soon as you left, I started looking up things about midwives so I could prove to you that you were making a bad decision.  But instead, I found out I was the one who was completely wrong."  

 

For you:  you might not have someone like Mike who is willing to admit when he's wrong.  But I wouldn't listen to a word they've said unless they've researched it as much as you have. 

 

I wouldn't open the door to them to research things and get back to you, but in your own mind, you know the truth.  You've done the research.  You know your own limits and capabilities.  Let them go on about medieval witch women all they want, but until they've put in the time, they're just a bunch of Mikes who don't have a clue.

 

I would say, "You know what, obviously I disagree.  I'm going ahead with my plan, so I don't think this is something we should talk about, because we'll just make each other upset.  Would you like a cookie? or Seen any good movies lately?" 

Edited by Garga
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That's what I thought. For normal people, you don't really need to say anything much, just "we've researched it, it's legal, we're trying it for this year, we'll be fine..." bean dip.

 

But these are some seriously aggressive "friends." YUCK.

 

 

 

I agree that these are some seriously aggressive friends.  Did they say those things exactly like that, or was that the undercurrent?  You don't have to answer that, I was thinking aloud.  

 

Above, Tibbie wrote "bean dip."  That's a phrase we use here for these situations.  One of the people who posts here a lot said that no matter what negative thing came her way regarding homeschool that she'd respond with, "Oh yeah?  Would you like some of this yummy bean dip?"  Another negative comment, "Interesting.  This bean dip is really good.  Want some?"  Another negative comment.  "Oh my.  Well, how about some bean dip?" 

 

The "bean dip" could be anything.  The point is not to engage with what they're saying, but to change the subject each and every time to something innocuous. 

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I never had people oppose my decision to homeschool. Friends and family questioned it, especially since I am from a country where homeschooling is not legal and they had not frame of reference, but it was obvious to all that I could do a better job educating my kids than the local school, nobody disputed that. 

I had very clear and convincing reasons for homeschooling, which I explained to people who asked about the decision in a manner of fact way.

I answered a lot of questions about the practical realities of homeschooling, and eventually my friends and family came to understand better how that works.

And the results spoke for themselves.

 

Good luck. Don't discuss your decision. You are the parent. Tell them matter of fact, answer actual questions, but don't engage with the people who challenge you or put you down. "Thank you for your concern. We have thought about this and decided that this is best for our family and our child. I do not wish to discuss this matter further".  

Edited by regentrude
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I'm in the "this isn't open for discussion" camp.  I'm also in the "we'll try this year by year and will make decisions accordingly" camp.  (We did it year by year for all 12 years with my first homeschool graduate and are still going with our second.)

 

The only accusation that I would even consider is the "they don't listen to you" comment.  Is that accurate?  If not, brush it off.  If it is, you might consider how to remedy that because it is true that your children need to listen to you if you are going to teach them well.  (Even the unschoolers I know still have good respectful parent-child relationships.) 

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If you don't want these people's opinions, don't tell them what you're doing and open yourself to them. ;)

 

What they're really showing is their lack of confidence in you as a parent, their lack of respect for you. And if that doesn't tell you a lot, well then it's time to at least have enough respect for YOURSELF as a parent that you feel it's ok to make a decision, even an incorrect or less than optimal decision. 

 

People make mistakes all the time. You're a young parent, but YOU are the parent, not them. Make the decision and only talk to other homeschooling parents about it. All it's doing is destabilizing you at this point.

 

This happens to EVERYONE. If I hang with people who do video schools, I leave thinking oh my lands I wish I could just plunk my kids into video school and have it be as romantic as it is for their family! And when I hang with people at the cs or ps, same gig. And I've been hsing a long time! Not as long as some people, lol, but long enough that you'd  THINK it wouldn't be an issue. But it is an issue for me, and I have to realize it and be careful.

 

*** If I'm with someone who makes very different choices, in general I'm better off talking about things we have in common. ***

 

And no, I don't think relatives have a flying flip in the discussion. But that's me. Have some confidence and just make the choice. I had a relative who, for ALL THE YEARS dd was at home would make comments about how dd shouldn't be homeschooled. Then that relative started making comments about ds. I kid you not. Like my dd has awesome social skills, awesome grades, has universities BEGGING her to attend and employers/internships, etc. where she makes people very happy. Clearly we did ok! And STILL that relative says stuff. Actually that relative died. But the point is, some people just think it's their right, and it's not. It's not their choice. They had their time to parent, and this dc is your responsibility.

