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#91 of 107 Old 05-09-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I think that there are many ways to live an authentic life and communicate our values to our children while being compassionate and respectful of the choices of others, and clear about the fact that we don't know the circumstances or belief systems behind their choices and therefore are not in a position to judge. Doing so, IMO, in no way means that you have to live one way and speak another, nor hide the way you live. It's also IMO particularly important to teach this skill and appreciation to children who live outside the mainstream and deserve to have the same kind of respect conferred to their choices.
Is it just my children who pick up on the implicit rejection of the opposite of what we're doing? I am not at all being snarky; I am actually curious. I have not discussed what other people do at all except when my dc ask why they do that when we do this. Or why don't they do what we do, or some other question that cannot be left at "I don't know." Answering that they do things according to what suits them best is a non-answer because sometimes what other people do is not that way at all; it is simply wrong and (nearly) all of humanity has agreed upon that, or it is obviously not what is even best for the people who choose it, or some other obviously not beneficial option. So why do they choose those things that hurt them? This is very complex and I don't have a family that allows for the response to such things to be left at, "that's what they chose because they wanted to."

There was never any reason to discuss hs vs ps with our dc, but they have figured out rather easily that other children are not home or with their parents like they are. They have noticed common behaviours amongst ps'ed children and ask about them. They see children lining up and being told to be quiet for various purposes. This is one of the results of being open and available to observe the world around them so frequently; they see what others are doing. There isn't any way to prevent their observations from turning into conclusions.

What I mean is that when they see and hear from others that their dc are away all day everyday of the week, my dc are aware of the emotional repercussions that would have on them, so they easily project that onto the lives of other dc. This is an empathic response and I see no benefit in pretending that there is an equality of conclusions here- that there is no 'better' way for families (in whatever their form; I am not advocating for a specific family structure here at all) to grow and live and be together. I hink there is, and even my dc can see without my prompting the differences that would or do happen when dc and their parents are separated all day. They know that some people prefer that, that this is a valid choice, but they also know that the results of these choices will be different and that in the most human way, children and their parents are supposed to live the same life with children being guided by their parent(s), not living different lives with siblings even separated and receiving guidance from people who are strangers to the family.

My dc have an extensive, still maturing, knowledge and understanding of the natural world and they naturally include humans in that, so much of what might be considered obnoxious or judgmental by people who would prefer to think of all choices as having equally beneficial derivation and results, are simply self-evident to them, for our time and place in extistence.

I can understand that what isn't self-evident are political statements that imply the opposite for those who do ps, but even that is very difficult to navigate as per my first paragraph in response to this post.

I am wondering if other families just dont discuss as much together as we do and maybe that's why it seems prudent to others to be cautious about expressing values wth their dc, and to me it seems impossible to keep things from them. I guess it really comes down to whether or not I believe that all choices and their results are equally valid and equally beneficial, and I don't, so that definitely colours my responses. I cannot live and express that I think it is equally beneficial to cut off a baby boy's foreskin or not. Likewise, to eat junk food or not, breastfeed or not, provide natural means of treating and preventing disease or not, etc.... There are obviously myriad ways and styles employed to accomplish these things, but I cannot for the sake of not offending act as though they were, or I thought they were, all equal.

Being free-learners, we are not operating with any structured learning environment or curriculum, so anything and everything is open for discussion and exploration.

I am wondering also if we are just waaay out there because in order for nuances to ever be understood by children, it seems that they need to have access to what is obvious and self-evident foundationally. If I am not willing to allow for them to understand what we do even thoguh others may find their expressions of it obnoxious or judgmental, then what basis would they have for a more refined ability, such as nuance provides, to express themselves later on?

The admonition to not talk to my children about what we do and why we don't do what others do until they can speak with social subltety is perhaps a bit lost on me. In theory it seems like a lovely idea that is uber-inclusive and avoids conflict, but in real life, I cannot see a practical outlet for that idea at all.

This is all within the context of dp and I genuinely having a deep respect and love for the diginity of every human being, so when we 'judge', it is always principly-based and not either an approval or disapproval of the person(s) involved. In fact it is rare that we even mention the person(s) once it is clear what the subject is, and not at all if it is unnecessary, which is usually the case.

