Is this a stupid letter to MIL? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-12-2007, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Would you mind proofreading this...I am nervous about breaking it to my MIL that we are homeschooling. I feel like there is something wrong with it. I am just nervous...

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I hope you don't mind me sending this, I know we both have different ideas of what an "education" is and I want that to be ok. :-)

This is an article from a website I frequently visit and it fully describes what my WHOLE heart belives in terms of "What a 4 year old should know." I thought you might like to know my perspective. :-)

Here is a link: http://www.magicalchildhood.com/articles/4yo.htm

I am definatly not an expert on school, especially outside the home. (Thats what I have YOU for!) I don't have a degree. I am not always going to have the answers. But I do have my instincts and I feel called to homeschool. Some days I wish I didn't! I would rather send my kids to school-it would be easier on me! But most days, when I just admit to myself that God is calling me to homeschool, I feel at peace. I cant argue with it anymore. I am excited to come to that realization. I talked to Matt about it, and he said he trusts my instincts and we could give it a try. I am so thankful for the support he has given me. Do you know what an awesome person you raised???!!!

Since we don't actually have to report to the state on progress until 1st grade, I am not sure what we will decide about kindergarten. (Because we may or may not follow a "cirriculum" for kindergarten) Matt and I have not had an in depth conversation about this matter yet. We have alot of learning to do about laws, cirriculums, etc.

My next step in the learning process is that I am planning on getting a highly reccomended book called "Family Matters, why homeschooling makes sense." If you want, you can probably check it out at the library. I would love it if you came along for the ride. You are a very important person to us and the littles and I dont want you to feel alienated. I want you to feel like you are an irreplacable part of our team-because you are!

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Old 08-12-2007, 05:31 PM
 
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I don't know your MIL, so I could be wrong...but I feel your email leaves you open to a lot of criticism, argument, and "discussion" that you may not want. I kind of think it is more important to let her know that this is the decision you and your DH have made for your family and that it is not up for discussion. I think it's great to send her info on your planned teaching style so she can understand the angle you are coming from, I just think the letter as a whole leaves you vulnerable. HTH a little...and doesn't sound harsh LOL I just want to protect you from some confrontation you may not want!

Amy, USCG wife and homeschooling, ebfing, homebirthing Mama to M (8), L (6), L (2.5)
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Old 08-12-2007, 05:33 PM
 
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Good luck! My dh's family is pretty much *all* teachers and live/belive the "normal" american stuff, so I'm REALLY worried about telling them. I know just how you feel. Hope all goes well! :

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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Old 08-12-2007, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just want to protect you from some confrontation you may not want!
Bring it on! I didnt know you could prevent confrontation when dealing with homeschool!
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Old 08-12-2007, 05:45 PM
 
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I might approach this a tiny bit differently-- "I found this article really interesting, what do you think?

Or do you think that might give her reasons to wail on you?

Is she a thoughtful person? Open at all to learning new things? Or is really totally rigid in her htinking? Sometimes flattering a person's open mind ( ) can get you further than polarizing your ideas. Sometimesd the gap is not quite so large as we imagine. (and sometimes it''s larger, but it's helpful to get a clear sense of the divide, and see if there are any areas where you're thining even a little bit alike).

The thing I have always tried to remember about relatives, is that unless they are really evil and toxic, family members are forever. Figuring out ways to communitcate is helpful. And finding any common ground whatsoever can be an asset as the years go by.
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Old 08-12-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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Good luck! My dh's family is pretty much *all* teachers and live/belive the "normal" american stuff, so I'm REALLY worried about telling them. I know just how you feel. Hope all goes well! :
My dh's family is filled with teachers, as is my mother's family. They have been my greatest allies. I would be very careful to see the indivual. If you come on gangbusters at how horrible schools and teachers are, they are going to want to say how they are different. If you accept that some teachers love their kids and some kids thrive with them, your worries about schools and schooling are that much more likey to be accepted. I have had some heart-felt conversations with teachers that have really moved me..

