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Why do people have to be so nasty about H.E?

(39 Posts)
lolapoppins Sat 03-Oct-09 18:23:33

Grrrrr. I need to rant. Thought I might find other people who understand where I am coming from in this topic smile

I have been in tears all afternoon after speaking with a relative on the phone. I have not spoken to her much over the past couple of years that ds has been home educated, and now I am wishing I hadn't spoke to her at all.

She was so negative about me homeschooling ds (nearly 7), to the point of being really nasty and agressive (but in an ever so sugery way hmm).

She has three children all around the same age as ds, who are all at school. She brought up every negative point about H.E, does he ever leave the house? Does he have any friends? I am sure you have all heard them before.

She was going on and on about all the school firends that her kids had at her house today, and did the other home ed kids we know live near us? Well, no, not really, but we are in a village in the middle of knowhere. No one but farmers live near us.

I was telling her about all the activities he does, the home school groups and activities and sports clubs he attends, what subjects I teach him and how, even how many times a week he sees other kids (she actually had the nerve to ask). But everything was met with a negative comment, and tales of how great her kids were doing at school.

What came aross most was the fact that she didn't think I was intelligent enough to teach my own child anything, and there were loads of comments about me being strange for liking him being with me all day, as she 'couldn't stand being with her kids all day'. Fair enough, but what has that got to do with me?

Then I got the old 'but of course you won't home educate at secondary level, will you' line. Who knows? I explained about all the home ed teenagers I have met, who are lovely, well educated, smart, confident people and she just laughed at me again. She kept telling me how great her kids school was, how fab the teachers were - that is great, I am happy for them. I have never said I am against schools, it just didn't work out for ds.

Since the begining of September, I have really got into the swing of home ed, ds is happy and is learning so much and enjoys what he is learning, but now I feel so low about it all again.

I feel even worse as it is ds' birthday next month and I have invited her and her family to his party. Most of the other kids coming areH.E'd and I don't want her giving thier parents, who I am trying to form friendships with, the third degree and making them feel uncomfortable in my home.

Over the past 18 months, I have worked really hard to find ds clubs and activities to be involved in, home ed groups etc, but now I feel really crap about everything. I have only really felt confident in what we are doing in these past few weeks, and now I am feeling so down again sad

julienoshoes Sat 03-Oct-09 19:45:13


get a G+T and relax

I think when you talk about the choices you have made to HE, 'some' people take that as an attack on their choices.
even when you don't intend it to be so.

And folks sometimes feel threatened and uncomfortable with what they don't understand.

Take some time (after the G&T and a good sleep), to prepare some good one liners ready for the next time.
I took to saying very confidently when people asked 'why don't you send your children to school?'
"because they didn't want to go.......why on earth would they? when we can cover everything needed in home ed'

and "I am glad you are happy with your choices because I am very happy with mine"

being/sounding confident seems to make the difference.

I did manage to dissuade dd1 from replying "because I stabbed the Headmaster and got expelled" because she got sooooooo fed up with the questions.

generally too I keep away from doubters like this........time is on your side and will win them over in the end, when she sees how your ds turns out in the end.

and as for the home ed parents at the party, I wouldn't worry.
I'd tip them the wink that you have one relative coming who is rather negative........and maybe ask that they be quite gentle with her.
I have every confidence in home ed parents' ability to get the upper hand. They know there stuff remember and won't have the emotional ties that you do to this lady.

Please can I be a fly in the wall?

preciouslillywhite Sat 03-Oct-09 19:48:24

When she sees all the happy, confident and well adjusted kids at your ds's party, she'll change her tune...

or storm off in a big huff wink

bumpyandfrumpy Sat 03-Oct-09 20:05:04

I don't have any helpful advice as DS is only 18 months old, but I just wanted to say that I think you are AMAZING for doing what you're doing. How LUCKY that your DS has a parent who cares so much.
I think you're fab. I wish you all the best.

lolapoppins Sat 03-Oct-09 20:14:06

Thankyou. I tried to be as confident as possible, but it really was a relentless tirade, it's hard to explain. I didn't get stressed and I tried to sound as upbeat as possible. The trouble is, conversations like that throw me. I can't understans why anyone would have such strong opinions over how another adult chooses to live thier life.