 

Btw, the answer on your kids not minding is that it's why you're going to homeschool them. ;)

 

Edited by OhElizabeth
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Congratulations, you've now identified the people in your life who don't respect you or your parenting decisions. Be aware of this moving forward. If they are family members, be aware that they may try to undercut you with your children. Establish your boundaries and take the respect you deserve as the parent of your child. 

 

 

:iagree:

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:grouphug: When we first began homeschooling, not a single extended family member thought it was a good idea.  Some even went so far as to tell us that we were going to "ruin our kids." 

 

The vast majority have come around and some are now actually "pro-homeschooling, but there are still a couple of individuals who still don't approve of our choices and think that our kids " missed out" by not attending regular school. 

 

You may have to "deal" with these comments your entire homeschool career.  However, you don't have to let these comments get to you.  I have an extended family member who asks me every single time I see him when I am going to put my kids in a "real" school and get a "real" job.  I never respond to the comment and always change the subject.  (I also only have to put up with him at large family gatherings, which makes it easier since they don't happen too often.)

 

It is no one else's business how you raise your children and you don't have to justify your decisions to anyone. 

 

Good luck on your homeschooling journey.

 

:iagree:

 

This was pretty much my experience as well. I had to get past looking to others for approval. I was so used to doing the norm and everyone thinking I led this wonderful textbook life, it was quite the reality check when I suddenly left the beaten path and everyone revolted against me. People were brutal- friends and relatives. I echo the advice you're getting to tune it out and stop talking about it. The advice I was given here, was to come here if I needed to share- the good, the bad, and the ugly. I will now say that was sage advice. It might not be ideal, but we are here and you don't have to worry about being battered for your schooling choice. 

 

For me, it got better. Now that my oldest is in high school and taking classes that mostly leave the former critics mouths agape, the criticism has pretty much disappeared. But it was a difficult two years getting here. I had only ONE friend who supported me. Between her, my husband, and this place I made it. You will make it too. Just tune them out, know who you can talk to, and to those you can't, either "pass the bean dip" or perhaps take a break from them for a bit. It's scary getting started and you need a place of support, not hostility and criticism. Good luck, and welcome to The Hive. :) 

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I got a few of those remarks when I first started. I just rolled my eyes and ignored it. 5 years later everyone has just accepted it and ignores me. Im sure they still think I am wrong...but realise Im going to do it no matter what they say so they say nothing.😉

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Okay, - can I just say you've all brought tears to my eyes?  I thought this reaction was "normal" and I was just feeling incredibly (and honestly, still do) defeated.  If they already don't believe in me, how will I do it?

 

To be fair: the one friend who suggested a "psychologist" is not a very good friend, and I knew that, so I shouldn't have even mentioned it to her.

 

All the other comments sadly came from my father and, yes... my husband.  My husband is very, very worried about this decision and can be a bit downgrading in his commentary to me.  He has always thought I have been overprotective and coddling, so it just comes naturally that he would question this decision I'm trying to make.  To be fair to him as well; he's told me that he trusts my instincts and will support whatever I do choose to do.  But I know how he feels "underneath" it all.

 

And, it was my dad who called me selfish. He loves me a lot and didn't mean harm; but he's of the camp that assumes the only good way for my son to get proper socialization and education is the public school, which I heavily disagree with.  He called me selfish because I truly enjoy spending time with my kids and he thinks I'm "holding them back" because I am not letting them "into the world" - he wouldn't listen to me when I told him that they would be involved in all kinds of social events, extracurricular activities and two homeschool programs at our local nature centers.  He is also the one who assumes that my children won't listen to me because I often call a bit overwhelmed with my two crazy boys that do test their boundaries at times.  But what child doesn't?  That being said, he also fought me on the two names of my sons (nature themed and not necessarily "classic" names) and really doesn't like anything out of the box.  I should NOT have asked his opinion.  Even so, it left me feeling really sad.

 

I'm glad MOST of you haven't had any of these comments said; it really encourages me.  And for those of you who have also dealt with it - your advice is sound.  I've realized I can't ask for other's advice and need to make this decision on my own (and with my husband) and not worry about what others think.  My mom is one of my true supporters and is encouraging me to follow my heart.  You all seem to be doing the same and you've lifted my spirit tonight, so I thank you times a MILLION.  I will be reading and re-reading these comments to continue to encourage myself!

 

THANK YOU ALL :)  xoxoxo

 

 

Edited by sandydawn
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Then that relative started making comments about ds. I kid you not. ..... Actually that relative died. 

