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Topic: Frustrated by opposition Updated: Not so Frustrated :)

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Aileene - ,
Subject: Frustrated by opposition Updated: Not so Frustrated :)
Date Posted: 2/21/2010 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2009
Posts: 339
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(Caveat: this is not written to offend anyone who DOES choose to HS for religious reasons, forgive me if my phrasing comes out wrong.)

Because of the area we live in, I have absolutely no desire to send my child to public school here and affording any 'decent' private school (even w/ scholarships etc.) is not an option.

I am open to home schooling my youngest (17 months right now) especially after the research I have done into it and home schooled kids I've known growing up in the PNW area.

Also if we do get custody of my older three (12 year old twins and a 9 1/2 year old) I would much prefer HS to the public here ( think guns, muggings, etc while on school grounds, and on the way to and from school, not something I want my kids exposed to. I understand I can't protect them from life...but, well I hope what I am saying makes sense)

My MIL, whom I normally get along w/ pretty well, though we have some differences in how we would raise MY son, but now that we are in our own place ( a major reason for us moving, even if we couldn't move far (literally across the street) since we still have to help them some times, and need their help too w/ my FIL/MIL health issues needing my DH to help do things and my health issues needing family nearby to help spell my DH if I end up hospitalized...going on a full year though w/ no hospitals :)

Anyway back on topic; My MIL is so opposed to HS, almost to the point that if we were talking about something else I would call her racist/prejudice. I know she is so closed minded to the topic that she told my DH that there is no way she is going to allow Damien to be home schooled. well this gets my back up, though I do understand where she is coming from. The HS children she has been exposed to are not very socialized, which is a problem I believe can be worked around/with.

Now my DH and I agree on giving HS a try, to see if we can do it for one, and for another to see if the kid(s) take to it well. My DH is influenced by his mom a bit, and he's only been around the same HS children that his mother has as well. (He's a fencing coach so they get classes of HS kids) so he's nervous about this venture and we agreed to take it on a year by year basis, I am excited about this, really.

I am looking for material or articles or even correspondence to share w/ my MIL and DH to help show them that HS kids can be 'normal' (I know they are normal...gah I don't even know if this is coming out right) Please help!

Also, if anyone could point me in the direction of some good/great HS material that isn't religious based, that would be even better. We aren't big on religion...we aren't atheist, but we don't subscribe to any of the organized religions out there and we won't 'teach' the bible in a school setting w/ the writing, reading, math stuff. Though we do read the biblical stories for 'fun' and he loves certain movies 'Veggie tales' being some of them, we think they teach great morals/ethics.

Anyway, if anyone can make sense of this post and help me with what I need I would be so very grateful: Material/Articles to help convince MIL (and to a lesser extent my DH) that HS is a good, healthy and can produce healthy, social, happy children. And where I can find material/info on curriculum and up to possible co-ops that are not religious based, since we would prefer to keep it out of our curriculum.

Thanks so much,


Last Edited on: 3/2/10 8:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 2/21/2010 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
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Are you familiar with the Colfax's?  I believe they were secular homeschooler's who sent 3 of 4 of their children to Harvard.  I believe they homeschooled with an unschooling philosophy and were quite successful.  They have a book...can't think of the title.  But if you google Colfax homeschool I bet you'd come up with some good info to help with your campaign :-)

Date Posted: 2/21/2010 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2010
Posts: 25
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I'll look through my bookmarks and see if I can find the article's I've saved.  My parents bothered me a lot about homeschooling.  They were worried about the socialization issue and HSer's been wierd as well.  I didn't live close to her so it wasn't as bad as you are getting it.  I can say that no proof ever really made her stop thinking bad things until she saw the results of my homeschooling.  She comes out to visit us and comments how well behaved my kids and complains about my sister's kids saying "shut up" or calling each other names, running crazy, climbing everywhere, etc.  They aren't bad kids, regular kids, but my kids are taught 24/7 to respect each other and to listen to me and their are consequences if they don't.  I'm not super strict and not letting them run around and be kids, but teacher's let things slide in order to get work done or they don't hear things kids say, etc.  So naturally my kids are her "best behaved" grandkids so far.  Also, she's amazed that my 7 year old is doing more complicated math than my sister's 10 year old is doing.  My son just loves math and he pulls it out and reads the teacher manual and starts working on the problems before I even wake up.  It's crazy, but he loves it.  So that was proof enough and she's stopped talking about it.  She sees how well rounded and how excited my oldest is about what he learns and to me that's the most important.  Not how smart they are, but not losing that love of learning.  Kids are born loving to learn and schools just kill that love and make it boring.  My kids still love to learn and are excited and bug about "is it school time yet?"  They want to do it on saturdays and i have to tell them no so I can clean the house occasionally, lol. 


