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View Full Version : Struggling with a "teacher" friend issue



leezmom
07-08-2011, 03:15 PM
I'm not sure if this is the right place for this post but here goes LOL

I have a friend - not a good friend mind you but a casual friend - who was a teacher up until two years ago when she decided to stay home with her daughter. I strongly hesitated telling her about my intentions to home school because she always "knows best" on anything that comes along regarding education. Now, let me be clear, that she has given me some very helpful information over the years and I don't think she is unaware of her job by any means. That doesn't mean that we agree more than 1 in 10 of the topics - if that!

Point of all this is that over this past weekend we finally told her that I was planning to homeschool next year. While I expected her to have issues with it as a whole, I was still somewhat taken aback and shocked at this level of her disdain. She told me that she couldn't think it was a good idea because "those kids are ALWAYS behind academically and socially" and they "never know how to act around other people". This from someone who was a classroom teacher for about 5 years so I'm curious how many previously homeschooled kids she could have possibly dealt with.

I had expected my biggest opponents to be within the family but now I'm thinking it will be her and that she will be constantly measuring up my son against what she thinks he should be doing. Her husband is one of my husband's best friends and they live close so it's not realistic that we will avoid them all that much. Why is her scrutiny weighing on me so much?! Anyone else had this kind of situation? Family I can deal with - and they haven't even blinked! Of if they have, they haven't done it in our presence.

coloradoalice
07-08-2011, 03:24 PM
Honestly if she can't let it be a non-issue I'd have to avoid her. I mean, her initial reaction is fine, maybe a bit dramatic but she didn't see it coming so she was off guard. But if she hounds you in the future or seems to be testing you or your child then she may be someone you can just avoid. It's not worth the stress to have that kind of criticism IMO. Let some time pass and see how it goes, hopefully she will just focus on your commonalities!

Pilgrim
07-08-2011, 03:26 PM
She told me that she couldn't think it was a good idea because "those kids are ALWAYS behind academically and socially" and they "never know how to act around other people". This from someone who was a classroom teacher for about 5 years so I'm curious how many previously homeschooled kids she could have possibly dealt with.

Why is her scrutiny weighing on me so much?!

I smell a know-it-all. I can't stand this type of person: they have strong convictions about every topic, based mostly on hearsay, and you should let their opinions go in one ear and out the other....BUT, for some reason, maybe because they seem soooo sure of themselves, we let it get to us.

We haven't experienced this scrutiny yet with HSing, but have fallen victim to it on a number of other topics. All I can say is to keep telling yourself their opinion doesn't matter. Sooner or later, your voice should be louder than theirs.

Marmalade
07-08-2011, 03:32 PM
I say let the proof be in the pudding. You are going to come across people like her and your son will be the evidence that they are wrong!

I really wish sometimes that we could turn the tides on these people and when someone tells me that they enrolled their child in public school I could turn around and say "Those kids are always behind academically and socially!"

dbmamaz
07-08-2011, 03:40 PM
I have one neighbor who is a kindergarten teacher who gave me a harder time about homeschooling than anyone else did. I dont see her much, but I try to stay off topic, Over time she has become more polite. I think once the shock wears off, most of them realize that its rude to keep harping on you.

jessica14
07-08-2011, 03:45 PM
I don't want to say that I used to be that teacher, but I definately did not think it was a good idea. I had met kids that it did not work for. Of course, I met some kids that the school system was not working for either. I had a couple of people toy with the idea of doing it and, at the time, I brought out what I thought were negatives (socialization, etc), but I never was a know it all kind of person. Of course I have really changed my tune as I am about to do this. Interestingly, I have not mentioned it to too many teacher friends.

The thing about your aquaintence is that those may be the only kids she has come in contact with (as did I). Maybe the parents felt the kids were behind and put them back in public school. It doesn't mean all hs kids are that way. I've really realized in the past few months from reading and researching that ps may not be right for all kids and maybe hs is not right for all kids. There can't be a blanket statement either way. Every teacher, parent, child, and situation is different.

