Why would you homeschool?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 37 Old 05-26-2012, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This question was posed to me. But it wasn't from a point of understanding, but one of judgement. I'm sure the more experienced HSers on here are used to that. So, how do you answer it? Especially without completely attacking public school?


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#2 of 37 Old 05-26-2012, 01:18 PM
 
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I would probably say something like "It works for us." and then develop a need to be someplace else.  Either that or ask her to pass the bean dip (basically, change the subject-- do not worry about being subtle.) http://growing-fruit.blogspot.com/2009/12/pass-bean-dip.html

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#3 of 37 Old 05-26-2012, 01:50 PM
 
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If I didn't want to say anything bad about public school or imply anything bad about people who send their kids there, I would just talk about how homeschooling provides a more individualized education.  It lets kids work at whatever level they're ready for, even if that's different in different subjects, and it can be geared toward their particular interests and learning styles.  (I guess you could see that as an implied criticism of public school, since you're saying public school can't provide as individualized an education.  But that's such an obvious truth it's hard to see anyone being offended by your mentioning it.)

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#4 of 37 Old 05-26-2012, 03:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Treece View Post

This question was posed to me. But it wasn't from a point of understanding, but one of judgement. I'm sure the more experienced HSers on here are used to that. So, how do you answer it? Especially without completely attacking public school?

 

If you feel this question is coming from a place of judgement rather than seeking understanding then I would keep my answer to "This is what is right for our child/family. We love it! It think it is so awesome that there are many educational options these days so we can each choose what is best for our own families. " Then I would change the subject.

I would not get defensive or discuss the topic at length with someone who just wants a fight. Anything you say they will respond negatively, IME, and it does not go well.


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#5 of 37 Old 05-26-2012, 03:07 PM
 
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I basically have three different versions of the answer, which I think of as "mild," "medium," and "hot."  I choose my answer based on what I know of the person and what I think might be his or her reasons for asking.

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#6 of 37 Old 05-26-2012, 06:15 PM
 
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My stock answer to that question:  "It works for us at this time."
 

We have used public school, home school, charter school home/school combination, independent study, community college with high school, Montessori elementary school, under the table home school.  We've even done preschool and daycare.  There is no one size fits all.


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#7 of 37 Old 05-26-2012, 11:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat View Post

 

If you feel this question is coming from a place of judgement rather than seeking understanding then I would keep my answer to "This is what is right for our child/family. We love it! It think it is so awesome that there are many educational options these days so we can each choose what is best for our own families. " Then I would change the subject.

I would not get defensive or discuss the topic at length with someone who just wants a fight. Anything you say they will respond negatively, IME, and it does not go well.

I agree, people who ask that type of question just want to start bashing homeschoolers.

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#8 of 37 Old 05-27-2012, 02:56 AM
 
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Smile warmly and say "I need to keep the kids around during the day so they can help sacrifice the goats"; then pass the bean dip.


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#9 of 37 Old 05-27-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

If I didn't want to say anything bad about public school or imply anything bad about people who send their kids there, I would just talk about how homeschooling provides a more individualized education.  It lets kids work at whatever level they're ready for, even if that's different in different subjects, and it can be geared toward their particular interests and learning styles.  (I guess you could see that as an implied criticism of public school, since you're saying public school can't provide as individualized an education.  But that's such an obvious truth it's hard to see anyone being offended by your mentioning it.)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

Smile warmly and say "I need to keep the kids around during the day so they can help sacrifice the goats"; then pass the bean dip.

Both of these answers are ones I might give, or secretly want to give.


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#10 of 37 Old 05-27-2012, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Smile warmly and say "I need to keep the kids around during the day so they can help sacrifice the goats"; then pass the bean dip.

 

 

What a great answer!!!! LOL I love it!!!! I think I will stick with "It works for us" but let's throw this kink in: I'm a single mom..... Once I get a little more stable, I plan to be a WAHM.