The funny thing is though, she kept saying 'well, he must be so shy and withdrawn'. grin My ds is so outgoing - he will join in anything, initiate conversations and speak to anyone (of any age) and is about as confident in social situations as yo can get. Much like the majority of the H.E kids I have met tbh.

Her kids on the other hand are so shy they will not even speak to you if you ask them a question (they are not really involved in 'adult' life IYSWIM and so are totally thrown if an adult tries to start a converation with them), and are actually really unsociable in social situations that don't involve kids they don't already know.

I think she was just being defensive. I know she has had lots of issues with her ds at school. I was very honest about how well my ds is doing, I am extremily proud of him. When I mentioned that he is working his way through my Roald Dahl collection, she sounded a bit miffed grin

There is one parent who I hope will make the party. She is an ex teacher who has H.Ed her children from the word go, and is very vocal on her feelings about the state of education in schools, and is just as assertive in herself as my relative. Should be interresting grin

juuule Sat 03-Oct-09 20:23:56

You are aware that her children are a bit shy and that your ds is doing well and is confident. Perhaps she needs encouragement that her children will be okay just as much as you do particularly if her children have had problems at school. But it sounds as though you were both being defensive to the point of upsetting each other.

Your ds is doing well being home-ed. If you know this then try not to take what she says to heart. Difficult I know sometimes if you've had a bad day. But rather than taking what she says as a criticism maybe try to see it as her being uneasy with her own choices. She might just be being rude but then that's not worth taking to heart either.

On another note - not all home-ed children are confident just as not all school children are shy with adults. Sometimes it's just down to personalities.

Tombliboobs Sat 03-Oct-09 20:27:44

My DS is only 2 and I am a teacher, but I think H.E is a great way forward if it works for you and your children, just as school is.

Parenting is so difficult when people, like your relative, feel the need to make themselves feel better by putting down other people's choices. You Know you are doing a good job, your DS is doing well and you are both happy.

Let her work through her insecurities this way, safe in the knowledge you are happy with your choices. wink

Sorry, know you were probably looking for support from other H.Edders, but have been the position of being questioned over my own 'non mainstream' choices, so just wanted to empathise. smile

lolapoppins Sat 03-Oct-09 20:41:14

juuule - believe me, I wasn't being offensive to her at all. I am quite a quite person, I don't go in for confrontation, hence why there are people like her who feel they can shout me down at every turn. I didn't tell her that my ds is confident or mention her kids being shy (I couldn't get a word in for ds being slagged off at that point), but I did finally tell her how well ds is doing and how proud I am of him after ages of her going on and on asking the how/what/when/why of what I was teaching him insinuating that I could not do it properly, and that her kids were doing this, that and the other only for the reason that they were in a school. It was an hour and a half long conversation based around drilling me on my and ds' daily comings and goings and telling me I was cocking up my childs life. Belive me, she wasn't the one who was upset.

And I know not all H.E kids are confident - I said majority of the ones I have met at the H.E groups I attend are, I am not speaking for the masses.

I just mentioned her kids being shy round adults as an aside on here, as I thought it was funny that she assumed my ds would be withdrawn (It was clear she thought he never left the house).

Ivykaty44 Sat 03-Oct-09 20:48:54

She feels threatened - you are a better mum in her eyes as you actually want to be with your dc whereas she can't wait to get her three out the door in the morning and of to am institution - guilty feelings have a strange effect on people

I would have loved to have the patients to home school my two - but both have had to attend school.

Clubs for children to make friends are rather better than school - as they make friends by choice in a rather different way, also age is less important.

Well done I really admire anyone who choices to home school

frogs Sat 03-Oct-09 20:57:03

Lola -- it's not just about HE, this is about her trying to put down your parenting style. It could be bfeeding, HE, baby-led weaning, state vs private school, living in the city vs country, pretty much anything, really.

