I hate it when people ask what grade my kids are in - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 46 Old 10-05-2010, 12:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There. I just needed to get that off my chest.
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#2 of 46 Old 10-05-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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There. I just needed to get that off my chest.
I've been getting a lot of this lately too. Annoying. I just say "we homeschool." Usually by their expression I see that this doesn't answer the question. They still want to know the grade. But I just smile and say nothing. No one probed further yett.

I find many want to make small talk when they see me with the kids out and about, and yet they have no idea how to talk to kids / about kids without bringing school and grades into a conversation. School is such a basic conversation starter. I don't blame them. What else would they ask? About the weather? Most people don't have homeschooling on their radar. Those who ask don't necessarily irk me. But it makes me think about our society in general, where kids are viewed in terms of grades, and how limited their options are.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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#3 of 46 Old 10-05-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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There. I just needed to get that off my chest.
I'm with you! I used to try and explain that we didn't use grade levels but I'd get a lot of blank stares, so then I decided to just answer according to what grade they'd be in if they were in school. I always had to stop and do the math to figure out what that grade was, because I'd never remember.

Just last night, my father asked me what grade my dd was in. My answer went something like this, "Well, she'd be a freshman...no, a sophomore, in high school, but she's taking community college classes so she's earning college credits as well, so..."

When I couldn't come up with a clear answer, he asked, "So when will she graduate?" and I said, "Do you mean college or high school?" He changed the subject after that.

Even after all these years, it's hard for me to explain how meaningless the "what grade is she in" question is!

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#4 of 46 Old 10-05-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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When I couldn't come up with a clear answer, he asked, "So when will she graduate?" and I said, "Do you mean college or high school?" He changed the subject after that.


I just tell them what year ds would be in. It's just the way people ask how old school aged kids are...
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#5 of 46 Old 10-05-2010, 12:26 PM
 
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I just tell them what year ds would be in. It's just the way people ask how old school aged kids are...
I agree. I just do a simple age minus five calculation and say that. I don't think people are asking "what academic level is your child at?" or "what school-like category of curriculum is your child learning this year?" They just mean "how old is she?" in the way people ask school-aged kids.

Sometimes I'll say "fifth, but we don't really do grades, because we homeschool" because that feels a little more honest than just "fifth." But I've got no problem with just saying "fifth" if the question was nothing more than a fleeting social nicety.

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#6 of 46 Old 10-05-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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Yep. I just say "We home school, but he would be in 3rd".
Or more accurately I say "Well we homeschool, so I have to think about it...uhh...3rd, I guess."

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#7 of 46 Old 10-05-2010, 01:59 PM
 
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I'm with you! I used to try and explain that we didn't use grade levels but I'd get a lot of blank stares, so then I decided to just answer according to what grade they'd be in if they were in school. I always had to stop and do the math to figure out what that grade was, because I'd never remember.
I've had this happen a lot too. I always have to do the mental math because it isn't something I ever paid attention to in my day to day life. And just saying we homeschool got the stares also.
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#8 of 46 Old 10-05-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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Sometimes I wish I could say 'does it really matter'. YES then I would stick out my tongue too.... LOL

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#9 of 46 Old 10-06-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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Ditto!

My prob is when asked I can't even remember right away what "grade" they would be in and then the person looks at me like I am loony. LOL!!!
Or if I manage to remember, the next questions don't get any better. "What school does he go to?" But most of the time the conversation cuts off b/c eventually I say "we homeschool" and that's the end!

Next time, I'll just not even answer and just ask them "WHat grade is YOUR kids in"?lol
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#10 of 46 Old 10-07-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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we get this question and are generally stumped by it. we do manage some kind of answer. it comes up sometimes when registering for library programs or getting books / games that proclaim a grade level.

one day i happened to mention to my daughter that she was at different grade levels for different subjects and she seemed happy and relieved by that. so sometimes we say that. of course that would lead us to explain that we are hs, etc.

or if it really is just small talk we might just say hs and/or the grade corresponding to her age.

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#11 of 46 Old 10-07-2010, 10:47 PM
 
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We have to declare grade level on annual paperwork, but I still dislike being asked what grade dd's in. I generally just say, well she's x years old so I guess she would be in y grade if she were in school.
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#12 of 46 Old 10-08-2010, 01:09 AM
 
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Here's a weird little twist to this subject. We moved to a new town about 6 months ago. In our old town I virtually never met "school at home" folks, just unschoolers and relaxed eclectic whatever you call it homeschoolers. In our new town its smaller and the christian and secular folks mingle more often. I've found myself talking to homeschooling mums who are quoting grade levels, and that really throws me off. For example, I asked one mum if she was here for the homeschool swimming lessons and she replies "yes, my daughter just started kindergarten and my daughter [who I couldn't see] is in grade 2". Huh? lol...I thought maybe she was there with a school group and got confused!