 

 

 

See!  Now you can tell your rude friends and relatives that you knew of someone who made fun of homeschooling...and they DIED!    Do NOT make fun of homeschooling!   Srsly.

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All the other comments sadly came from my father and, yes... my husband.  My husband is very, very worried about this decision and can be a bit downgrading in his commentary to me.  He has always thought I have been overprotective and coddling, so it just comes naturally that he would question this decision I'm trying to make.  To be fair to him as well; he's told me that he trusts my instincts and will support whatever I do choose to do.  But I know how he feels "underneath" it all.

 

 

 

 

 

Uh oh.  This is a problem.  If you dh isn't on board, this is a problem.  A big one.

 

You need him to be on board for this one.  Friends and non-immediate family you can ignore.  Your husband and the father of the children?  No.  I hope other people can chime in on that problem with suggestions for how to come to a meeting of minds with him.  

Edited by Garga
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I agree.  And that's a huge part of why I feel so disheartened.  We've had conversations leading up to this where he was agreeing with me; and just today he started saying all these things, which lead me to call my parents and ask for THEIR advice.  A total chain reaction that caused me to feel defeated and saddened.  So, maybe I should change the topic to: how to follow this path when you have a spouse who isn't completely on board. :)

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I have definitely known of families where the dh was less of a believer in homeschooling initially, but once he knew more about it or saw the change in the children after they stayed home he was won over to it.  Is there a homeschool conference near you that the two of you could go to together?  When our oldest was young, my dh was willing for me to homeschool, but was still somewhat skeptical about it overall.  After he went to a homeschool conference for the first time, he learned a lot about how normal it was, as well as many other benefits of it.  

Edited by Another Lynn
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I agree that your husband needs to be on board. There's a whole lot of awesome that comes with homeschooling, but there's also a lot of stress and responsibility. You will need the support of your husband.

It sounds as if he's open to the idea, but has reservations. That's normal. I would have a discussion about his concerns and find ways to alleviate them.

But there will be days where everything goes wrong, and the last thing you need is for your partner to be ready to pull the plug at the smallest bump in the road.

 

 

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Uh oh.  This is a problem.  If you dh isn't on board, this is a problem.  A big one.

 

You need him to be on board for this one.  Friends and non-immediate family you can ignore.  Your husband and the father of the children?  No.  I hope other people can chime in on that problem with suggestions for how to come to a meeting of minds with him.  

 

I'm afraid I agree. :( There will be HARD days in homeschooling; days when you aren't sure it's right, days when your child gives every impression of not learning anything. The way his parents handle those days IS a make or break response...you need to be on the same page, as much as possible.

 

You'll need him to be able to weather your doubts, because you will have days like that. You'll need him to be able to calmly believe you when you say your child may be "off schedule" according to what the public school is doing, but he's obviously progressing and thriving and will likely come out ahead (if that's your scenario; it's very common).

 

Please consider moving "find parental agreement about education" to the top of your to-do list. If you can, solve that before making any changes.

 

After homeschooling for almost two decades, and still going, I will tell you that I couldn't do it without DH. He is comfortable with what we're going through here. He's comfortable with financing the home and school on his own, and coming home to a messy schoolroom, and being "different" with "unusual" kids. He's my soft place to land. If I felt I had to prove myself to him every day, or even every year, I could NOT do this.

 

Hoping the best for you. Maybe your DH would like a summer homeschooling trial; that's been useful for a lot of families.

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There are meetings to attend about homeschool in our area; and I have a playdate with a close friend who homeschools her children next week to ask about a few things.  Honestly, I think what would get him on board would be to see all the social interaction we'd be involved with, and meeting with the families to realize how increasingly common it is to homeschool.

 

Our relationship is a bit different than many; he's a pilot and gone for weeks at a time, so I have taken on almost 100% of the child rearing.  When he's home, he still doesn't really do "much" other than a few good dad bear hugs and kisses, and a mini golf game or two.  We both agreed to it and have no problems with it, but because of that, it does leave me to make most of the parenting decisions for the kids.  And there are times he's resistant (he had a not so great upbringing and really struggled in school, which you'd think would help - but he's of the belief that kids need to "struggle" to toughen up), but he usually comes around and praises what I do.

 

I think the reason I was mainly feeling upset was - yes, my husband has gone from indifferent to opposing and back and forth - but if my other family members and friends also strongly disagree, it will be incredibly challenging - I need to know that people have faith and confidence in this endeavor.

 

Again - all of your insight is truly priceless.  Can't thank you all enough.

