Are most teachers offended when you say you are going to homeschool/unschool - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-20-2007, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bit of Back Story:

DS's paternal grandpa (Boots) (step dad to ds's dad) is a teacher. I mean I had always known that he is a teacher, but I just realized that all this time me or ds's dad have brought up homeschooling (we plan to unschool, but I just say homeschool to save a lot of time of explaining unschooling) many times. Well Boots has never made any comments what so ever that would appear that he disagrees with homeschooling or that he is offended by it, and trust me he is a very blunt person. I was homeschooled and my mom new people who were teachers that were offended by the fact that she homeschooled her children, so I am really thankful that it appears that Boots won't be saying anything negative about it, so hopefully it won't be a common thing even though it was for my mom.

Question:

Do you find that teachers are offended when you say you homeschool/unschool? Is this a common thing?
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:06 PM
 
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I do find that to be true sometimes. However, I do have several close friends who are teachers who ask me every time we talk, "you are still homeschooling, right? Don't stop!" I also know of a fair number of teachers who homeschool their own children.

There, how's that for prevaricating?
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:08 PM
 
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The few public school teachers I know have been very supportive of homeschooling and plan to homeschool their own children (when they have children).

The one public school administrative person I know is extremely critical of homeschooling. She has been a vice principal and now does administration and school board work (choosing curriculums annd whatnot). She works so hard to make good choices for school children and feels very hurt that she sees parents moving outside the system and making educational choices without the 'benefit' of her experience and education. :

She has been quasi supportive of our family. She knows our kids and can see that they are doing just fine. But she really wants more control over what happens in homeschool families. She doesn't understand why homeschool families won't allow in-home visits (not legally necessary) and assumes we should be treated like a CPS case. She wants to see in our home. She wants to see specific workbooks and texts used. She wants hs'ers to recreate a public school environment in the home.

She makes me crazy, but is one of those people who shows up at every function, every gathering and somehow gets an invitation to every social function. I can't shake her.

But then again, that is only one person. And again, the teachers I know are very supportive of homeschooling.

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Old 08-20-2007, 06:11 PM
 
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my fil used to teach, and he wasnt so much as offended as he was tottaly against it saying that noone but teachers have any bussinessteaching kids, thats what they go to school for, and that parents arnt smart or good enough...... right after both me and dh had been telling him why we were homeschooling ds. : but dh said screw him, we are the parents, he isnt.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:13 PM
 
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I'm a teacher and I'm 80% sure I'll homeschool my daughter.

My mother is a retired teacher and anti-homeschooling. My father is a retired teacher and pro-homeschooling. He's actually pro-radical unschooling, even though I'm not sold on it yet! My brother is a product of unschooling/nontraditional schooling and he's a master glassblower, taking home six figures a year and doing what he loves. So right there is a great homeschooling success story, even though my father said he spent the better part of a year just throwing rocks into a lake.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ammaarah View Post
even though my father said he spent the better part of a year just throwing rocks into a lake.
thats physics, science and geography
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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My sister is a teacher, and her first reaction to my hsing was to say that she wished she could hs her kids too.

I've never gotten a really bad reaction from teachers. Some have been very enthusiastic, a few have been a bit dubious, and most just really didn't seem to care much about it.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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I have gotten two responses from teachers. Honestly, it's been about 70% the first type and 30% the second.

The first, is the "oh, how nice" response where I get the definite feeling that they are totally against it... this is usually followed at some point later in the conversation by little digs, comments etc. about things like "socialization" and other stuff like that. I get the feeling that these folks really are hurt and offended that you don't want "them" teaching your kids (even though, chances are, they'd personally NEVER see your kid in a classroom because they are in a different district, etc. LOL) My SIL is one of these teachers.

The second is the totally UBER positive teacher who tells me "you know, if I had it to do over again, I'd TOTALLY homeschool my kids!" followed by lots of interested questions and support, offers of information, etc.

I feel badly that the people in the first group feel so threatened, but their reactions make me all the more certain of my decision. If they are that personally upset by my decision to hs my kids, I imagine they personalize other stuff that happens in the classroom and on campus and that it affects their teaching style. No thanks.

