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SarahRushly
08-31-2011, 09:44 PM
I have a friend who is uber-competitive about everything. Her dd is the same age as mine and in ps. Every time we talk, she insists on saying something like, "Well, I know my daughter isn't as smart as your..." And it is always kind of snarky. I don't care that her kid is in ps. That's her choice. I have one of mine in ps right now, too! My husband is a ps teacher! But im also not going to apologize for the choice we made for dd. I've also begun to notice this is kind of a pervasive attitude. People want to know why I chose to pull her from the public schools, but if I answer them honestly (She's wicked smart and they weren't accommodating that), I, apparently, inadvertently call their kid stupid. Then they, like my friend, get all defensive and weird and then I feel attacked and get all defensive and weird. I'm not involved in any sort of pissing context about how I choose to educate my kid. So, how do I talk to people about homeschool without implying their kids are dumb?:)

lakshmi
08-31-2011, 09:49 PM
Or implying that they are dumb? Good question...

eilla05
08-31-2011, 09:52 PM
Honestly I think if they are bothered by your answer it is their problem and their own insecurities and I wouldn't worry about. I have noticed the same thing when it comes to talking to various other moms about food choices, parenting choices, clothing choices etc. There will always be something and I just say what I want in a nice honest way and if they have a problem with it so be it. You could also just face the issue head on and talk to the mom about it. Say something like, you know each time we talk and you make a comment about how your kid is not as smart as mine, well it bothers me that you think that is the way I feel about your child. I am sure that will be enough right there and maybe she/he will shut up.

Jeni
08-31-2011, 09:56 PM
She must not be a very close friend. A good friend would understand and not keep making remarks.

But, I can see where that might bother other people. Everyone thinks their kid is super intelligent - not that yours isn't of course. I know another mother who insists her child, the same age as my kid (just entering 2nd grade), is now doing 4th or 5th grade work with some subjects in upper middle and high school. I am sure the kid is very smart, but it always comes off like she's bragging. The thing is, I don't think she really is, she just pointing it out in conversation. But yeah, it makes those of us with regular, average kids feel guilty or bad, like we're doing something wrong.

anywaybecause
08-31-2011, 10:39 PM
Maybe something like, "DD needs an extremely individualized education and we feel we are best equipped to provide that for her."

Some people, however, are forever measuring how they or their kids or their house/car/job/yard/spouse/etc compare to those of other people.

farrarwilliams
08-31-2011, 10:42 PM
I would put it that you pulled her because she had a bad experience or otherwise personalize it. Not "the public schools weren't challenging enough for her" but "the specific teachers she had just weren't challenging her" and now you've realized it's working so you don't want to mess with it. I find that people tend to be surprisingly satisfied with what they've got - they tend to think that their school isn't like that (whatever the that in question is), if you know what I mean. Give them that opening to think that their smarty pants kid got lucky and got the good teacher who is challenging. And if they don't take that opening, it really is on them, wanting to make comparisons.

Batgirl
08-31-2011, 11:00 PM
I don't think there's an easy way out of this one. I think if you are honest in that way, folks will get defensive, esp. if they don't know you well or are just meeting you, whether or not they are right to react in that way. A child's intelligence tends to be such a hot-button issue for parents, that when you refer to intelligence as the main reason for pulling someone, people automatically second-guess their own choices, which creates weirdness. I would second Farrar about personalizing it or maybe just say you pulled her out due to her "learning differences". After all, giftedness is a learning difference, kwim?

Greenmother
09-01-2011, 12:28 AM
Hey my kids are wicked smart. So you know what--I choose to nurture that personally, rather than trust that natural and miraculous asset to a bunch of strangers. And no one says that if your kid is smart, that their kid is dumb. If they truly believe you are implying that, then that is more a reflection on their own insecurities than any imagined insult on your part.

The "friend" needs to let it go. It's not that big a deal, unless she is going to make it into one.

And I will say this: Most kids I meet are very smart individuals. They have unique talents and identities and blind spots. And if they had just one adult in their lives to give them the guidance and attention they need and crave, their own parent's wouldn't doubt that child's personal-genius at all.

It's not a matter of looking for high IQs here--It's about seeing a child as a unique person, and honoring that, and nurturing that unique individual and allowing them to grow fully into their own enormous potential. They don't have to be good test takers, or readers or good at math. They only have to have some common sense, a bit of confidence mixed with humility, some kind of personal moral code and a sense of self. If you can get all that and teach a kid the three Rs then you have done something really special. If you can go beyond that, then the sky's the limit.