I do think it is essential to judge ideas and concepts and expressions of values though. If that word doesn't suit because it has negative connotations, then I would choose 'discernment' in its place. How can anyone live without analysing and discerning the benefit of various options? Or equally perplexing, how can one think it is beneficial to one baby to have breastmilk and not another? Obviously if breastmilk is not available, then other options should be examined, but I don't see why that necessity should change or diminish the natural conclusions we have about breastmilk, or why we should be cautious about holding and expressing the view that breastmilk is the natural food for babies and everything else is inferior. I think it is important that children learn that there are options to examine when things do go as is the human default, but there is no benefit imo to pretending that because those things do happen, that the inferior is equal to the natural or innate course of life.

I also don't see why viewing things this way should diminish any person in the eyes of children when that person has such decisions to make and must work with them. That's a fairly simple concept for them to grasp too, ime, and self-evident.

Perhaps writing about this prevents a wholistic view of what we are all really doing.

This discussion changed when Lach expressed an admonition to curb discussion with hs'ed children so as to not repeat the experience of being responsible for unpleasant repetitions by youngish children to others.

I don't live in such a way as to make that a possibility, and wonder if that isn't more the 'luxury' of ps parents whose dc are not with them or together every waking moment. And then I hope that parents will not just give their dc lines to say without context, such as in the example given. My eldest child is nearly seven and has far more social grace and understanding than Lach expressed about the seven yr old who was insufferable to others around.

So, I don't see the validity in the caution overall. If I were to caution someone, it would be something like: make sure you are open in a wholistic way with your dc, that they see the context of our life and the choices you make, because when they are not allowed access to such things, they can come out with some pretty disheartening, disjointed expressions that can hurt others. Again, though, I have not seen this as a common issue with hs'ed children, though it seems rather common amongst children who don't have such close interaction with their parent(s) and communities at large, ime.

I just think there is a LOT of grey between the black and white implied in the 'precipitating' caution.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#92 of 107 Old 05-09-2010, 07:01 PM
 
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The subtext of the whole conversation is that my homeschooling is a threat to their parenting decisions and I find that uncomfortable.
I have experienced this too. I said nothing and found myself at first embroiled in the emotional roller-coaster of a few women who'd raised there children with hitting as a significant form of 'discipline.' I said nothing at all, didn't imply anything at all, but when my dc behaved in ways that they would have hit for, they noticed on their own that I didn't, that I had a completely different way of communicating with my dc.

At first I was fiercely interrogated and I tried really hard to give short and conscientious responses. That didn't matter because these women were really having internal battles and were wanting me to provide them with fodder to improve themselves, even though it was hard.

I wasn't defensive at all because I am threatened by their choices, but they were rather, umm, persistent- emailing me, seeking me out and getting straight to talking about hitting, even when it was really not the place for that sort of discussion.

In the end, one of them made peace about the issue with her grown children and has now become an advocate of gentle mothering, as a new grandma!

I feel uncomfortable sometimes too, but I cannot hide under a rock, so if what I do is a catalyst for others to re-examine what they do, then that's just how it is. It's very human, I think.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#93 of 107 Old 05-09-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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I agree with this. Many people wind up going from homeschooling to schooling, or vice versa, and the needs of their children or their families change - and that's okay. I think it's healthier to look at what you want for your children and what your children need to thrive within the family, and then try to find the educational path that will provide that.

In casual conversation with other parents, I've rarely gone beyond the superficial stuff - works for us, meets her needs, flexibility, etc. If people are genuinely interested in homeschooling, or if people don't have kids of their own, I might go further into explaining what I think the of homeschooling benefits are... but I try not to proselytize.

Personally, I don't think homeschooling as a construct is any better than school as a construct. For my particular kid, the form of homeschooling we chose was better for her and for us than any of the school options we had... but for other kids in other families, that won't be true. I know kids who have left homeschooling by their own choice and have then happily schooled at public schools, Waldorf schools, even Catholic schools... heck, my kid spent the last year in a Russian Gymnasia, which is definitely school.