And believe me,I have seen my share of kids who can not deal with a group of classmates and they have always been in ps. They are absolutely not socially well adjusted. Same with academics. Plenty of kids not up to speed. Not everyone can be an academic star, either at home or at school.

jess
07-08-2011, 04:43 PM
I don't want to say that I used to be that teacher, but I definately did not think it was a good idea. I had met kids that it did not work for. Of course, I met some kids that the school system was not working for either.
I think the thing that has to be remembered is that, if a homeschooled child returns to public school, something wasn't working.

This thing may be something unrelated to academics (or not directly related, at least) - a change in family circumstances, for example. But some portion of the time it's because the family realized that homeschooling wasn't working for them. And those kids are likely to be behind, but they're not necessarily representative of homeschoolers as a whole.

Greenmother
07-08-2011, 04:54 PM
I have a very good friend who had all sorts of mixed feelings about homeschooling. She was a teacher. She was fine with it, until she got some students in her class who were "homeschooled" however those kids were also removed from their home by the state.

You shouldn't have to justify yourself as an adult and a parent when it comes to raising your child. It's not like you are breaking the law or abusing or neglecting your kid.

As for homeschooled kids not knowing how to act around PS kids? Well it does take some adjustment when entering into the world of the Lord of Flies.

inmom
07-08-2011, 05:16 PM
Generally, my "friends" who had issues with our homeschooling were either not very good friends and we've drifted apart, or we've agreed to disagree and the topic doesn't come up. Over the years of homeschooling we've found who the true friends are, and those include both homeschooling families and public school families.

I guess my point is that if you value her friendship, maybe you can work it out. If it's not that important to you, somehow call a truce. Let her know that your children are YOUR responsibility, not hers. You'll do what's right for your family.

Accidental Homeschooler
07-08-2011, 05:20 PM
We have a friend who is a teacher. I get the feeling that she disapproves, but she is a nice enough person not to say anything negative to me. Most of our friends have been pretty open minded/curious or just figure it doesn't matter what they think as they are our kids. I would ask two questions, "Oh, how many hsed children do you know?" and "How much of the research about hs children's achievement have you looked at?", because I have read it ALL and met a lot of families who hs. I know that most people don't even think about it, let alone really do any research about it. Some of them just feel free to share their kneejerk reaction like it means something. We also have a friend who had read some of the research and was very much, "Wow! that's great." I also think that for many families it is not an option because of two demanding careers and so why would they want to find out that it might be better or hear anything bad about ps.

Also, I was thinking that it is probably good in this regard that hs kids here can and do participate in some ps programs (band and sports for example). It hopefully gives a more balanced perspective about hs to teachers who work with them. My dd will be taking some classes at the high school and she tends to make a very good impression on teachers.

farrarwilliams
07-08-2011, 05:40 PM
I'm sorry for your friend, but she's an ignoramus. In the true sense of the word, that is.

And I agree with Jessica that as a teacher, the kids you meet in a professional capacity who have been homeschooled are much more likely to be homeschool failures than successes. I had previously known homeschooled kids and I knew better than to judge a whole educational approach from a few "it didn't work out" stories, but some people don't.

leezmom
07-08-2011, 05:48 PM
Thanks guys! It does help to know that I'm not the only one who has dealt with someone like this. I guess it really frustrates me because when we first met over 10 years ago I was a SAHM with a toddler and she was newly married with no kids. She would go on and on about how she couldn't even IMAGINE being dependent on someone and not having a job. At that same time period I was on a tear about the vaccine issue with Autism. I don't think children shouldn't be vaccinated but I do believe it is done too early and too quickly. She just couldn't fathom why I would be so obstinate about something that was "proven" safe and I must obviously be ill educated on the subject. Fast forward a while and she is now a SAHM with a toddler who now spouts to me about the vaccine issue as though I am *completely* unaware of it. See why it annoys me?

