Dealing with negative comments from family - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 07-31-2011, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We decided to homeschool for various reasons. Our district isn't the best - in fact, all of the kids on the block are either enrolled in private schools, or their parents lied about residency to get them into other schools. We also prefer being able to control the type of material she is getting, and do not like teaching just what is on the state tests. Both of us, as well as our parents, struggled in regular schools because we were bored. Our daughter is just like I was as a kid - active and inquisitive. Anyways...

My sisters are both public school teachers. My mom teaches preschool, and my daughter was in Mom's early preschool class for two years. When she turned four, she switched to a pre-k a couple days a week. My sisters are being incredibly negative about my daughter being home-schooled. We picked a program through a local school district so that she would have public school credit in case we decide at some point that we'd like her to go to a regular school. My mom was hesitant at first, but after we explained our reasoning and what the program was like, she agreed that it would be a good fit.

The sisters though...here's some of what they've said.

-She hasn't even gone to a "real" preschool! (What the heck were the two preschools she went to?)

-She is too hyperactive. She can't concentrate. (She's active, but NOT hyperactive. Trust me, as a teacher, Mom would have said something if she was truly hyperactive.)

-You can't do it. You're disabled. (Seriously? Because I have a muscle disorder I can't sit and do work with my daughter? Moving furniture and doing kindergarten classwork are two different ballgames. My husband and Mom have also said they would do their share to help if I need a break.)

-You're having another baby. You won't be able to do it. (Plenty of people have before me. Plenty of people will after me.)

-She won't be socialized. You can't do that to her. (She plays all afternoon with the neighborhood kids after they get home from school. She's also going to be starting 4-H and doing some sort of swimming or sports activities once we decide on one.)

-They're just going to skip kindergarten and enroll her in 1st grade later, and she'll fail. (Again - seriously?)

-She's already behind. (She was sounding out and copying words down at four. She passed the kindergarten entrance requirements when she entered pre-k. I'm not worried.)


I can't just stop seeing them, especially since our family is pretty close and my daughter loves seeing her cousins. Nobody else in the family has acted like this. Either they are excited about our choice, or they are curious and nice about it. What can you do to convince (or shut-up) people like this? Prove them wrong?

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#2 of 12 Old 07-31-2011, 03:00 PM
 
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My oldest son would be starting 2nd grade in September, but I'm *almost* positive that I have DH on board with homeschooling.  I have yet to tell anyone else, because I'm not yet ready to "defend" our choice.  My son had tons of problems with public school, developed severe anxiety, was highly upset every day, and the stress even caused him to start having tics (I was convinced he had Tourette's).  My family/friends all know about what he went through, but I'm certain I'll still catch hell for our decision.

 

Right now, I'm in the process of educating myself on the whole process here in WA, and getting things ready in our home.  I've talked to DS, and he is super excited about going this route this year.  I'm just going to keep that in mind when I have to start sharing the info with everyone else.  Everyone under this roof is excited, and feeling good about this change.  That's all that matters!

 

Good luck with your family!  I'm sure once things get rolling, and they see that your daughter is perfectly fine, and not "behind" (whatever that even means), that will shut them all up.  thumb.gif


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#3 of 12 Old 07-31-2011, 04:57 PM
 
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You will exhaust yourself trying to prove them wrong or convince them.  They don't want to be convinced that your DD will be okay and no proof would ever be enough. 

 

I would tell them,  "Thanks for your concern, I have made up my mind...I would appreciate your support but if you can't sincerely offer that, I will not listen to you try to drag me down...thanks for understanding Sis !  Hey have you tried the bean dip ?  It rocks !"

 


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#4 of 12 Old 07-31-2011, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrycrisis View Post

You will exhaust yourself trying to prove them wrong or convince them.  They don't want to be convinced that your DD will be okay and no proof would ever be enough. 

 

I would tell them,  "Thanks for your concern, I have made up my mind...I would appreciate your support but if you can't sincerely offer that, I will not listen to you try to drag me down...thanks for understanding Sis !  Hey have you tried the bean dip ?  It rocks !"

 


I think that is a great approach. I'm going to have to try it. smile.gif

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#5 of 12 Old 07-31-2011, 07:27 PM
 
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My sister is also a public school teacher, but I don't get grief from her thankfully.  I think it's incredibly insensitive of your sisters.  I don't ask for help or advice about teaching from my sister, but I have asked if sometime she might help translating our unschooling experiences into "educational speak" for our first year.  She loves talking about what she knows, and I'll glean ideas from her, debate when the moment is appropriate, and nod my head knowingly when I just don't even want to venture a rebuttal.  After *how many years?* with your nose to the grindstone to get a degree, it's not necessarily a happy thought that some upstart parent could do their job just as well.  I'm not saying this is why they are so defensive.  I hope that your telling them how you feel and that you *are* going to homeschool and would appreciate support not criticism will cause them to drop their crusade against it.


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#6 of 12 Old 07-31-2011, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They've always been well, kind of jerks about things. I had to deal with a disability from early on, and they didn't. I may not have achieved as much, but I've had to work three times harder to get there. I haven't gotten a degree yet, but I'm halfway there. I get the feeling that while they say they support me, they think I'm lazy. They look down on us for moving back in with Mom, but honestly, it has been a good thing for all of us in the house. Mom isn't alone, DD and Gma get lots of time together, and we all get a break on the bills. Hearing that your sister thinks you can't do it, though...that hurts. They've kind of ganged up on Mom lately, too. Kind of ridiculous for 26 and 36 year-old women, but oh well. I'm not really sure WHAT the root of the issues are, but I hope that your suggestion will help.