I think having an older child has changed my outlook, too. Making schooling decisions for a 6 year old or 8 year old is very different from making them for a 12 or 14 year old. One can oppose mandatory institutionalized education while still leaving the door open for people to make educational choices that include school. At least in the US and Canada, sending kids to school is a choice, not a legal requirement.
I agree. IME people that attack one another for choices just do not have extensive experience with children. I grew up in a large family and there was a wide variety of things that worked best for each child.

If my children stated something that I felt was critical towards another person I would correct them. Children do not have the knowledge, experience or discernment to make that sort of judgment.

For instance, if my child criticized someone she saw giving a baby a bottle, not asked about it but criticized I would correct her. I would give her information in order to make her more educated about the subject so she can advocate from a place of education and understanding rather than ignorance and intolerance.

That is just a part of my faith and my belief system but I feel it is universal to reach out to other people and share simple kindness.

My dd did tell her kindergarten class (when she attended ps) that "Nestle kill babies" so we have had a lot of discussions.

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#94 of 107 Old 05-09-2010, 07:27 PM
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Is it just my children who pick up on the implicit rejection of the opposite of what we're doing? I am not at all being snarky; I am actually curious.
I think this is pretty typical of young children, actually - the world at that age is pretty black and white, and if what my family does is right, then if other families are doing something different it must be wrong. I think it's normal, but I would also perhaps emphasize the "grays" in life a bit. Assuming that other people are choosing things that hurt them sounds like your kids projecting their own feelings onto other kids - they might be sad if they were aware from you so much, but maybe other kids feel differently.

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This discussion changed when Lach expressed an admonition to curb discussion with hs'ed children so as to not repeat the experience of being responsible for unpleasant repetitions by youngish children to others.
I didn't read Lach's post in this way at all... perhaps she'll clarify, but what I got from it was that she'd known a small number of homeschooled kids who actually said and believed some of the the things suggested here as "joke" answers, which caused the kids to have difficulty in successfully navigating social situations. I don't think she was advocating censorship, but rather manners. If a child is answering the question about why he is homeschooled in ways that put off other people - people he presumably does want to have some sort of relationship with - then this seems to me to be a clear problem.

I think manners are important. Since you brought up breastfeeding... I've been a lactivist from way back, but if my 5 year old told the mother of a formula fed baby that artificial baby milks endangered the baby's health and started listing the ways (which she had the knowledge to do at that age) I would have been sure to have a discussion of good manners with her later on...

 
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#95 of 107 Old 05-09-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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When my children ask why other people do things differently than we do, I usually reply that it really isn't any of our business.

But if they are very determined to find out, they could try making friends with the person they are curious about, so they can ask them themselves.
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#96 of 107 Old 05-09-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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nevermind

Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#97 of 107 Old 05-09-2010, 09:21 PM
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When my children ask why other people do things differently than we do, I usually reply that it really isn't any of our business.

But if they are very determined to find out, they could try making friends with the person they are curious about, so they can ask them themselves.
That is what we do too. I frequently tell DD that we may do X but different people do things differently and we'd have to ask them why they are doing Y instead. Then I go on to talk about how boring the world would be if we all did things the same way.

Isn't part of homeschooling recognizing that one size doesn't fit all? That includes homeschooling. It is a wonderful option for some people but for others public school is the way to go.
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#98 of 107 Old 05-09-2010, 10:41 PM
 
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"No other mammal does that"

Well no other mammal shops at grocery stores or uses the computer or drives a car or can learn another language, so your argument here Preggie is amusing to say the least.
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#99 of 107 Old 05-10-2010, 02:50 AM
 
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people who would prefer to think of all choices as having equally beneficial derivation and results
I don't think that's been the attitude of anyone in this thread: rather, that the same choice in different circumstances will have vastly different results.

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#100 of 107 Old 05-10-2010, 06:46 AM
 
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i like the one on "small class size" - though that is also the #1 criticism ppl levy against hs.

i agree most ppl are just making a conversation and will be happy to hear any intelligent and respectful answer, not out to pick a fight.