I'll post any articles, if I can find them through my many bookmarks.

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 9:46 AM ET
Member Since: 1/26/2010
Posts: 14
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To be perfectly honest it sounds to me as if a handful of articles may not make a difference. I am NOT saying this to discourage you, but only to prepare you to consider this a long term committment with or without your families support. The first year can be full of ups and downs. Be prepared to give yourself tons of GRACE when a day doesn't go as planned. Know that your MIL will see some of your bad days and that it will all be OK...

Remember that HSing is a long-term committment. There will be days when you can't see the forrest for the trees... but it's worth it.

Subject: reply
Date Posted: 2/22/2010 10:31 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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Yes, to go along with what Tara said, some people just will NEVER "get" HS'ing.  They'll have a comeback to everything you say about it.  Just remember, you shouldn't have to defend yourself to your MIL or anyone else.  These are YOUR kids, NOT hers.

Plus, your child is only 17 months...if she's grandma to him, and not the older kids, I just wouldn't worry about it for now.

I have some good links about the dreaded "S" word.  I'll go dig them up, and then edit this reply to include them.  There is also a great NHERI report.

FWIW, the majority of HS'ers are not "religious" anymore.  There are as many reasons to HS as there are people who HS.


Aileene - ,
Date Posted: 2/22/2010 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2009
Posts: 339
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Thank you so much to everyone :)

I know that  a few articles are not going to change her mind, but I have to (or I feel I have to) try something and then if nothing changes, at least I provided her with material I can point to and say 'Well your worries are addressed here" or something along those lines.

And I also wanted to add that I am very aware that home schooling is done for so many reasons these days (and even in the past) with religion being just one of many, the reason I brought it up is that (bleh I hate labeling) 'religious' home schooling and curriculum seems to be all that my MIL and those around here seem to 'know' about, and its on the top of most of the searches I've done online.

My niece is going to a private school which is catholic, but I don't hear any religious arguments against that, so I think its just a 'pat' excuse my MIL has burned into her brain. (none of my in laws are catholic or truly religious beyond Christian, they don't belong to any church either, though my MIL brother was an Episcopalian priest/pastor before health caused him to retire.

So I don't believe the religious aspect of home schooling is truly the issue with her, I think she's afraid I am going to make her grandson (and step-grandkids) 'weird' if that makes any sense.

I know that home schooling CAN be the wrong solution for certain families and kids, but with what research I have done, and the people I have talked to (outside of my MIL lol) I think it could be the answer for us, even though it is going to be so much harder (in my opinion, not knocking public schools in general lol) than just planting him on the bus and sending him away to school for a few hours a day.

As for my elder three children...I think they could benefit from a curriculum more geared towards them as individuals than as one of a whole...if that makes sense. (we are having some issues that are leading me strongly into this belief).

I look forward to any material that you can point me to, for myself, as well as for my MIL. Thank you so very much,


Subject: unschooling
Date Posted: 2/23/2010 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2010
Posts: 39
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If you choose unschooling a way to warm the kids up to it might be sharing the book, "Surviving the Applewhites."  We don't use unschooling but our kids really enjoyed the book because the homeschool family members are the "heroes" of the story.   I know it sounds kind of crass but did you ever meet someone who went through the public school who wasn't well socialized, didn't fit in or was a little weird?  I went to public school and there were definitely all types.  The system didn't guarantee good results.  We even had someone at our school who brought a gun to school intending to shoot others and ended up shooting herself.  Not that you will win your MIL over with that thought but it might help you to remember it.  HSing doesn't guarantee perfect results any more than the public school does but you will have control over the environment and the curriculum.  I second the story above that said something along the lines of just get started and let your results speak for themselves.  Every where we go people comment on how loving and kind our children are.  We teach them to respect each other and they genuinely like each other.  They are equally comfortable engaging adults or other children in conversation.  If you like Veggie Tales, you might like an Amish curriculum from Pathway Publishers.  Every story has a moral without being preachy.  Although they are current stories for Amish children, they feel like pioneer stories for our children.  We also like Carson-Delosa, Frank Schaffer, and Steck-Vaughn for non-religious resources.  Good luck in your endeavors.

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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See if you can get something specific about her concerns and address that.


Also don't always be in convert mode. Just live and show by example. Deal with her when she brings it up.


Also get to a point of agreement. Somewhere on my blog I did a long essay on this topic of dealing with naysayers. I'll look later.

Subject: links
Date Posted: 2/26/2010 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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Sorry it's taken so long for me to post these links.  I had a crazy-busy week with HS suport group stuff.