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I've known quite a few mums who started homeschooling while their husband didn't object but remained unconvinced.

In almost all of those cases, the husband comes around after seeing the fruits. Some of those turn arounds have been miraculous!

 

If your dh was adamantly against, that would be almost insurmountable and I wouldn't recommend it. If he's wary, I'd try to take his concerns seriously and find ways to address them.

 

For everyone else, they'll get used to the idea. It really is not their business and you don't need their approval.

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Hoping the best for you. Maybe your DH would like a summer homeschooling trial; that's been useful for a lot of families.

 

 

Or maybe longer than a summer.  Sometimes it takes a few months to hit a stride when you're first starting out.  Maybe all summer through Christmas, if you go that route.  That's a pressure-filled route: having to prove yourself to your spouse.  

 

Better to try to talk through his concerns, very calmly, ahead of time.  Do your very best to keep other people out of it because, as you found out, they could end up being sources of antagonism rather than sources of support.  

 

(Edited:  I just read your post about how you handle most of the child rearing--sounds like he's waffling, but not fully opposed.  Just keep the conversation open and stay calm. )

Edited by Garga
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Or maybe longer than a summer.  Sometimes it takes a few months to hit a stride when you're first starting out.  Maybe all summer through Christmas, if you go that route.  That's a pressure-filled route: having to prove yourself to your spouse.  

 

Better to try to talk through his concerns, very calmly, ahead of time.  Do your very best to keep other people out of it because, as you found out, they could end up being sources of antagonism rather than sources of support.  

 

The way I've seen people do it is to spend one month of the summer break homeschooling. (Not the whole summer, in case they do go back to school - you'd want them to have a break!)

 

But spend the month on The Best of Homeschooling - the field trips, the stories on the couch, picnics, science experiments involving creeks and magnets and all the fun stuff, some singing, math that isn't frustrating...

 

what can happen, and I've seen it happen, is that everyone is having so much fun actually learning and being together that even Dad can see that they're better off at home.

 

There's no guarantee. And I wouldn't do it to prove I could be super-schooly or able to achieve certain results. That IS stressful, and would probably backfire, anyway, in half a dozen ways.

 

But there's nothing to lose by trying out the lifestyle of learning that is homeschooling. And then say, "This IS homeschooling. We might buy a few more textbooks or something, but you see how much we're learning."

 

(Edit: Oh! I just saw your update! Just DO this, but don't tell him that's what you're doing. Then inform him you've been homeschooling for weeks, and here's the progress. In the meantime, do check out the groups, go to convention, avoid talking to Grandpa.)

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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After reading your updates, I agree that you should just go for it. If this feels right and you are the one to deal with the day-to-day, then jump in. Keep conversation with DH open. Get plugged in to a local group. Let your relatives know that this is not open for discussion or they can go somewhere.

 

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As far as your dh goes, I would ask him to consider doing it for one year.  Your children are really young.  First grade is really hard to screw up totally.  Then reevaluate for the next  year.  There will be a learning curve.  I think that both of you need to realize that.  How many new teachers immediately do everything perfectly?  But it's first grade.  You will be learning along with your child. 

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My husband was also fairly indifferent, but it was my job primarily and he went along with it.  My mom was the only person who was negative.

 

Six years later they have both morphed into that really annoying person who likes to brag about their child/grandchild. ;)   Under the circumstances, it sounds like day-to-day stuff is your responsibility anyway; I think it could work.

 

As for the others who are actively negative, personally I'd just tell them to butt out.  But others have suggested nicer ways to do that, so you'd probably be better served to follow their advice.

 

I will say that I have found homeschooling to be extremely challenging at times, but I am being rewarded with a very close and healthy relationship with my incredibly awesome 14-year-old.  Good luck to you, OP.  Know that, if you decide to homeschool, there will lots of people pulling for you here!

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I just want to add something else- don't overdo the social stuff your first year. I know it's tempting, particularly when you have a lot of nay-sayers on the socialization bandwagon, but it can be even more stressful if you're pulled a million ways each week. Get into your routine first and THEN add in the activities. Field trips are one thing- throw those in as needed. Everyone needs an adventure day. But don't run to sign up for a lot of weekly obligations and co-ops. That's only going to make it harder on the front end. 

 

I was one who did a summer trial because of my own doubts. I have no advice on the husband on board thing, but a summer trial can definitely be a boost to your confidence. I also second the convention idea with your dh if you have the possibility. If he can't attend with you perhaps your Mom can since she's supportive. Conventions can be a boost and an encouragement sometimes. 

