Uncomfortable comment from a former homeschooler

Discussion in 'General' started by Dielle, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Dielle

    Dielle Well-Known Member

    A new family moved into our congregation and sat behind us Sunday. So I invited them to dinner. They have 3 young children, the oldest is just recently 5. So tonight at dinner, they were asking about different shopping, and parks and that kind of thing, then asked about the schools. In a nutshell, I said that we homeschooled so didn't have firsthand experience, but from looking at the state's ratings, the district was kind of so-so. Then we went on and were talking about how she wants to put her son in preschool and I mentioned that my friend and my SIL had both put their boys in the one in town (it's a very small town) and really liked it. I think the only options here are headstart and 1 private preschool. She said something to the effect of, "I really need to get him in preschool because he's so active and I'm actually really against homeschooling. I was homeschooled for a few years and hated it." The conversation went on from there, but it just rubbed me wrong. When I mentioned it to my DH after, he said I'd been negative about the public school, too, so shouldn't feel odd about it. The thing is, they're new here and asked for my opinion on the schools. I wasn't nasty, just not overly positive based on the standings by the state. But I never said anything about being anti-public school or anything. It's late and I don't even know why I'm typing this. It's really petty of me, probably. I'm just feeling annoyed.

    On a somewhat different note, but related to her comment... if your kids really didn't want to be homeschooled, but you thought it was the right thing to do, what would you do?
  2. jenn-

    jenn- Well-Known Member

    She was really rude. You kindly invited her into your house and she chose to attack your life choices, even if it was just briefly. At least you know where she stands on the issue and you can choose to avoid her if she keeps voicing that opinion.

    As for the second part, I don't know what I would do. I guess it would depend on the child's reasoning and possibly their age. The three boys never even think about what going to a brick and mortar school would be like. DD probably thinks about it regularly during her meltdowns, but she hasn't expressed interest in going back for years now. She knows she has it good here, even if she would love to have a friend or two to play with. I also dangle the gymnastics carrot out in front of her. She knows she cannot go to public school and do gymnastics. The workload would be to much for her with having 3 hour practices 3 days a week.
  3. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    I think she stressed how much she hated being homeschooled a little much, but honestly, you do not know when she was homeschooled.. (right?) what age? Perhaps she was homeschooled in high school. A lot of things have probably changed over the years since her experience. Yes, it was rude of her to tell you that she is absolutely against homeschooling. She did not convey her message very well. Perhaps she'd soften her views if she saw how it worked in your household.
  4. Stacy A.

    Stacy A. Well-Known Member

    It is one thing to choose not to homeschool herself, but to completely discount it completely for others and to point that out to you is rude. I know plenty of people who send their kids to PS. Even though we have chosen to keep them home, I respect their choice to do what is best for THEIR family. I don't discount PS completely even though I personally had a miserable time in PS. Had she said something along the lines of, "I was homeschooled and had a really bad experience. Because of this, we've chosen to send our kid to PS. But, I respect your choice to homeschool," it would not have been rude.

    As for whether I would allow the kids to chose, that depends on a lot. A big one would be their reasons. Also, if my kids were truly miserable at home, I don't think they would be getting all the benefits that I see to homeschooling. So, it might be time to make a change. But, before I just simply put them in PS, I would reevaluate what I might do at home to help them enjoy their education experience and get the most out of homeschooling. If they are miserable, that is a sign that something needs to change. I just think there could be plenty of other changes made besides just sending them to PS.
  5. Dielle

    Dielle Well-Known Member

    That's basically what I said to my husband. Even if she'd left off the part of respecting our choice, even if she thinks we're completely nuts for doing it, she could have said something like, "I was homeschooled and really didn't enjoy it so I don't plan to homeschool our kids."

    And to answer my own question, I agree that it might depend on the reason. When Sage was kindergarten age she was sad about not going to school. I figured out that she really wanted to ride the bus. The neighbor boy rode the school bus and that seemed like a lot of fun to her. We went and rode a city bus a couple times and she was happy. I have a friend whose son was really unhappy and acting out at home, sometimes rather violently. She finally decided that her personality and his just really needed time apart. She put him in school in about 3rd grade, and he's done so much better ever since. He's Trey's age, so in 6th grade now. But personally, I think it would take A LOT for me to put a child in school. I'm not saying I never would, but it's not not at all something I'd take lightly.
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  6. Meximeli

    Meximeli Well-Known Member


    As you know I don't homeschool, but it's been something I've been interested in since high school. While I agree that what she said was rude especially since you demonstrated a lot of kindness to a new comer in your community, she may have been nervous and it may have come out not like she was intending. At this point, I'd still be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt since it sounds like you will likely see her again. If it were me, my curiousity would get the best of me--I'd have to know more about it. Like Jackie said, at what age? was it before, after, or between going to public school? what part of the country was she living in? why did her parents decide to homeschool her? what sort of set up did they use, was it like school at home or more free? who was teaching her? what were they teaching her? There are just so many unknowns. I'm also tempted to jump to the conclusion that she's quite a bit younger than you? and with three small children maybe has not had the time to give a thoughtful analisis to the pros and cons of different educational theories? So she also might really benefit from an indepth conversation on the topic with you.