Here are several about the dreaded "S" word:

Socialization: A Great Reason Not to Go to School:  http://learninfreedom.org/socialization.html (I know this author well.)

Homeschooling and the Myth of Socialization:  http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/zysk1.html

No, Thank You, We Don't Believe in Socialization!:  http://www.webeans.net/hutt/socialize.htm

Socialization (many more links on this page:  http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/socialization.htm

Research Shows Good Things:  http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com/How_To_Homeschool/articles/articles.php?aid=106

and a "bonus" - Homeschool Progress Report 2009http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/ray2009/2009_Ray_StudyFINAL.pdf

Subject: Thanks for these links
Date Posted: 2/27/2010 10:22 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2006
Posts: 126
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I just wanted to quickly thank you for the links.  I am doing a college essay on homeschooling and I think it will be focusing a lot on the myth of socialization.

I will be bookmarking these articles for possible use in my essay.


Aileene - ,
Date Posted: 2/27/2010 12:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2009
Posts: 339
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Thank you so much for the links, we've had some really bad weather lately so I haven't had a chance to look at them all. We spent most of yesternight and this morning digging, literally, our car out of the drive way, this was after spending two hours digging from our doorway to the car to begin with lol.

I agree that I am never going to convince my MIL of what she doesn't 'want' to believe, but it makes me feel better to have something 'physical/material' that I can point at.

Plus it looks like they have some good points about socialization which to be honest is my biggest worry about my kids (whether we HS or not, as I am not terribly impressed w/ the socialization of most 'school systems' lol)


p.s. thanks to all who have answered and made their own posts here, this place (PBS) has been more than just a book swapping site for me, I've found answers to questions I couldn't find elsewhere (or couldn't make sense of elsewhere) as well as finding a place to fit in, should have known it would  be with other book readers and swappers (lol both, not either/or)

Date Posted: 3/1/2010 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2010
Posts: 7
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I've been homeschooling my daughter her entire life. Let me tell you, those who are adamantly opposed will remain so no matter the evidence that what you are doing is valid. My best evidence is to have them meet the child herself, and know how she performs in plays, interacts with other children, etc. Also, her superior performance on standardized tests quiets them when it comes to my supposed inability to teach as well as someone with a degree or teaching certificate.


That said, this is becoming a good resource, though it is new http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/. She's also a good source of information when it comes to dealing with the nay sayers, if you choose to contact the editor directly. She's written a small book specifically addressing people close to homeschooling families. It answers some questions for them and suggests ways of interacting with the homeschooling family without being offensive.


I am also a secular homeschooler, and I've found many resources through the Homeschooling Atheists Yahoo group. I find the members a great source for finding materials without religious content, or barring that, sources that can be edited to suit your needs. 

Date Posted: 3/2/2010 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 9/17/2008
Posts: 1
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I wanted to homeschool my first son but my MIL and first hubby wouldn't hear of it.  I changed husbands and did homeschool my youngest son.  He is the best socialized of all 5 of my children (He is 18 now and has straight A's in  college).  He did attend kindergarten in public school.  I am always amazed at how at ease he is around adults and authority figures.  I went to public school all my life and always felt outcast.  My son was always at the top of his class and loved by his teacher.  :)


The curriculum we used was the Core Curriculum.  It is non-religious.  You can order the entire curriculum from Calvert School online or by mail, or you can simply buy the Core Curriculum books (one for each year) and make your own curriculum.

Don't let anyone talk you out of what you think it is best to do!!!  You are the Mom and you really do know best.

Aileene - ,
Date Posted: 3/2/2010 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2009
Posts: 339
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Again, I can't thank you all enough.

I'm not sure if you knew it (or noticed it) but with the 'vocal' opposition of my MIL (to the point that I have told her I refuse to discuss the subject with her anymore, because I respect and love her too much to allow this to become a wedge between us by having harsh words said over it on my side, I tend to let things build up and then blow, regretting later the things I've said and I don't want that with my MIL, because I really do like and love her despite some 'difficulties' on certain things)

Anyway, back to what I was saying:
I'm not sure if you knew it (or noticed it) but with the 'vocal' opposition of my MIL and the non-support of my DH (he agrees to try it & has agreed to the 'no talking' to his mom about it except to support my/our right to choose) (and I am sure that all of you know the difference between outright opposition and simple 'non-support' though I am turning him around, as his 'beliefs' aren't as imprinted as his mom's)

Anyway (again lol), I starting to feel less sure of myself and what I thought best, I am not a confrontational person unless backed into a corner or over my children and while this falls into the 'for my children' category, I wasn't sure if I was talking myself into it because of how badly scarred I (and many in my family) I was by the public school system paired with how really really bad the district we live in is.

