View Full Version : Do PS families ever talk to you about homeschooling?

speech mom
08-07-2011, 07:46 PM
I spent the afternoon at a baby shower with moms from the local public school. I asked them questions about their childrens' upcoming school year, listened politely. Many shared tons of stuff about teachers they like and don't like, concerns about their kids' academics and socialization. It was a pretty popular topic. But not a single person asked me about my kids. Has this happened to anyone else? Why do you think this happened? Are people really that uncomfortable talking about homeschooling?
Just curious.

Accidental Homeschooler
08-07-2011, 08:07 PM
You know, now that I think about it, they don't much. I have one close friend who is also my cousin and she is the only one who seems like she is interested in talking about it (we also talk about her kids/school). For everyone else, not so much.

08-07-2011, 08:14 PM
I don't know that many public school parents. But the ones I do say things like, "That's great, but I could never do it!" or "So you have to follow a program and someone comes and checks up on you?" Some ask real questions, most don't. Just like, you know, life. But like I said, I don't know hardly any parents of kids in school.

08-07-2011, 08:31 PM
I "luckily" (lol) live where the schools are *horrible* and there are scads of hsers. The ps parents I DO talk to say "oh I wish I could, too, but I have to work." UGH.


Stella M
08-07-2011, 08:34 PM
No, the ps people I know are my IRL friends, so they ask. Although they're not so curious any more :) They are extremely positive about homeschooling.

I have had that happen when I've been out with a friend and her friends though. Honestly, I just write off people who can't be bothered to hold a mutual conversation as rude. They're probably like that with mums who are from different schools as well. Self-absorbed.

That kind of school yard stuff with the mothers is one reason ds will never be going to primary school!

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
08-07-2011, 08:37 PM
I have found that they really do not understand it. I feel that each person has their own feelings on HS. And it is not for everyone. And those that are considering it than seek out others for advise and options. Because lets face it most people do not think they can take on such a responsibility.

Stella M
08-07-2011, 08:40 PM
True. And many people don't want the responsibility even if they could take it on. Amy's situation just sounds cliquey to me...

08-08-2011, 12:07 AM
I think it can depend on the setting. In a group setting, it's easy for most people to talk about the topic that most people know... which generally means PS. I'm okay with that most of the time because I hate feeling like I'm monopolizing a conversation (my voice carries easily, and homeschooling is apparently a captivating topic). Most moms I know are stay-at-home moms and most are very curious about homeschooling because (at least around here) the majority have considered it at some point. The ones who - in my experience - tend to avoid or be uncomfortable with the idea are those who choose to work or have to work. My best friend is a single mom who would love to be in a situation where she could HS one of her twin boys, but she willingly admits that she wouldn't even have considered it if she didn't know me.

08-08-2011, 12:23 AM
Half and half, I'd say. We were just at a gathering at the new home of a family that are close friends of ours, although since they live a couple hours away we don't see them often. There were a mix of people there we knew well and others we don't, all but one couple married with kids. We didn't really get asked any questions about it there, although I've found other folks who are total chatterboxes and want to know lots of things about the experience. It's a mix.

Patricia Ellis Herr
08-08-2011, 07:23 AM
I think some folks don't know what to ask. Homeschooling is so outside the realm of their experience that they aren't comfortable with talking about it, they don't even know where to begin. Also, if their kids are within earshot, then those kids might ask to try it, and if the family isn't in a situation where homeschooling is possible, that might be awkward.

08-08-2011, 08:26 AM
Honestly, when people who don't know much about homeschooling ask me about it, I feel funny because inevitably I'm dominating the conversation. And then conversely, I often have no idea what sort of small talky question to ask the school parents in return. I mean, I have a general familiarity with the schools around here, so I can have the "how'd you do in the lottery? / what schools are you trying for?" conversation. But then, after that... um... so... um...

08-08-2011, 09:32 AM
Very rarely do I get questions.... I'm guessing it's because I'm an unsocialized homeschooler :_lol:

08-08-2011, 10:00 AM
I get that same "Oh-I could never do that!" type of response...

I'm torn about it though-I mean-I love to talk about homeschooling and usually talk my co-worker's ear off about it...but if I was talking to a group of moms and they were all talking about schools I think I'd feel weird trying to fit any of my homeschooling into that. And I would also probably feel like I was being put on the spot or something...but that's probably my paranoia talking.