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As far as your dh goes, I would ask him to consider doing it for one year.  Your children are really young.  First grade is really hard to screw up totally.  Then reevaluate for the next  year.  There will be a learning curve.  I think that both of you need to realize that.  How many new teachers immediately do everything perfectly?  But it's first grade.  You will be learning along with your child. 

I know how you feel Sandydawn! That was me 12 years ago. It was only me who read books about homeschooling and ask questions. My dh thought that was a bad idea. And my extended families. Like Jean said I asked dh to let me try just 1 year. My 1st ds was in 1st grade. For that one year, I didn't ask for my dh's help nor complain about extra work that I had to do for homeschooling. But, when we are going on field trips, I'd ask dh to come along. Or make our own field trips - like local museums in the afternoon so e can practically 'own' the place. After 1 year, dh didn't ask me to send ds to school. After 3-4 years, my extended families gave up talking about negative things. 

 

That is the time that I miss the most about early homeschooling. All those small field trips, experiments, seeing their eyes light up, and spontaneous picnics. So I'd say, try for a year first and go from there.  You ever know what you are missing until you try, right?

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I agree, and even for myself, it feels like less of a "leap" if I just commit to one year.  Because even though my head and heart are pushing and pulling me 100% in this directions, I'd be lying if I didn't say I was scared myself.  It's an important and life changing decision and I really believe for the better; but as we all know, each situation and each child is different.  So "one size" doesn't fit all, and if public schooling is best for my family, then we'll do that.

 

We've discussed giving it a trial run this summer and I think that's also a wise idea.  I also think my DH would be much more willing to commit if it was only one year - in the midst of our conversation which continues go back and forth, he did say he wants to spend more time with the boys, so I think homeschooling would allow for that (one of my biggest pet peeves in public schooling is the hours the children spend at school all day - we barely get time as a family together).

 

Have most of you started homeschooling before Kindergarten, or have some of you started after? My son is excited for the thought of homeschooling, but the ONE thing that holds me back (besides all the negative talk and unsupportive family - ha!) is my worry that my son will "miss" school - the bus, his friends, the class parties - and not realize it until he's gone from it.  We made a "pros and cons" list for homeschooling and he provided 13 pros, and only 1 con - but I am not sure he realizes that homeschooling isn't a free pass!  He's only 6, and I can't expect him to have opinions (and the visions of creative and interest based learning!) like I do!

ETA: I appreciate the advice on keeping the scheduled events to a lesser degree, because I imagine I might overdo it trying to "prove" how active and social we really can be.  It's hard to try to please everyone - it's really been a trying few months of this decision mainly based on my fear of what OTHERS would think!  Isn't that sad?!

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We've been doing this for about 8 years.  I pulled them out (there were only 2 in school at the time) at the end of K and 1st.  I was pretty anti-homeschooling and dh is from a country where there is no homeschooling.  

 

We also did the "summer trial" and yes, it feels like you're doing something illegal at first.  And it feels like they're missing out on common milestones, like riding the school bus...and it is harder to find friends.  People made weird comments to us in the beginning - in the last few years, never.

 

So...fast forward 8 years and my regret is that I put them in school at all.  I wish we would've homeschooled from the beginning.  It's true: my kids are a little weird, they don't have a lot of friends (they do have a few), they're very asynchronous...but, they are also incredible (I'm starting to realize that in the past year).  My 15 yro dd has two very involved volunteer jobs, she's won service awards, she's been on our local news...when I make a rare appearance at one of her events or fundraisers, people come up to tell me how wonderful she is.  My 14 yro ds ranked #6 in the world in a particular sport.  He helped teach this sport to special needs kids for several years.  Other adults in the sport actually recognize him when he goes to events outside our little area (Lol - I don't know why I think that's funny).  He's also starting a volunteer job in a couple of weeks working with therapy horses.  They both have this huge drive to help people (they both want to be doctors).  My ds is thinking about doing overseas mission work later (when he's older).  

 

If they went to school, we would not have the flexibility in our lives to put this much time/effort into these things.  I'm not saying this to brag about my kids, but I'm stunned that I didn't completely ruin them!  I mean, they didn't turn out the way the homeschooling stereotype said they would.  They weren't ruined like some of my relatives said they would be (one relative said this would be a "disaster".  Um, yeah, it ended up being a disaster.  sarcasm)    

 

And we had some years where it felt like they didn't learn anything...or our homeschool imploded.  I just picked up the pieces, changed stuff and moved on.  We had one horrible year where we lived with relatives, lived in an apartment, lived at a campground and finally rented a house.  And we still made it through (Lol).  Our curriculum was library books.   :leaving:   I think we spent more time playing with the dog at the campground than schoolwork.