I also firmly believe that the teachers in BOTH types that I've come across are honestly, very concerned for the children in their charge... that they truly want the best for all kids and that they are expressing that the best way they know how.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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We know three teachers. The first, who is family, I've never heard a word from him about homeschooling. He's my aunt's husband, and to be honest, I'm not even sure he knows we're homeschooling.

Another is the father of one of Colwyn's friends. He seemed cool with it, but said, "Wow, you know that it's going to be a LOT of work, right?"

And the other is a neighbor we only see once a month, if that. She's been, um.. politely confused, and maybe a bit indifferent, too. She's asked me some oddball questions about what we're required to do for reporting.. she clearly has no idea. Which is fine. Other than that, she doesn't really seem to care.

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Old 08-20-2007, 06:45 PM
 
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I have yet to run into a teacher public or private school employed that supports our decision not to either enroll our kid in pre-school/nursery school or elementary school.

All I've run into are very anti-HS'ing. I get the usual BS about socialization and how my kid won't be able to do things......blah blah.

So........nope......not yet........there's always the possiblity that I will run into one in the future.

Also, apparently, I'm not "qualified" to educate my child - as if the person with a HS diploma and CPR training is better qualified than my liberal arts and business/law background to educate my toddler??????? WTH??? :

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Old 08-20-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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I know a lot of teachers, both in my local community and in my extended family. Of them, I'd say about a third are totally supportive of homeschooling. About a third have some reservations about homeschooling in general but are polite and respectful in expressing them, and about a third are opposed to homeschooling and will either tell you that or clam up with stony resentment whenever the topic comes up. I've been surprised a few times by which camp they fall into. One recently retired teacher I know who helped found an alternative school in the 70's that included a cross-country hippie-style travel experience in a converted school bus with a bunch of teens, an interesting and creative and really nice guy, declined to tutor a homeschooled teen he cares quite deeply about because "I support public schooling and that wouldn't feel right." Yet my totally unadventurous, inside-the-box MIL, a former schoolteacher, thinks homeschooling is wonderful. Weird.

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Old 08-20-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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Teachers are people too . Many (myself included! I'm a teacher...) see that there are lots of benefits of homeschooling and see it as a perfecetly valid alternative to "regular school". Others see more of the things that school can give that homeschool might have a hard time with and use that as the basis of their logic against it. There is nothing a teacher can do that a dedicated parent can't. The real bottom line is that teachers have a wider vairety of skills and experiences to draw on and have worked with lots of kids and tried teaching things lots of ways. That doesn't make me an expert in YOUR child, and hs parents only really need to find ways of teaching their own, so they don't need all that background, just to find what works for their child. Teachers in a classroom have to teach all, and so this is where the extra education and depth of content comes in. If your child were sitting there and both you and I were in front of her and we had a "teaching competition"- If I'm a good teacher, we'd tie. You'd know her and could do and ask things I wouldn't even think about, but I might have a few extra tricks up my sleeve and maybe more content knowledge. If you're a great hs parent, you'd kick my *ss . A parent who really knows their kid and how to teach them would trump all my fancy degrees.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:03 PM
 
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thats physics, science and geography
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:11 PM
 
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I have a lot of teachers in my family, and only one (my SIL - same age as me, no kids) was extremely against hs'ing when we began. She's since seen some of the cool stuff my DS has done and has backed off at bit. She hasn't said her reasons explicitly, but it seems she's offened that just anyone with no teacher training could presume to try to do what she has gone to school for years to learn to do properly. She doesn't get that helping your own children learn is much different from being a teacher for 25+ kids you don't know.

My MIL (retired public K teacher), all the step-moms, aunts, uncles, etc have been surprisingly very supportive.