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#13 of 46 Old 10-08-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post
Yep. I just say "We home school, but he would be in 3rd".
Or more accurately I say "Well we homeschool, so I have to think about it...uhh...3rd, I guess."
Ha! That is me too... Ummmmmmmmmmmm...

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#14 of 46 Old 10-08-2010, 10:08 PM
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huh. I've always just said "we don't do grades". I *do* see it as elders trying to connect with kids they don't know (akin to Are you excited for Santa/Easter Bunny/Summer vacation?) and don't get irritated by them, but I'd never think to calculate grades. They can connect just fine without it, I guess. As in, if I did say '5th grade' they'd be no more connected to my kid than without it. My kid would still stare blankly at the person, and the person would still have nothing further to say to my kid.

I'm not dissing those who do give a grade number, just that it never dawned on me that others were doing this, as many of you obviously are.

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#15 of 46 Old 10-09-2010, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, I think I have this reaction in part because I'm so sheltered most of the time--to be honest, most of the people I hang out with are unschooly homeschoolers, so this question doesn't even come up. So I'm always a little befuddled by this question, which could not have less relevance in our life.

Of course, I'm also known to say "My kids don't go to school" instead of "We homeschool" which somehow seems to describe our lives better. I guess what I really mean is that school just isn't relevant/important/a reference point for us--and that we definitely aren't doing school at home. But that statement does tend to shock people!
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#16 of 46 Old 10-09-2010, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
In our new town its smaller and the christian and secular folks mingle more often. I've found myself talking to homeschooling mums who are quoting grade levels, and that really throws me off. For example, I asked one mum if she was here for the homeschool swimming lessons and she replies "yes, my daughter just started kindergarten and my daughter [who I couldn't see] is in grade 2". Huh? lol...I thought maybe she was there with a school group and got confused!
I know! Me, too! I'm just not used to hearing grade levels used to talk about homeschoolers, and I tend to get confused and think maybe they're really schoolers and I got it wrong.

Also, sometimes people have their kids working on curricula at a different grade level than the grade their kids would be in age-wise, so I'd get confused because the kid the mom is tagging as a 3rd grader looks around 6... and I'm thinking she must be a really young-looking 8 year old... but no, she's 6.

As far as the original question, it sort of varied over time. During our "in-your-face" phase we might have said "We don't do school" or "We don't do grades", or Rain used to tell people that grades are for meat and eggs, not people. That was her "I'm an autodidact" phase, too.

Usually, though, we stuck with "We homeschool, but she just turned 10" or however old she was. Now we say that she's homeschooled but this would be her senior year in high school, because Rain actually is doing a lot of the same stuff that a lot of schooled high school seniors are doing as far as college apps, so it's a but more relevant.

 
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#17 of 46 Old 10-09-2010, 09:32 PM
 
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At our state hs convention this year, the conservative Christian school-at-home (from what I could tell) featured speaker even said that HIS kids get a confused, slack-jawed look on their faces when someone asks them what grade they're in. This was heartening to me, even if, like others mentioned, it seems other structured hs'ers around here are more preoccupied with grades.

DS (6) played on a "kindergarten" soccer team this year because his best friends were on that team. I mentioned that he was in first grade to the team coordinator and he made a big deal about telling me not to tell any of the other parents that he was actually a first-grader. After I walked away, I realized I should have told him that we homeschool, so I could just hold him back for six weeks until soccer was over, THEN let him be a first-grader.

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#18 of 46 Old 10-12-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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My oldest just turned six, so we are have only been asked a few times... At which point I say that we homeschool and it seems to do the trick. Still, this thread makes me want to buy my kid a gob of those "I'm unschooled, grades are for roads" or some such t-shirts just to avoid being asked silly questions. :P Really, for all the hullabaloo made over trying to overcome stereotypes and segregation and whatnot, why are are children automatically categorized in some arbitrary number system based on how they stack against their peers? *gag*
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#19 of 46 Old 10-15-2010, 10:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jillc512 View Post
DS (6) played on a "kindergarten" soccer team this year because his best friends were on that team. I mentioned that he was in first grade to the team coordinator and he made a big deal about telling me not to tell any of the other parents that he was actually a first-grader. After I walked away, I realized I should have told him that we homeschool, so I could just hold him back for six weeks until soccer was over, THEN let him be a first-grader.
bolding mine. this made me laugh!

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#20 of 46 Old 11-24-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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me too!  and I've only been asked by homeschoolers.  what's so important about what grade they are? 


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#21 of 46 Old 11-24-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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My 10 year old gets asked what grade are you in all the time. He goes into this big long explanation of how he's halfway through six grade math and expects to start 7th grade at the first of the year, but he's in fifth grade spelling, he studies Zoology for science, early American history...if I let him he'll go through the list and tell them what all he's studying and if there is a corresponding grade level from the publisher he'll let them know what it is. He also likes to let people know that he'll be able to start taking classes at the community college in 4 years. He's much nicer to people when they start asking questions than I am.

