A Homeschool Confrontation in the Grocery Store At Noon

A Homeschool Confrontation In The Grocery Line At Noon

It happened.  I feared this very thing for quite some time and I thought I had all my responses prepared.  Most people we meet when we are out at unconventional hours for school-aged chidlren are kind and interested.  Anything different can be fascinating, so we’re often met with curiosity when we say that we homeschool.

Not this time.

A Homeschool Confrontation in the Grocery Store At Noon

The bliss of late morning grocery shopping.

I love to get my shopping done either late morning or early afternoon.  The stores are pretty empty then and it’s so easy to breeze in, get what you need and breeze right back out again.  The kids always come with me because, honestly, we usually have a lot of fun together.  We giggled our way through the store that morning and had ourselves a generally lovely time, with the boisterous 4-year-old garnering the attention of the few other shoppers in the store.  The children all sweetly greeted each person we met with, my youngest proudly declaring to each, “I’m 4 years old!”  And with each person they greeted, they were met with warm smiles and friendly responses.  One of them, though, I could see didn’t approve.  She was trying to figure us out.

Normally, this wouldn’t bother me.  After all, when you go shopping in the middle of the day with 4 children, an obviously protruding belly announcing the imminent arrival of number five, and the children insist on being friendly and social with everyone they meet, it’s hard to go unnoticed, and everyone has their opinion.  This disapproval from a stranger usually causes no more than a passing notice from me as we go about our day, neither approving or disapproving that strangers lifestyle choices.

But it didn’t stop there.

When we got to the check out, we were the only ones there, so we all began unloading our cart onto the belt.  Even the 4 year old delighted in helping and chatting with the lady behind the counter (did I mention we tend to really enjoy our time at the store together?  She giggles as she watches everything move up towards the cashier).  Before we could empty our cart out, the disapproving stranger got in line behind us.

“Why aren’t your children in school?” she asked, not politely, but accusingly.


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My back had been to her.  I was, after all, helping the children unload our cart.  I froze for a moment and then turned with a smile plastered to my face.  Grace, I reminded myself over and over.

“Actually, we homeschool.”

I turned back to the children, but the joy of our moment had fled.  The cashier turned an apologetic eye to me and immediately engaged the children in some questions that I can’t remember.  We finished unloading the cart, doing our best to ignore the lady behind us.  But I could feel her staring at the back of my head.  I smiled at the cashier, silently thanking her for distracting my children from the unpleasantness about to unfold.

“Is it even legal to homeschool?  Are you qualified to do that?”

“Yes it is, and yes I am.  Thank you for asking.”  I hoped this would be the end and I willed the cashier to scan faster.  To be fair, she was scanning faster than I’ve ever seen her go.  She knew this woman was making us uncomfortable.  Before we could finish our transaction, the litany of reasons why our choice to homeschool was horrible poured from this woman’s mouth.  You can probably guess most of them.

Curriculum, electives, gym, stuck with a single point of view, indoctrination, lack of experience, and yes… the dreaded socialization argument.  I think there were more that she said but I tried hard not to listen too closely as she unloaded on us.  I kept reminding myself that the words she was saying were a reflection of her own ignorance and fear.  And then I started chanting in my head… Grace.  Grace.  Grace.  She was obviously having a bad day and decided to unload it on us.

We finished paying and loading the cart back up as she continued to rant at us.  I kept a smile on my face and looked only at my children, studiously avoiding eye contact with her.  Then, as we left, I thanked her for her concern and assured her that we do everything possible to insure the excellent education, safety and well-being of our children.  I hoped she would have a pleasant remainder of her day.  I turned to the cashier and thanked her, hoping my eyes conveyed the true gratitude I felt for her part in the whole affair, wished her a wonderful afternoon and we left for the parking lot.

I turned to the cashier and thanked her, hoping my eyes conveyed the true gratitude I felt for her part in the whole affair, wished her a wonderful afternoon and we left for the parking lot.

 

As we loaded the car up, she came out.  Thankfully she just stared at us without saying anything else.  Part of me wished that I had the courage to go over and defend our choice, refute every small-minded argument she had brought up in the store.  I wished that I could even remember all my well-planned rebuttals to the issues I knew would be brought up some day.  In the end, though, I went with simple grace.

I later marveled at the fact that my obviously social children who struck up lovely conversations with everyone in the store could be accused of being anti-social.   How could their undeniable love for each other and utter delight in the company of both family and strangers be considered a negative?  Why is it so hard to believe that a nurturing, loving family can raise up smart, well-rounded, confident children?

We are lucky to be able to choose this homeschooling life-style.  I’m grateful for every day we have together here.  I hope that woman, whoever she is, will do more than rely on her own misconceptions but I fear that she will continue to judge without really knowing anything about homeschooling.  I wish I could have set her straight.  But more than all that, I hope my behavior was a good example to my children of handling a difficult situation with peace and grace.

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Have you ever had to defend your choice to homeschool in this kind of situation?  How did you handle it?

 

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About the Author Sandra Modersohn

Sandra Modersohn is a devoted wife, mother, and homeschooler. She loves great graphic design and has a passion for creating beautiful and useful printable materials for children. Little Learning Lovies where she shares her creations with the world. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest and, of course, at the Little Learning Lovies Blog and Store.

