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    #16353 - 05/21/08 10:25 AM Need a "party line"
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    Now that DS has been pulled out of school, I'm looking for a simple statement that DH and I can use with friends and those we just meet re: homeschooling. We pulled him out b/c he couldn't stand being in a class with some very disruptive children and b/c he was not challenged academically. No one needs to know that and it's hard to explain b/c in our area everyone loves our public schools (and the teachers and administration were all lovely - it just didn't work for us).

    So any suggestions for a response to questions along the lines of "how's school," "where do you go to school?," and "why did you take him out when we have such a wonderful school district?"

    I'll check back later, as I have work to do, but TIA! (that's thanks in advance, right?)

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    #16354 - 05/21/08 10:38 AM Re: Need a "party line" [Re: questions]
    KAR120C Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/29/08
    Posts: 302
    For the "Where do you go to school" I've always said we homeschool and left it at that. For the "why" questions I've been using "it's a good fit for us."

    It's vague enough that it doesn't insult anyone (we're also in a wonderful school district) and allows them to be follow up with a more specific question if they really want to know. Sometimes that goes in the "he's a quirky kid" direction and sometimes in the "we can really work at his pace this way"

    Since you're just starting, you could try "we're going to see how this goes" -- it doesn't actually answer the question, but it continues the conversation in a non-confrontational direction.
    _________________________
    Erica

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    #16355 - 05/21/08 10:42 AM Re: Need a "party line" [Re: questions]
    OHGrandma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/05/08
    Posts: 830
    How about,
    "We really enjoy the opportunity to teach our own child".
    To get into more detail you can say,
    "The opportunity to dig deeper into particular subjects is astounding. We do botany lessons at the local Botanical Gardens. We have math & science field trips at _________(museum). He gets together regularly with xyz for organized sports. He can take music lessons when it best works in our schedule. He can get all this extra stuff, and still get to bed in time for hubby and me to have alone time! No more squeezing in all the extracurricular activities into the few hours after school."

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    #16357 - 05/21/08 11:21 AM Re: Need a "party line" [Re: OHGrandma]
    Cathy A Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 1783
    Loc: West coast, USA
    I agree that it's better to list the positives of homeschooling than the negatives of the public school.

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    #16358 - 05/21/08 12:17 PM Re: Need a "party line" [Re: Cathy A]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Well...

    My only issue with this advice is that in areas where homeschooling is relatively uncommon or where people make (incorrect) assumptions about you based on a stereotype of HSers, it can be helpful to avoid fitting into those stereotypes. Personally, I'm NOT HSing because I want to; I'm HSing because I have to. I've found that it can be helpful to get that across to people in a way that doesn't slam the schools.

    I usually say something like, "Public school just wasn't meeting his needs, and homeschooling does." It's honest, to the point, and nonjudgmental. If the person asking pursues further, I explain that DS6 is "pretty bright" and that the school just wasn't equipped to challenge him, so he was miserable and his behavior was suffering. HSing has solved those problems.

    Honestly, I've found that I'm far more worried about seeming like a crazy person now that my kids' social life is dependent upon the contacts I make and what they think of me than I ever was when he was in the schools. Talking only about the pros of HSing without making it clear that we tried the schools and they didn't work for us makes me feel (rightly or wrongly) like I'm coming dangerously close to sounding like a HSing evangelist, I'm afraid.

    I know my insecurities and former (mistaken!) impressions of HSers are coming out there, but it is what I've experienced as a reluctant HSer.

    I think there's a way to stay positive without saying only the positive, if that makes any sense, and threading that needle has worked best for me. I've gotten the most natural responses from people using this approach, and we get playdates out of the interactions pretty regularly. So I figure it's working for me.

    <shrug> YMMV, naturally!
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #16359 - 05/21/08 12:36 PM Re: Need a "party line" [Re: Kriston]
    squirt Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/31/08
    Posts: 323
    Loc: Back in Texas, alas!
    What's YMMV?

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    #16361 - 05/21/08 12:58 PM Re: Need a "party line" [Re: Dottie]
    Cathy A Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 1783
    Loc: West coast, USA
    Kriston, I see what you mean. A balanced approach seems good. I guess I'm struggling with a similar conversation about gradeskipping. It goes like this:

    Other parent: So, I understand that M is in first grade now.
    Me: Yes. We really like Ms. First Grade Teacher!
    Other parent: My DD is way ahead in her K class and she is often bored.
    Me: Have you considered moving her up?
    Other parent: I would never do that to my DD.

    or

    Other parent: So, I understand that M is in first grade now.
    Me: Yes. We really like Ms. First Grade Teacher!
    Other parent: How is it going?
    Me: Great! It seems to be a much better placement for him.
    Other parent: Was he really bored in Kindergarten?
    Me: <feeling a little awkward> Well....yes. <not wanting to go into details of his abilities>

    So what's my party line? Why did we decide to skip DS?