 

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#22 of 46 Old 11-26-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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I told mine they can be in whatever grade they want. Ds12 usually says 8th. Dd9 usually says 5th. I just nod and agree with them. Heck, if they're around, I often just refer the question over to them. They seem to care at least a little what the answer is, and I can't be bothered to keep track of what label they are using at the time. If it's a friend or something, I'll give them a straight answer though. S/he ranges from about ____ to _____ depending on the subject. 


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#23 of 46 Old 11-29-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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lol you hate it. i love it because i say no grade and their mouth always drops open. what do you mean NO grade. we dont have grades we homeschool.... hehe i am nuts i know

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#24 of 46 Old 11-30-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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I tell them we homeschool and that C. works at her own pace, but the things she is currently studying would be typical for grades X/Y/Z. Here, people usually just ask how old she is, and when they ask if she's in school yet (she's 6) she explains she's homeschooled. So far, the response has usually been along the lines of "Wow, she seems really smart/well-spoken for a 6 year old" and they don't inquire about grade level (but I sometimes offer that information if they appear to be interested in continuing the conversation).

 

I'm almost certain I've "converted" at least one mom of young kids to consider child-led learning after she interacted with C. for a while. She (the mom) was VERY curious and asked a lot of questions, none of which seemed in the least bit judgmental... more that she was weighing whether or not she felt homeschooling or unschooling was something she could do herself.

 

Of course, I also get a kick out of completely blowing away people with my own formal education level. I was unschooled from 8th grade onwards and never went to college, but people, especially medical professionals, tend to assume I have at least a Master's degree. I think it's because I tend to use very precise language and don't adjust my vocabulary downwards when I'm talking to someone I know is highly educated, such as a physician.

 

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#25 of 46 Old 11-30-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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Since most people just ask in order to find out the kids' ages, I generally say "She's in Kindergarten."  Which I guess is technically true.

 

But if I'm feeling long-winded and somewhat snarky, I'll say something like "Well, she's doing a third grade phonics workbook, a second-grade math curriculum, exploring astronomy, doing kitchen chemistry, uses her own laptop, plays chess on my iPod, is learning the names and capitals of all 50 states and is learning Spanish."  All of which is true too.  And it sounds a lot better than "Well, uh, we sleep in and then watch "The Magic School Bus" and uh, we like to go hang out at the Science Center.  Oh and she has a puzzle of the United States..."  It's all in how you put it. lol.gif


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#26 of 46 Old 01-09-2011, 10:30 PM
 
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I love that!  I'm going to have to tell my kids about that one.  My dd is very conscientious and understands that when people ask her that question - as they often do - they expect a number.  She obligingly gives them one.  My ds1 though could care less about social norms and expectations.  When he had just turned 6, a sales person asked him what grade he was in school and ds1 just said 'I don't go to school." 

The salesman looked shocked and asked "Why not?" 

Ds1's reply - "I just don't want to." 

Hah! 

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lol you hate it. i love it because i say no grade and their mouth always drops open. what do you mean NO grade. we dont have grades we homeschool.... hehe i am nuts i know




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#27 of 46 Old 01-09-2011, 11:43 PM
 
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I hated being asked this as a child because I had to think about it and that took a second....why should I know?  I'm in a class of one!

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#28 of 46 Old 01-17-2011, 05:32 AM
 
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It annoys me too and my kids ARE in school though it is Montessori. Besides the grade some seem to focus on the age/grade.I started my dd  with schooling at 6 and my ds at 5. I guess 5 is the norm now because people question why my dd isn't a grade higher.

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#29 of 46 Old 01-17-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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That doesn't bother me.  People are just trying to make small talk and it's their way of asking the kid's age.  No big.

 

I do, however, not like when they start quizzing my kids once they learn that we homeschool.  That's not just making small talk and never happens to schooled kids.  That's them trying to assess my kids' knowledge so they can judge them for their lack of it or if it's incomplete.  That is not nice.


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#30 of 46 Old 01-17-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauradbg View Post

That doesn't bother me.  People are just trying to make small talk and it's their way of asking the kid's age.  No big.

 

I do, however, not like when they start quizzing my kids once they learn that we homeschool.  That's not just making small talk and never happens to schooled kids.  That's them trying to assess my kids' knowledge so they can judge them for their lack of it or if it's incomplete.  That is not nice.


Heh. My kids totally dismiss people that do this. If someone starts to sound like they're quizing, the kids totally shut down. They will answer "I dunno" to anything they're asked, even their own names. I didn't teach them this. They started doing it when they were little, like 2 and 4. lol Dd would be 2yrs old and going on about how she was going to be a marine biologist and blah blah blah about different species (with correct terminology) and someone would ask her a math question and suddenly "I dunno". They try to switch back to marine biology, and she says she wants to be a "boat" and totally glazes over. (ok, difficult to raise children, but hilarious to watch them deal with difficult adults)


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