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Conversations with family over the holidays

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
I thought it would be fun to share some of the conversations we've had with family members over the holidays regarding homeschooling, negative or positive.

Tonight was a party at my aunt's house. My uncle came over to me and said "So I hear you're homeschooling now!" And we chatted about it for a few minutes, he was generally positive. Then all of a sudden he throws out "Now I have a question for you--How do you socialize them?" And he had such a triumphant look on his face, as if to say "Aha! I bet you hadn't thought of that, had you?" I grit my teeth and said "Oh, there are lots of ways to do that outside of school" And he said "There is?" Like he was sincerely shocked!

Mostly my family has been quite positive, but it is starting to get on my nerves all the "assistance" people are offering me in the way of advice. I'm not totally inept...For example my grandmother has told me twice that my aunt told her I can get the Ontario curriculum on the Internet. Yes, thanks, I already knew that. Then this evening that aunt also told me. Then my mom told me that my cousin (who is a teacher) told her that I can get the curriculum on the Internet. Yes, thanks, I printed it out a month ago...and there are other little things. I know I shouldn't complain that everyone is trying to help but it starts to get insulting after a while!

Anyway, has anyone else had any fun or funny conversations with family yet this holidays? I'm sure someone will have a better story than mine...
post #2 of 51
Well, mine's neither fun nor funny. And luckily it was over the phone, between dh and mil, so I just heard about it. But she said that 5 year old ds needs more "structure" because he writes some of his letters backwards. Umm, HE'S FIVE!!!!
post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by jeaninevp922 View Post
Well, mine's neither fun nor funny. And luckily it was over the phone, between dh and mil, so I just heard about it. But she said that 5 year old ds needs more "structure" because he writes some of his letters backwards. Umm, HE'S FIVE!!!!
It's funny how as soon as you start homeschooling, everyone has an opinion about what your child needs. When my daughter was in ps, nobody in the family ever said a word to me about her education, nobody enquired how she was doing in school or anything. Now all of a sudden everyone is really concerned that she might miss out on something in our supposedly akin-to-God provincial curriculum. As if kids in ps pass each grade having learned everything in the curriculum!

And your MIL likely wouldn't have felt your son needed more "structure" if he was in ps writing his letter backwards. Btw, my daughter wrote a lot of letters backward at that age because she's left handed, and today (she was in 2nd grade) she writes very well.
post #4 of 51
We haven't even started yet and I'm already getting the "assistance" that I don't ask for. MIL took it upon herself to talk to the prinicipal of my kid's private school (her best friend) and get the principal to start to arrange for my kids to do long distance learning from the private school!!! I was going to return to France in May to take a vacation with the kids on the Mediterranian, but she insisted that the kids should go back to school in May when we come to visit. She then told me about how the kids teachers will send them work so that they can keep up with the class for when we come in May. So, now, I'm not coming in May and I'm going to stay far away from the inlaws for awhile once we leave.

I told her that the principal is welcome to send worksheets and we'll work on them when we want to and that the children will not be returning to school after February...ever. If we come here, it's for vacation and that's all it's for. MIL has a way of not listening...like time I told her not to be the ugly tablecloth for me and she kept saying "it's pretty" and guess what I got for x-mas???? She was ticked when I pulled it out to use at a birthday party under cake and juice!LOL She also thinks I need to be a lot stricter with my daughter who is "spirited" and not easily controlled....as if that would really help...argh.

My own mother thinks I'll be great at homeschooling the children and totally gets it.
Lisa (mom to 3 wonderful children)
post #5 of 51
Well, we told our parents that we'd be homeschooling soon after the birth of our first child. We had a lot of socialization lectures over the years. And when there'd be a parade, the in-laws would turn to my DD and say "See, when you're in school, you'll get to wave a flag with your class mates and be in the parade too!" Luckily the local homeschoolers have started arranging their own piece in the parade. I remember one time I dropped by for a visit and my SIL (who was still in highschool at the time) was there. My MIL turned to her and said, "M---- tell G---- what you think of homeschooled kids." To which SIL didn't skip a beat "Oh they're social retards! And prattled on and on about how they couldn't relate to anybody and it was so awful for their soicalization, etc.