All I am saying is to be thougtful before you competely dis someone's beloved career. I know so many teachers who absolutely adore and respect the children they know. Not all children should be hs'd, given family situations, so keep that in mind when talking to a teacher who loves what she/he does.
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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I don't understand why you'd even be telling your MIL all this.

When she finds out she finds out, but dont go out of your way to tell her.

But IMO by writing this letter your asking for her permission which you obviously don't need.
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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I think it's a good letter, but open to response. If you're okay with that, go for it!

Thanks for posting the link about 4 year olds. I it!
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:19 PM
 
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Please edit for punctuation and spelling - curriculum, curricula, can't, recommended, a lot, definitely...it will help your MIL take you more seriously if it looks like you are using the skills you will eventually be teaching your daughter. I would skip the quotes around education and curriculum - they aren't needed and it almost seems as though you're making fun of the words. I know that's not your intent, but I think your MIL might see it as an attack on traditional schooling.

Other than that, well written!
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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I'm a bit concerned about letting one of my MILs know that we plan to homeschool. As far as I know, she has no direct experience with homeschooling, but she has disparaging things to say about it. I was imagining conversations in my mind, and then I said to myself "Why am I trying to create drama?"

This is our decision, and if I make a big deal out of it, I'm only asking for argument and criticism. If I offer information and justifications without being asked, I'm borrowing trouble.

I can be honest without volunteering anything more than necessary. I can be confident and at peace with our family's decisions without needing anyone else's approval, even Grandma's.

Be confident, mama. Your head and your heart are in the right place, and you don't need to defend your choices to anyone.
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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But IMO by writing this letter your asking for her permission which you obviously don't need.
I agree.

I would just go about my business raising my children as dp and I see fit and answer queries as they arise. No need to hide, but no need for a pre-emptive announcement either. My Granny always reminds me, "don't borrow trouble!"
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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Please edit for punctuation and spelling - curriculum, curricula, can't, recommended, a lot, definitely...it will help your MIL take you more seriously if it looks like you are using the skills you will eventually be teaching your daughter. I would skip the quotes around education and curriculum - they aren't needed and it almost seems as though you're making fun of the words. I know that's not your intent, but I think your MIL might see it as an attack on traditional schooling.

Other than that, well written!
If the OP sends this as is, I agree.

My gut says wait. Do this differently. Don't get her on your bad side right now unless you are planing to sever ties with her.

*Go slowly* would be my ultimate advice. Everything does not have to be battled today. The baby is still young.
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:43 PM
 
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I'm looking at your sig--- is the baby in question even born?

I would go with the wise words of a previous poster: "Don't buy trouble".
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:03 PM
 
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Sounds like your mother in law is very important in your family's life and that is okay. You sound a bit apologetic in the letter which is the only thing that bothers me. YOu don't need to apologize for not having a degree or apologize for homeschooling in general. Taking a strong, firm stand (even if you're quaking on the inside) helps to set the tone for the whole endeavor. I think that there are plenty of places in this letter where MIL, if she is so inclined could try to criticize and change your mind. Wonder if you could check out the book for her and give it to her. I think that there is a link to Common Objections to Homeschooling somewhere on this board that really helped my MIL. She is still not *for* it but every objection she can think of is covered on that. Good luck and feel proud and strong. You are your children's mom and you don't need a degree to give them the gift of knowledge, just love and a willingness to go along for the ride with them.
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My concern on waiting till she finds out is that she is she is always expressing what delight she has that ds will be attending school next year and giving me tips on how to get him ready...:

I would rather not send a letter! But I am wondering whether our different styles need to be addressed. Thankfully, I am the one in charge of my sons education but she is an educator so she is also very concerned with it too. Its her profession so she talks about it alot (and I participate right along because I am passionate about it too-but I hate public school and I am sure I have made her feel attacked-and I am going to stop that!)