Eileen
09-01-2011, 01:42 PM
It's a tough position to be in. We pulled my daughter from PS for the same reason, as well as some challenging behavioral issues (some of which were related to/caused by the giftedness, some that weren't). However, I know that there are also a lot of gifted students who do well in school. My daughter's personality and personal learning style (give me a book about it and leave me alone) don't work in a school setting. She was frustrated to the point of tears at how slow and boring school was. She isn't motivated by grades or recognition, so she was pretty much non-compliant.

But, all of that is very hard to explain to someone who asks why you are homeschooling. I tried a version of that with one of my husband's cousin's wives, and even though I tried to paint a picture of the whole scenario, what she basically took from it was, "She thinks her kid is smarter than all the other kids." She's also a college professor, and takes pride in how bright her own kids are (and they are), and is highly invested in education. I am also highly invested in education, and my homeschooling my kid is part of that. But to her, it seems like I'm somehow rejecting it.

I am trying to come up with a more succinct answer, preferably one that doesn't make my kid look like a horrible problem child and also doesn't sound like I'm bragging. I also don't want to sound like I'm slagging off the school system here, because it's not a bad one for most kids. And I don't want to sound defensive, even though I often feel defensive while having this conversation.

mommykicksbutt
09-01-2011, 02:43 PM
I've been questioned as to why my son isn't in the local DODSS school and I have no problem telling them that the school is inadequate to properly educate and keep my son challenged. When I explain that my son is a Mensan (sometimes I have to explain what that is as well) then their reaction is that of understanding and sympathizing. Most agree that they, under our circumstances, would do the same thing.

Crabby Lioness
09-01-2011, 03:12 PM
TBH, people very seldom ask me why in person. When I tell them I'm homeschooling, they usually just blink, nod, and say "good for you." When they do, I say something like, "We thought it would be best for them" (true) or "The public school teachers recommended it" (also true, although I usually don't point out that one of those ps teachers is my husband).

I try not to intimidate people, but at the end of the day I'm not responsible for their buttons. They are.

CatInTheSun
09-01-2011, 03:49 PM
We speak to answer the question (answer then details). People HEAR with the "how does this relate to me?" filter on. So maybe answer that filter first, then the question they asked?

"PS works great for many kids, including my other child, but it just was not a good fit for dc."

I used to say that in reverse ("PS isn't good for my dc, but works for many") and folks got defensive. Just reversing it gives me much better results. Go figure. Dh calls it a knuckle sandwich (layering criticism between 2 layers of praise/agreement). Gifts Differing refers to it as pointing out consensus before going to an area of potential disagreement (many folks will go along to avoid breaking the harmony).

If they ask any it wasn't a good fit, they may actually be ready to HEAR your response as a statement about your child, not theirs. Maybe. :roll eyes:

PBB
09-01-2011, 03:55 PM
We tell people that ps is not the right choice for us...if they push, I tell them that we are VERY opposed to all of the standardized testing. I never belittle the ps system to anyone who has kids in it - they seem to love it and that is great for them. I volunteered in ps last year (while my kids were at private) and it cemented in my mind that my kids will not attend ps (at least not in this district).

Stella M
09-01-2011, 04:47 PM
Fewer details the better.

It just wasn't a good fit for Lucy.
How's little Freddy getting on ?

Lots of questions about little Freddy to follow.

Don't even mention giftedness unless to parent of other gifted child.

To OP, I always preface anything I say about my children with "not that they are super bright". 13 years of my own school let me know that the worst thing you can do on this earth is be smart, the second worst is to talk about it.

I wouldn't ever say "not that they are as smart as yours' in a snarky way. So is she being self-deprecating/child-deprecating or is she being snarky ?

mommykicksbutt, I find people are generally accepting of extreme giftedness - 10 year old studying physics at uni type of thing - but highly suspicious of moderate giftedness. Here, most people call it 'having tickets on yourself.'

belacqua
09-01-2011, 04:57 PM
Sadie;52837


I find people are generally accepting of extreme giftedness - 10 year old studying physics at uni type of thing - but highly suspicious of moderate giftedness. Here, most people call it 'having tickets on yourself.'

Hadn't thought about that, but I think you're right. I've also heard that people are far more willing to accept mathematical/scientific giftedness than talent in the humanities. I suppose if your 10-year-old is demonstrably capable in particle physics, that's that. But if your 10-year-old has a sophisticated and nuanced grasp of Victorian literature or writes with uncommon clarity and elegance, it's more difficult to verify.

And I agree entirely about leaving giftedness out of it unless there's a good reason to bring it up. It isn't fair that parents can mention their kids' athletic achievement or musical abilities but acknowledging academic talent is considered boastful, but the fact remains, it is.