The few teachers I know outside of family seem to fall into the same two extreme camps - love it or hate it. I've not met a teacher who's doesn't seem to have a strong opinion about it. My DS's teacher said, when we pulled him out of 1st, that she thought it was the best thing for him, we'd have lots of fun, and growing up she wished her mom had hs'd her .
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:21 PM
 
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I had a conversation a couple of months ago with a teacher who didn't know I homeschooled. She went on and on about the system, complaining about everything from the state of the schools to the powerlessness she and other teachers feel. She went into teaching to "change the world", so to speak, and has eventually just succumbed to the almighty system. When I finally did mention that I homeschooled my kids, she perked right up and said things like "God bless you" and "you're kids are soooo lucky".

I had the same experience last year speaking with a mom who was also a teacher. She went on about how 8th grade is a complete waste of time and that the big exams the 8th graders have to take are totally useless. She said she told her son he could go on ahead and wipe his ass with his state test results since high schools don't even consider them, lol. I then said I homeschooled and she asked me a ton of questions. She was amazed at how great it sounded and offered to give me any extra books she had.

I have teachers reading my blog who send me positive emails. BIL is a teacher who has his doubts, but helps whan he can (he administered the CAT tests to my girls in May). Now my step-sister (his wife) is getting her masters degree in education with the hopes of becoming a teacher. She's expressed concern about homeschooling - but only to my mother. She says my 6y/o ds would have so much more fun in school and she feels sorry for him, that he's going to miss so much. WHAT??!! I was livid and I'm waiting patiently for her to actually confront ME about it. I am armed and ready with plenty of information and confidence.

Other teachers I've come across are just so misinformed about it, that I barely even bother trying to educate them. The proof of hs success will be apparent soon enough since it's taken off like a rocket over the past decade.

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Old 08-20-2007, 07:27 PM
 
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The teachers I've run into think hs is great but they are envisioning something structured. They seem to have trouble with the concept of letting kids learn w/o teaching them. They value everyone knowing a certain body of knowledge and think it is would be bad if a child didn't learn a specific part of it.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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to OP only --

My sister's MIL is a hs science teacher -- SIS HS for 3 years before putting the boys in school this year...K and 3rd.

Her MIL was very -- passive agreesive about it. Constantly asking what the boys were doing, what books they were working in, how many books in the set were done, or still had to be done, what math problems the older boy was doing and so on ... all the same stuff sis and I talked about -- but some how with a hint of panic, yk? always asking about test scores and sending sis "helpfull" book about education and so on -- nice enough ont eh surface, but with an undertone.

Sis was doing a stuctrued setting, as would I. and MIL knew that -- i doubt MIL could ever have gottne her mind around unschoolingb and i admit a challange there too :

My Aunt, not related to sis, is a college prof in Education -- she teached theory and also workes with student who will teach MS and HS history ..... I have adressed HS my now 21 month old when the time come and Aunt C is TOTALLY Supporetive of it..........she has serious concerns and worries about most of the student passing though her program .. a student about 20 or 21 in theory class going to be an elemerty Ed teacher who said "Oh I really don't like to read, i never do it for fun" and other stories she tells me. Aunt C has seen a marked decline in the qulaity (and quanity) of her students in th3 30 year (+) she has been a college prof. She talks about socialazation, and then comments, "but he gets that in sunday school and sports ..." She does have, i feel legitmate, concerns about home school in HS when advace scince, languae and math become the norm ... but all in all she is totally supportive of whatever we chhose and agrees with me it is tough thing to think about entrusting Theo to a school in teh 2000's. She talks about things that are better now, but a lot that is worse. I think Aunt C is thinking a structured home setting for school.

So

all in all -- I think it has everythign to do with the INDIVUAL -- if they support HS or not.....where they are "coming from" and why they feel PS is important... and i expect a lot the personaliyt of the person too

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Old 08-20-2007, 07:47 PM
 
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Not in our experience.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:48 PM
 
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It all depends on the school climate, imo. I'm a teacher. It would never have crossed my mind to be offended or otherwise negative about someone's decision to hs. Not my business. I DO get defensive when I hear things like, "well, ANYONE can be a teacher," etc. I actually worked very hard and I'm very good at what I do. Tangent, sorry. Where I live now, there are plenty of hs'ers. Where I lived before, I didn't know ANY. I think a great amount of the reaction you get is dependent on the general level of acceptedness in your community.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:38 PM
 
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I've been told that I have an obligation to have my kids in public school so that the public schools will improve and will have involved parents.