And truthfullly because we have very different styles of education, I dont really want her input on most things. I dont agree with her style of teaching children with all these developmental toys she gets sold by companys that visit her school.

I am going to wait....but I really want to address this with her in a positive way at some point. Mabye after Family Matters.
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:24 PM
 
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My concern on waiting till she finds out is that she is she is always expressing what delight she has that ds will be attending school next year and giving me tips on how to get him ready...:
What about a firm "thanks, but we're planning to homeschool" when she brings it up? Repeat as often as necessary.

Quote:
I would rather not send a letter! But I am wondering whether our different styles need to be addressed. Thankfully, I am the one in charge of my sons education but she is an educator so she is also very concerned with it too. Its her profession so she talks about it alot (and I participate right along because I am passionate about it too-but I hate public school and I am sure I have made her feel attacked-and I am going to stop that!)
That's great that you're concerned about this. I would be interested in what she has to say, and tell her that you would love to be able to come to her for help when you need it. Ask her a few questions about ways to go about teaching X - you don't have to use them, but it is nice to have the opportunity to include family members whenever possible. And, you may find something you're interested in. My mom has sent me about a hundred links on sites for the boys - I think I've used two. But she feels involved, you know?
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:31 PM
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Would you mind proofreading this...I am nervous about breaking it to my MIL that we are homeschooling. I feel like there is something wrong with it. I am just nervous...
You ABSOLUTELY need to spell everything correctly or you open up criticism for the very obvious reasons. I've corrected the spelling, grammar, clarity issues, and mechanics below:

I hope you don't mind my sending this. I know we both have different ideas of what an "education" is, and I want that difference to be ok. :-)

This is an article from a website I frequently visit and it fully describes what my WHOLE heart believes about what a 4-year-old should know. I thought you might like to know my perspective. :-)

Here is a link: http://www.magicalchildhood.com/articles/4yo.htm

I am definitely not an expert on school, especially outside the home. (That's what I have YOU for!) I don't have a degree. I am not always going to have the answers, but I do have my instincts, and I feel called to homeschool. Some days I wish I didn't! I would rather send my kids to school -- it would be easier on me, but most days when I just admit to myself that God is calling me to homeschool, I feel at peace. I can't argue with it anymore. I am excited to come to that realization. I talked to Matt about it, and he said he trusts my instincts and we could give it a try. I am so thankful for the support he has given me. Do you know what an awesome person you raised?

Since we don't actually have to report to the state on progress until first grade, I am not sure what we will decide about kindergarten. (We may or may not follow a specific curriculum for kindergarten.) Matt and I have not had an in-depth conversation about this matter yet. We have a lot of learning to do about laws, curricula, et cetera.

My next step is that I am planning on getting a highly recommended book called Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense. If you want, you can probably check it out at the library. I would love it if you came along for the ride. You are a very important person to us and the littles, and I don't want you to feel alienated. I want you to feel like you are an irreplaceable part of our team-because you are!
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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she is always expressing what delight she has that ds will be attending school next year
So next time she does, say "We have decided to home school" with confidence. Do not start apologizing in any way, shape or form. Apologizing means you have something to be sorry for, and you don't.
Would you feel like explaining to her if you decided to use a privet school?
Home schooling is a legitimate educational choice.

Quote:
I feel like there is something wrong with it
Then I would say nothing till you can get over that feeling. If you talk to her feeling that way it will come across and she will pick up on it. Here is a link to make you feel more confident- http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/comp...chievement.pdf Read that and know what a great thing you are choosing!
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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WHOA!

I think that any important letter should be put off for a few days while you think about it. Read it out loud; run it past a friend; read it out loud again. Delete anything that doesn't feel quite perfect to have in it. Spell check it. And read it again.

