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Today my husband's co-worker commented that she thinks I must be brave for deciding to homeschool our children. i know that this is a fairly common reaction, but (aside from me feeling a bit insulted on behalf of our little ones at the insinuation that being with them on a full-time basis must involve bravery) it got me to wondering... what is it about educating our own children that people consider to be so brave? Why do people not regularly call schoolteachers brave for undertaking educating 25-30 other people's kids every year, when homeschoolers are considered brave just for educating 2 (or 3 or 4) of their own? You'd think the person w/ 30 kids would be facing a much bigger challenge. Even if they do consider schoolteachers to be courageous, saying you're a teacher isn't typically met with "Oh, you're a <i>schoolteacher</i>? You must be so <i>brave</i>!" (or patient, or "oh, I could never do that"...) So why, just because it's our own children that we're guiding and helping to learn about the world, are we reacted to as if we're somehow doing something extraordinary?
 

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I am not sure, but I have gotten this comment as well. One of the comments was followed up by an explanation that she can't just get her child to do homework so there is no way they would get him to do his school work as well.... so I am guessing she thought I would have the kids sit in desks for 8 hours a day while drilling them on state capitals or something, which just isn't my thing.
 

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Today my husband's co-worker commented that she thinks I must be brave for deciding to homeschool our children. i know that this is a fairly common reaction, but (aside from me feeling a bit insulted on behalf of our little ones at the insinuation that being with them on a full-time basis must involve bravery) it got me to wondering... what is it about educating our own children that people consider to be so brave?
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My theory is that some people feel threatened by what others do because it makes them wonder if they are doing the right thing. If they can make us different in some way, that justifies why they're not hsing.<br><br>
I got the "You must be so brave" comment when I chose a midwife over an OB, when I chose HB, etc. etc. It's not an issue of bravery, of course. But if it's framed that way, "I don't hs because I'm not brave." then they can dismiss that as an option for themselves.
 

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I think it does take bravery.<br><br>
Homeschooling is following a path that is less known. It requires faith both in oneself and your child. It requires self-searching and discernment to reach deep and find your values. These things I have found take some bravery, they are not easy and often can be quite scary.Sometimes it requires overcoming your fears. It takes courage to face the sometimes awesome responsibility for your child's education.
 

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I agree, the teachers in the school are the brave ones. Being responsible for the education of a classroom of children with varying levels and abilities?? No thanks!!
 

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Plus it's considered outside the norm. Doing something outside the box is considered brave because it's less charted territory and more open to criticism.<br><br>
I also get a lot of comments about how much work this must be for me (it's work but worth getting rid of the worry and stress that was school) and how hard it must be. It's a combo of hsing, in most cases, being less hard than public opinion allows, and due to that perception of it being so hard people don't believe they could do it - therefore it's very brave of you to tackle something so obviously difficult.<br><br>
Honestly it would take a lot more bravery and it would be a lot harder for me to put ds back in school at this point.
 

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I agree with chaos_pie. It takes a certain amount of bravery to question the status quo and then go a different way. I think a lot of us are independent thinkers and are used to turning a critical eye to institutions that lots of people never examine--nutrition, birth, medicine, education, politics, etc. I don't feel particularly brave, because I'm used to questioning.<br><br>
There's the possibility that I could screw up my kids by home educating them--I'm taking all of that responsibility on myself. Who's to blame if they don't "turn out well"? People that are filled with self-doubt would find taking full responsibility daunting and scary.
 

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I also think it's a combination of factors.<br><br>
1. People think that all homeschoolers do strict school at home type schooling and imagine sitting at the kitchen table from 9-3 every day teaching complicated or boring subjects.<br><br>
2. Look at all the mainstream parenting practices. Cribs, strollers, nurseries, formula feeding, TV as childcare, daycare starting at 6 weeks, bouncy seats & swings, pre-school, pre-k, babysitters on the weekend, public school with before and after school care ...<br><br>
We have created a culture where parents are so removed from their children that spending all day, every day in one-on-one contact is probably a pretty scary thought.<br><br>
(PS. Not knocking anyone who uses any of the above parenting practices. We are a stroller using, TV watching, other-room-sleeping family).
 

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I think Baby Makes 4 had it right, they imagine that you are doing it like a SCHOOL in the home, which just gives me a headache to even think about.
 