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#11 of 37 Old 05-30-2012, 03:03 PM
 
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It doesn't matter what you say.  What matters is that you don't feel the need to justify.  If someone genuinely wants your opinion on why you chose homeschool, then you wouldn't feel attacked and would simply be able to mention your reasons.  I struggle with this.  I can read from someones body language and tone if they "dissaprove" of homeschooling.  Every time I roll into the

 

 

"Homeschooling is mainstream now, there are charter schools, my kids aren't isolated, the public school system (fill in the blank), I like to use child directed learning, the state standards are too rigorous in the lower grades, I don't like one size fits all learning, I want to be with my kids and have a more flexible schedule within our family, or if I could afford to send them to (expensive private school) I would".... (which is not necessarily true) ....

 

 

I end up feeling emotionally drained because what I am doing is ARGUING my point of view to someone who disagrees.  It doesn't seem like arguing when they ask the question, but when you answer them with "JUSTIFICATION" then you are trying to CONVINCE them that it is "okay" to homeschool.  How draining. 

 

I personally am going to adopt a new method, where unless the person genuinely wants to know my specific mindset on "why" I chose to homeschool, then I will answer a question with a question.

 

"Why do you choose public school for your kids?"

"Why did you choose to attend community college?"

"Why did you choose to be a pediatrician?"

"Why do you choose to work for the state?"

"Why, are you considering homeschooling?"

 

How passive aggressive of me!

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#12 of 37 Old 05-30-2012, 05:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat View Post

If you feel this question is coming from a place of judgement rather than seeking understanding then I would keep my answer to "This is what is right for our child/family. We love it! It think it is so awesome that there are many educational options these days so we can each choose what is best for our own families. " Then I would change the subject.
I would not get defensive or discuss the topic at length with someone who just wants a fight. Anything you say they will respond negatively, IME, and it does not go well.

This. And I also have to point out that although it sounds judgemental, I've been in situations where this was said to me out of a place of "I love my own kids, but could not even fathom homeschooling them." Twice I've encountered this, and I think it is very honest- others who do not homeschool and never had really may not feel they could do it or like doing it. Some parents really do picture homeschooling as sitting at the table with their children from 8:30am until 3pm. Personally, I couldn't do that either!

We homeschoolers know that our day can be much more flexible than that. When I had a k-aged child and a toddler who was still napping, it was SO much easier for me to homeschool than it ever would have been sending my oldest to school. No waking up the little one to pick up the older one, no rushing out the door in the morning, and no worksheets to force him to do in the afternoons! But unless you're well-versed in the benefits of homeschooling, mainstream parents don't always get it.
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#13 of 37 Old 05-30-2012, 05:18 PM
 
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"Why do you choose public school for your kids?"
"Why did you choose to attend community college?"
"Why did you choose to be a pediatrician?"
"Why do you choose to work for the state?"
"Why, are you considering homeschooling?"

How passive aggressive of me!

Ok, never mind. I'd rather say this next time! love it!

I did have one mom tell me that she could never homeschool because she would worry that her "children would end up stupid."

It took ALL of my restraint not to respond with "wow, you have a lot more faith in the public school system than I do."

But really, I don't want to criticize anyone else's choice. Public school serves a real need, and there are plenty of people here on Mothering who are happy with their children's public school experience. There are some real gems out there! And I love the public charter school movement.

I just wish everyone would extend the same courtesy and respect. And educate themselves before speaking. Learning outside of institutionalized schooling makes so much sense to me that I honestly do not understand why anyone would criticize it or judge it. It is simply another choice, and one that every parent is free to make for their child and family.
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#14 of 37 Old 05-31-2012, 04:35 AM
 
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I homeschool because it's in the best interest of my kids.  My aspie child attended a private montessori school until the end of 1st grade, was bullied mercilessly, fell 2 years behind when the teachers didn't help him, and he hated school so badly that he had massive anxiety all the time. He needed a different environment and more individualized attention.  And since we're homeschooling him, we homeschool his sisters too.  If/when it stops working, we'll stop doing it.