I've been told I have an obligation to be teaching in a public school so that other children can have a good teacher (I have a BS in Elementary Education).

I've been asked "when are you ever going to USE your degree?"

I've been told by my shrew (FIL's girlfriend who's a retired remedial reading teacher) first that I should be out using my degree (I've mentioned that interaction here - it was a year ago) and most recently she went on a tear about all these materials I should have and what I should be doing (labeling everything in the house, etc) to teach reading ending it all with "well, it's not like you're trained or anything." I then reminded her about my degree. Wanker. "Oh. Well, at least you're trained.... Here, lemme give you some of my materials." We have a phonics curriculum and the whole time that I knew her and she was teaching, she BITCHED about the job. Why would I now turn to her for advice?

My SIL (who teaches in Florida) really thinks I should have my kids in school so that they can model good behavior for other children. Her father is also a teacher and has instilled in her this idea of school as the great social change experiment or something. Um, no thanks. Right now, my kids are not going to be "the control group" or something.

but honestly, mostly I get asked about how the state keeps track of me.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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I once chatted with a teacher at the photographer's. We were in the waiting room and I had no idea that she was a teacher. She asked me about our school plans and I said that we planned on homeschooling. Then it came out that she had been a teacher for many years. She said, "Good for you!! My DIL just started homeschooling and I think that's wonderful, with the way that schools are going nowadays."
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:42 PM
 
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My MIL was a PS teacher for years and years. She fully supports our decision to homeschool and was excited to find that I wanted to include her in DS's education. She initially backed off so as to avoid stepping on toes, but I went to her and asked for help. She is so talented in Science and Math and if she's willing to help us guide DS in learning than I'm more than willing to step out of the way.

We have close friends that are both PS teachers and very pro-school, but they aren't behaving negatively at all. So if they are against homeschooling they are too polite to say anything, but honestly, I've never gotten a negative vibe.

I've found that people who are NOT teachers are way more critical.

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Old 08-20-2007, 09:58 PM
 
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My brother and SIL are both teachers. My SIL has not not mentioned it to me. I think she wishes she could homeschool. My brother is very anti-homeschool because he says all the homeschoolers he knows just sit on their butts all day because their parents don't do anything with him. Then he said, "They say they're homeschooling, but there they are at Walmart in the middle of the day! Tell me, when exactly are they learning?" : I didn't even bother to reply. There was no changing his mind.

However, even though he's against it and never said that he felt it would benefit my kids, he did say that DS2 (who turns 4 next month) probably would have a hard time in public school because he's too smart and creative - and that he would probably be in trouble all the time because he asks too many questions. He never would come out and say that he thought it was a good idea to homeschool, but I know that's what he was thinking.

Then I know a couple of teachers who are insulted because I think I can teach my kids. Nevermind the fact that I have a Master's in English and taught ESL at the university level... but these are also the same "friends" who look down on me for now being a SAHM.

I also know a lot of former teachers who now homeschool.

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Old 08-20-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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The only really negative response I've gotten to my homeschooling was from a retired teacher. I have teacher friends who have told me that their knee-jerk first reaction to homeschooling was to be insulted (since homeschooling does suggest that their expertise is unnecessary), but that they understand better now.

The retired teacher seemed to feel like she had the right, or even the obligation to check up on me, as if my kids were more her business than mine. I'm still a little angry about it.

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Old 08-20-2007, 10:58 PM
 
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At least three teachers - maybe more - told me they wished they were able to quit their jobs so they could homeschool their own.

My son was in 1st grade at a tiny alternative school that had only two teachers when we decided to homeschool. One of them was absolutely thrilled for him - whereas the other told me she didn't support it at all, because she felt it wouldn't provide the benefit of having other kids continually putting him down and keeping his self confidence in check . Which made me understand a lot about her... - Lillian
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:17 PM
 
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I'm a teacher, currently a school administrator, and a parent of a schooled child, and I'm definitely not offended by the fact that people homeschool, or unschool. In fact, if I had the option I might well choose to homeschool/unschool myself.