08-08-2011, 10:21 AM
I don't know, I am not all that interested in other people's homeschooling. It very rarely comes up and when it does it's usually boasting about their child's successes rather then day to day stuff. I make a point to ask my dd's best friends how they like school, how they like their friends and teachers. I ask my best friend (their mom) how the kids are doing and what they are learning. To me it's interesting, it changes yearly and they lead such a different life. I like knowing how my kids compare because we had a lot of trouble in that area in the beginning. I keep her up to date on what's happening with dd/ds as well but it's not the same conversation that we would have about her kids.

As far as strangers or people I don't know well, they tend to ignore homeschooling except to say they would or wouldn't ever do it. And I've found that if more then one has a child at the same school, that's where the conversation goes every time. They would just rather talk about things that are important to them.

08-08-2011, 10:38 AM
I've had some very good conversations with PS parents...generally though it's a good conversation if it's 1:1, and if it's a group I get a few "oh you're brave" type comments, then it's back to school talk. But that doesn't bother me in the least, since people are more comfortable talking about stuff that's familiar to them, and I really have no desire to dominate the conversation in a group either.
The most recent good convo I had was with a public school teacher. She was totally supportive, but not in the "wow I could never do that" kind of way, was just a good chat discussing curriculum choices and extracurriculars and freedom of schedules, etc. What was funny was that I ran into her husband later (I had seen them together, but never met him) and he exclaimed "wow! so you're THAT woman!" LOL Then "you must be really patient" (to which I sometimes reply "no, I just drink alot", but I refrained from that this time...)

08-08-2011, 03:35 PM
We rarely get asked, and frankly, I rarely bring it up on my own. I get tired of the canned responses. One of my sisters-in-law (the one doing cartwheels because her youngest is starting full day kindergarten in a few weeks) used to mention it from time to time, along with the "oh, I could never do that!". After hearing this about seventy bazillion times I looked her in the eye and said "yeah, you're probably right, I don't think you could". We don't discuss school anymore. ;)

08-08-2011, 04:32 PM
There are a lot of HSing families, but we aren't close to any of them (they are all very religious). So we get a lot of questions from the PS advocates. We HS year round because we travel a lot. We do most of our traveling when the PS are in session. It's so much easier than trying to fight the crowds everywhere! LOL I was in town the other day and got the question, "Why have you started school already?! Is it just too hot outside??" My response was, "we do at our house what works for us!" I just don't understand how an "elected" supervisor can come up with a date on school starting and everyone's ok with it, but for a mother to decide what's best for her children it's questioned! I just try not to bring it up bc I get frustrated and feel like I always have to defend what I do.

speech mom
08-08-2011, 05:15 PM
Thanks everyone.
I just found the whole thing really bizarre. These are people I have worked with in Girl Scouts for years and I guess I just thought they would ask something about the kids since we were talking about kids. I figured if they didn't want to talk about home school, they could ask about dance, or sports, or a simple "how are your kids doing?"

Stella M
08-08-2011, 05:47 PM
Idk, it's still just rude not to turn the conversation towards others - even if all you say is " All this school talk - you must be glad to be out of it - how's everything going with you this year ?" That's called the art of conversation. You are supposed to draw others in, whether they homeschool or breed dogs or design space craft or whatever! Settling in to your own little cliquey convo and ignoring others is middle grade behaviour and in adult women it's just rude. I make conversation all the time with people about whose jobs/passions/lives I am woefully uninformed because it's the polite thing to do; Amy's ladies could have done the same if they could be bothered. Rude, rude, rude.

Mrs. Weasley's Wand
08-08-2011, 06:09 PM
I discovered this week, while on vacation, that I really don't like discussing homeschooling with people I don't know. I'm a private person about everything and really, the homeschooling is a pretty philosophical topic. I need to know you pretty well if you want to engage me in a philosophical debate about something I'm pretty invested in and inevitably those kinds of "So why did you choose to homeschool?" questions pop up when my head was light years away from an answer I would be satisfied with giving.

Bring on the talk about what the PS kids' lives. I used to work in a PS. My kids take the same karate/dance/music lessons. I'm much more comfortable engaging in small talk regarding that stuff. Go ahead and get a rant up about Everyday Math. I'm fully prepared to engage anyone on that topic ;P I'd much rather discuss that than the socialization question any day.

Fireside Academy
08-08-2011, 07:28 PM
my experience with my older two was similar to yours. after the few times that they DID ask me, i realized that i preferred it the other way- because inevitably they began to question my choice, express their negative viewpoint about my choice, and many times within earshot of my children. i believe homeschooling is seen in such a negative way because people never even consider it as an option. it flies in the face of their own experience, to acknowledge it as a viable choice would (in their mind) invalidate their own choice to public school. this way of relating to one another, critically, seems common for women in many different areas- not just this one. women are far too critical and not nearly supportive enough of one another.