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176 comments
Mosan says a couple of years ago

Wow…that’s something. I have come to a conclusion regarding my family and the choices we make. That is…I do not owe anyone an explanation as to why we homeschool. Just as I do not owe anyone an explanation of why I drive rather than bike,buy “regular” items instead of organic, or shave my head and wear wigs instead of having “real hair” like most. People fear what they don’t understand. You handled it well, I applaud you, because honestly if someone asked me if it were legal, and if I am qualified…I would then ask them ” Did your years of schooling by “qualified professionals” teach you to pass judgment and condemn others, or just your own personal ignorance?” Most people have nothing to say when you are a bit abrupt and to the point.

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Amy Peters says a couple of years ago

I personally think you handled that ugly distraction from your beautiful day wonderfully and with true grace and dignity. I pray that if/when the moment happens in our life I will handle it as well! Awesome job Mama!

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SLP says 3 years ago

Yes, I’ve been snubbed for homeschooling. 2 years ago at my grandmother’s 100th birthday, an aunt asked if I was “ever going to cut the apron strings and let have a normal life with other kids”. This was on the heals of how we discussed his swimming where he has traveled around in/out of the country to swim. I told her that while some may home school because they don’t want to be away from their kids, that others don’t and that was certainly not part of our reasoning. She was so put-out that she turned her back on me and never said another word. Fast forward two years to this past Feb, my grandma died almost making 102 and the same aunt made a point to search me out. SHe acted like we were the best of friends and she was very complimentary on how I’ve raised my son, including the homeschooling. I learned that she sought out a new friend who was home schooling their child and the child was able to get into a lovely college and was the epitome of perfection for my aunt. She ended our conversation with “Some people just don’t understand homeschooling.” I, trying to hide my amazement, said, “That is so true!”

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Colleen says 3 years ago

We have 6 and homeschool, but this happened when I was out with only our oldest who was 10 or 11 at the time. We were checking out and an elderly woman ahead of us looked at us then loudly asked the cashier if school was out for the day. Before shopping I had taken our son for a chemotherapy treatment. I wanted to loudly ask my son how he was feeling after being at chemo but I refrained. There are other reasons why a mom might be out during school hours with a school aged kid.

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TwilightReader says 3 years ago

Wow, what a bully. I probably would have been too terrified to engage her. I am the typical bullied, shy person. Either that or I would have forgotten “grace” altogether and Mama Bear would have come visiting, I am fearless in ways when it involves children in my care that I am terrified when I’m alone, like when I encounter bees, hornets and wasps. I have a phobia of them as big as me, so if I’m alone, I run, whether they’re threatening me or not. If I have children to think of, I can manage to drag them out of the way, especially if they’re scared and I’ve had to redirect one little girl’s attentions because that puddle she and the wasp were playing in was just so much fun! Scared the shit out of me.

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M says 3 years ago

We were asked once at the market by fire department personnel (they had the truck with them and their station is just down the road). They were asking my oldest questions about not being in school (he was 1st grade) and we were new to homeschooling. They got a call as they gave the boys “jr firemen stickers” and bolted.

I know more questions were coming…. But we didn’t get them that day. Ironically we’d walked around the store more than normal discussing the nutrition on many foods and how to pick healthy foods! SCIENCE without a worksheet! And talked about how the store got different foods (farm vs factory).

Then my boys got to plan one meal with healthy foods and I bought the ingredients plus others for other meals. We got home and they helped me cook. Wonderful teaching for their ages and they know what foods we don’t eat often and why.

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    Sandra Modersohn says 3 years ago

    What a wonderful moment those firemen COULD have made that! Why not invite the kids out to see the truck up close? Or invite you to visit the station sometime… I’m so glad your trip was made so fun… Grocery store science is the yummiest!

    Reply
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Sonya Appel says 3 years ago

My kids are grown now and my oldest is homeschooling my 6 grand kids. We were homeschooling when it wasn’t so popular. I got the same thing from so many people, and, family. I was tired of it and when asked I would tell (in a sincere tone) them that I home schooled my 3 girls and that “you know, I don’t understand why people are so defensive about MY choice to educate MY children, it really doesn’t have anything to do with them.” I would then add, “For some reason a few people seem to FEEL an IMPLIED slight against them. As if I my decision to home school was implying that their decision not to was wrong, I just don’t understand that, I am doing what our family needs and they do the same for theirs, not everyone can or desires to home school.”

This feeling of implied slight by them is reinforced when you answer their questions of why you do homeschool. It makes them FEEL bad or FEEL that you see them less and harmful to their children if they don’t home school. So I rarely answer with the why questions unless someone is sincerely wanting to know for their own decision on whether or not to home school. This was the case especially with teachers/educators as they felt that it was a slight to ALL of them and their ability to teach MY children.

That gets it out on the table for the most part and they really can’t say much after that. If they do come out with all the “reasons” it is a bad thing, I would ask them how many home school families that they knew and how much field research that they have done on the subject to know what it was really all about (again in a sincere non judgmental tone). That usually stops them dead in their tracks as it becomes apparent that what they say is only their uninformed opinion. I came to understand that this was a decision for my family and that I did not have to defend it, nor defend home schooling in general. Made life much simpler.