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#15 of 37 Old 05-31-2012, 06:51 AM
 
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I did have one mom tell me that she could never homeschool because she would worry that her "children would end up stupid."
It took ALL of my restraint not to respond with "wow, you have a lot more faith in the public school system than I do."
 

I think when most parents say this, they are criticizing themselves.  They don't feel "book smart" themselves and feel their kids would end up stupid if they had her for a teacher.  I don't think the intent is criticizing homeschooling, usually.

 

One big reason we homeschool, besides being able to work at the level the girls are at, is because my husband is a professional gardener and work is seasonal.  By the time we would have a couple of days for camping, school would be started.  No, vacation time for us comes in September and October.


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#16 of 37 Old 05-31-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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I agree that when parents say that they couldn't imagine homeschooling that it IS usually coming from a place of honesty. When someone is being genuine in regards to their own situation, it just doesn't feel like judgment casting, it seems like analytical conversation between two humans. I love this kind of dialogue, because it is respectful of another's opinion yet recognizes differences. We don't all have to be "twinsies" and friendships can cross educational barriers. It's odd, though, because I find all of my friends to be public school moms, just because they are old friends and Moving a couple times I havent been as successful at making new homeschool friends. I'm finding myself in a funny quandary with,

A. If I'm being honest, I (quietly, in my head) pass negative judgment about public school. Does this mean I am guilty of judging my friends as I wish to not be judged negatively for my choices? If this is true, then is the antedote to surround myself with likeminded individuals?

B. I started homeschooling on account of my daughters' social difficulties (anxiety and a dusting of aspie)- which has been an AWESOME choice, but every time she does anything socially awkward now (which is LESS because of homeschooling) People think it is BECAUSE I homeschool.
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#17 of 37 Old 05-31-2012, 04:26 PM
 
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I started homeschooling on account of my daughters' social difficulties (anxiety and a dusting of aspie)- which has been an AWESOME choice, but every time she does anything socially awkward now (which is LESS because of homeschooling) People think it is BECAUSE I homeschool.

Most people who go the route of public school haven't given the matter much thought, whereas HSers usually have had time to think on their decision *because it is so out of the norm*.  When we talk with people, their responses are likely to be off-the-cuff and first-thought responses-- not necessarily representative of how they would think if you sat down with them and talked about it for a bit.

 

Also, HSing is still relatively uncommon, and few have even met a single HSing family.  


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#18 of 37 Old 05-31-2012, 04:33 PM
 
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My father had met an awkward man, someone he thought was a rather dull, unoriginal thinker, and he judged HSing based off this young man.  Yet, he didn't think to blame Yale because it churned out his most hated president since Nixon.  Just goes to show, even after 12 years of school plus university and a law degree, he still had trouble confusing *causation* with *correlation*.


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#19 of 37 Old 06-09-2012, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The person I was talking to that asked this question has directed several day cares. So, I think that she is coming from instisutionalization.

 

I'm starting to think that some of my son's idiosynchrases (sp?) are due to what a PP calls a "dusting of Aspie." I look at charts of the symptoms and he has several. I haven't had a chance to chat with a ped about this, but I'm thinking that's what's going on with him. I already have one SN. I really don't know if I'd be able to handle another. :'( But i am planning to homeschool and trying to get involved in a homeschool group in a new city. It's difficult to say the least lol and it's summer lol lol lol


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#20 of 37 Old 06-11-2012, 01:09 AM
 
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"It's a good fit for us."

 

And also, "Why do you ask?" 

 

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#21 of 37 Old 06-11-2012, 10:42 PM
 
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"I want my kids to have a quality education and to be well socialized." I like the idea of adding either, "Are you thinking of homeschooling," or "Pass the bean dip, please."


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#22 of 37 Old 06-12-2012, 07:33 AM
 
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Here's what we say (after long years of honing the message):

 

Homeschooling allows us to give each child a customized education that ties in with their interests, so the information they learn "sticks" better, plus, since our son is a "kinetic" learner and needs to pace around when thinking through new concepts, if he were in school he'd be put in ritalin in a heartbeat, and we don't believe in experimenting on children with mind-altering drugs.