I'm in the last throes of packing for the movers that are coming first thing tomorrow morning - taking a short break off my feet - so I don't have the luxury of time to actually think about what you're saying, but I'll offer just some editing in terms of tweaking punctuation, spelling, wording, etc., in order to make it come across the way you want it - because after all, you're going to be homeschooling her grandchild . But this is just a hurried, first pass - I'd really, really not send it till you've had a day or two to think it over and check your wording. I literally don't have time to read the other responses right now, but I'm sure you've already had some good suggestions. Here goes:
I know we have different ideas of what an "education" is, and I want that to feel okay for both of us - so I thought it would be a good idea to tell you more about my own perspective.

Below is a link to an article from a website I frequently visit; and it fully describes what my whole heart believes in terms of "what a four year old should know." :-)
http://www.magicalchildhood.com/articles/4yo.htm

I am not always going to have the answers. I am definitely not an expert on school, especially outside the home. I don't have a degree. But I do have my instincts, and I feel called to homeschool. Some days I wish I didn't; it might be easier on me to send my kids to school. But most days, when I just admit to myself that God is calling me to homeschool, I feel at peace. I can't argue with it anymore. I am excited to come to that realization. Matt and I talked about it, and he said he trusts my instincts and will support me in giving it a try. I am so thankful for the trust he has given me. Do you know what a wonderful person you raised??!!

Since we don't actually have to report to the state on progress until 1st grade, I am not sure what we will decide about kindergarten. Matt and I have not had an in depth conversation about this yet; we may or may not follow a traditional curriculum for kindergarten. We have a lot of learning to do about laws, curricula, etc.

My next step in the learning process is that I am planning on getting a highly recommended book called Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense, by David Guterson, who was a teacher at the time he wrote this book while he and his wife homeschooled their own family. If you want, you can probably check it out at the library.

I would love it if you came along for the ride. You are very important to us and the littles, and I don't want you to feel left out. I want you to feel like the irreplaceable part of our team that you are!
Okay - gotta' RUN! - Lillian
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Old 08-12-2007, 10:30 PM
 
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Taking another break...

Got to thinking - I added the part about Guterson being a teacher, but that probably isn't a good idea. No point in rubbing it in that another teacher is on your side of the issue - the book is self-explanatory. Lillian

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Old 08-12-2007, 10:45 PM
 
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I would skip the quotes around education and curriculum - they aren't needed and it almost seems as though you're making fun of the words. I know that's not your intent, but I think your MIL might see it as an attack on traditional schooling.
Good point - I agree - people often read a certain tone of voice into something that has quotation marks around it, because so much of the time, that's exactly what they're meant to convey. I'd really sit on anything you think about sending - and meanwhile try reading different tones of voice into it to see how things may be taken wrong. I'd actually much prefer to think of you and your husband casually and cheerfully and diplomatically bringing it up in person during a pleasant afternoon together. But you'll have an easier time of it after you read Guterson. Lillian
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:24 PM
 
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"I am definitely not an expert on school, especially outside the home. (That's what I have YOU for!) I don't have a degree. I am not always going to have the answers, but I do have my instincts, and I feel called to homeschool. Some days I wish I didn't! I would rather send my kids to school -- it would be easier on me, but most days when I just admit to myself that God is calling me to homeschool, I feel at peace. I can't argue with it anymore. I am excited to come to that realization. I talked to Matt about it, and he said he trusts my instincts and we could give it a try. I am so thankful for the support he has given me. Do you know what an awesome person you raised?

Since we don't actually have to report to the state on progress until first grade, I am not sure what we will decide about kindergarten. (We may or may not follow a specific curriculum for kindergarten.) Matt and I have not had an in-depth conversation about this matter yet. We have a lot of learning to do about laws, curricula, et cetera. "


I would really reconsider several portions of this. Why mention you are not an expert, that you don't have a degree? Why mention any reservations you have about homeschooling? And heavens, think carefully before you tell your MIL that you and your DH have not finished your in-depth conversatons or done a ton of research regarding laws.

