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Topic: Have you ever noticed how defensive some public school parents can be?

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Subject: Have you ever noticed how defensive some public school parents can be?
Date Posted: 9/6/2007 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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As a home schooler, I am often confronted by nosy people asking lots of questions. I don't make a habit of interrogating the parents of public school children.

However, the ones I find most interesting are the parents whose children are publicly schooled and immediately launch themselves into a fight-or-flight response when they find out that I home school. I don't have to say a word. They immediately start defending their decision to send their children to public school.

Many times, they are the same people who find reasons to attack home schooling in general, and the same ones who are quick to shut up comparison of the two .


Date Posted: 9/6/2007 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2007
Posts: 73
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I try not to take the questions personally. It is hard sometimes especially when they ask if I'm a teacher and look at me like I'm crazy, but I realize that people are curious and home school is relatively new in our society. So many generations have been trained to think it is the government's job to educate.

Date Posted: 9/6/2007 10:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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Not the questions...the immediate reaction of fight or flight. The questions are a subject by itself. I am talking about the ones who are defensive from the word go.

Date Posted: 9/6/2007 11:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2006
Posts: 3,201
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I work with someone who seemed to get offended when I decided to homeschool. I was talking with another person at work who thought it was cool that I was doing this. This other person said "well, I've never had a problem with public schools"

Date Posted: 9/6/2007 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2007
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Do you think it is guilt or maybe the tendency to always justify your actions? I don't understand the avoidance or the defense.

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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I really don't know. I don't understand the reaction! When someone corners me and attacks my choice, then I get mad, but when I am simply asked (or it just comes up naturally), I simply say that I home school, and that's that. I don't automatically launch into a speech about why my choice is best. Sometimes, simply telling someone I home school seems to cause them to launch into their own speech about why the don't. I just don't understand it. If you're doing what you feel is best, why do you feel the need to defend it when I don't question you? KWIM?

Date Posted: 9/20/2007 7:58 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 4,505
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I think some of it is fear of the unknown, fear that you are going to preach at them or something, etc.  I never thought I'd be one of those "wierdos" who homeschooled their kids!  LOL!  But here we are.  Granted, it started as a reactive move, but I'm starting to become proactive as I learn more and see the positive impact homeschooling has on my son and our family as a whole.  I want to bring my oldest home... I just need to get both of us over the fear of the unknown. 



Date Posted: 9/20/2007 10:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
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Maybe those that are the most defensive think deep down in their hearts that they should be homeschooling, but right now, they just don't want to!

I've learned not to take it personally.  My standard response is, "Different kids need different things."

Date Posted: 9/20/2007 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
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I think most of the time they are being defensive, thinking you will look down on *them* for using the public school.  Or they think you must really have something against PS's to HS, so they think they need to defend the system.

What's funny in our family is that we HS one and one is in PS, so people aren't quite sure what to do with *that* one! ;-)


Date Posted: 9/20/2007 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2007
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Last Edited on: 10/16/11 11:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/20/2007 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/2/2007
Posts: 59,977
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It's the same thing that you have to deal with over sahms or wms or breastfeeding moms vs bottle feeding moms. Their is always someone that wants to fight about something. I just ignore it most of the time.

Date Posted: 9/20/2007 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
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The only person I had a problem with was my sons father. He didn't feel that I was qualified. I thought that was funny as he has always told me how smart he thinks I am, & still does. I finally told him that there was no way I could mess him up as much as this school already has, & he is starting to come around. Well that, & I finally flat out told him there will be no discussion on this one subject, that either he trust me to raise his son or he doesn't. He said he does trust me, so I guess I was smart enough to trap him into that one, lol. ;)

Last Edited on: 9/20/07 10:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/21/2007 8:27 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2005
Posts: 87
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We are in our 12th year of homeschooling and it's pretty amazing how people have reacted through the years. I grew up in this town and have the same friends all through life - until I decided to homeschool. Many took it personally that I would chose keeping the kids home and were offended that I thought I could do a better job than what our school could provide. The reaction was something like: "it was good enough for us..." At the time I couldn't understand how those that got so angry with me for that decision would even get angry with me. I never tried to sell them on the idea, and I never told them the school was substandard. It was really hard being attacked and not coming back with something as hurtful - but I was never unkind (and believe me, there were times it was really hard). Just a few years ago, I had one of those ladies that attacked me aproach me and appologise to me. She said that I made her feel guilty that she wasn't as good of a mom as I was. HUH? I'm far from mother of the year, so that one blew me away.

Now, that the kids are teens, they answer why they are out of school or why we get so many books, etc. It's funny, really.... They are asked the questions and when they tell they are homeschooled, the person seems to forget them and stare straight at me and tell me they could never in a million years stand to have the kids home like that. I remember the first time someone said that in front of my children, they were shocked and asked me why people hate their children so much.

I really think that society has taught us that parents really don't know enough to continue their children's education. With getting fed that line for so long, I think they really believe it. The same with the socialization issue. Socialization is NOT sticking your child in with children only his age - life is not like that. I've been around so many homeschool families and children through the years, and the one thing that really sticks out is how the children interact with everyone - no matter what age.

Date Posted: 9/21/2007 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2006
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When I fist started homeschooling, I had a good friend that did not understand. After three years of homeschooling. We started teaching him at age 4 and her seing the results, she has been quick to agree with it now.

I have never had anyone I have told to give me the feeling they were defending public school. Most say they wish they had the time.

Should anyone ever attack me for homeschooling I would just look at them and say something to the effect.

"I homeschool in hopes they don't grow up to be as Rude and closed minded as you !" Thats the way I would leave it ! I wouldn't let it bug me.