It's what happens with parenting fullstop, I think -- there's always some eejit who wants to convince you that their choices are much better than yours. You've made the choice that is right for you and your ds, you shouldn't need to have to justify it to others. It sounds like you're really happy with what you're doing, so can you not find a few prepared phrases that will strangle this kind of conversation at birth? Eg. "It's sweet of you to be concerned about him, but we're confident that we've made the right choices, thanks", for eg. Or, "It's lovely that your dc are so happy at school, that's great for you. We've made the right choice for our dc, and we're happy with that, thanks".

IME (not HE, but state vs private in our family) the more you try to justify your decisions, the more ammo it gives people. Much more effective to find a couple of lines that you can trot out to make it clear that you're not interested in discussing the topic further, thank you and goodnight.

[tough emoticon]

juuule Sat 03-Oct-09 21:09:35

Good point, frogs.

Pyrocanthus Sat 03-Oct-09 21:13:30

If you feel comfortable with your choices, that's all that matters. Have the confidence not to give a damn what anyone else thinks. I know it's not that easy, but it gets easier with practice.

As Frogs, says, don't try to explain yourself.

lolapoppins Sat 03-Oct-09 21:15:34

I know, I do need to keep a couple of curt one liners up my sleeve. Thanks for all the ideas on what to say, I will try to use some next time I am asked about H.E.

I just get very, very flustered when confronted by people though, I tend to get all hot, start faffing and forget what I am trying to say and end up sounding like an idiot.

This isn't the first time she has upset me like this actually - when ds was a toddler we had a converstaion along the same lines over the fact that we co-slept. That is probably why she thinks it is so strange that I chose to H.E too. I didn't pick the easiest parenting path, did I?

frogs Sat 03-Oct-09 21:22:30

She's not you, and she's not bringing up your child. It always amazes me how people will propose some solution to what they see as you ishoos, as if you might not have bothered to think it all through for yourself.

If you get a nasty illness it's even worse -- the world and its dog will be queueing up to tell you about their cousin's friend's mum who had the exact same thing as you and tried homoeopathy/chiropractic/herbalism/faith-healer/lived on veg and coffee enemas/stuck pins into wax models of mainstream medics and her condition magically got better.

You need to develop a skin like rhino-hide and a 'Really? Gosh, fancy that', smile which you can plaster across your face while you nod and say, "goodness, you're so wise, d'you know I'd never thought of that". With luck they'll start backing away and leave you in peace.

Grr, sympathies. But really, don't rise to it, it just feeds the madness.

lolapoppins Sat 03-Oct-09 21:47:31

I know that I really need to not rise to things. I always want to scream 'why the hell do you care what I do?'. Maybe I should. It is just so hard when someone is on the phone/standing in front of you and relentlessly asking such direct questions. I need to grow a backbone with her. If it was dh speaking to me in that way, he'd be told to sod off. She isn't the kind of person who can be easily stopped with one line though, she will pry and pry.

Dh is fully onside though, and will be here when she comes to visit for the party. I have been speaking to him about it all eveing, he was out with ds while I was on the phone, and he's been muttering to himself all the things he will say to her if she questions him over ds like she did with me. He thinks she has issues with everything we do/have done as parents, not just the home ed, but that it is an easy handle. He is a lot more direct and sarcastic than I am, but funnily enough, she is not so nasty with him.

DH thinks she is just a really unhappy person in herself as she speaks in such a brisque, sarcastic way about everything.

I wish I hadn't invited her to ds' birthday now (they live across the country so will be staying the whole weekend - joy), but her dc are ds' cousins, and he has not seen them in almost two years.

slowreadingprogress Sat 03-Oct-09 21:57:19

Use the 'broken record' technique with her. Don't explain or justify just say something like "I'm sure your choices are best for your children, and my choice is best for mine" and just repeat this to every prying question. It's assertive, not rude, and it doesn't usually take long for even the most thick skinned idiot individual to get the message

You really don't have to justify what you do to her

I think it's such a shame that people use that line about 'oh I couldn't stand to be with my kids all day'. I don't HE my son, he goes to school but because I think it is best for him not because I don't want to spend time with him. It makes me cross - like it's "HE if you want to be with your child, send 'em to school if you want the little buggers out of your hair" - it's not one or the other!

