We left the public schools because we were tired of all the "junk." I am really sick and tired of their problems and plenty sickened that I have to pay a huge tax bill to support them. But, now, I have reached the point where I cannot stand to hear anymore about bad stuff going on in the miserable local schools. Even as I type this, I am on the phone with someone who is giving me many details of problems they are having with their daughter's school. It is always the same old problems. Not just for this person, but for everyone I know it seems.
I know the local schools are royally messed up. I am sickened by them myself. But that is why I home school. When people talk about this stuff, it is sort of like a trigger for me of the many bad things that happened when we were involved in the local public schools. Maybe it is because I am pregnant right now and hormonal. But I do not want to hear one rerun after another of the same exact problems that no one can seem to do anything about. I am back to home schooling my children and I paid my thousands of dollars in taxes to pay for those schools. I just do not want to be pulled in to that place and its problems again. Plus, I doubt any of them would be too happy to hear me say how much I hate the schools too and it was those exact problems that led me to home school.
How do you respond to this stuff? It never bothered me before, but it really is bothering me now.
Depends on your goal. If the goal is to get them to stop coming to you with these issues, then why not go ahead and tell them "that's why I homeschool."
This is a problem I have with many types of "bellyaching", not just about school, and the universally worst response is usually some kind of solution to the problem. So for instance, when my mom complains about how tired and overweight she is, and I carefully ask if she's been following her doctor's recommendations that she lower her sugar intake and stop eating at McDonalds every day, and take a walk in the evenings after dinner because she's pre-diabetic, her reaction is very very bad. On the other hand, I don't know that I'm capable of sitting through that kind of complaining because all I can think about is the fact that my mom is going to die because she's unwilling to fix her problem and just wants to talk about it and get sympathy. I understand how you feel, especially with emotionally triggering issues.
So really, the socially acceptable thing to do is to let someone vent. If you want that to stop happening to you, tell them how you feel. You could also shoot for a mid-ground of other solution seeking, and in my area there are many other charter schools, magnet schools, and other helpful programs that people can look into if they aren't into homeschooling but can't salvage the situation at their regular school. Sometimes I mention these options and that as a parent they have the right to pull their kid if the school won't help find a solution. It is evident that most people ARE just venting though, and just want to complain without being told that they could do something to change it. It is what it is.
I'd tell them "yep, that's why we homeschool" and change the subject. If they try to bring it back around I'd just be honest and say "we left the school because of these issues and I really can't talk about them now, I'm hormonal and it's upsetting".
honestly, I think it is okay to tell friends that it isn't something you care to talk about. That you had many of the same problems and don't care to revisit it anymore now that you homeschool.
With that said though, I imagine if the problem is the school as a whole and everyone is suffering, there are people who'd LIKE to remove their children but currently don't have other options. Perhaps after you explain that you don't have the energy for how bad the schools are, you suggest they get together with other parents to find ways to improve the schools. They are public after all... the public gets a say.
I've found that just casually changing the subject into something that springs from the subject but goes off onto a different path works remarkably well. People can draw their own conclusions as whether it was done on purpose, but oftentimes it just feels natural. - Lillian
I would change the subject quickly before letting them vent to much. I have noticed when someone vents they feel better and I feel bad. It is like they unload the negativity on me.
I have a sibling like that and I finally told him I am tired of hearing about his issues for so many years.