 

Anyway, not sure if that was helpful, but good luck!  Oh, and for my unsupportive family members, I actually started a blog of what we do...and I never heard anything negative again.

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OhElizabeth, I know I sound silly!  I'm sorry.  I truly do not have a full grasp of this yet so I'm learning as I go.  I am positive there are a ton of homeschoolers in my area, but I haven't found many yet.  I think once I connect with my friend, that will really help me gain confidence and just stop my silly worrying.  But, as you can see - currently I'm surround with such negativity!  So it's hard for me to stay completely confident.

 

Evanthe - thank you for this!  I have never thought homeschooling was weird but will agree that my oldest son is "weird" in truly the best ways.  That's why I am so inspired by him and think we could make this experience be something pretty amazing.  He would thrive, in my opinion.  Where as in a school setting, he is only limited to what he's offered, which isn't much.  I think what my husband struggles with is exactly what you say - that "normal milestone" of a first bus trip, etc.  Which in all honesty, I don't think my oldest even like the bus.  It's loud and stressful and he comes off with a headache at times!

 

I have highly considered starting a blog and actually even have one half started.  To point the naysayers to the blog instead of having to explain over and over again - so they can see what we'd do and the materials, etc.  I love that idea :)

 

And, he may be open to reading, but he definitely is more of the "believe by seeing" type of guy.  We will see where this goes. You have all given me so much encouragement and I think (not to be cheesy) I need to believe in myself first and then my husband will easily jump on board.  Because as of now, when people are saying all these horrible things, I sort of just shrink away and either a) cry or b) get confused.

 

 

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I think what my husband struggles with is exactly what you say - that "normal milestone" of a first bus trip, etc.  

 

Your family will eventually create your own traditions/milestones.  Like for my Kindergarteners, we had a "school bus" where I picked them up before "school" from like their bedroom and gave them a piggy-back ride to "school" - which was the dinner table.  They loved it.

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Uh oh. This is a problem. If you dh isn't on board, this is a problem. A big one.

 

You need him to be on board for this one. Friends and non-immediate family you can ignore. Your husband and the father of the children? No. I hope other people can chime in on that problem with suggestions for how to come to a meeting of minds with him.

Yes, I agree that he needs to be on board, but he doesn't necessarily have to be all in when you first start out. Just soon.

 

My DH was concerned about homeschooling when we started. I chose to follow an intentional program for the preschool years as a warm-up for him, so that he could get an idea of how it worked (I was confident), but he was still hesitant when we hit kindergarten. As a compromise, we agreed that we would take it year by year and carefully assess what was best for our family and each of our children each year, and that he could go to PS for 1st if my DH was still very concerned. By the end of kindergarten, DH was a "true believer." :-) He loves to talk about homeschooling and how wonderful it is with his coworkers and others in his circle of influence. It's a good thing he became so supportive because homeschooling SN kids is hard work and I need to be able to cry to him sometimes without him telling me it's time to quit.

 

We continue to assess the needs of all members of our family every year. To that end, DS2 went to public K this year and DS3 went to preschool (our first preschool experience), while DS1 stayed home. This was the right decision for our family this year. We are undecided at this time about next year, but at least DS1 will stay home. I've found that telling people that "we take it year by year, carefully considering what is best for each child and our entire family and this year, this is right for us" really works to calm to naysayers. This got a lot of use over the just few years because our previous pediatrician really didn't like homeschooling. :-)

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I agree, and even for myself, it feels like less of a "leap" if I just commit to one year.  Because even though my head and heart are pushing and pulling me 100% in this directions, I'd be lying if I didn't say I was scared myself.  It's an important and life changing decision and I really believe for the better; but as we all know, each situation and each child is different.  So "one size" doesn't fit all, and if public schooling is best for my family, then we'll do that.

 

We've discussed giving it a trial run this summer and I think that's also a wise idea.  I also think my DH would be much more willing to commit if it was only one year - in the midst of our conversation which continues go back and forth, he did say he wants to spend more time with the boys, so I think homeschooling would allow for that (one of my biggest pet peeves in public schooling is the hours the children spend at school all day - we barely get time as a family together).