 

Now that the kids are teens and people can see how knowledgeable they are, it's far less of an issue, but the above worked very well for us, once we settled on it. We've been finding lately that far more people now say they wish they could homeschool than criticize homeschooling.

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#23 of 37 Old 06-12-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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One on one education is by far the best form of education. Universities love homeschooled children and it gives them an advantage.


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#24 of 37 Old 06-12-2012, 10:28 AM
 
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I love the responses. My own favored response is "We do it because it's fun!"

 

I said this spontaneously one day in response to a group of middle aged men who were lunching with our homeschooling group in the cafeteria of the local college (where we have gym time), and loved the reaction I got : ) It's true for us, and I think it makes people think a bit more deeply about fun in their own lives.
 

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#25 of 37 Old 06-12-2012, 07:59 PM
 
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I've been asked this question so many times!  My answer depends on my mood that day!  Sometimes I simply say "We weren't happy with the private school they were in."  Other times I say "We couldn't find a school that let them learn at their own pace." or "It actually is easier for me and gives us more flexibility as a family than sending them to school."  It has been a wonderful change for our family, and I would never go back!

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#26 of 37 Old 06-12-2012, 08:58 PM
 
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I always say something like "There are so many reasons, I don't know where to start!  Childhood is so short and I'd really like to spend it with my kids and to share their learning experiences with them, just like seeing their first steps and hearing their first words, those moments don't end." That could be interpreted negatively I suppose, as if parents who send their kids to school don't want to spend time with their kids but I try to say it in a positive way, not a sarcastic way.  I also tend to mention the wonderful homeschoolers I met before having kids and how impressed I was by them and their family life.
 

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#27 of 37 Old 06-13-2012, 08:44 AM
 
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It's so good to hear everyone's responses to how to handle the questions. I have to remind myself that as a Hschooling family we are a minority so most people are somewhat ignorant about the realities of our lifestyle. Being a minority is an important experience, especially if there has been little else to provide that perspective in our lives.

 

We've been embracing the unschooling mindset since it makes so much sense to me. We've chosen to step out of the institution of school so why would we try to maintain the institutional ways at home? Of course everyone has to do what works best in their situation. I mention how we love the flexibility and freedom it gives us for things like vacations. 

 

What do I say to people who ask this question? Most of what I say has already been covered. I tend to focus on the pros, like the individualization to each child's abilities, while being understanding of the challenges the classroom-setup inherently faces. I'm always quick to add that both ways have their pros and cons, like every choice in life. I think a lot of people never realized they had a choice.

 

I also like to hold up my son, who recently graduated from highschool a semester early, as an example of how little the mass-class system does to challenge the individual. He was never challenged by the system even though they put him in an "academically talented" program. He has never had to study for anything and the school system never provided a challenge for him to experience the rewards that come with applying yourself to the point of being stretched to new heights. I'm afraid he may be sorely shocked if he ever decides it's worth his while to pursue post-secondary education.

 

On the pro side for public/classroom schooling is the benefits of pooling resources, making available things like a gymnasium which most of us don't have at home. We homeschool our 7 and 9 yo daughters but live in a somewhat remote area where there is no homeschoolers association.  We've enjoyed a year of phys. ed. at the local public school. I drive them there 1x/wk, in the afternoon and they take the bus home at the end of the day. It's the best of both world's. People ask how long I will homeschool them and I respond with, as long as it's the best thing for them.

 

One of my fave responses about that oh so annoying question, "How will they be socialized?" is that I would rather they get their socialization from the many people of all ages in the community than from a pack of 25 kids all their age being supervised by one adult. Do you remember the things you learned from that social group? lol


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#28 of 37 Old 06-14-2012, 07:19 AM
 
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I loved the "because it's FUN!" response, and am dying of curiosity to know what the response was, by the middle-aged men?