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Lori says 3 years ago

It must’ve been so difficult to hold your tongue, and you did so well. Tanya is right, someone who is accusing is not looking for explanations. She merely wanted to judge (out of some deep insecurity of her own). I can’t believe she thinks it should be illegal. I’m pretty sure the fascists made home schooling illegal. I’m glad you’re homeschooling while you can, as I’m concerned that freedom may be taken away eventually too.

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Tara says 4 years ago

I am 40 now, a home school mom to 7 great children. This life is indeed a blessing and having fear of going out into a public place is natural as there yet remains many misconceptions within society toward home schooling. I was once cornered in a grocery store too…by the ‘sample lady’ who was determined to school me on the importance of school for children because as I should have known her daughters were school teachers after all. My children are polite, kind, fun loving and curious. Most are. And we managed to get away from her and continue shopping – but I will admit any time I go to that store it brings up feelings of defensiveness. I notice I tend to tell the kids ‘to wait’ until the brick n mortar school hours are over before they go for a bike ride etc. because the ‘folks’ in town will talk. There is an understanding that kids, my kids included, are in front of their books from 9am until 3:30….and that is simply not true/nor necessary. They are often done their work so much sooner. My children are doing just fine, learning AS we live. I too greatly value this learning while living life we have chosen. Yep – I could be working full time, earning an income, sending them all off to be cared for by someone else each day – but I choose them instead. There are less things, yet we have MORE then most of the families in this world and we are richly richly blessed to have each other.

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Vicki says 4 years ago

Happened to me many years ago in the library at the checkout desk, with 100+ books in the laundry baskets–and 5 of my eight kids with me. The woman went off on how I was ruining my children (in front of them) and how they would resent me later, etc. etc. I just smiled (had to be the Holy Spirit!) and sweetly said, “You know, before I had read up on homeschooling, I might have thought the same things, but now that I’ve done so much research on home education and seen the fruit in our family and so many others, I’m so thankful for this opportunity. But thanks so much for your concern. Have a wonderful day!” Smiled, and went back to checking out, as my heart still pounded.

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    Aisha says 3 years ago

    I truly admire the was you ‘kept your cool’ and answer her with wisdom. Wow! Especially, in front of your kids. And for many people who think like her…. ignorance with a bad attitude really makes you look and sound stupid!

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Jess says 4 years ago

Wow. I have yet to start homeschooling, as my first kid is a toddler. I’m very glad you made me aware of such idiocy and the likelihood that I will encounter it. I don’t mean idiocy as in ignorance (though there’s that too), I mean someone being that rude, loud, and persistent without a hint of inquisitiveness. We don’t owe anyone any explanations. If I had a kid in public school and had them out for a day for whatever conceivable reason, that is *my* business, not some random judgmental stranger’s at the grocery store. A lifted eyebrow and a pointed back-turning is all they can “rightfully” expect. Grace doesn’t necessarily mean explaining and defending our choices to everyone who rudely demands it as if we’re somehow accountable to them. And people like that aren’t interested in learning and understanding, anyway; they only want to criticize. As you said, she may have simply been having a bad day and decided to target you for it. But you are in no way responsible or answerable for how someone else’s day has gone or for their choice to behave poorly. You are awesome and you are doing your very best for your kids, and honestly, I don’t think you *could* have “set her straight” by any number of factual, myth-dispelling, gentle replies.

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Michelle says 4 years ago

I’m glad that you were able to handle it very well. I have yet to encounter something like this while at the grocery store. I’ve had looks, but no one has questioned, yet. I keep expecting it every time we go grocery shopping.

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Amber says 4 years ago

These kinds of comments always seem to happen at the grocery store, don’t they? My most memorable started out like a dozen other conversations:

Her: No school today?
Me: We homeschool….

And then it took a turn…..

Her: Aren’t you afraid your kids will become mentally ill from spending too much time with you?

I was flabbergasted. Dumbfounded.

As a mama who has been homeschooling for 11 years and has about 8 more years to go, I feel like I can say you handled the situation beautifully. Some people talk to hear themselves talk. No argument from you, no matter how logical or well thought out would change that person’s mind about homeschooling. And that is OK. You did a great job of modeling appropriate behavior to your children. You showed your children that the opinion of random strangers means little or nothing to you when compared to doing what is best for your family. You showed your children to not spend any amount of energy arguing just for the sake of arguing. Your response was perfect. Don’t regret the snappy comment you didn’t make or the argument you didn’t have, just keep on moving forward and doing what is best for your family.

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    Charissa says 4 years ago

    Oh. My. Golly! Mentally ill? How did you not laugh in her face??? Wow! Kudos to you for that one. I don’t think I could have done it.

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      Rachael says 3 years ago

      That’s what I was thinking. I would have busted out laughing. If anyone is going to go mentally ill it would be mommy LOL Just kidding! <3

      Reply
Caroline says 4 years ago

Hi Sandra,

Thank you for sharing your experience. I have also had questionable glances, but no person has been as rude as the lady you met.

When people question me I let them know that before becoming a mother I was a K-2nd grade teacher and school counselor. I’ve earned two teaching credentials, a Master of Science in Counseling and a Master of Education in Educational Technology. After I list off all my experience and education they realize they need to keep their mouth shut.