Before telling her, I would read this and several other books. Research all the laws, and find some other homeschoolers in your area. Know some stats. Search the homeschool board here. Practice the "pass the dip" lines. Come up with an initial curriculum (or non-curriculum) plan. Something like "We plan to tailor our curriculum to address his individual strengths and weaknesses and to address both long and short term educational goals." I'm sure others could suggest better quotes.

Though you seem certain about your decision, reviewing these might help with comebacks when or if she argues.

http://www.accelerated-achievement.com/reasons.htm

http://www.natural-learning.net/000149.html


Good luck!
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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nakking and posting my reply before I read others.....

That is suck a wonderful, kind, sweet letter you wrote. Your mil is very lucky to have you.

I would not send it.

"Finish" (are you ever finished!) your research, know the laws FIRM (memorize them!), have the arguments in your head - you know, the socialization, why do you want to do it, it's childabuse... practice your comebacks so they roll off you tongue.

You sound like a nice person. I don't want to "see" you get stepped on. I'm assuming she's an educator? Well, I'm one too.... and I can talk circles around people. It's not nice. I swear, the only graduate with honors the biggest bsers. (like me!)

Get your ducks in a row, then go to her. Invite her in, she'll end up loving it.

Good luck

~ Kim

mama to E (01-2007) and wife to C

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Old 08-13-2007, 12:22 AM
 
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My concern on waiting till she finds out is that she is she is always expressing what delight she has that ds will be attending school next year and giving me tips on how to get him ready...:
What about a firm "thanks, but we're planning to homeschool" when she brings it up? Repeat as often as necessary.
: I would go with just mentioning it when it comes up naturally. I always try to remind myself that I can try to *inform* my friends and family about homeschooling (if I want to) but I'm under no obligation to *convince* them that my choice is right (or even a valid choice). She's free to think that you're totally wacky, and you're free to not give a <something> that she thinks that. You have to accept that you don't need her approval for this to work, but that's the truth in any case.

Lisa , mom to Isaac (9/1/03), Violet (6/19/06), Simon (10/9/09); wife to Eric ; handservant to Grace :
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Old 08-13-2007, 01:13 AM
 
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I don't understand why you'd even be telling your MIL all this.

When she finds out she finds out, but dont go out of your way to tell her.

But IMO by writing this letter your asking for her permission which you obviously don't need.
:
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Old 08-13-2007, 01:27 AM
 
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you really seem like a very kind-hearted person, and i think it's wonderful that you want to keep things smooth between you and MIL. i understand that.

imo, i would change your letter though to be more..."hey-here's what we've decided". period. because your current draft sounds uncertain, i think your MIL is going to challenge you and DH hard. you don't need to mention that you don't have a degree to her...that's irrelevant. i have a B.S. in social work, and i'm as clueless as you resources are equally available to all of us. you have everything you need (including the desire and abilities) to give your dc a wonderful and rich education. you are not asking for MIL's approval (are you?) so in your letter, let it be a statement and not a request, yk? don't mention to her about being confused, it's irrelevant to her imo. that's between you and dh only.....and us at MDC!

in the end, be gentle (as i see that is your nature ) but don't be afraid to BE FIRM. these are your kiddos - so stand your ground and follow your heart.

hugs mama!!!

homeschooling mama to DD 10 & DS 7 blogging.jpg

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Old 08-13-2007, 03:01 AM
 
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There are things I would leave out. This comes as a result of dealing with my wackjob shrew (FIL's girlfriend) who thinks she's the be all and end all of education and who has made it clear she's going to be a pain about me homeschooling my boys (even if I did finally get her to say "OH, you have a degree in education? Well, I guess it's okay then...") - and we were NEVER vague with her. It's also influenced by other relatives that have, as a homeschooling reference, children who they knew who were socially backwards and WAY far behind their age mates when they were enrolled in public school (something about how "it's not just ANYONE who can teach children!").