08-08-2011, 09:02 PM
In the past year and a half I have driven my home schooling mom friends CRAZY. I wanted to know so much about it. But I was still nervous about bringing it up in public because I lived where there were a LOT of religious types who once they announced they were home schooling would go into a rant about how evil the ps's were. Which ok, they had their problems, but I don't think they were quite the den of heathen activity these ladies wanted me to believe it was. So it got to where no one in a group situation where you didn't know each woman personally wanted to bring it up. Even though it was a hs'ing friendly community.

08-08-2011, 09:15 PM
I don't get asked much either and when I do tell people, a lot of the time it's disdain and the typical socialization questions. Really I try my best to hang out with people who have similar interests or at least are supportive of our homeschooling, but that's not always the way the world works unfortunately so I've just learned to nod politely and zone out when need be. Haha I'm terrible I know.

speech mom
08-09-2011, 11:01 AM
I spent last night with some old friends from when I used to work at a charter school and a couple of other teacher friends of theirs. They were friendly and polite about my home schooling and my kids. Asked questions without being probing or rude. They even made some pretty informed and funny comments about public schooling and home schooling. I am starting to think that the issue may have been because the moms at the baby shower all had kids at the school I pulled mine out of.

08-09-2011, 01:41 PM
This topic got me thinking....

I'm going to a shower this weekend for my co-worker. We've sat with each other at work for quite a few years and she has been there for my entire HS journey....

however..her sister was one of the moms in my youngest daughter's class in school and is one of those dominant Type A Class Mom people that quite frankly scare me out of my shoes (Me: Quiet mouse girl ) ...and I just know that I'm going to have to talk to her about homeschooling-and I'm scared that I'm going to be put on the spot!

isn't it funny? I want to talk about it or at least be included in conversations but I'm worried about what's going to happen this weekend. She's definitely going to bring up socialization and probably something ridiculous like advanced chemistry....

Hopefully she'll just be too busy hosting the darned thing to pay me any attention...but I still feel like I'll end up being on display.

08-09-2011, 11:18 PM
HAHA! "Then "you must be really patient" (to which I sometimes reply "no, I just drink alot",

My situation may change later but I'm just starting out hsing with my 5yo. The neighborhood parents that we've grown close to over the years, and the preschool parents that we've also grown close to, have all been in the same situation considering what to do with their children as "school-age" arises. So, we've been open about it even with those parents that are already psing or have chosen that route for kindergarten. Interestingly, 2 of my daughter's 7 friends/classmates from preschool (small preschool) have decided to hs. We have all had good conversations about choices ps/hs and how/why we are each choosing our route. I'm starting to get more brave with less-well-known people who inquire about "where's your daughter going next year?" and am thankful that (so far) I've gotten positive responses including finding that many of them hs/have hs'd in the past/wished they'd hs'd or were homeschooled themselves before it became a more acceptable route. But, the "you must be patient" quote above strikes a chord!!

08-13-2011, 07:18 PM
We are just starting to get connected with other homeschoolers, so we have lots of friends that sent their kids off to public school this year. It is definately a bit lob sided I think. I ask them a lot more about there kids (how did he like his first day? How is his teacher? Etc) than they ask me about how our first day went. When at dinner with some close friends of ours whose daughter just started kindergarted at a not-so-great public school they were complaining to me about the school, her teacher, the other kids, etc. I tried not to comment on that to much other than to be sympathetic. Then I mentioned that our first week had gone really well and the question I got was "What does that mean: homeschool? What do you do all day with them?" It took me a minute to figure out how to respond to that. It made me realize that people just don't know what to say or what to ask about.

In someways I think it is better people don't ask, it is hard for me to talk about our homeschooling to people who send their kids to public school without feeling like I am offending them/putting down their decision to put their kids in school.

08-23-2011, 12:51 AM
They say (or ask) one of three things:

1) Oh, I could never do that. But you have a teaching degree so it's okay for you. (FTR, I don't see how my degree helps me all that much - if anything I have too many preconceived notions from my years of traditional education indoctrination).

2) Oh, I could NEVER do that. (I'm use to this one. I've been getting it ever since becoming a parent with pretty much all of our choices and life situations).

3) Oh, really? What are they learning right now? (I haven't come up with a nonsnarky answer to this one yet).

Or, yeah, they don't ask anything at all.

Edited to say: I just realized 1 and 2 say the same things! But they were different in my head :) Whooo, I'm tired!

