Relatives who "don't get it" - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-07-2012, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What's been your experience with having family members who don't "get" HSing or question your choice to HS your kids? 

 

My mom, while overall being very supportive of our family choices, doesn't "get it" and even though I've explained many times our plan to HS (I have preschoolers now) she will still say things like, "well in a few years they'll all be off to school, and you'll have a break." Then I'll remind her about HSing, and she'll say, "well, maybe in time you'll change your mind and want them to go off for the socialization." I'm thinking to myself--well, mom, that's not the kind of socialization I want my kids to have, really! And besides, they get lots of socialization right now!

 

DH and I have had a couple of good conversations on why we want to HS with her, even going into detail about the socialization issue, but it's like she goes back to square one forgetting everything we said. I'm embarrassed to admit that it does give me a bit of anxiety to think of how I am "disappointing" her by HSing. I don't really care what anyone else thinks about HSing, but I guess even though I am an adult, I still want her stamp of approval. She worked in daycare for decades has the school of thought that it's really good for kids to be independent at a young age and things like daycare and preschool are really good for kids to learn how to do things apart from their parents. While I agree to some extent that some time away can be good, I want my kids at home with me for most of the times where DH and I have the greatest influence in their lives, esp. for the early years. 

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Old 04-07-2012, 05:25 AM
 
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That is a hard one to live with. The only thing that worked for me was to make sure I had a network of people in my life who did "get it" and just carry on.

 

In time my in-laws did see the value of homeschooling and became big supporters but they had to go through their own process and timing to get there. My word, no matter how well researched, was not good enough. It felt personal at the time, and some of it was, but looking back I also see that I wanted them to accept something based on my research, belief and experience and didn't want to allow them the time to learn for themselves. They had been parents for decades and were happy with what the school system offered their children and here I was, someone who had been a parent for less than 5 years, telling them how much more I knew.

 

Everyone has the best interest of the children at heart and we all love them but that doesn't mean we'll always agree or that we will get to the same conclusions in the same timing. Time and witnessing the results was what it took in my family. 

 

My children are teenagers how and they are now in the school system but my in-laws still comment on all of the good skills and benefits they gained from our years of homeschooling. Their teachers do too! I never would have believed that my in-laws would someday be such supporters of the choices we made when our kids were little. We did so many things differently than they did that it was challenging to them personally and it challenged their thinking and belief system. We did what we thought was best for our kids in the long term and that has proven to be a good thing.

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Old 04-07-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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We homeschool and had a few people who did not get it initially. But everyone both family and friends just accepts it as is now. 

 

I believe the problem comes in when you present your justification for it in a way that may indirectly (or directly in some case) criticize their own choices. So just be prepared for that. It is not your job to make everyone feel good about what you decide for your family. I just know that the really tough conversations I had with people were because I was not prepared for their reaction. Now, I just state it as a fact. It is not an open conversation. And I will say something like, "isn't it great that we all get to make choices for our own families." 

 

And I would not worry about the socialization piece unless you live way out in the country, with few neighbors and no one who shares at least some of your views. I live in a small town and we are one of only a few home schoolers.  Both my kids are very social in their own way. We have to work at getting to larger group activities, but it is not that big of a deal Kids have friends who go to school, friends who homeschool, are friends with some of our adult neighbors.

 

Good luck with whatever you do.

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Old 04-07-2012, 06:32 AM
 
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This is a very helpful thread so far!  OP and PP's-- your concerns and responses are thoughtfully posed.  Such good food for thought.

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Old 04-07-2012, 08:03 AM
 
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My thoughts, some of which echo what was already said, and some of which somewhat contradict:

 

  • Some people mean well but just aren't going to get it until time passes. You could just not worry about it and chances are, they'll stop this line of patter in a few years.
  • Yes, justifying to your mom does send the wrong message. It's your and your husband's choice. She has absolutely no say. She does not need to be convinced. You don't have to try. She may think she has a say. Don't feed into that.
  • I would, however, avoid saying anything that could make it difficult for you to save face and still make other decisions. Believe me, I'm not your mom when I say, just maybe, you might choose public school in the future. You don't have to say that (and, really, shouldn't - unless that's what you're thinking) but on the other hand, don't say things like "we will NEVER send them to school!" Ultimately it doesn't matter that much; just make your own decisions as needed, but I would hate for a person to have "fought" their parents so much and said emphatically a thousand times that they would NEVER! but have something change in their lives but feel like "but I always said never, so I can't change my course even though I want/need to."
  • So ultimately, I would just react to the whole "well, maybe you'll change your mind" to the vaguest "m-hm." (Note I didn't even write "mmm-hmmm" but "m-hm." Maybe a  very soft grunt might even be better. Assignment: work on your grunts.)

 

My mom said this a couple of times, as did MIL - fortunately not enough to be more than a mild annoyance. But now that DD is 6 I haven't heard this for a long time. They were both ultimately supportive, not evil toxic grandmothers intent on controlling the outcome, but they needed time to adjust to something that they had never really considered or understood, and they couldn't picture it being more than a passing fad.


Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 04-07-2012, 10:58 PM
 
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My brother homeschools and so my mom saw how well his kids did so was 150% on board when our kids came along.

 

My MIL is a retired kindergarten teacher who had the typical concerns. I don't care if she agrees or not. However, these are HER grandchildren and I don't want her to feel like we are harming them. So, to help her feel better, we got her a book http://www.amazon.com/Homeschooling-Rediscovered-Socialization-Education-Family/dp/1430308257/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333861015&sr=8-1. My husband and I each read it before getting her a copy. She did read it and afterwards wished us luck with homeschooling.