I have noticed that some women can’t stand to look at a pregnant woman or a mother doing a great job with her kids… That has nothing to do with us. It is their issue. A lot of women feel inadequate as mothers because they know they really didn’t put in their best effort. So, they use their careers to boost up their egos. I wonder what this woman’s children would say about her as a mother?

I love your site. Thanks again for sharing. 🙂

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Deb Roennebeck says 4 years ago

I had someone confront me in the grocery store.. I simply smiled sweetly at him and told him “I appreciate and understand your concern for MY children so I will tell you what… you take your concerns back to God and if you can convince Him that He is wrong and made a mistake when He told me to homeschool, AND you can get Him to come back and tell me – then I will be happy to stop homeschooling… but until HE tells me not to anymore, I think I will just continue to do what He told me to do.” The guy did not know how to respond to that and just kind of wandered away with a confused look on his face.. That was about 15 years ago and I still laugh about it.

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DeAnn says 4 years ago

What a wonderful story and testimony. I hope I have grace when I am Confronted. But unlike you going to ANY store is not enjoyable and we all dread it! So what is your secret. How can I change to make it an enjoyable experience for all? I have 4 boys 3,5,7,9.

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    Karen says 3 years ago

    DeAnn, I have a 1,3,5,7,&9 yo plus one on the way… I think there are seasons where things are just harder. Her youngest being 4 may have been part of it, but also kids just enjoy being out, and their excitement can be directed positively. We do have a very positive time for awhile but I get worn out a bit here about halfway through or if nothing else at the checkout line where they have been asked not to push any buttons of the toys. It seems like some of the comments here have been very creative in how to get their kiddos engaged, such as help with menu planning and deciding which foods are healthy. 🙂

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Robin Sampson says 4 years ago

Great topic. Been there, done that–too many times. Thanks, sharing.

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Judith says 4 years ago

My biggest critics have come from those that know how we’re struggling financially that believe putting our children in public school will magically make our finances work. Your response was perfect and the testimony you left for the cashier will probably have a long term impact.

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    Adriana says 4 years ago

    That has been my experience for the most part. Somehow, they think that me working full time as opposed to two days a week, while taking care and teaching my kids, one of them with a disability, will make it all better financially. There is no consideration on how well they (my special needs one mainly) are doing, their achievements, how close we are as a family- is all about the “portfolio for retirement”
    For me, the response from strangers here has been mostly “good for you” and “that’s wonderful”; but when it comes to family, it took for my oldest to earn several big State awards and scholarships, and now to be in the Honors Program at the university she is attending, to get real support.

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Ruth says 4 years ago

I am 32 and was home schooled. So I am used to people looking at me weird and judging everything I do.
But what is fun to do now is when people like that spill out their list of things wrong with home educating and what my kids will be missing out on. I like to turn to them and let the know that I have been happily married for over thirteen years, I hold down a great job doing taxes, run my own small bakery and educate my children. I am social and happy and normal. And I firmly believe that is because my parents home schooled me.
I have yet to find a person that can respond to that.
Hang in there ladies. You may not have the best responses now, but I guarantee you your children will.

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Rosa says 4 years ago

I was so bent out of shape the first time I read this article. I mean; REALLY!?!?! I had all manner of snarky, biting, and blunt comments come to my head. I had to walk away for a bit and calm down. I know I will probably have to face similar situation, not just with pompous strangers, but family as well. It’s those types of people who convinced my mom not to home school my brother and I, despite the fact that we both NEEDED to be out of the public school system and begged for homeschooling.

** Deep breath and remember the person I want to be is not a verbal assassin ** …. whoooooooooooooow ….

So, after I got my feathers unruffled, I realized that I need to have something classy and graceful in my social arsenal to use that would both nip that type of situation in the bud and teach my children how to politely avoid giving personal information to strangers. This is what I came up with:

“We don’t discuss our private business with strangers.”

For family, who will be all up in our business whether we like it or not, I have:

“Wouldn’t you have been happier home schooled?” (I know the answer to that is YES for most of them 😉 )
… and …
“Our family dynamics aren’t open for discussion with people who don’t live in our home.”

… I’m still working on that list.

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Deborah says 4 years ago

I just love that you were able to respond in grace. I have to admit, I am an inappropriate laughter. I honestly would have laughed the entire time, which would have encouraged my kiddos to laugh. That would not have been a good situation. I think you handled the situation perfectly.

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    Courtney says 4 years ago

    That made me laugh out loud! 🙂 I am an inappropriate smiler, so I get it. I just pictured the irony of a whole family laughing inappropriately confirming for the rude person their judgmental thoughts on the matter.

    I don’t know that I would have responded with such grace. Part of me would want to come back with some cocky or snarky comment to put the person in their place, but I would probably just be a chicken about the whole thing and be mad at myself later for lacking the courage and wisdom to choose my response at all – either in grace or with well chosen words – and just cowering out.

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May De Jesus-Palacpac says 4 years ago

You have mastered the art of responding gracefully! Good for you.

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Jackie says 4 years ago

Thank you for posting this.

I am a former public school teacher (secondary music & social studies). Following my husband’s job, I taught in various parts of the country and over a wide spectrum of the social strata for over a decade. He was an educator & administrator before we met and married. We are preparing to attend our first home school conference. Having not yet made a firm decision to educate our children at home (My eldest will be five in June.), we are leaning heavily in that direction.