I did tell her that if her daughter kept on her current pace of picking things up then kindergarten was going to be very difficult. She looked at me weird and I told her that the child would be bored out of her mind. I'm going on record that I predict she will either homeschool or be the parent who drives the school crazy! LOL

JinxieFox
07-08-2011, 06:29 PM
I had the same issue with a friend - she always had very *strong* opinions about parenting and education. We went in totally opposite directions (she formula-fed, I breastfed; she used a crib for her children, I co-slept with my son; she sent her children to preschool, I kept my son home; her children are in public school, my son is not).

Mostly, I tried to look at her as someone who just wanted what was "best" for my son, but she really was just a "know-it-all", as Pilgrim puts it. Basically, I would let everything she said filter into my brain, analyze it briefly, and let it go out the other ear. Sometimes all you can do is smile and nod. ;)

MarkInMD
07-08-2011, 07:05 PM
I haven't had that situation, but if it ever comes up, I already know what I'll do. After every comment, I'll just say, "Thanks for your opinion." Never any more or any less. The fact that I'm repeating the same thing will -- I hope -- get the point across that I'm not really interested in what he/she thinks.

JEJordan9
07-08-2011, 09:23 PM
I haven't had that situation, but if it ever comes up, I already know what I'll do. After every comment, I'll just say, "Thanks for your opinion." Never any more or any less. The fact that I'm repeating the same thing will -- I hope -- get the point across that I'm not really interested in what he/she thinks.

Wise, very wise!

Stella M
07-08-2011, 09:32 PM
If it's someone you can't really avoid, I'd get very good at changing the subject. Because there's no point debating her. Or I would turn it into a joke each time she brings it up. "Academics ? Nah, we're just homeschooling so we can sleep in." Or "Friends ? We're homeschoolers, we don't socialize!" etc etc. Turn it back on her.

For the sake of your sanity, don't try to prove anything to her. Just deflect, deflect, deflect.

MarkInMD
07-08-2011, 11:31 PM
Melissa's got a great strategy, too. You can't convince a know-it-all, so just goof on it.

Greenmother
07-09-2011, 09:03 AM
That whole, "I Can't imagine being dependent on anyone else..." Uh! Okay, that is code for a lot of things right there. She passed judgement on you years ago. You jumping further into the realm of her "can't imagine" by homeschooling is just more of the same.

You know I can't imagine subjecting myself to an insane bureaucracy where I am forced to bend to the will of 25 to 40 kids in a small classroom for low pay and decreasing benefits.

I would definitely consider Melissa and Mark's strategies. ---

leezmom
07-09-2011, 02:52 PM
She would turn any "goofing" into a major full on argument. It's tough with pushing back at her because when she decides she doesn't like me then she makes it difficult for my husband to actually hang out with his friend. :mad: I will just deflect as much as possible. We may get to the remarks back though if she doesn't let it go!

Eileen
07-09-2011, 04:03 PM
My husband is a PS teacher (high school) and he had some of the same concerns/prejudices about HS kids. He felt that the ones he had come across as a teacher were often out of step with their peers, spoke more like adults, were awkward, etc. Then we had a kid who is out of step with her peers, speaks more like an adult, is awkward, etc., and we're planning to homeschool her. :) She's been in PS up to now, so it's not the homeschooling. He's come around quite a bit. I think he's seeing more and more that being in step with your peers is not necessarily the best goal anyway - better to be able to relate to the world in general rather than just your age group.

leezmom
07-09-2011, 05:18 PM
I think he's seeing more and more that being in step with your peers is not necessarily the best goal anyway - better to be able to relate to the world in general rather than just your age group.

I couldn't agree with this statement more! Apparently according to lots of people, you can't ever interact with coworkers if you haven't gone through the process of public school LOL I guess lots of people out there are just going through the motions ;)

dbmamaz
07-09-2011, 05:27 PM
We're not weird because we homeschool, we homeschool because we're weird. i need to get a bunch of those and tie-dye them.

jessica14
07-09-2011, 06:24 PM
You know I can't imagine subjecting myself to an insane bureaucracy where I am forced to bend to the will of 25 to 40 kids in a small classroom for low pay and decreasing benefits.