Date Posted: 9/23/2007 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2005
Posts: 66
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I run into this a lot. I had one parent even ask my child if they wanted to go to public school. I wondered if she after asked her children if they wanted to? It also happens when they notice I am breastfeeding or I mention that my last child was born at home. I am not trying to convert anyone on these things it just comes up. I mean if my son wants to have some mama milk someone just might notice.

I don't mind the people who ask the questions that are interested. Just most of the questions I get asked are like you said defensive or a way to put down my choices.  It amazes me that someone will just slam someone like that which is something I wouldn't do about their choices.

Date Posted: 9/24/2007 1:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2007
Posts: 277
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The only negative reaction I've had to homeschooling was from my mother in law (who is a public school teacher).  I've had a lot of people ask and generally they're very receptive to it - especially the elderly people who give me praise and encouragement citing the sorry state they feel the schools are in, saying how that's no place for a child nowadays.  I've had one public school parent ask me about it (mostly because she asked my 6 year old son where he went to school and he proudly announced that he was homeschooled) - she wasn't snotty or defensive about it, I think she just wanted to know more information.  She was very nice about the whole thing.  The other public school parents who find out we homeschool usually don't say anything or say the obligatory "oh, isn't that nice..." comment.

Date Posted: 10/16/2011 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2007
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Date Posted: 10/20/2011 12:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2009
Posts: 19
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i seen my daughter to school. it is a magnets school and wears uniformes and i wish so much that i could home school. i love the idea of teachy my daughter what she need to know. i think it woudl be better for her since the school right now tell that my daughter is hyper and uncontorlable. They dont think she as any cotrol over her self, they relly with to lable her ADhd. i dont want that for my daughter i dont think it will do her any good. I am leting her father deal with it.

i dont meet anyone that homeschool out here wish i could. would have play date to chat with the mom to see if i could get smarter to homeschool. Im just to dumb right now.

Date Posted: 11/18/2011 12:34 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2008
Posts: 1
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I'm not a mother but I was homeschooled my whole life and while I don't know about people being offended by the fact of be being homeschooled. I know that the people who heard I was homeschooled thought I was either a super genuis or some sort of a religious freak(or retarded). When they found that I wasn't a genuis I was down graded to freak and retard in thier heads and they started talking dirt to my face as if i could't tell that they were talking garbage at me. I'm talking both grown-up and other kids by the way. This might not be exactly what you were asking but thats what I thought about when I saw this thread.

Date Posted: 12/1/2011 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 4,505
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Sheryl, that's so sad!  This thread was unearthed from 4 years ago, when we had just started homeschooling.  Here we are 4 years later, homeschooling all three of my kiddos and happy with our decision.  Hopefully our kids won't be ridiculed as you were.

Date Posted: 2/10/2012 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2008
Posts: 169
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I was homeschooled until college. I dearly loved it and can't imagine doing anything different for my own children.

Just a few months ago I encountered an adult coworker who was going on and on about a little homeschooled boy (not his son) who he mentors through Boy Scouts. He was gushing about this boys superiority over public schooled children. Mentioning how intelligent and advanced he was, all because of homeschooling. (My coworker is NOT a homeschooling parent BTW.)

It caused me to remember all the many, many people who gushed over me when I was a young homeschooler. They said the same exact things: I must be smarter and better than those PS children. I have such an advantage over them. PS children are lazy and don't learn anything.

If this is what many people are saying, then it's no wonder that PS parents are on the defensive. My parents certainly said all of these things, and more, to me when I was growing up.

That's not to say YOU (collective you) are saying these things and teaching this midset to your children, but *other* people certainly are and PS parents and PS children are certainly hearing them.

Date Posted: 2/10/2012 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 46
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I was homeschooled K-12, and am now in college on scholarship... And I think it's crucial to explain to people that it's a personal decision, just like putting your kid in a charter or parochial school. I would homeschool any future kids I have in a heartbeat, but I also work at a public school and there are some families (espcially where the parents are making minimum wage) that simply have to put their kids in public school or they wouldn't make it. So I think a lot of you are on to something when you think people are responding negatively out of guilt. Sometimes it really is a lack of knowledge about the legality of homeschooling, etc but a lot of times people feel a need to justify their decisions. There are also public school teachers I have talked to that have considered homeschooling their children.

Absolutely people will make assumptions about your child. Because I was homeschooled or because I attended a religious college for a while people will assume I am Christian, or I hold certain political or moral values. In the same way, if you weren't homeschooled to become a musical genius it must be because you were developmentally disabled or bullied at school.

If I could offer a crucial piece of advice (looking back on my homeschooling years), you can never do too much math or science. My math/science background is solid, but my husband (who was also homeschooled) is severely lacking in the math/science knowledge needed to do well in most technical degree fields.

Date Posted: 2/29/2012 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2008
Posts: 6
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You've heard this:  Why do people spend more time choosing a cell phone or a car than on what type of education they should provide their children.

I've gotten similar responses when people find out about us homebirthing and not vaccinating ... yep, did you feel that little prick?  I'm sure some of you would like to just tear right into me about why I'm not vaccinating my children... I guess it could be the same feeling the public school parent's feel.  They may just be worried that our children are not getting a good enough education, which is nice of them.  

But, deep down I believe that it comes down to this:  the defensiveness comes from being uneducated about important decisions.  If we just do something without educating ourselves on all sides of an issue, then we're not really *making* a choice.  So, it's possible that this internal conflict is causing people to feel defensive when they come into contact with those of us who have actually made a choice.  

Date Posted: 4/23/2012 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 7,143
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I have a child with Autism and I just tell people he needed more one on one learning and that in the classroom he couldn't focus or pay attention to the teacher with so many distractions. And that usually is enough.