Here's the ironic part. We did end up putting our oldest DD into preschool due to some behavior issues that were driving us crazy at home and I was battling PPD at the time. Well, we just pulled her out because they kept switching teachers on her and the bus stystem was all whacked and she was picking up worse behviors from school and bringing them home! Sooo.....we have her out and we're kind of unschooling at the moment (looking into Waldorf curriculum) and the in-laws and my parents can um, yeah, I won't say it here, but they can keep their opinions to themselves.
post #6 of 51
Overall my family is supportive though I know they think it's short term and I just haven't really offered any information beyond that.
But my MIL likes to ask "what types of things is he doing with other kids?" I always say he has karate 2x a week, a science co-op class 1x per week, various playdates and field trips, and swim lessons. Then of course there's just the everyday being in public where he learns lessons too like holding the door for older people, helping a younger child on the swing, waiting in line at the store, etc.
She says "well yes, but he's not with kids his age all the time and most of those things he doesn't really get to interact but mostly just listens."
I said "I dont want him being with kids his age all the time-they are terrible!" and I laughed and shrugged it off.
She didn't think it was funny and made a "disapproving face"
I was mad I didn't think to say "what do you think he'd do in a class all day if not JUST LISTEN?" She hasn't been in a classroom lately.

Luckily, this is as much grief as I've gotten so I'm lucky.
post #7 of 51
My personal favorite:

Annoying stranger: What grade are you in?
DS: Ummm, 6 kind of
AS: What school do you go to?
DS: We unschool
AS: Unschool? What's that?
DS: We just do whatever we want and learn while we're at it. I like to cook.
AS: What about Christmas vacation?
DS: *looking confused* We're starting our vacation in a few days
AS: Well, it sounds to me like you need to work harder so you'll know the difference when you're on vacation

At this point DS just turned and walked away.

ETA: DUH, I just noticed that this thread said "Annoying conversations with FAMILY". My family knows better that to be annoying with me about homebirthing, breastfeeding, not vaxing, homeschooling, babywearing, intact boys ...
post #8 of 51
Thread Starter 
Today was Christmas dinner at my mom's, and the only homeschooling conversation I had was with my brother-in-law's mother. She wanted to give my phone number to her daugher-in-law (yes I know this sounds confusing) because she is interested in homeschooling her two kids who aren't in school yet. I said sure.
post #9 of 51
Since my MIL is in complete denial that we homeschool (DS is Junior Kindergarten aged so she just decided that for whatever reason we just "kept him out of school for the year")...she doesn't see it as homeschooling and can't understand that it is more than a one year commitment KWIM? Anyway she piped up today asking when I was going to get DS to learn to wipe his own bum (apparently a 4.5 year old who can't wipe his own bum is scandalous...<sigh>)...she said "you know he has to know how to do that before he can start school...and of course in my head all I could think was "Oh if that's the cut off we have *plenty* of time to address the issue

post #10 of 51
My victory this year is that no one said one word about it (just like if they were in school).

I'm feeling fairly confident about homeschooling this week, I think that helps.

For some reason dd's girl scout leader (who is perfectly aware dd is homeschooled) loves to say "now we're going to..." (line up or take turns or whatever) "just like you do in school". I think it's her way of borrowing authority, but it strikes me as odd. My dd ignores the phrase and goes along with the activity. Have I mentioned how conflicted I am about this troop?

post #11 of 51
Here is one I heard, I know this is not from family, but I have been dying to unload as I have never heard this one (and thought it was exceptionally stupid).

From the neighbors when we brought over christmas cookies.

"What about socialization in groups though?"
post #12 of 51
What is the deal with socialization?? My ds has SPD and can't focus in groups of children. He has serious issues with crowds and with communication. I just pulled him out of a jr. kinder program because of his issues so that we could switch to homeschooling. The whole family has followed our issues in diagnosing and dealing with this. They know why I am determined to homeschool him... Yet I have found myself answering questions about socialization while talking to family over the holidays. He doesn't WANT socialization. He wants to be left alone. Seriously. I'm homeschooling him (other than prefering it in general) mostly because I can't let him live his life so entirely stressed out.

I know that if I pull my dd out of ps, who is bright and outgoing and loves groups of children, nobody will get it. *sigh*

Why can't they just say "It's wonderful that you pay so much attention to your child's individual needs, so much that you give up your own school/work to give them what they need. Thank you for being so good to our grandchildren."??