I do get offended, sometimes, by the way people explain WHY they homeschool. For example, I've heard people say they homeschool because there's NO WAY their gifted 5 year old would be challenged in Kindergarten -- and yet I look at the gifted kindergarteners at my school reading all sorts of things, writing all sorts of things, delving into science topics like photosynthesis, and feel hurt that noone recognizes the good work those teachers are doing.

If someone says "I homeschool because I looked at my local public school and it wasn't a good fit", or "I homeschool because it works for my family" or "I homeschool because my children and I enjoy it and find it a wonderful way to learn" or "I homeschool because I want my children to develop specific knowledge in X (music, Christianity, ancient history, whatever)" then I think more power to them, and hope they'll tell me more. My fascination with homeschool and desire to homeschool are what brings me to this forum in the first place. However, if someone homesechools because they believe every negative myth that comes down the road applies to every single school, then I am offended.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Neth Naneth View Post
Do you find that teachers are offended when you say you homeschool/unschool? Is this a common thing?
I've only told one 'practicing' public school teach (my dd's 2nd grade teacher) and she was very supportive. I do, however, know a couple former public school teachers that have decided to stay home and home school their children.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:53 AM
 
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We get mixed reactions. Both MIL and my mom were/are teachers. My MIL is fine with it. My mom was very against it at first but I think she's realizing just how bad the public schools are getting.

My sister who was a teacher before she had kids will be pulling her kids out of ps in a year or two and sending them to private school. She sees what's going on too.

What I get the most of is friends/aquaintences of mine getting defensive and defending why they send their kids to ps. I had one girl ask "Are you sending your DS to school this year?" "No, we plan to homeschool all the way through hs". "Oh, well we've been really happy with the elementary school here. It's great blah blah blah..." Then she proceeds to tell me how she had to meet with the principal last year to request a teacher that would challenge her ds since he's gifted and WAY above grade level. I think if she was honest with herself she'd realize he's not going to get what he needs at ps.

I see the most desire to "control" homeschoolers from the higher ups in the school system here. They're losing money because we're not putting our kids in the school system and they don't like it. But they're not on the front lines and don't realize how hard teachers have it and how many problems there are with typical classrooms in the area. The teachers having a hard time are all for homeschooling!!

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Old 08-21-2007, 03:11 AM
 
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I've gotten nothing but.."you children are very lucky"
I also have a friend who is a teacher's aid at the local elementary school here and she said the teachers are very overwhlemed and stressed and in the teacher's lounge she's been appalled on how bitter most all of them are. Get this..school doesn't start until next week and they are already complaining.

Makes me grateful I'm homeschooling...then today the news is talking about the HUGE teacher shortage in our state.

My girls love doing school here at home.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neth Naneth View Post
Bit of Back Story:

DS's paternal grandpa (Boots) (step dad to ds's dad) is a teacher. I mean I had always known that he is a teacher, but I just realized that all this time me or ds's dad have brought up homeschooling (we plan to unschool, but I just say homeschool to save a lot of time of explaining unschooling) many times. Well Boots has never made any comments what so ever that would appear that he disagrees with homeschooling or that he is offended by it, and trust me he is a very blunt person. I was homeschooled and my mom new people who were teachers that were offended by the fact that she homeschooled her children, so I am really thankful that it appears that Boots won't be saying anything negative about it, so hopefully it won't be a common thing even though it was for my mom.

Question:

Do you find that teachers are offended when you say you homeschool/unschool? Is this a common thing?

I am a teacher, and I homeschool. My DP teaches our daughter while I am at school, and I teach her on weekends, summers, and holidays. We split the responsibility, basically.

Since I'm a teacher, I actually think that forestalls or eliminates the issue for me altogether. My brother and SIL are both in education, and they probably disapprove, but they don't even bother bringing up the issue with me.

Ah, lovely silence from other people...:
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