I’ll admit, I have been concerned about confrontation. We have merely commented on a desire to home school our children and have already been met with negativity from more than one person. Thankfully, our extended family is very supportive.

I intend to keep your response as a reference. It was lovely & such a fantastic representation of God’s grace to someone who may not have known Him. And, what a beautiful example to your children.

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    Carrie says 4 years ago

    I’m so glad you are thinking about homeschooling! I have been using a program called Classical Conversations, for 3 years now with our 2 girls, and I’ll be leading my own group this fall. I encourage you to check it out! It is available all over the country, and they provide free 3 day training seminars every summer for encouragement and teaching of parents. Even if you don’t join, it is still free to attend!

    I myself was homeschooled all 12 years, and I would not change one single thing. My girls love it, and we are planning to go all the way through highschool! If you have any questions, I’d love to chat with you!
    Blessings on your new decision!!

    http://www.classicalconversations.com, carriecauseydirector@gmail.com

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    Cindy says 4 years ago

    My husband was a public school teacher when we pulled our daughter when she was in the 7th grade.
    Our biggest critics were his co-workers but also some of our strongest supporters. That was 17 years and 5 kids ago.
    Every family and situation is different and You must make that decision and only you. Give yourself Grace and may Peace and Joy fill your home.

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Vicki says 4 years ago

I homeschooled my son for 9 years and never got more than curious and interested questions from strangers. And a few friends had more a more positive attitude about homeschooling after seeing our experience. But when I decided that public school was the best choice for my son for high school, I got an earful from my homeschooling friends. From my libertarian friends who believe there should be no public education to my friends who feel that homeschooling was God’s best for every family, they were all highly critical of our decision and let me know it. It was VERY painful.
So this is just a gentle reminder that homeschoolers can be judgmental too, and that we should all respect other people’s decisions about what is best for their family.

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    Jamie says 4 years ago

    Thank you for that reminder. I appreciate the bravery it took to post from this frame of reference. 🙂 We all make the decisions that are best for our families. I’m sorry your friends couldn’t see that.

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    Rosa says 4 years ago

    Great reminder that what works for one family (or child) isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone else. I’m impressed that you were open enough to consider what would serve your son’s best interest every step of the way, so you could guide him down the most beneficial path when his needs changed. Good for you!

    Thanks for posting this and being a good example of “bending like a reed” ~*~

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Tin says 4 years ago

It’s funny you mentioned that people could accuse your kids of being anti-social for not going to public school. I have a boy who just turned 3 and have a lot concerned he doesn’t go to preschool, mainly for the benefit of socialization. When we had a gathering of these people whose children went to private schools, day care and preschools, none of these young ones talked to me or made eye contact. My son on the other hand while 2 at that time, managed to engage in a conversation with grown-ups, kids, and the nannies! These other kids were glued to their gadgets! So I was like, “so much for socialization you get in school.” Oh well. Great you showed grace. She won’t listen anyway and won’t buy it. She’s set in her views. Haha… I bet your kids are friendlier or proabably even wiser than her own children!

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Sarah says 4 years ago

Did that rude woman learn her “social skills” from her public education? 🙁

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    melissa says 4 years ago

    I had the same thought – she was obviously socially challenged despite being publically schooled. The grace that you showed was amazing. I could not have lasted that long. I probably would have said something like we teach our children to be accepting of others and their choices, I’m sorry you struggle with this.

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Cindi says 4 years ago

Grace. Perfect response! Ignorance is everywhere. I have a neighbor across the street who is the same. Kill ’em with kindness and remember that they are the ignorant ones. There is a cure for ignorance, but not for people who want to continue in ignorance. Well, there is – but only through God. His grace may make more of an impact than all the arguments in the world. But that is between Him and them…. God bless you!

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Danell says 4 years ago

I am convinced more and more these days that even people who don’t know much about home schooling, see the goodness in it. For people who have children and didn’t or don’t home school, likely feel guilt for not. Therefore, for reasons we may not see or understand, give those who do, a hard time.

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Nicole says 4 years ago

My husband does a lot of work for the public high schools and it just confirms more and more that homeschooling is the right choice. With that said, he was asked (rather rudely and smugly) by a coach why in the world we would homeschool our kids – that we were damaging them and threw out the socialization argument. My husband looked at him with a smile and said, “you’ve worked with teenagers for the last 10 years…name one that you would consider normal and a joy to be around.”

After some thinking the guy slapped him on the back with a huge smile and said “point taken.”

We laugh about it to this day.

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George says 4 years ago

Lovely article. I wouldn’t have blamed you one bit for letting that busybody have it with both barrels (figuratively speaking of course).

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Linda says 4 years ago

you were gracious. I am not sure if snippy answers do much good but I tell you- when the critic see the results – they think about their words. I homeschooled our children over 24 yrs and got a lot of remarks from relatives. No socialization etc. (I always wanted to say, well when I leave the house, I leave them in the hall closet). I started in 80’s when people didn’t know much about it. Now people tell me I’ve raised out standing children. (yes we had rough patches) I’d do it all over again.

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Rachel B says 4 years ago

When I was younger and being homeschooled myself, I dealt with a lot more rude people, particularly those involved with the public schools in the area. It’s gotten much better, though. I live in an area with a lot of homeschoolers, and many co-ops and things, in Michigan, where homeschooling laws aren’t a challenge at all. I imagine in other states that are very restrictive and whose homeschooling communities are smaller, it would be pretty easy to come across more negative reactions.