 

Have most of you started homeschooling before Kindergarten, or have some of you started after? My son is excited for the thought of homeschooling, but the ONE thing that holds me back (besides all the negative talk and unsupportive family - ha!) is my worry that my son will "miss" school - the bus, his friends, the class parties - and not realize it until he's gone from it.  We made a "pros and cons" list for homeschooling and he provided 13 pros, and only 1 con - but I am not sure he realizes that homeschooling isn't a free pass!  He's only 6, and I can't expect him to have opinions (and the visions of creative and interest based learning!) like I do!

ETA: I appreciate the advice on keeping the scheduled events to a lesser degree, because I imagine I might overdo it trying to "prove" how active and social we really can be.  It's hard to try to please everyone - it's really been a trying few months of this decision mainly based on my fear of what OTHERS would think!  Isn't that sad?!

 

It is true that you only need to commit one year at a time. :-)

 

I wouldn't try to do it during the summer, though, because in the back of your head will be the thought that if it doesn't work out you can just enroll your dc in the fall. You don't have to "start" in September and "end" in May or June--there are 365 days in a year, after all, which begins in January and ends in December--but we are several generations now into having a school year like a fiscal year. :-) So you can think of it, in the beginning, as Officially Starting in September; just don't get hung up on having to keep to the school schedule.

 

And it will take time for you to find what fits for you and your children. And that's ok. There's nothing you can mess up so badly with a little 6yo person that will be permanent. :-)

 

Your son will "miss school" only as much as you let him. When all the children in your neighborhood get on that school bus (or whatever the variation is in your neighborhood), y'all go to the zoo or to the park or some place fun, and have lunch, and casually comment about being glad that you get to spend time with the dc instead of their having to go away to school. It doesn't hurt to be sad when you drive by a school playground and comment about the poor children who have to leave their homes every day to go to school.

 

If there is a homeschool support group in your community, you should check it out. Not a co-op, where someone else does the teaching, but a support group, which might have a park day, some field trips, maybe a Moms' Night Out, or other social activities. Those social activities are actually where your dc (and you) will meet friends and be encouraged.

 

Also, look for activities outside the homeschool community. Homeschoolers tend to do things like sports and scouts and other classes during the day, but you need the time at home with your children. Community activities (scouts, sports, etc.) are done in the afternoons or early evenings, when you'll have had your own time with your children (and they with you and each other), and then you'll be free to do other things.

 

It would be good for you to read as many books about homeschooling as you can get your hands on. Your library probably has some. The more you read, the more prepared you are.

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Hi all!

 

Please let me know if this doesn't belong, as I can see most topics are from wonderful homeschoolers helping each other!  My question is a bit different; I've decided I'd like to homeschool my current Kindergartener for his 1st grade year.  He attends public school currently, so we'd begin next year.

 

We've started to "tell" close family and friends, and this is what we've received:

 

"You're selfish and want to keep your child home just because you miss him"

"You're too overprotective and can't shelter your child forever"

"You should sit your child down with a psychologist first to see what his issues are" (he has NO issues)

"You can't handle teaching your own children; they don't even listen to you for simple things!"

"Your child will become socially awkward and not be able to get a job"

 

And truly - the list goes on.  But, I haven't even started homeschooling, and I've been in tears over this multiple times already.  My heart and head know this is something that would suit us perfectly for SO many strong reasons (none of the above listed), but I'm already finding it hard to defend and we haven't even talked about it beyond close family and friends.

 

How do you all deal with things like this?  When you decided to first homeschool, did you have people opposing you?  Did they finally come around, or will I have to deal with this our entire homeschool career?

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful responses, and again, if this should be posted elsewhere - please let me know.  I admire you all so much!

 

Sandy

 

Well, I haven't read everyting, but I read enough to realize that your husband is not totally on board. This is a big problem. If HE"S the one making comments your child will hear and internalize. You might work a deal to try it for a year, but generally, I think you really both need to be for homeschooling for it to work well.

 

Back to your original comments. I do hear all of those off and on from family, friends and strangers. You may want to spend more time with your kids (I do) but that doesn't make me selfish - it means I love my kids. I may be overprotective, but that's my privilege as a parent.

 

The issues of homeschoolers producing adults that don't know how to socialize is basically a myth. There are kids that are socially awkward, but that is generally by personality - they exist in public school as well. There are homeschoolers that are totally isolated and don't learn socialization, but that is more a family choice to live isolated. It is easy to provde plenty of opportunity to socialize. In general, a class of all 1st graders that spend all day together learn many bad habits as they don't have the opportunity to learn from others.

