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View Full Version : insecurities born of feeling like I always have to prove homeschooling works...



Christy
09-11-2011, 03:24 PM
Does anyone else notice himself or herself feeling extra on edge about the children's behaviour once other people know your children are homeschooled? I was in the park the other day, and someone there with her preschooler asked the ages of my children and why the oldest wasn't in school, and I told her. Then a few minutes after that I started to get more worried about my son's behavior. Is he sharing nicely? Did he run too close to that other child? I tried not to suddenly turn into a hyper-strict hovering mother but emotionally I wanted to. I didn't want it to look like my son's social skills aren't "up to par" because he's homeschooling.

I had the same thing today, when my kids were in a group with other children and someone was asking me about homeschooling and I feel... I don't know. I feel very stressed about people looking at my sons and thinking homeschooling doesn't work for them, because they're not super quiet school-type children. Back when they were very young, I had people comment to me that "oh, they'll learn to behave better once they are in school...." over things like one throwing a tantrum in the grocery store or not sitting quietly enough in places.

Partly there's a style thing. I was an amazingly obedient child, very, very scared of doing anything wrong. My sons are not that. My sons are wild and active, noisy and insistent. When we're on our own, I can just relax with them and treasure who they are but when we go out, I find myself getting scared. I think all the fear (mainly of embarrassment or disappointing my parents) that used to motivate me as a child is still there.... as the kids do things I wouldn't have done as a child, I cringe and start panicking. I make a great effort to bottle up the panic and take a few minutes to evaluate whether there's any real justification for it - is what the kids doing really wrong, or just different?

I'm trying to teach them to use indoor quiet voices. I'm trying to teach them to take turns answering questions when we're in groups, not try to answer all of the questions. I'm dragging them to groups anyway though it is incredibly stressful for me (and probably partly to them too).

My husband tries to remind me that we're homeschooling partly because we suspected that our oldest would be a little too wild for school. We didn't want him pegged as a behavioural problem and we wanted to give him time to mature a bit before/without being forced into a situation we couldn't see working. I got some flak from some relatives who said no, the solution is to put him in school earlier so they could change him out of the behavious earlier. But I do see progress, with him mellowing out and having more self control, and more empathy. It's just.... its a slow long process, and in the meantime, I feel like all the responsibility for who he is, is on my head. And that's really, really scary for me.

Sometimes I think if he was in school, it would be easier, in that then I could feel like they are sharing the parenting and people wouldn't necessarily all look at him and all his rough edges and think, I'm causing them by homeschooling him.

My son's not a bad kid. He's just... energetic and intelligent and stubborn. And like I said, it is a style thing, because I get easily embarrassed and scared.

Accidental Homeschooler
09-11-2011, 03:59 PM
I do feel that way sometimes but not in relation to hsing. My dd can be difficult (energetic, intelligent and stubborn fit her very well also) and I used to stress about going places with her and how others would react to her. It is hard because when a child has difficult behavior or socially inappropriate behavior or whatever, all eyes turn to the mother, like "what is she doing wrong." Well, maybe not all eyes, but a fair number of them. It is especially hard when they have problems in school and the teachers/staff start blaming parenting. So be happy you dodged that bullet! I actually think boys tend to get a little more of a pass (boys will be boys...) compared to girls with more difficult behaviors.

Hsing for us was such a leap out of our comfort area and sort of a starting over point. I am not sure how to explain it. And we had been getting so much criticism from family over dd's behavior that I just got to a point where I quit caring very much what anyone else thought. I would never have had the courage to take her out of school (and for me yes it did take courage) if I wasn't able to do that. It is hard but now I just parent her the best I can and anyone who wants to think I am a bad mother is free to do so and I don't have to care. If I stay focused on dd and making our outings successful then it easier to not notice/care what impression she is making on other people. When I tended to focus more on other people's reactions I would get tense and not be there for dd and she would do worse. There are other parents who understand and that helps make up for the ones who think we are all in some big contest over who has the best kid (meaning who is the best parent).

inmom
09-11-2011, 04:02 PM
I used to, but the longer we've been homeschooling and the older my kids get, the less I worry about it. I also have reached the point where I don't care what the other parents think. (That could just be result of my cantakerous geezer-hood though, too!)

ginnyjf
09-11-2011, 04:04 PM
Oh, I do understand those insecurities. Not so much with behavior, because my son is a very mellow kid and always has been, whether in school or out, but more so with academic expectations. I had several good mom friends when we were all sending our kids to the same school and they've always seemed to be in awe of our decision to homeschool. To this day if I run into them I'll hear, "Zack found a cure for cancer yet? Haha!" or "Has he been accepted into Harvard by now? Teehee!" They seem to think that homeschooler equals child prodigy who performs far beyond the typical-schooled child. I'm very proud of Zack and he's certainly a bright boy and reads far above his grade level, but he is by no means some kind of child genius. I wouldn't even call him gifted. He's just a funny, smart, thoughtful boy who is being homeschooled because home is the best environment for him. Yet I feel the pressure for him to be a super achiever just because he's been homeschooled.

farrarwilliams
09-11-2011, 04:07 PM
I feel this too, but I think it's important to let go of feeling like we have to be homeschool ambassadors out in the world all the time. No individual kid or family can encapsulate homeschooling and we can't change anyone who thinks we do.

Stella M
09-11-2011, 06:33 PM
What inmom said :) It either gets easier, or you care less about what other people think, as they get older. Your kids are little right ? All the things you describe about trying to teach them to use indoor voices etc are things most parents of younger kids are dealing with, whether they go to ps or h/s.

Trust me, you can't win anyway. My eldest has always been a 'good' girl. I once had a check-out chick at the fruit market tell me it was unnatural for a child to be that good and that I should send her to school to 'loosen up'!