2kidzandi Sat 03-Oct-09 22:08:52

Watch this Lolapoppins, it is slightly OTT but I find it provides some useful inspiration on what to say to the persistant put-downers smile

lolapoppins Sat 03-Oct-09 22:19:35

2kidzandi maybe I should send her the link to that grin

2kidzandi Sat 03-Oct-09 22:26:58

Oh no! I don't think she'd turn up! And you would regret THAT enormously.... grin

lolapoppins Sat 03-Oct-09 22:30:57

The woman in the vid looks as hacked off as I feel. She is very intense though, looks like she has had her fair share of hassle. DH was joking we should send it annonomously to put the frighteners on her!

piscesmoon Sat 03-Oct-09 22:43:07

I would refuse to discuss it-it isn't any of her business. My brother and SIL HE their DCs, I think they would be better at school and when the 2 eldest went at GCSE stage they got on fine BUT it isn't my place to say so-I keep my views to myself.
I really don't think you ought to get drawn into a defensive position. Just say 'we are quite happy' and change the subject. If you sound like a broken record even the most thick skinned will get the message eventually. Never explain or justify-her mind is made up before you start.

ommmward Sat 03-Oct-09 22:43:44

"What do we do all day? Well, we... er... oh, hang on, got to go, he's just set fire to the cat again ha ha"

[put phone down]

LauraIngallsWilder Sat 03-Oct-09 23:13:37

Hi lola - I was thinking of you the other day, wondering how you and ds are getting along
Its great that the last month has been better for you - rubbish that your relative has been horrid and Im truly sad that you have been crying all afternoon - I have a neighbour that is just like her, rubbish isnt it
I would be happy to chat with you via msn or telephone about day to day HE or the bigger issues if you would like

I too have found that breezy confidence helps when people ask "So how is the home tutoring going?"
I say "Home EDUCATION is going really well thanks ds hasnt mentioned murdering anyone for ages now!"
Or "actually I dont feel the need to TUTOR my kids they are good at learning things naturally, I just join in conversations with them and we do fun stuff - no need to TEACH or TUTOR"

Funny HE videos to cheer you up
My favourite youtube video adams family

Actually this is my favourite too! Funny boys

12 days of homeschool

LauraIngallsWilder Sat 03-Oct-09 23:20:52

Sorry sorry lola just thinking now and remembering you are HEing in a structured way so perhaps you do think in terms of tutoring and teaching........ which is cool, we all have our own ways of doing things

And fwiw we do quite a bit of structured stuff as well! - we have only been officially been HEing for a month and I am already sick of peoples misconceptions! This weeks repeated phrase is "How is home tutoring going??????"
Going just fine thanks - bye now we off to a hockey match, with wooden sticks

Breezy confidence knocks them sideways because they are waiting for me to say "its terrible, I give up"

lolapoppins Sun 04-Oct-09 11:22:15

I am more peed off about it than anything this morning. You know what, my child is happy, and so are me and my husband and that's all that matters really, isn't it? I don't question her on the decisions she makes for her children, what right does she have to question mine? I think we have done a great job bringing him up so far, even if it has been a little differently to 'the norm'.

I was really only trying to expalin HE to her as she has all the ill concieved ideas about H.E that a lot of people who have never looked into it have. But you are all right, maybe I shouldn't try to expalin HE, I should just cut her off with a curt line about us all being very happy.

I was so upset, more than anything, as this is with someone who thinks they really 'know' me, despite only having seen me about five times since ds was born. She doesn't actually know me at all, I have aquantances at the garden centre who know me better.

I am not the most confident person at the best of times, and things like this can knock me for six.

Anyway, I going to unchain ds from his desk now as we are off to meet another HE family for Sunday lunch wink

Thanks LauraIngalls....I had meant to CAT you before, but I will do when I get home tonight.

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