CatInTheSun
09-01-2011, 05:20 PM
And I agree entirely about leaving giftedness out of it unless there's a good reason to bring it up. It isn't fair that parents can mention their kids' athletic achievement or musical abilities but acknowledging academic talent is considered boastful, but the fact remains, it is.

Unfortunately, in the US being smart is something to be hidden or embarrassed about. As a kid I recall shoving more than one test into my backpack before anyone could see my score. Part of hs-ing my kids is to let them be proud of it. But when in the outside world...

Why is athleticism different? No one has a problem recognizing it is the result of lucky genes and hard work, but in academics that is threatening to folks. Why is there a need to say all kids are equally smart? They aren't equally tall or social or anything else, but smarts have to be "equal". Anything short of profound child prodigy is not to be mentioned else you're just bragging, but hey, isn't my son just amazing at football? :p

Greenmother
09-01-2011, 06:39 PM
I agree with CatInTheSun-- Here if you are too bright [you don't even have to be gifted] then it is something to be embarrassed about.

Although that is a good call on distinguishing between prodigies and moderately gifted kids--I hadn't really thought of that either. Honestly I truly perceive that most kids could be moderately gifted in at least one subject, but that many are never given the chance or the kind of safe environment where they can excel.

Except that is for Sports and Cheer. And I am really happy for people who are talented athletes, I wish them the best. But the culture of heroic boot kissing around it all, really annoys me.

I do question though, why anyone should have to pretend their kid isn't as smart or talented as they are when around other Homeschoolers? Isn't that just perpetuating the kind of dysfunctional culture so prevalent in our Public Schools? Why would we want to cultivate that?

So I take a different position. I am very vocal about my kids and their talents. Not because I think that they are better than anyone, but because I am impressed with them as little people who have worked so hard to learn whatever I have put in front of them. Sometimes despite my hamhandedness in some subjects.

I am thoroughly tired of being around people that make me feel like I have to be so very gentle with their little spun glass egos. It's exhausting and stupid and I just cannot make myself do it ever again, unless--- life and death hinge on the outcome.

Stella M
09-01-2011, 06:51 PM
Yeah, well, giftedness is a spectrum and like any other spectrum, children on it will have varying degrees of strengths and needs.

There just isn't any general awareness of gifted issues in the culture; not in schools and not in many home school circles either.

So when there is no general awareness there's not much point in discussing it.

It's hard to talk about without feeling like you are boasting, either.

What did the kids get up to this week ?
Oh, dd wrote and illustrated a picture book for fun and sent it to an author we know for critique. How about yours ?

I mean, it sounds fine here, because this seems to be a place without much bitchiness, and where most people are genuinely helpful, whether we are talking about learning challenges or learning abilities. But out in the real world ? A quick way to be shunned, that's what it would be.

It's kind of weird, because to me that's unremarkable. To me, it doesn't even fall under the category of 'gifted'. It's just normal. (And I'm not being self-deprecating there; I've seen extreme giftedness and there's none of it in our house.) You have to do something more remarkable than write a book to be considered 'out there' in this house! But people get strange about these things.

SarahRushly
09-01-2011, 07:06 PM
I loooove the input you all are giving. There's so much that's helpful and insightful. A big reason we pulled dd out of ps is because she was getting bullied for being "weird." BULLIED...at six! The boys were pelting her with dodge balls at recess and in gym class. She was being given a completely differentiated curriculum (because her teacher last year was actually pretty phenomenal), but she began feeling the brunt of the bullying, and the weight of being "different" was too much. She started having anxiety attacks (really...at six) and finally, she completely regressed. She refused to read, do math or anything else that wasn't "what everyone was doing." It was like her intelligence was a source of shame, and I couldn't stand that! So, it is hard for me, now, to deal with the same sense of bullying from a grown up perspective. Now I'm the one who has to hide how smart she is.

Stella M
09-01-2011, 07:20 PM
That's tough. Hugs to you and your dd.

I guess I wouldn't think about it as hiding how smart she is, just as being discriminating about who you share it with. At least on vulnerable days.

Fwiw, I think gifted kids like your dd are awesome! And I think you should totally feel OK about sharing your experiences around your dd's 'smartness' here :) I've never seen any mean mama behaviour about giftedness here...

lakshmi
09-03-2011, 02:00 AM
I like that, having tickets on yourself. consider it mine..

the problem for me, is that I don't know if my kids have tickets or not. I just sort assume that all kids are like mine. And beings I am from the midwestern,(not the real midwestern like IA, OK, KS, NE but the self-deprecating one where ya sort of hide your tickets. Anyone having tickets on themselves might be invited to go cow tipping or something.