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    #16364 - 05/21/08 01:20 PM Re: Need a "party line" [Re: Cathy A]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I find that not acknowledging those not-so-subtle slights helps in potentially unpleasant situations. (One way in which being INTJ/Spock on the Meyers-Briggs helps me: "Emotions? What emotions?" LOL!)

    For example:

    Quote:
    Other parent: So, I understand that M is in first grade now.
    Me: Yes. We really like Ms. First Grade Teacher!
    Other parent: My DD is way ahead in her K class and she is often bored.
    Me: Have you considered moving her up?
    Other parent: I would never do that to my DD.
    **My addition: Huh. <shrug> Well, every kid is different, and you have to do what works for you, but skipping a grade has worked great for us.


    Notice how completely ignoring the unspoken (and wrong!) "You're a bad mom" subtext makes it go away. Voila! smile If she straightens up at that point, you might then recommend that she read "A Nation Deceived." However, her staunch resistance might mean that's just never going to happen. You definitely have to gauge your audience...

    As for the people who are wondering why you made the choice you made, but aren't thinking of their own kids at all, try something like this:

    Quote:
    Other parent: So, I understand that M is in first grade now.
    Me: Yes. We really like Ms. First Grade Teacher!
    Other parent: How is it going?
    Me: Great! It seems to be a much better placement for him.
    Other parent: Was he really bored in Kindergarten?
    **My addition: Well, yes, but my bigger problem was with how it was affecting his attitude and behavior. He had always loved school, and he suddenly hated it, plus he was consistently losing recess time, and this was a kid who had always followed the rules to the letter. It was pretty clear that we had to do something.


    Turn the focus away from boredom and toward "we were solving a problem that anyone would agree had to be solved," and you lose the awkwardness. To this sort of statment, I have gotten lots of support, even from people who seem a little scared by the fact that I'm a homeschooler. I'd imagine selling skipping as the solution using this approach would be easy in comparison to selling HSing!

    On the bright side, there are a relatively limited number of ways these sorts of conversations can go. Figure out your standard response to the Negative Nellies, the Curious Kittys, and the Just Making Conversation Julies (???) and you have pretty much mapped out how every conversation will ever go on the subject. People are not usually very creative in their reponses, at least not in my experience. Practice your pat answers and you'll use them often!

    Does that make any sense? I'm not very on the ball today, so I'm not sure I'm being clear...
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #16369 - 05/21/08 01:57 PM Re: Need a "party line" [Re: Dottie]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    LOL about your mom, Dottie! grin They are a category all to themselves, aren't they?

    One other thought that I got too distracted to include: The phrase "Fake it until you make it" applies, I think.

    If you act as if you are insecure and unsure about your choices, people view you as open to attack. It's human nature. OTOH, if you seem confident, sure of your decisions and unshakable, people generally assume you pretty much know what you're talking about. This is especially true if you are clearly not evangelizing but are merely answering questions put to you.

    So even if you aren't 100% confident, act like you are in public. The responses you get will generally be more positive, at least in my experience. The one and only really negative reaction I got to homeschooling came right after we had decided to pull DS6 out of public school. I felt raw and scared and utterly freaked out, and I know it showed. A casual friend--a former teacher--jumped all over me, and I reacted badly. She was wrong and insensitive to me when I was in a scary, bad place, but I could have handled her rottenness better. Live and learn...

    I think we argue when we fear we're wrong; we shrug off negative comments when we know we're right. So shrug and people will assume you're doing the right thing. It's weird, but it seems to work!
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #16370 - 05/21/08 01:58 PM Re: Need a "party line" [Re: Kriston]
    Cathy A Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 1783
    Loc: West coast, USA
    Thanks, Kriston!

    I really like your "every kid is different" response. I have also been saying that, "We were concerned that DS was getting in the habit of tuning out in class." He is a quiet kid at school and there was not really a behavior issue. At home, he was crabby and begging to go to second grade. How do you think it would go over to say that DS really wanted to move up a grade?

    Also, I am not socially astute and I often have a hard time telling whether I am talking to a Nellie, Kitty or Julie until I put my foot in it. Then I am often at a loss for a response. I come across much better online because I can read and reread people's posts and take my time to consider my response. Are there any telltale signs I could look for to identify these types?

    Most of the time I get the feeling that people are curious and fishing for gossip...what do you think?

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