 

There's also another book that may be helpful: http://www.amazon.com/Legendary-Learning-Homeschoolers-Self-Directed-Excellence/dp/0983151008/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333861074&sr=1-1


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Old 04-15-2012, 03:34 PM
 
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 What was really interesting for me to see is how some people really had to see it to get it. Even though we homeschool almost *exactly* the way I said we would, hearing about it didn't help. I remember telling MIL over and over that we would not sit at home all day, and then when she heard about how we are at the zoo and art class and math club and everything, she said something like, "Oh, you are getting out more than I pictured." Now, I wouldn't say she is exactly pro-homeschooling, but she gets what we do and seems to see some value in it. But she really had to see it.

 

Not to say that everyone will love what you do, but when you are actually homeschooling it is harder for people to imagine something so utterly different from what you have said :)

 

Heather

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Old 04-15-2012, 07:03 PM
 
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The culture of school is so tied up in most people's vision of childhood that they have a hard time imagining a "real" childhood complete with warm-fuzzy iconic kid-moments without it. What if homeschooled kids never get the chance to run around giggling in playgrounds? Never saunter through long grass in a long line with their arms linked with all their best friends? Never get the chance to play tag with a hooting gaggle of other kids? If your own memories of those things are all tied up with school, when you think about childhood without school, your imagination fails to come up with alternative iconic Warm Fuzzy Moments of Childhood (WFMC). You don't have anything to take the place of school-based WFMCs. You worry that your grandchildren will have none of that.

 

My mom tells me that there were two things that brought her around ... one was attending a homeschool free-play afternoon with us and seeing tag games and linked arms and giggling groups of homeschooled kids in a playground, and the other was seeing this (pre-megapixel) photo of my daughter back in 1998 when she was four, hunkering down with some homeschooled friends in the forest, if I recall telling a made-up story about dragons. 

 

Once my parents saw WFMCs that happened in homeschooling, they were able to trust that my homeschooled kids would get "real" childhoods. They already understood the educational advantages. This was the final piece of the picture that turned them into stalwart supporters.

 

Miranda


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Old 04-16-2012, 01:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

The culture of school is so tied up in most people's vision of childhood that they have a hard time imagining a "real" childhood complete with warm-fuzzy iconic kid-moments without it. What if homeschooled kids never get the chance to run around giggling in playgrounds? Never saunter through long grass in a long line with their arms linked with all their best friends? Never get the chance to play tag with a hooting gaggle of other kids? If your own memories of those things are all tied up with school, when you think about childhood without school, your imagination fails to come up with alternative iconic Warm Fuzzy Moments of Childhood (WFMC). You don't have anything to take the place of school-based WFMCs. You worry that your grandchildren will have 

 

My mom tells me that there were two things that brought her around ... one was attending a homeschool free-play afternoon with us and seeing tag games and linked arms and giggling groups of homeschooled kids in a playground, and the other was seeing this (pre-megapixel) photo of my daughter back in 1998 when she was four, hunkering down with some homeschooled friends in the forest, if I recall telling a made-up story about dragons. 

 

Once my parents saw WFMCs that happened in homeschooling, they were able to trust that my homeschooled kids would get "real" childhoods. They already understood the educational advantages. This was the final piece of the picture that turned them into stalwart supporters.

 

Miranda


This a great post.  

 

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Old 04-22-2012, 02:37 PM
 
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I got some uneasy remarks when I announced my ds would be homeschooled. He was only 2 at the time, so some of my relatives said "There's time to change your mind."  Later on, as I began actually homeschooling my son, my grandmother called me and said "If you want to send him to that Montessori school up the road from you, I'll pay for it."

 

Now my son is now five, in first grade, and he reads like a champion. He says words like "australopithecus". He devours history, science, math, art and especially reading and writing. Nobody suggests public school or Montessori anymore, because they see now that homeschool doesn't just work; it ROCKS!

 

 


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Old 04-23-2012, 12:16 PM
 
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I would not expect her, or anyone else, to ever get it.  Most people are never going to be comfortable with homeschooling, period.  Being related to you does not make them any different.  Wanting anyone's approval will waste your energy.  Attempting to convince anyone that it is a valid option will waste your energy.  Save your energy for homeschooling.  Let your mom and any other naysayers in your life know, next time they bring it up, that you are happy with your decision and the subject is closed...and then cheerfully introduce another topic of conversation.  Rinse, repeat.  Possibly for years and years and years.  They may never approve.  Really the most you can hope for is that they learn not to bring it up anymore. 


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Old 04-23-2012, 12:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PGTlatte View Post

Most people are never going to be comfortable with homeschooling, period.  

 

That's not been my experience. I admit I do live in a particularly tolerant open-minded community, but we experience a very high level of acceptance and support.

 

Miranda


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Old 04-23-2012, 02:08 PM
 
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To expect people to agree with and support the decision to homeschool, or to desire their approval, is a setup for disappointment.   When we accept that most will not approve and make our peace with that, we can put our attention and energy to better uses than being stressed over someone's disapproval.  Then when someone does approve and support us, it's a bonus !   But it's not necessary.


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Old 04-23-2012, 05:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PGTlatte View Post

To expect people to agree with and support the decision to homeschool, or to desire their approval, is a setup for disappointment.   When we accept that most will not approve and make our peace with that, we can put our attention and energy to better uses than being stressed over someone's disapproval.  Then when someone does approve and support us, it's a bonus !   But it's not necessary.

 

 

I've found that most people are curious, but not disapproving. Our family and friends are very supportive, which is lovely, but even complete strangers often make comments about how great it is that we can homeschool our son. We've felt very supported and I have been amazed at how many people in our community have been willing  to share ideas and resources to support my son's interests. We've encountered some bewilderment about how homeschooling works and some assumptions what it looks like day-to-day, but I haven't come across any disapproval. Though maybe those that disapprove just keep it to themselves-- which is fine by me ;-)


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