I always remind myself that just because I’m “immersed” in the homeschool life and it’s so normal for me, and it is gaining in popularity, there are still a TON of people who don’t know the first thing about it – like this woman in the grocery store who wasn’t sure if homeschooling was legal. They don’t even know if it’s legal! Let alone what a typical day looks like. Their ignorance should not damper my bliss! I do also have to remind myself sometimes that I am not accountable to ignorant strangers (or well-meaning family, or whomever)… I’m accountable to Christ. That does make it harder to throw out a snarky response, though. 😉

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Tim says 4 years ago

We homeschooled early on in WA state when they made provision in the state laws (our oldest is turning 40 next month). I didn’t read every reply. A couple of responses: 1. “Our children attend a private school and they are having an in-service day”. 2. If you want to discourse, asked the person if they had/have children. If they answer with a yes, ask them when they stopped homeschooling. They will probably reply that they never home schooled. Then ask them how their children learned to walk, talk and practice good manners. 3. If they are concerned with socialization, just tell them that it goes by another term in Junior High… Peer Pressure. By the way… I thought the response was Excellent!

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Erica says 4 years ago

We haven’t been homeschooling long and I don’t know what I would say if confronted negatively… Perhaps bring up the reason we left public school, because the school couldn’t keep up with my daughter. They didn’t have the resources and told me as much to provide for a five year old testing third grade work. And perhaps mention that my daughter wouldn’t be at that point if I hadn’t been supporting her learning so I feel qualified to continue the job when the school tells me they can’t. However I will say I have had nothing but positive reactions since switching to home schooling. I had one friend very against it right up until I did it now she doesn’t say a thing and that fine with me. But strangers have been great. One woman in the grocery store told me “good for you.” Another man giving me me teachers discount card at a bookstore smiled at me. And told me I was doing the best thing for my children. My daughter wasn’t with me then but it felt real good. He also gave me an extra discount on my purchases that day. I went home smiling and told my husband it felt good to get recognized for my work finally. Being a stay at home mom of an under school aged child I always felt under valued but now that she’s old enough and I’m home schooling some how my teaching her has value the rest of the world recognizes.

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Crystal D. says 4 years ago

Thank you so very much for your blog. Wonderful article.

I am in the process today of beginning my blog. Midwest2Metro.com

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KaLyn says 4 years ago

Your ability to stay gracious and kind in that situation is inspirational. If only we all could show such tolerance and patience in educating those who are ignorant of the homeschooling experience and its possibilities and insist on rudely inserting themselves into other people’s private affairs. It takes a real love of others to be so gracious in those circumstances. God’s love shinning thru!

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    Lynda says 4 years ago

    I thought this was a thing of the past. Homeschooling seems so much more widely-accepted than when I was teaching my children back in the 80s and 90s. Count your blessings that it did not get wore. Once in the early eighties in Houston, TX I had a lady follow me home after one4 such encounter, threatening (as we were unloading groceries in the driveway,) “I’m going to turn you in for truancy. See how you like that.” My son (age 7) thought it was funny: my daughter was scared. I didn’t know what to think. I don’t know if she followed through or not. I was never contacted, and those were the days when TX law was still ‘ambiguous’ on that issue (before Leeper V. Arlington), so some families were being challenged.on the issue.

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Shelly Browne says 4 years ago

I bet she was a teacher in a past life … or administrator … we are rarely accosted so rudely!

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    Cheryl says 4 years ago

    You may be surprised to find that many administrators and teachers are comfortable with the idea of home education. I currently teach in a public school. I was home educated myself and have assisted parents who wish to make the transition. Just as the grocery store woman’s generalizations and misinformation was rude, yours is as well.

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Fran says 4 years ago

I am a mom whose kids are now grown. My youngest daughter is going to college to become a teacher. I am also a former public school principal. I now serve school systems that are in need of improvement. Many of my friends have chosen to homeschool their children and one of my friends has chosen to “unschool” her daughter (for those of you who are familiar with that term.

As I read this post, I smiled to myself. How would I have responded? First, when someone is attacking something we are doing with or for our very own flesh and blood, “mama bear” instinct goes into action! We get defensive! (Who wouldn’t?) We want to lean toward an “us versus them” mentality with our hair standing on end, tempers flaring! When we do this, the receiver sees the reaction and doesn’t hear the message! There’s no grace in that, now is there?
There is the option of educating the person who is making such statements. One could always cite the research on homeschoolers that states homeschoolers perform similarly if not better on standardized tests when compared with those students who are in the public school system. However, I like this approach the best… it is one I learned when I began consulting with schools who are in need of improving… long after I left the principalship.

It has to do with the term, “Homework.” The company for which I work asks teachers to change the language teachers use. One of the terms we ask the teachers to change is “Homework.” We ask teachers to use the term, “home learning.” Why? Well, most of the students in the schools we serve are in schools that are steeped in poverty. Usually 99% of the students are on free or reduced priced lunch. So, parents aren’t around much to help with homework. So, we want the students to realize that we are constantly learning… we learn at home, we learn when we go to the mall, when we go to the grocery school, when we are at home watching TV, playing video games, reading books, riding the subway, playing board games, walking the dog, watching our baby brother, working on the farm, listening to rap music, singing at church… you name it… we are always learning!