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I agree with laurabdg and chaos_pie. I think there is a certain amount of courage required to allow all the responsibility for your children's education to rest on your own shoulders. Though school parents sometimes love and sometimes hate the schools their children attend, there's a certain emotional safety in knowing that they are there to blame if things go wrong. Not so with homeschooling.<br><br>
Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Benji'sMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9052110"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think Baby Makes 4 had it right, they imagine that you are doing it like a SCHOOL in the home, which just gives me a headache to even think about.</div>
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I think so too. But thousands (millions?) of teachers do school in school every day. And what they do isn't generally seen as extraordinary or unusual, it's just accepted as a fairly normal, feasible career. FTR, I'm not interested in recreating school at home either... but even coming from this mindset, I just find the prevalence of the thought that being a "teacher" at home to 2 or 3 of your own children would be so much more difficult than being a teacher at school to 30-ish children rather odd, when I stop to think about it.<br><br>
I agree that it can involve bravery to go against the mainstream and possibly face others' criticisms and judgements for it (although, I've made so many "weird" parenting decisions by this point, what's one more, eh? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> ). But somehow I don't think that's what most people have in mind when they make such comments.<br><br>
Taking direct ownership and responsibility for your child's education and thus their future well-being can be intimidating and thus can be an act of bravery, I agree.<br><br>
I sort of wish my husband had replied to his co-worker's "bravery" comment with "Why?" For the sake of understanding (and for satisfying my own idle curiosity <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> ), it would have been interesting to have gotten a better idea of what she means by it and where her thoughts are coming from.<br><br>
(My apologies if I've ended up lagging in my reply, btw. One-handed mak. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> )
 

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Kind of chuckled when I read that first post because I always thought of the ps teachers as the brave ones! While it took me awhile to feel up to tackling my kids' education (was stuck on all the things I don't know), I would much rather have a few that I can teach how they need and what they need instead of having to do things a certain way with 20-30 kids in one small room.<br><br>
Crystal
 

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<span>They have this illusion that school teachers have been systematically and thoroughly <i>trained</i> on "what needs to be taught" and how to go about teaching it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes"><br><br>
They think the rest of us are clueless. So it's clearly <i>"brave"</i> of us to jump in and try to do something we're so ignorant about. They have the idea that it's going to be quite a struggle to try to figure it all out and to figure out how to "teach" it to the children, empty little vessels that they are... At least they think it's <i>admirable</i> to be so "brave," as compared to those who think courage has nothing to do with the fact that it's hopeless <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> - Lillian<br><br></span>
 

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Our children are still young yet, but since ds1 is now four and could enter ps pre-k this September, we're asked quite a lot about it and we couldn't ever send them to ps, so homeschooling (well, wholistic life-learning) is already a large part of our life. Since this is the case, we hear, "You must be so brave" a lot too and I looooooove replying with the line from The Princess Bride, "Only compared to some," or a straight-forward, "Why is that?" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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I know some people who do think of traditional school teachers as brave. And having been a substitute teacher in Jr high and High schools, I have to agree. Some days I wasn't brave enough to go and would turn the phone off so I didn't get a sub. job assigned.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>moominmamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9052340"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree with laurabdg and chaos_pie. I think there is a certain amount of courage required to allow all the responsibility for your children's education to rest on your own shoulders. Though school parents sometimes love and sometimes hate the schools their children attend, there's a certain emotional safety in knowing that they are there to blame if things go wrong. Not so with homeschooling.<br><br>
Miranda</div>
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I think this culture in many ways is all about avoiding responsibility, so to actually want to not use an easy(and socially acceptable) way to pass responsibility to other people is practically heretical. Everyone has to have a reason for their failures, someone to pass the blame to.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>rsps</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9054720"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I know some people who do think of traditional school teachers as brave. And having been a substitute teacher in Jr high and High schools, I have to agree. Some days I wasn't brave enough to go and would turn the phone off so I didn't get a sub. job assigned.</div>
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<span>That reminded me of the time the principal came into a certain 6th grade class at the end of the 2rd day to make an announcement that the teacher was going to be out yet another day. I almost burst into tears. It had been miserable - even the janitor had commented that the classroom was always a lot more of a mess - litter all over the floor - than any of the other rooms. That was a bizillion years ago, right after I got out of college - but it's all such a vivid visual memory, even down to the dress I was wearing at the time. I wonder what those kids are like today... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"></span>
 

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When I read the title of this post, it reminded me of when I have seen this written about natural and/or home birth.<br><br>
I think people say it because we are taking <b>full</b> responsiblity. There will be no one to blame if (<i>when</i> in their minds) things go wrong. We must be brave to take all that on ourselves.
 

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I've never had this said wrt hsing (yet! lol) , but people have said it to me wrt homebirthing, bfing, adoption, driving 1500 miles in a car loaded with my kids, raising kids without fast food, quitting my job 8 yrs ago , & drinking raw milk. Peeps have also said it now that I have a barn and am raising various animals.<br><br>
I think it has to do with going against societal norms--whichever they may be at any given time. (They are always changing). Anything people are removed from seems dangerous.
 

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When people say it to me, it's usually in the context of "You're so brave to give up all that time/freedom you could have if you'd just send them to school". My friends get to go shopping and get pedicures and clean the whole house top to bottom by the time their kids are out of school. So, choosing to give that me time and freedom seems 'brave'.
 
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