08-23-2011, 12:54 PM
I am finding that my militant, public-school-is-the-best, my-child-is-doing-great friends simply don't ask me anything (and I think a few are trying to avoid us). Those who ask how school is going and find out we are not in a regular school (we were in a small, private school) are VERY interested and supportive. Actually, several have said they wish they could do the same thing. It hurts that several of our "good" friends seem to be avoiding us (not returning calls or email). I am hoping it is because they are caught up in the beginning of school madness, and simply don't have time. Our public schools are awful. I think everyone knows it and those who send their kids to ps find it necessary to defend their decision.

08-23-2011, 02:52 PM
I only have 1 neighbor that will openly discuss our children's education in a mutual interest fashion. I also tutor her son after school because he needs the one on one help. If she had the ability and the resources she would homeschool her son. But for her and her son that is not a valid option right now. Others see it as a topic that is odd for them. Though one of my neighbors has found our random fact knowledge around our house faster then using google. :)

09-03-2011, 09:01 AM
I think people are afraid to either appear ignorant, or offend us homeschoolers by asking the wrong question or saying the wrong thing. Most people these days, anyway. The few exceptions tend to be either interested genuinely in learning more about it or may be considering it, or on the other end of the spectrum, outrageously rude people who will admonish us as to why we shouldn't be doing it. But homeschooling has entered mainstream awareness enough, so that I think people politely avoid bringing it up to us, unless we bring it up to them. Kind of like how most people will purposefully not stare or ask about it, if a woman is obviously bald under a headwrap, but just talk to her as if nothing were out of the ordinary, unless she chooses to bring it up. LOL homeschooling is not like cancer, but I think most people have realized that it's one of those things that, in order to be respectful, should be brought up by the homeschooler, first.
It could be awkward for you too, because if you have to bring it up for it to be open to discussion, you'd sort of have to clear your throat and find a way to tie your kids' education into the conversation without totally derailing it, which would be hard, especially if you don't emulate school at home or use curricula. One good way to do that would be, if someone talks about their kids' favorite and least favorite subjects, is to jump in with your kids' favorite subjects or what projects they are working on, and/or what they like least or have trouble with. THat way, it can be about the interests and challenges of the kids, rather than the fundamental differences between educational choices.

Accidental Homeschooler
09-03-2011, 11:15 AM
i believe homeschooling is seen in such a negative way because people never even consider it as an option. it flies in the face of their own experience, to acknowledge it as a viable choice would (in their mind) invalidate their own choice to public school. this way of relating to one another, critically, seems common for women in many different areas- not just this one. women are far too critical and not nearly supportive enough of one another.

YES! Some conversations have felt very similar to ones I remember about breastfeeding and organic food. As in, there are the mothers who only give their kids organic food and then those other mothers who don't really love their children as much or the moms who are just too selfish for extended breastfeeding....

speech mom
09-03-2011, 08:36 PM
EXACTLY! It has the feeling of the breasting feeding and organic food type conversations. I am just making conversation and being polite and curious. Not judging anyone. But if our homeschooling comes up, there is that weird vibe. And some people won't bring it up at all. As if it will automatically go to a whose the better parent place.

Accidental Homeschooler
09-03-2011, 10:33 PM
EXACTLY! It has the feeling of the breasting feeding and organic food type conversations. I am just making conversation and being polite and curious. Not judging anyone. But if our homeschooling comes up, there is that weird vibe. And some people won't bring it up at all. As if it will automatically go to a whose the better parent place.

A way to avoid conflict I guess.

09-04-2011, 12:36 AM
If they don't know anyone who homeschools (or if the only hsers they know are weird) they might feel awkward and not know what to ask, they may be afraid they'll say the wrong thing and accidentally offend so they may think it's best to say nothing. It's possible they weren't deliberately being rude. I think I'd try to find an appropriate moment to share something of my kids' school experience, something to let them know my kids are normal and do normal kid things just like theirs do. After speaking up if they looked at me as if I'd just declared myself to be an alien and my space ship was parked outside, then I'd be extremely irritated:)

speech mom
09-04-2011, 09:22 AM
If they don't know anyone who homeschools (or if the only hsers they know are weird) they might feel awkward and not know what to ask, they may be afraid they'll say the wrong thing and accidentally offend so they may think it's best to say nothing.

Hmm, the only homeschoolers they know are us, and we are pretty weird.

09-04-2011, 10:39 AM
oi. I am a extended breastfeeding, well not 100% but organic feeding, future secular homeschoooling mom. I guess I am DOOMED. HA.