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
09-11-2011, 07:17 PM
When we went to drop off our homeschooling paperwork at the superintendent's office, I turned around to find my children scarfing down gum drops out of the secretary's candy dish. D'oh! Yeah, I was kind of conscious of how we were making homeschoolers look.

pnctink
09-11-2011, 09:24 PM
How old are your DC? I can't get mine to be quiet for a second. The places it bothers me most are in library and at other people's houses. My DH (and all of his family!!) is boisterous, and both of our DC have inherited this. I can relate to feeling like you or the kids "need" to behave in a certain way in public, but I think that's normal-homeschooling or not. My DH is very concerned in proving our kids can socialize. He uses any social interaction they have as "back-up" for any arguments his parents may have with our decision. He is even planning for all of us to go to a park while we're in England so his parents can see how social they are already, and we haven't even officially started yet!

Greenmother
09-11-2011, 10:55 PM
We all have had all sorts of insecurities about homeschooling when interacting with people who are public schoolers. It just takes a while to find yourself and your new normal. The big thing is, you care. You care if your kid is playing nicely with other children. That means a lot to me whether your homeschooling or not.

5amigos
09-12-2011, 06:59 PM
i do feel insecure sometimes. i think its because i'm new to this and i still feel pretty insecure about everything! i do feel like people are watching us because we live in a really small community and most people we know are now aware we are hs the two kids. word gets around fast around here. :) but i can relate--people keep asking me "how is it going?" and i'm still too afraid to tell people when i've had a totally crappy day and feel like sending one of my boys back to ps. ha ha. so i just smile and nod and say 'things are going really well' because i'm looking at the whole picture and i know deep down, now matter how frustrated i get at my son, that i am doing the right thing for us. i guess i just have to let everything else go and not care what people are thinking and just stand by my convictions!

Shoe
09-12-2011, 07:02 PM
Does anyone else notice himself or herself feeling extra on edge about the children's behaviour once other people know your children are homeschooled? I was in the park the other day, and someone there with her preschooler asked the ages of my children and why the oldest wasn't in school, and I told her. Then a few minutes after that I started to get more worried about my son's behavior. Is he sharing nicely? Did he run too close to that other child? I tried not to suddenly turn into a hyper-strict hovering mother but emotionally I wanted to. I didn't want it to look like my son's social skills aren't "up to par" because he's homeschooling.

I had the same thing today, when my kids were in a group with other children and someone was asking me about homeschooling and I feel... I don't know. I feel very stressed about people looking at my sons and thinking homeschooling doesn't work for them, because they're not super quiet school-type children. Back when they were very young, I had people comment to me that "oh, they'll learn to behave better once they are in school...." over things like one throwing a tantrum in the grocery store or not sitting quietly enough in places.

Partly there's a style thing. I was an amazingly obedient child, very, very scared of doing anything wrong. My sons are not that. My sons are wild and active, noisy and insistent. When we're on our own, I can just relax with them and treasure who they are but when we go out, I find myself getting scared. I think all the fear (mainly of embarrassment or disappointing my parents) that used to motivate me as a child is still there.... as the kids do things I wouldn't have done as a child, I cringe and start panicking. I make a great effort to bottle up the panic and take a few minutes to evaluate whether there's any real justification for it - is what the kids doing really wrong, or just different?

I'm trying to teach them to use indoor quiet voices. I'm trying to teach them to take turns answering questions when we're in groups, not try to answer all of the questions. I'm dragging them to groups anyway though it is incredibly stressful for me (and probably partly to them too).

My husband tries to remind me that we're homeschooling partly because we suspected that our oldest would be a little too wild for school. We didn't want him pegged as a behavioural problem and we wanted to give him time to mature a bit before/without being forced into a situation we couldn't see working. I got some flak from some relatives who said no, the solution is to put him in school earlier so they could change him out of the behavious earlier. But I do see progress, with him mellowing out and having more self control, and more empathy. It's just.... its a slow long process, and in the meantime, I feel like all the responsibility for who he is, is on my head. And that's really, really scary for me.

Sometimes I think if he was in school, it would be easier, in that then I could feel like they are sharing the parenting and people wouldn't necessarily all look at him and all his rough edges and think, I'm causing them by homeschooling him.

My son's not a bad kid. He's just... energetic and intelligent and stubborn. And like I said, it is a style thing, because I get easily embarrassed and scared.

I actually find my kids' behavior is better since we started homeschooling, and when I compare their behavior to a lot of kids that I see at my work, I'm quite pleased with them, and it helps to eliminate any insecurities I might have had. Don't get me wrong-my kids aren't angels, but they are generally polite, mature and respectful, for which I'm very pleased.

Scoobymummy
09-12-2011, 07:20 PM
Funny...I don't worry about what non-hsers think...I worry about what the other hs moms think. Ours is a very small group of hsers and the parents are very sheltering, so there's always the sense that if your kids aren't up to standard, you won't get to play. My ds is 'different', so that's a huge stressor in my life...that my kids won't have any friends. I'm hopeful that as they get older, they'll meet more kids in the community and will be less dependent on hs children.

Pilgrim
09-12-2011, 08:15 PM
What inmom said :) Trust me, you can't win anyway. My eldest has always been a 'good' girl. I once had a check-out chick at the fruit market tell me it was unnatural for a child to be that good and that I should send her to school to 'loosen up'!


Lol. We feel a bit of pressure to do things perfectly and to have model children, as if others are thinking, "Well, they decided to quit on PS, and I just can't wait to see them fail." It's in our heads, of course, but we're aware of it. I'm sure that not caring about it so much will come with time.