I forgot what the thread was about.

Oh yeah. I always think my kids are behind everyone elses kids. I would have no way of knowing. And when I pick up on things that are said like 'not as smart as your daughter' which never happens to me, but other stuff like it....

egads..... I just sort of go home and talk my husband's ear off about it until I have processed the hell out of it and he finally ends up saying shut-up shes a B.. get over and leave me alone, no on second thought come here... hmm....so nothing is every really accomplished.

like when I come to these sites, I feel like my kids aren't doing all that well... reading esp Farrar... and Sadie... a book? really a book? okay, and anyone doing any math.. dmamaz see... no tickets. BUT, i know that comes from my own insecurities and likely the OP's other person's are too. It is hard to talk to an astrophysicist about biology even though they're not the same, you feel like you're going to mess up and say the wrong thing. So it is better to just come out and say it before the other person can think it. Then if you nip it in the bud you save some sort of face.

There. I hope that makes sense. too much ice cream fogging my brain... NO it was the GLUTEN IN THE PIZZA.... yeah. do i even have a complete sentence. No wonder my kids don't have any tickets.

robinlk
09-04-2011, 02:23 PM
I have a friend who is uber-competitive about everything. Her dd is the same age as mine and in ps. Every time we talk, she insists on saying something like, "Well, I know my daughter isn't as smart as your..." And it is always kind of snarky. I don't care that her kid is in ps. That's her choice. I have one of mine in ps right now, too! My husband is a ps teacher! But im also not going to apologize for the choice we made for dd. I've also begun to notice this is kind of a pervasive attitude. People want to know why I chose to pull her from the public schools, but if I answer them honestly (She's wicked smart and they weren't accommodating that), I, apparently, inadvertently call their kid stupid. Then they, like my friend, get all defensive and weird and then I feel attacked and get all defensive and weird. I'm not involved in any sort of pissing context about how I choose to educate my kid. So, how do I talk to people about homeschool without implying their kids are dumb?:)

Well, I'm not sure if I have any good advice. my friend and I both have girls the same age (11), but while her daughter is a gifted writer, mine is dyslexic taking first grade spelling. But mine is talented in piano and she is enrolled at the community college for piano this semester. so we can't really play the whole, "my daughter is smarter than yours" game.

When others ask why I am homeschooling my kids, I tell them flat out; she is dyslexic taking first grade spelling, 7th grade math and enrolled in Comunity college for music and I can't expect the public school to accommodate her in a 5th grade classroom.

robin

SusanC
09-05-2011, 06:45 PM
I have a friend who is uber-competitive about everything. Her dd is the same age as mine and in ps. Every time we talk, she insists on saying something like, "Well, I know my daughter isn't as smart as your..." And it is always kind of snarky. I don't care that her kid is in ps. That's her choice. I have one of mine in ps right now, too! My husband is a ps teacher! But im also not going to apologize for the choice we made for dd. I've also begun to notice this is kind of a pervasive attitude. People want to know why I chose to pull her from the public schools, but if I answer them honestly (She's wicked smart and they weren't accommodating that), I, apparently, inadvertently call their kid stupid. Then they, like my friend, get all defensive and weird and then I feel attacked and get all defensive and weird. I'm not involved in any sort of pissing context about how I choose to educate my kid. So, how do I talk to people about homeschool without implying their kids are dumb?:)


I have a good friend who is by nature very competitive. We have kids the same age and while the comments aren't as blatant and snarky I've definitely been feeling an edge lately. It is hard to discuss school (ps or hs) without treading into dangerous territory. It is just a different choice (breastfeeding had some of this same baggage)!

Her daughter is very smart and I try to comment on that often, but sometimes it is still a little, I don't know, tense? sensitive?

Unless I'm asked direct, inquisitive questions I try hard not to bring homeschooling up. It's a struggle, though, because hsing occupies a lot of my time and I would like to share.

Sigh.

Eileen
09-06-2011, 12:18 PM
Dh's cousin and his wife were at our house for a party, and she brought up homeschooling, are you ready, that sort of thing. I said yeah. She made a comment again about how I said my dd was advanced in reading, and she said, "She's, what... about a 4th grade level did you say?" Um, well no. I don't think I said what level. I didn't even know what to say, because if I let it go it looks like my reasons for hs are kind of silly. One grade level from her current one wouldn't really be a big problem at all. In fact, she's reading at a high school level. So, feeling awkward and defensive, I said, "No, more like 8th grade actually." And she says, "Well, she can read the words, but the comprehension..." Actually, her comprehension is fine. But at that point I just made some vague comment and went off to talk to someone else. But the whole thing irritated me way too much.