Wife to DH, mama to bikenew.gif DD (7) ribboncesarean.gif, babyf.gif DS born 3/12 ribboncesarean.gif, and have had five early losses. angel1.gif
I have Stiff Person Syndrome and my other car is a candy apple red Rascal. Feel free to ask me about it. wheelchair.gif
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#7 of 12 Old 08-01-2011, 07:05 AM
 
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I was going to suggest what laundrycrisis said. If you've explained your reasoning to them and they're not listening, it will be better for your relationship to just disengage. You might consider explaining to them that you hope they can respect your choice enough to refrain from making negative comments about it to your daughter or where she will hear them. You afford them the same respect re: their choices, I'm sure.
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#8 of 12 Old 08-03-2011, 01:33 PM
 
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Have you ever said to them something along the lines of "I know that I am not trained to be a teacher like you are.  Thankfully I will only have one student to teach and we'll be able to figure things out together.  If I have any troubles teaching a particular concept, may I ask you for help?" 

 

I think sometimes people feel attacked by choices that are different from theirs.  Also, your taking over the teaching makes their job obsolete for you.  I know when the super cheap government daycare comes in and makes my stay-at-home-mom job sort of obsolete (not really, but sort of), it does sting a little.  It isn't about ME or my particular kids either, it's just about a feeling that my job doesn't hold the value to those around me that it does to me.

 

Tjej

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#9 of 12 Old 08-03-2011, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do need to talk to them. I don't want them mentioning it around my daughter or my nieces - it isn't appropriate. Their most recent tirade was at dinner with my mom, and of course the nieces were there to hear it all. They're old enough to understand, and they don't need their image of my daughter or myself tainted by jealousy or misunderstanding. At least I know that my mom is going to bat for me.

You know what is a little crazy about it? I have experience in business writing, and creative writing was my thing in school. My older sister comes to ME to check grammar when she writes something that must be correct. I'm so uneducated because I'm still working on my Liberal Arts degree, though. wink1.gif

Wife to DH, mama to bikenew.gif DD (7) ribboncesarean.gif, babyf.gif DS born 3/12 ribboncesarean.gif, and have had five early losses. angel1.gif
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#10 of 12 Old 08-04-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameragirl View Post

They've always been well, kind of jerks about things. I had to deal with a disability from early on, and they didn't. I may not have achieved as much, but I've had to work three times harder to get there. I haven't gotten a degree yet, but I'm halfway there. I get the feeling that while they say they support me, they think I'm lazy. They look down on us for moving back in with Mom, but honestly, it has been a good thing for all of us in the house. Mom isn't alone, DD and Gma get lots of time together, and we all get a break on the bills. Hearing that your sister thinks you can't do it, though...that hurts. They've kind of ganged up on Mom lately, too. Kind of ridiculous for 26 and 36 year-old women, but oh well. I'm not really sure WHAT the root of the issues are, but I hope that your suggestion will help.



It's sounds like they're thinking "who does she think she is?"  They want you to be only what they think you should be, which is less capable than them.  Do what works for you and don't make any apologies.  Your daughter will be fine homeschooling and if not, you'll do what works for her.  We've been homeschooling our kids for 4 years and nobody says those things to us anymore.  It's pretty obvious that my kids are smart, well socialized and happy.  Even my skeptical inlaws are amazed at all of the resources we have available to us.  You have even more resources available to you than your sisters do in their classes.  It sounds like your values are exactly where they should be.  You value your extended family, compassion, stability, interconnectedness, cooperation, etc.  Just stay positive and don't respond to their negativity with defensiveness.  You have no reason to be defensive. 

 


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#11 of 12 Old 08-05-2011, 06:38 AM
 
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Be persistant in asking them to stop with the comments.Don't be afriad to offend them a bit to get the topic closed.They will only get worse if they are allowed to keep this up.They will start *testing* your child and/or making comments directly to your child trying to convince HER that she is missing out.

 

Your sisters could also have issue with you living with mom.They may be jealous that you are getting the bill break. They could also be frustrated with their work.It isn't easy teaching a class full of kids,and also  knowing not every kid is  getting their educational needs met. Nip them in the bud. Best wishes!

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#12 of 12 Old 08-06-2011, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate the advice. I've been sick and haven't had a chance to talk to them, but DH and I will. I remembered that last Christmas, we were at dinner with my step-mom and her college buddies at their yearly party. Several of them are teachers, and one was actually my high school teacher. They asked where DD was going to school this year, and we explained that we were homeschooling. At first they were a little off-put by it, but after we explained our reasons, they were totally cool with it. We explained that we don't like the position teachers are put in - huge classes, no funds, resources being cut from schools, teaching to the standardized tests, etc. We've got nothing against the teachers. We know a LOT of teachers and understand the tough position they are put in. It is difficult to help 30+ kids succeed in a small classroom and with no budget. My sisters have to ask parents to bring things like tissues, cleaners to sanitize during flu season, etc. Some schools actually ask parents to bring toilet paper!There are many so reasons why families choose to home school - and most of the time it isn't anything against the teachers themselves. They're just doing their jobs.

Wife to DH, mama to bikenew.gif DD (7) ribboncesarean.gif, babyf.gif DS born 3/12 ribboncesarean.gif, and have had five early losses. angel1.gif
I have Stiff Person Syndrome and my other car is a candy apple red Rascal. Feel free to ask me about it. wheelchair.gif
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