    To answer your question, I'd really love to homeschool my kids, but I don't think they'd enjoy it at this point in their lives, Gabby really loves playing a lead role in a group and Bianca and my personality (which is actually the same personality) would clash like your friend and her son, our relationship benefits from not spending all day together. I think by 7 or 8 they know enough about the world to have an educated opinion and part of their upbringing is empowering them to take an active roll in those kinds of decision. We changed to a private school this year and at various times in the year I've talked to them about how they feel about the new school and what advantages and disadvantages have they found with it and how in compares with the public school they attended for first grade.
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  7. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I agree with Melissa. It was probably nervousness and just came out wrong. I've also noticed that homeschooling/public school conversations are generally very awkward with people getting easily offended. They remind me of breastfeeding/formula conversations. Nobody generally comes away happy. I'm the only one in dh's family who doesn't homeschool so I get to sit through plenty of these conversations.

    If we were ever in a situation where I felt it would be better for the kids, I would homeschool. If I felt they weren't safe at school or weren't learning what they needed, I would. My hesitations are that I have noticed my kids are so eager to please me, they tend to start having melt-downs if they aren't perfect the first time. Put them with someone else, and the melt-downs go away and they learn it without the stress. We just did this for piano. I can and have taught them some. But my neighbor is now their teacher. I support them and answer questions during practice but I have mostly retired to being their biggest cheerleader. It's a dynamic that working much better for us.

    So, I would homeschool if I felt like it was needed. And I whole-heartedly agree that there are situations and dynamics that make for great homeschooling. But I don't think that's me and my kids. They do better with a cheerleader. I feel fortunate that there is a wonderful school district close to my dh's work where I have loved almost everything about the schools. And I recognize that people don't always have that luxury.

    I wouldn't let this stop you from becoming closer friends if you think that friendship potential is there. Just in my limited experience in being pro-public school with 2 sil's being very pro-homeschooling, these types of conversations rarely end well. It's not something I bring up if I can help it.

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  8. Dielle

    Dielle Well-Known Member

    It's funny Marissa, I'm always on the other end of that conversation. My SIL thinks I'm flat out wrong for homeschooling. She's been PTA president a couple times, half her friends are teachers and there's nothing positive she can say about homeschooling. In fact, if I ever make a postive comment about some good thing in our family education, even completely non-comparitive of home vs. school, she will always come up with some way that public school would have been better. (And if it's not the homeschooling thing, then it's the fact that she's a working mom and I'm not, or their lives totally revolve around sports or video games and ours don't... our decisions are always considered beneath them.) She lives 1/2 mile from me and we attend the same church. But I almost never have anything more than a superficial conversation with her anymore if I can help it because I hate that. Then there must be a dozen women at church who are teachers or para-educators, and the best I usually get is kind of a polite blank stare if the somehow the conversation comes up. So I work very hard to not be like that in reverse.

    Melissa, I'm curious too. Maybe I'll see if I can ask her at some later time. I was just taken aback in the moment and then annoyed the more I thought about it. The funny thing is that through most of the conversation with them, I just kept thinking that they would actually really like that BIL and SIL a lot better than they'd like my DH and I. I think it would be nice to be friendly with them, especially since they live so close to us (we're out in the country) and we'll see them at church. But I'm guessing that it's not going to be a deep friendship, and I'm totally ok with that.

    Your comment about her being a lot younger than me is probably true, and I didn't think of that, either. Frankly, a lot of times I forget that I'm a good 10 years or more older than a lot of the young moms around. I think having a toddler and other young kids keeps me young and on my toes. But I didn't even get married until I was 26 and have been married coming up on 15 years. I was chatting with another woman who has 4 kids who range from 5 to 9, so they're pretty close in age. She was talking about how it was hard to have them so close when they were little but at least they'd all be out of the house by the time she's 40. I literally laughed out loud, because with me being 40 now and having a 2 year old, I've obviously got a long way to go.
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