So, even if you forget the formal assignment the teacher gave you to do, you need to do some type of “home learning”and bring back some evidence of that home learning to school the next day.

What I am leading up to is my response to the cashier in the grocery store. I would tell her that learning can occur beyond the four walls of a school building and the confines of a six-hour day. Everyone has different learning needs, strengths and ways of acquiring information. This is the choice that was made in the best interest for my family at this time and aren’t we fortunate to live in a place where we are given the freedom to be able to have these choices. Then, I would thank her for exposing my kids to a potential topic for them to discuss and debate at a later date.

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Jenny Thielemann says 4 years ago

Good morning,
Just a couple of observations from someone who has a BS in elementary ed., who has dealt with homeschooled kids in the classroom, who homeschooled her own daughter for a short period of time, and has friends who homeschooled theirs even into high school.
1. If homeschooling works for you and your kids, go for it!
2. Not every kid responds well to homeschooling so if it doesn’t work for you, don’t feel guilty!
3. Homeschooling is a whole lot of work for the parents who choose it – parents who do the work will have well educated kids who do well in college and in life.
4. There are a lot of homeschooling people who either lack the education necessary to be able to provide it to someone else, or who are more interested in “being off the grid/sticking it to the man” than in ensuring kids are ready for college – these kids are the ones with big knowledge gaps when they eventually end up in regular school.
5. Many homeschooling curricula are weak because they seem designed more to facilitate religious education than to provide academic rigor – make sure your system supports your values, but supplement! The resources available now are awesome!
Finally, not everyone who asks is confrontational – most are just ignorant of how rude they seem for prying when our techno-age saturates us with information all the time . When someone asks why your kids aren’t in school or if it is a holiday, just tell them something enigmatic like, “Every day’s a holiday and every meal’s a feast!” and smile. If they persists, you can always tell them, “I prefer not to discuss details of my life with those I don’t know.” It’s really none of their business, so don’t let others manipulate you into having to take a defensive position. That it will drive them nuts is just a bonus.
Off the soapbox, now.
Have a great day!
Jenny T.

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    Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

    You do make some good points about homeschooling… although I personally don’t agree so much with #4 or #5… I would suggest that, while there are people as you describe in #4 they are much more an exception rather than the rule as far as homeschoolers go and as for #5 there are so many options for curriculum that it’s not hard to find a good one that supports beliefs AND teaches well. SOME are weak. SOME are designed more for religious education. But MOST homeschool parents ARE concerned with academics and discuss and research and agonize over curriculum choices, seeking the best for their children on both counts. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I’m so glad you visited with Little Learning Lovies today and I hope we see you again soon! ♥

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      Linda says 3 years ago

      I agree with you Sandra, re response to Jenny’s reply above. In point #4, Jenny states that kids have a gap when they end up in regular school. This may be true in a sense BUT you can turn the coin and say that ‘many’ conventionally schooled children have gaps because they don’t experience what homeschooled children do. If you only refer to the government’s standards and curriculum (as here in Ontario, Canada) then of course there will be gaps for homeschooled kids if their parents don’t follow that particular curriculum. BUT children that go to ‘regular’ school lack in many ways too!
      I’m proud to say that my 5,6 and 7 year olds are all very well educated and socialized. They are the first kids to say hello and discuss anything their little hearts desire with the cashier at the grocery store, the librarian or the salesperson at the shoe store. How many conventionally schooled kids begin and engage in a conversation with their local store employee? Those kids are confined, for lack of a better word (sorry), to ‘socializing’ with peers at their age level and possible a few adults throughout the day. I absolutely LOVE when my kids socialize with people of ANY age. It blesses my heart. 🙂
      Thanks for an insightful post!

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    Amanda says 4 years ago

    The main reason I homeschool is so I can give them a solid foundation in our beliefs. I don’t think you can go wrong with using a curriculum that is sound in Christainity. I believe when you seek first the kingdom of God all these things will be added to you. Yes of course we do math, reading, spelling, science, history, etc.
    I have also taught in the public school system ( I have a math degree and taught middle and high school). When you compare the two homeschool students on average score higher on standardized test than public school students. Also there is so much down time and busy work in the public system we can cover the same “type” of material in much less time which allows more time for what’s most important and that is their relationship with Jesus Christ.

    In the public schools I’ve taught in there we many students who had never been homeschooled and had huge gaps of knowledge. It steams from uninvolved parents and most parents who will go through the sacrifice of homeschooling are not that way but instead very involved. Of course there are exceptions to anything but I think the % of homeschooled kids that “lack knowledge” is way less then the % of public school students that “lack knowledge”