 

If you choose to homeschool, you WILL make mistakes. That's okay. If you love your kids and do what you think is best, you'll generally do well.

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I agree with making some fun new traditions. I disagree with talking down the public schools. For one thing, lots of kids do just fine in them including (presumably) cousins and neighbor friends. Also- you don't know when your kids for whatever reasons might go to a ps for part of their schooling.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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In response to Ellie, I really appreciate what you said.  My son shows no real "love" of school and often says he misses me and his little brother; and when asking about if he'd like homeschooling, he continually repeats YES, because he'd prefer to be with mom and brother.  I've been told that I need to push him out the door so he's not of that mindset, but your response reminded me - it's okay to want to be with my children and vice versa!  It is OKAY that he wants to be home with his family.  He clearly will grow and naturally develop the desire for more friends outside the home and independent time, but there's no reason to push that onto a 6 year old.  Thank you for that reminder.

 

My husband and I just had another discussion where I told him I felt his comments have been a bit degrading and harmful, and he apologized and seemed to understand, but he's still not on "board" per se, so I suggested we table it for a month or two and come back to it at the end of the school year after we see how this year goes.  It's so important to me that he be with me on a decision like this, and I think he may just need some time.  In the next few months I will stock up on books, watch videos and see if he'd be interested in attending a conference.  Slow and steady; we want to make the right decision.  I hope the outcome is homeschooling for us; but we will make the right decision for our family no matter what.

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In response to Ellie, I really appreciate what you said.  My son shows no real "love" of school and often says he misses me and his little brother; and when asking about if he'd like homeschooling, he continually repeats YES, because he'd prefer to be with mom and brother.  I've been told that I need to push him out the door so he's not of that mindset, but your response reminded me - it's okay to want to be with my children and vice versa!  It is OKAY that he wants to be home with his family.  He clearly will grow and naturally develop the desire for more friends outside the home and independent time, but there's no reason to push that onto a 6 year old.  Thank you for that reminder.

 

My husband and I just had another discussion where I told him I felt his comments have been a bit degrading and harmful, and he apologized and seemed to understand, but he's still not on "board" per se, so I suggested we table it for a month or two and come back to it at the end of the school year after we see how this year goes.  It's so important to me that he be with me on a decision like this, and I think he may just need some time.  In the next few months I will stock up on books, watch videos and see if he'd be interested in attending a conference.  Slow and steady; we want to make the right decision.  I hope the outcome is homeschooling for us; but we will make the right decision for our family no matter what.

 

Ugh. I don't know why people think that young children need to be pushed out the door. :cursing:

 

Perhaps your husband will be content to trust you. He doesn't have to understand the whole thing, but he should trust you. When I told Mr. Ellie that I thought we needed to bring our older dd home (she was in a private Christian school; I withdrew her at Easter vacation), he said that I was with the children more than he, and I probably saw things that he did not, and that if I thought she needed to be home, then he would trust me on that. Perhaps Mr. Sandydawn can do that.

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Ellie, I think you are right.  I like you a lot :)  I do the majority of the childrearing since he is gone so often (he is a pilot), and he constantly says that he appreciates all I do and trusts me in most of my decisions.  A lot of his fears come from his childhood and he doesn't want his sons to grow up with some of the issues he had, so he gets scared.  Hopefully he can get to this place in our decision.  I think he may, after he listens for a bit longer at the real and true reasons I think homeschooling is better for our family :)

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Just my two cents, but I would put your energy into homeschooling, not blogging. You have nothing to prove to people, kwim? If you want to blog, fine, but do it for yourself, because it gives you pleasure.

 

In a situation like yours, it can be very reassuring to do standardized testing. Do it at the end of the year and simply blow people off with "they test fine, I'm not worried about it" boom done. You're about to get very in the weeds of homeschooling culture and materials, and there's no way people in the outside world can understand that. When I meet ps teachers, sometimes they seem to want to pat my head and hand me rubrics, as if grading is the hardest problem we have, lol. You're going into a place they haven't been before, a place where engagement is real, whether either you're awake and ready to learn and do things, or you're not. And you're going to have a lot of off days and missteps, which is why I think a blog is sort of unnecessary pressure. Like it's fine if it's really an artistic outlet for you or something. But just to prove and validate yourself, I wouldn't. That time is MUCH better spent just playing and doing things with your kids. You can't get that fleeting time back, and the years right now, with a little 6 yo, are the MOST precious. :)  I would say they're the most fleeting, but high school years are the most fleeting. But age 6-8? Precious, just precious. Play with your little ones and do things together. :)

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