. ---

I can imagine it and I did it for a long time including 5 years of subbing! I don't miss the bureaucracy at all. I always say that the teachers are in the trenches and have to be at the mercy of administrators who have no idea who the kids are and then pass judgement on what is best for them. How many times did I advocate on behalf of the child and parent only to be told that there is nothing that can be done because the child isn't failing enough. I feel like one of my reasons for hsing is because I know my son can get more of what he needs. There is only so much a teacher can do for him. He doesn't really qualify for lots of services.

And really, there are so many awkward kids in public school and hsing has nothing to do with it. Some kids are just quirky and have socialization issues. That's just who they are whether they are home or at school.

jessica14
07-09-2011, 06:25 PM
We're not weird because we homeschool, we homeschool because we're weird. i need to get a bunch of those and tie-dye them.

I would buy one of those! My husband, who is very proud of not being "normal" (because that's boring) would wear it proudly!

leezmom
07-10-2011, 12:17 AM
We're not weird because we homeschool, we homeschool because we're weird. i need to get a bunch of those and tie-dye them.

You have a goldmine in waiting there! I would buy one for everyone in our house :)

Greenmother
07-10-2011, 07:55 AM
Eileen, I was one of those kids. PS kids tormented me. I was never homeschooled. I could read way above my paygrade, yadda yadda and the kids would have sold me to a lab to be experimented upon if they had their way.

So I am glad that he is getting a clue. I understand his concerns I really do, but I am glad that he is starting to understand that some kids start out that way, that homeschooling doesn't necessarily *make them that way. And that *That way isn't necessarily bad or dysfunctional.

Sure they are awkward. Kids who aren't like that, tend to participate in random acts of destruction and bullying. How do you communicate with that? Other than jumping into the fray and whooping ass? And when you do that, then everybody hates you. Because the bullies never get punished, it's always the bullied.

CatInTheSun
07-10-2011, 11:43 AM
Aside from her general judgmental know-it-all-ness, you are also basically saying that you think you can do without training what she chose as a career and spent 5 years in school to do! I've found teachers are often territorial, and yet many end up hsing. :) Your action threatens her. Just keep that in mind.

I think this is a reminder why it is often better not to mention hsing outside your most supportive friends/family until you've actually been doing it a while. People will say the most stupid things when it is still a "hypothetical".

As to what to do now that it's out of the bag: I think you've gotten great advice about deflecting or shutting her down. If despite that she persists you can also just tell her, "you know, we made our decision, you are free to have your opinion, but I am tired of hearing it." or "Is there ANYTHING else you'd like to talk about BESIDES how I'm screwing up my kid by hs-ing?" Then change the conversation to something she likes to drone on about. <g> The trick is delivering it in a light, low-energy, conversational tone with a smile and moving on.

Ariadne
07-10-2011, 09:32 PM
We're not weird because we homeschool, we homeschool because we're weird. i need to get a bunch of those and tie-dye them.Oh, *like*. My mother-in-law used to give me a hard time about my nerdy kids, and she implied it was because they homeschool. One day I looked at her seriously and said, "Um, did you ever consider it's genetics? I mean, look at me, Mom." After a serious moment to let that sink in, I laughed to let her off the hook.

It worked, though. She never said anything else after that. Hah!

jar7709
07-11-2011, 12:00 PM
We're not weird because we homeschool, we homeschool because we're weird. i need to get a bunch of those and tie-dye them.

Yeah! Throw this up on cafepress or one of those shirt sites and you'll have yourself some milk money. :)

Greenmother
07-11-2011, 12:12 PM
Seriously correct on the dbmammaz statement. I may hand bead it into my reusable grocery bags with puffy paint and glitter.

kewb22
07-11-2011, 02:41 PM
Since your dh and her dh are good friends this is where your "Smile and nod" skills come into play. If she says anything just refuse to engage. I have a few friends who I simply do not discuss the subject with. When we are together and they are complaining about their kids and school I smile and nod. If they ask me how things are going with homeschooling I tell them things are fine and smile and nod. Over the last 3 years my smile and nod skills have grown. People actually think I am listening to what they are saying.