I was feeling overwhelmed and following the links you've given and reading your support here(and showing my DH both) I've rebuilt my certainty that this IS the best decision right now & truly if I had custody of my other three children I WOULD home school them w/o question.

The older two (12 year old twin boys) are having some trouble in school that from my investigations (on what the exact trouble is...I can call teachers and get their take as well as their father can, even if he chooses not to) I think that a number of their 'problems' could be addressed by simply home schooling them ('simply' is a misnomer I know)

and my daughter, while living up to her name (Charisma) is having more socialization troubles in school than she would be if I never let her leave the house (she has a minor health issue (bladder related) that we are working with, but we haven't been able to get it fixed yet & kids are cruel...very cruel) so while she has friends and doesn't 'seem' to be bothered by it to most people, I spend a large portion of the summer (or other breaks) rebuilding her confidence and holding her while she sobs about it.

I've also held my oldest two while they sob about issues in school...do you know how much harder it is to hold a 12 year old boy while he cries himself sick over something that you can't fix, than it is to comfort an infant (17 months) who is crying because he fell down or similar? I am sure you all do.

Thank you for rebuilding my faith in this decision and giving me links and material to show my DH, he isn't exactly jumping in, but he is giving more support for the decision and the halt in discussions w/ my MIL (that I never started beyond the first one months ago) I am feeling a lot less stressed.


p.s. am I wrong in thinking that there are things I could be doing w/ my almost 18 month old now. I want him to find learning fun, not a chore or 'work' and he is so receptive at this age to many things, but I don't want to overdo it, you know?

Thanks again,


Subject: reply
Date Posted: 3/3/2010 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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Aileene said:

Thank you for rebuilding my faith in this decision and giving me links and material to show my DH, he isn't exactly jumping in, but he is giving more support for the decision and the halt in discussions w/ my MIL (that I never started beyond the first one months ago) I am feeling a lot less stressed.

p.s. am I wrong in thinking that there are things I could be doing w/ my almost 18 month old now. I want him to find learning fun, not a chore or 'work' and he is so receptive at this age to many things, but I don't want to overdo it, you know?

FWIW, my DH wasn't totally on board with the idea of HS'ing, but it didn't take him long to come around.  ;)

I knew he was on board when he totally defended our (my?) decision to HS our son (first).  My in-laws brought up the "S" word and DH went off about how horrible school was socially for him and how he'd be a totally different person had he not been picked on DAILY at school for 13 years.  He's 43 and still dislikes being around people.  It scarred him terribly...as did his parents' hands-off approach, saying "it's good for you".  UGH.

We never did do a formal agreement about "let's not talk about it" and MIL can't stand anything to do with education anyway.  FIL gets interested at times.  It's really sad because she just can't comment positively with anything educational DS does.  He sent out a recent poem he wrote and her response was, "I thought it was just a regular story".  GRR.  My mom is the total opposite and when we lived in the same city, she actually did some of DS's lessons with him - mostly art.  She fell totally in love with the curriculum we used (K12) and wanted to be there everyday to learn/re-learn with him.

As for your 18 month old, just look for learning/teachable moments in everything.  Read, read, read, to him.  You're already "homeschooling" him.    Take him to museums, toddler classes (my son started zoo classes at 18 months and it taught him how to sit still and pay attention), spend loads of time having fun at a park/playground, explore nature, and make learning fun.  It will just become part of him and he'll have a joy of learning.

I'm glad to hear things are turning around for you.  Want to know something?  Every single HS'er I know, including myself war TERRIFIED to start this journey.  I did it recluctantly at first and only "signed up" for a two-year stint - LOL!  It wasn't long into our journey that I knew we'd be in it for the long haul.  We're in our seventhy year now.  And just so you know, my daughter (two years younger than DS) has always been in public school.  So we're a "half and half" family.  We do what's best for each child.  DS is gifted and DD has multiple special needs.

Only commit to HS'ing one year at a time and it's not so daunting.  Every spring I re-evaluate to make sure what we're doing is still the best option for both kids.  Then I make a plan to adjust where necessary.

Date Posted: 4/25/2010 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2005
Posts: 66
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Interesting. I wonder if you could come back on this another way.  When she mentions homeschooling and socialization.  "Oh I know, did you hear about that 15 year old in Massachusetts who was so bullied in public school she committed suicide?"


"Did you hear about that lock-down after a 7 year old brought a gun to school?" I made that one up, but I am sure it wouldn't' take much to find real articles.