Things to leave out:

Quote:
I am definitely not an expert on school, especially outside the home. (That's what I have YOU for!) I don't have a degree.
A - this gives the impression that she IS an expert. granted, you are indicating that she's an expert on school outside the home, but you don't need to reinforce the idea that she knows more than you and can therefore be in a constant state of critiquing and "advising" you on how you school your child. B - Don't remind her that you don't have a degree. It's more fuel for her fire, potentially. She'll be developing this list in her head: you don't have a degree, you don't know anything about educating children, etc.... It's a door you don't want to open.

Quote:
I would rather send my kids to school -- it would be easier on me, but most days when I just admit to myself that God is calling me to homeschool, I feel at peace.
Again, you're giving her fuel. Letting her know you'd rather send them to school? And adding faith/religion to it? Will that encourage her to use that tack when she tries to change your mind?

Quote:
we could give it a try.
Don't describe it as trying. Something more like 'this is the decision we've made for junior's early education' might be better? I know that spending 10+ years around my Shrew has really made me once bitten twice shy about what i say, and maybe you don't have those concerns, but if i said "we've decided to try homeschooling" and then we later decided to enroll the boys in school, she'd remember that one phrase, and I'd hear it as "well, you tried...." with the condescending implied pat on the head, and the idea that she knew all along I'd fail, and I should've just left this to the professionals.

Quote:
Since we don't actually have to report to the state on progress until first grade, I am not sure what we will decide about kindergarten. (We may or may not follow a specific curriculum for kindergarten.) Matt and I have not had an in-depth conversation about this matter yet. We have a lot of learning to do about laws, curricula, et cetera. "
This immediately puts flares up for people. You're going to Homeschool and you dont have to REPORT to anyone??? Doesn't a teacher have to review your work????
YOu can be intentionally vague "we've read up on the state regulations and are making decisions about our plans for Junior for Kindergarten." Don't tell her you and Matt haven't had an indepth convo about it - she may think this is something she can negotiate with him.
I tell my shrew that i don't have to do anything with the boys until they're 8 BECAUSE I know it will tork her off (and with the crap of hers I listen to, sometimes I need to sling an arrow) - but I honestly don't care what she thinks about it. And, FIL thinks it's great :

I say all of this, because I've had to treat conversations wtih my shrew like a chess match - know what's going to happen three moves ahead based on what I say at any one time. I plan for several worst case scenarios. I tend to come close.

I really agree wtih Captivated Life

And, does Matt think you need to send her something?
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by raleigh_mom View Post
I would really reconsider several portions of this. Why mention you are not an expert, that you don't have a degree? Why mention any reservations you have about homeschooling? And heavens, think carefully before you tell your MIL that you and your DH have not finished your in-depth conversatons or done a ton of research regarding laws.

Before telling her, I would read this and several other books. Research all the laws, and find some other homeschoolers in your area. Know some stats. Search the homeschool board here. Practice the "pass the dip" lines. Come up with an initial curriculum (or non-curriculum) plan. Something like "We plan to tailor our curriculum to address his individual strengths and weaknesses and to address both long and short term educational goals."
Very good points. - Lillian
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by momto l&a View Post
I don't understand why you'd even be telling your MIL all this.

But IMO by writing this letter your asking for her permission which you obviously don't need.
I agree.
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:50 AM
 
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The letter sounds to me like you are apologizing, that you are not clear for your own reasons to homeschool, and that you and your husband are not on the same page. In addition, the last paragraph of the letter seems to suggest that the MIL has some kind of say in your decisions regarding your child.

My dh and I were not on the same page at the beginning either, but I didn't broadcast that to everyone, especially my inlaws.

If you did decide to homeschool and the MIL was alienated, then what? You don't want her to be but you have no control over her feelings. Would you send your child to school because of MIL's feelings?
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