Ok. Done ranting.
post #13 of 51
Well we got alot of inquires, not only on homeschooling, but on our general life/parenting choices. My dh comes from a very punative family, even extended family. And MIL is a preschool teacher, so of course she feels like an expert when it comes to education.: When I mentioned that we were probably not going to use a curriculum, unless dd asked for one, we were asked, "But how is she going to "LEARN????" Ummm....the way humans do? We also received all kinds of "educational" gifts for dd from them, since we specifically asked for simple, non-plastic and non-mechanical toys. She got a leapster or leapfrog (which is it?) magnet phonics program. Ummm she's 21 months. She doesn't need phonics quite yet!!!! Ok gotta go and nurse dd but I'll be back!
post #14 of 51
OK, extended family member says "I hear you're teaching your children at home instead of sending them to school". I say yes (no need to get into the whole unschooling thing here, just a short 'yes' answer should be good I figure). He says "do you really think you're good enough to do that?" (Is it ok to pour my festive drink over the head of an elderly family member at this point?)
post #15 of 51
My grandmother, 95, asked me about the magazine. I told her it was going well, growing all the time. She said, "I'm so glad you're doing this. I'll bet you're helping a lot of people." You could have knocked me over with a feather. I almost cried. She also told Kenzie how smart she thinks he is and what a wonderful 8-year-old he's become.
post #16 of 51
So I'm just planning to homeschool my now 4 month old, and I got nothing but good feedback from everyone over the holidays, including my dad. But my dad said something funny: "You know, he'll want to do the opposite of whatever you want him to do. What'll you do if he WANTS to go to school?" I said I'll tell him he can go to school, and we'll see how well he likes getting up in the morning. No biggie. The point is that he won't be forced into the institution of school.

I think I traumatized my dad when I was young. I was a "my way or the highway" kind of kid. He's still not recovered.
post #17 of 51
Originally Posted by erin a View Post
MIL buys DS a picture book for Xmas and then says to me that she thought of buying him a novel but that the guy at Chapters thought it would be too hard for an 8 year old boy to read a novel. I told MIL that he's reading Robinson Crusoe on his own and she just about fell off her chair. I guess I must be doing something right if he can read novels on his own at age 8!

I think this is the reason we don't get hassled by our parents or ILs. Without trying to sound braggy, it's pretty clear to most people that our dd is getting a better education from us than she could receive from PS.
post #18 of 51
My MIL asked me what I would do if ds asked to go to school. I said I have no idea, because it would depend on how old he was, the reasons he wanted to go, how things were going for us at home, our school options, etc. She looked at me like I was crazy.

She is constantly harassing me to apply to the catholic school that SIL is sending her dd to. Let's see, hmm, we're not Catholic, the school is in a different county, the K class has 30 kids, and, let's see, what else . . . oh yeah, right, WE'RE HOMESCHOOLING!

Then they started in on when ds2 was going to go to preschool. He's 2.5. I haven't decided to break it to them yet that he won't be going to preschool at all. I told them I had another year before even thinking about it. Then MIL said that he HAS to go to the preschool that SIL's dd went to. Hmm, the one I visited? The catholic one with a regimented schedule and a total of 20 minutes of outside time a day? No thanks.
post #19 of 51
Originally Posted by Dillpicklechip View Post
Today was Christmas dinner at my mom's, and the only homeschooling conversation I had was with my brother-in-law's mother. She wanted to give my phone number to her daugher-in-law (yes I know this sounds confusing) because she is interested in homeschooling her two kids who aren't in school yet. I said sure.
Yeah, that's pretty much us. Nobody seems to remember we homeschool until they need my phone number for a friend.

Maybe it's because I don't mind answering questions that nobody asks? It's one of my fav topics...even after all these years.
post #20 of 51
I found this in my son's email on Christmas Eve and it would be positively hilarious if Grampa didn't have other signs of early Alzheimer's disease:

Children have limited rights, but one of them is the right to a proper
education. You have that right and your mother would have a hard time
proving you are adequately schooled because she has thumbed her nose at
the approved state curicular and has done her own thing, thus
forfitting 8,000 to 10,000 in state funds for schooling each of her children.
That's 16,000 to 20,000 a year so your mother could do her own thing in
regards to your education. The state requires that their curiculum be
used for a very good reason. People's financial situations change and
it is not always possible for one parent to stay home to home school.
Often both parents must work to support the family and no matter what
the "rathers" are the children must then attend public school. This has
happened in part. Your grandmothers investments have not prospered
because of the economy and her income has consequently been seriously

It makes sense to keep the home schooled children in step with what is
taught in the public schools, particularly since the public schools
teach the changing skills needed to prepare students for the changing job
market. Then home schooled children can make a smooth change over to
public school or college.

If you look in the government listing of the telephone book probably
under California State Government you should see a listing of Human
Resources Department and under that you should see something like Family and
Children Services.

You can go and talk to these people and they will see to it that you
get a proper education in a proper school, but they will probably take
you away from your mother and put you in a foster home which would
devastate your mother and might be highly unpleasant -- from the frying pan
into the fire. In a sitution like this, the State of California spends
upward of $60,000 a year on each child, providing them with tutors
where needed etc. That's a lot of money and a lot of assistance. There
was a ditty on 20/20 on TV about it.
I don't normally intrude on my ds's private email conversations, but he was understandably upset by this.
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