 

I also like the "because I want my kids to have a quality education and be well-socialized!" response. That sort of short-circuits followup questions like "aren't you worried about socialization?" and "but how will they get a good education?"

 

I have had the "I could NEVER do THAT!" thing said on a variety of topics, most notably, when I was pregnant with my 3rd child, the letter carrier of all people expressed amazement at how many kids I had (!) and said he could never deal with that many (seriously, 3?!). 

I was too shocked and furious to think of anything right then, but later, came up with the "wish I said it" reply. 

 

Now, I use that reply if anyone is being hostile with their "Oh, I could NEVER do/handle/deal with THAT!" stuff, and it's this: "No. I don't suppose you could." and leave it at that.


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#29 of 37 Old 06-14-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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People ask all sorts of things they would not ask a person whose child was in public or formal private school. Please know this. It's none of their business, and it's not your job to educate them. Took me a while to figure out how to respond to cut them off without getting flack for being rude.

 

I just smiled broadly and said sweetly, "Do you have a genuine interest in educating yourself about homeschooling?" Usually, they would stare in shock at that question. Then, I would say, "If you do, I can recommend some excellent books. After you've read them, let's get together and I'll help you develop a working understanding so you can discuss it knowledgeably. Thanks for asking. It's really in the best interests of all of our children for us to educate ourselves about the options we have to best meet our children's needs. There are so many close minded people who latch onto myths and harass homeschoolers. It's so nice to meet someone who has the ability to address it from an intelligent perspective. Did you know that (name a study) showed that (name a statistic showing that homeschoolers excel)?"

 

Basically, most people will be trying to change the subject or get away somehow. Just keep smiling as you go on quoting statistics and praising them for wanting to "educate themselves." That last phrase is very effective in warding off public school staff who takes a hostile approach. Just smile and keep saying, "I'm so glad you are open to educating yourself on this topic!" If a public school staff member or anyone starts misrepresenting the law or statistics, be prepared with the facts and smile, smile as you say, "Actually, DID YOU KNOW that...(quote the law, the stats, etc.)

 

Rarely will you get far into this conversation, but memorize the mini-speech and stats and practice saying them with a smile. Respond to absurd claims by being a broken record, "Did you know....(facts, stats, quotes of the law)..."

 

If a person wants to know, they will change their tone and ask for more information. If they don't, and someone who starts out rude usually is just bullying you, they will try to end the topic or get physically away.

 

I used this on a group of three high net worth, chic grandmas  at a books store while waiting for an author to speak. They saw my son make a beeline for the children's department and demanded to know why he wasn't in school. He had come over to show me a book with a reading level much higher than you would think a kid his age would read, and the grandmas had praised him for that, but when they found out he was homeschooled and I attributed his academic level to the freedom to move at his own pace, they balked and were very rude. I just started the routine. "Do you have a genuine interest in learning about homeschooling? There are some excellent books right over there (pointing) and one was written by a current local high school teacher who homeschools his own kids." These ladies were so flustered at this routine that they tried making dismissive comments, but I kept responding sweetly with statistics and facts. They launched into the nonsense about homeschooled kids being poorly socialized. I quoted statistics about behavior issues within public schools and studies indicating that those issues are far less common among homeschooled children. They had already seen how friendly and well behaved my son was, but even if he was not, I would choose not to discuss him with them. Don't invite others to evaluate your child.

 

What doesn't work is trying to explain to critics how it works and why it is better without using facts and statistics. If someone says you have to do this or that through the public school and it's not true, just say, "Actually, that demand is inconsistent with state law and the school is putting itself at risk for legal action by making those claims and demands, but I leave that up to the attorneys." This shocks people but they need to hear it.

 

Most of the time, all you have to say is, "Are you genuinely interested in learning more about homeschooling?" That stops the conversation in it's tracks so you can go on with your life.

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#30 of 37 Old 06-14-2012, 11:37 AM
 
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All I will usually say is, "I'm not a big fan of standardized tests."

 

Even the most hard-core pro school people really haven't been able to find fault in that. I just keep the rest of my opinions quiet :)


Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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