"we like it" works for most cases
"we learn better when we have more freedom" may also serve as a good opening for ppl who seem interested and with whom you dont mind getting into more detail.

relaxed-unschooler mama to dd (2003). hoping for second one. love being a mama!!
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#101 of 107 Old 05-10-2010, 07:20 AM
 
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An example is that when we shop at the grocery store for (some of our) food, we buy fresh organic foods and my dc notice on their own that other people's carts are full of boxed items. Naturally, they were curious about why other people have boxes in their carts while we have food. If they fill their carts with boxes, what do they eat? Well, those boxes contain what they eat. Do they contain food? Sometimes and it depends on what's in the boxes.
I know this is not really the point of the thread, but you'd think children this age, who have been to a grocery store, would be well aware that food sometimes comes in boxes. Even organic foods.

I like the "it's none of our business" line, especially if the child seems to be judging or looking for YOU to judge. Sometimes children, especially at around 7 or 8 years old, want validation for their choices and seek to reject the opposite choice. (Heck, adults do this too.) Kids are very black-and-white at certain ages.
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#102 of 107 Old 05-11-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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I am seriously considering homeschooling my children, but my parents are 100% against it. Not that I have to have their approval, but it would be nice to have them understand and accept our choice.

Any ideas/advice on how to answer the "Why do you homeschool?" question to family members?

Blessed Mama to DD 10/4/06 and DS 7/08/08
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#103 of 107 Old 05-11-2010, 04:08 PM
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I am seriously considering homeschooling my children, but my parents are 100% against it. Not that I have to have their approval, but it would be nice to have them understand and accept our choice.

Any ideas/advice on how to answer the "Why do you homeschool?" question to family members?
I'm probably not the best person to reply to this, because I'm not close with any of my family members so I don't really care what they think....

But I would say, if pressed to explain, that the freedom is appealing and the family-centered lifestyle is attractive.
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#104 of 107 Old 05-11-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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I loved reading all the thoughts on how to explain homeschooling to passer byers. I would add this as well only if you feel it necessary or when they try to compare it to private schooling...

"Why send our kids to learn from someone else when we can do just the same here at home or even better. It is just like sending them to a Montessori school except without the cost! The Montessori is private school, expensive but a natural way of teaching/learning therefore I can use it's philosophy here at home! " and SMILE! "It is a wonderful way to save money and increase valuable time with your family teaching/learning the ways of life in the real world (rather than at a desk on paper)."

Ok maybe leave out the last few words and bit your tongue as you may feel it necessary to say to much as we homeschoolers like to defend our ground to often.

Best wishes and remember it doesn't matter what others think, it only matters that you know you are doing the right thing for you and your family!!

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#105 of 107 Old 05-12-2010, 02:26 AM
 
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I generally stick to "it's what works for my family", but if I give a more detailed answer it goes along the lines of:
"our kids grow so quickly and the basis of their whole lives is formed in those precious years, that I feel it is my responsibility and priveledge to be spending that time with them and teaching them, rather than leaving the shaping of their lives to strangers, who may or may not share my life philosophies; and while I understand that it is not eveyone's choice and I respect that, it is ours"
... though I guess it ends up sounding like I am judging their choices, it is so difficult to put it across in such a way that I can say how I feel without feeling like I am judging others, but then if they feel judged, maybe it is because of their own feelings and not the fact that I have differing views?!

ANNIE - Crunchy WAHM to 2 boys & baby girl born 12July08 ~From contentment with little comes happiness â African Proverb
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#106 of 107 Old 05-12-2010, 06:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by waiflywaif View Post
I know this is not really the point of the thread, but you'd think children this age, who have been to a grocery store, would be well aware that food sometimes comes in boxes.
to this day i am surprised when I see other people's carts, and how many boxes they contain. when you don't buy the boxes yourself, and don't even go down all those aisles, it is easy to forget that they are even there.

no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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#107 of 107 Old 05-12-2010, 06:55 AM
 
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Any ideas/advice on how to answer the "Why do you homeschool?" question to family members?
depending on how your relationship is with them how about:

- "the way she has been learning since birth, with all her natural curiosity and absorbing things at her own pace, works best and we want to encourage it to continue a while longer"

or invite them to meet other hs families, either at your place or at an event. most ppl who are anti-hs have never actually met anyone who does it (or has only met those who do it for reasons with which they disagree).

you mgiht want to find out what specifically they fear about hs. even if you plan to hs indefinitely, you might say that you are taking it one year at a time, and merging into the school system later will not be a problem, ifyou decide to do so.

no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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