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Kim in AZ says 4 years ago

Good for you! Wisdom is knowing when it’s worth your time to engage with people or not. In 13 yrs I’ve only had 2 people question me. One was just ignorant and after we talked (we were getting pedicures so had plenty of time), she seemed to be educated about what we do and far more accepting. I didn’t care at all that she “accepted” our choice but just love to educate people about home education, kids, learning vs. “school,” learning methods and modalities and drugging kids through school and puberty. The second lady intruded on me at Joann Fabrics while I was getting my discount teacher card. She told me that I wasn’t a “real” teacher and that she had $100k in debt to prove that she was. And she told me that she has to deal with homschool kids who come to her class far “behind” the other kids. Because I had never dealt with this I thought she was joking. When she said that I wasn’t a real teacher, I laughed and said, “Tell that to the 3 boys that I taught to walk, talk, read, write, do math, jump, play, do karate and about a million other things, right?” Wink, wink. But she was serious and pulled a really sour face on me. Normally I’d go all lawyer on her and start walking her through what education and life really are and how it has nothing to do with what they do in school. But the Holy Spirit put me in a choke hold and I saw her for the bitter, sad, broke (literally) person that she was ($100k to become a teacher who makes $35k/yr? That’s not very wise). I just told her that I hope she enjoyed her job as much as I enjoy mine and to have a blessed day. The cashier whispered to me how sorry she was and that that was really rude. Told her not to worry about it. I couldn’t care less what other people think of any of our choices. It’s kryptonite. I will answer to God for my children and not anyone else. If the person just wants to know more, I’ll spend way too much time discussing the blessing of home education/unschooling. Otherwise, I’d rather go home to read, crochet or learn more geography with my kids.

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Michelle says 4 years ago

We live in a very homeschool-friendly area so rarely get these sort of questions. But, my canned response when confronted with opinionated bullies that feel the need to behave like this person did is that I’m glad we live in a country where it is still legal for each to make choices for their own families.

That usually gets them to be quiet.

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Erin says 4 years ago

I have thankfully never had to deal with this kind of negativity outside of my family and one neighbor. Everyone else we come across is outwardly accepting and positive that we homeschool our daughters and amazed at our oldest’s vocabulary though she is only 6.

You handled the situation beautifully. I hope that if I ever encounter anything like this I can take care of the situation with this much grace.

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Barb E. says 4 years ago

I have only been homeschooling for a few weeks, but the only person that has questioned me about my choice to homeschool was a Social Worker. It was already an unnerving situation, so I was glad I knew I had the right to tell her that, “We are following all homeschooling laws and regulations, so the details are none of your business.”

I am afraid that I will not be able to maintain my grace when confronted by a stranger. It is hard enough to maintain my composure when I get the disapproving comments from my Mother, who used to be a quiet and private person, but who has recently become outspoken and judgmental. (She has already let me know how I can better budget and prepare for next year’s Christmas celebration that she is hosting.)

If it weren’t for online support, I don’t feel like I would have any.

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    Michelle says 4 years ago

    Barb,

    Welcome to homeschooling!

    While online support is terrific, I have found that being connected with other homeschoolers in person is so wonderful. Having mentors you can talk to and be supported by is something I recommend to all homeschoolers, especially new ones.

    Also, since you’re already on the radar of a social worker, I’d recommend getting a membership with HSLDA, if you’re not already. Even though we live in the most homeschool-friendly state in the union, our family still keeps our membership. Not only for our own protection, but to support homeschooling around the world.

    Blessings!

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Sarah says 4 years ago

I read a lot of blog posts/comments like this “bragging” about how outgoing and social their homeschooled children all are, but imagine if you’re children are like mine-not naturally social, shy with strangers, introverted. The judgement is far worse and it’s very discouraging.

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    Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

    That’s a really great point… Thank you for bringing that up. I imagine the judgement would be much harsher, giving ammunition to the complainers, but it’s nothing that they should be judging. It’s nothing anyone else has a right to criticize. This woman from the story, that I ran into at the grocery store, didn’t even take notice that my kids were outgoing, so I don’t think it would have mattered to her one way or the other. She wasn’t interested in making rational observations or having a real discussion about it. She just wanted to find fault wherever she could. Just know in your heart that you’re doing what you know to be right for your children and let the rest pass by. ♥

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    Esther says 4 years ago

    I know what you mean, Sarah. Two of my three kids are not naturally outgoing , and even the one that is is sometimes reserved as he takes in a new situation. I have had people try to blame that on homeschooling, but I point out that my husband and I were the same way or worse and we were traditionally schooled in public and private schools, plus college. Our kids come by it honestly. My most and least outgoing kids, one college student and one high school student, currently work the registers and customer service at a very busy fast food place. Both seem fine in spite of the predictions of social ineptitude by the uninformed.

    Hang in there, mama!

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    chrissi says 4 years ago

    Or a day when kids are being unruly! All kids misbehave. However, the decision to homeschool is not based on other people’s perceptions of my kids. I have to remind myself of this too often. I also feel like judgmental people often feel they will be looked down on/persecuted so I try to reassure them that our choice is just for us.

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    Karl Bielefeldt says 4 years ago

    Don’t get discouraged by the “bragging.” It’s merely the simplest way to refute the socialization arguments. It is by no means the only way.

    I know how it feels to be criticized for homeschooling a shy child. When we started homeschooling, my youngest daughter was shy to the point of selective mutism. Her ignorant teacher at church basically told us we were ruining any chance of her getting over it. In fact, the opposite happened, although I couldn’t have predicted it at the time. She is still very much introverted, but no longer shy. I think having her outgoing and supportive big brother around all the time plays a big part in that.

    However, if she had remained painfully shy with strangers, that would be even more reason to homeschool her. Since when is the best approach to shyness throwing someone alone into a room filled with gregarious strangers? If that actually worked, there would be no shy kids at school. It’s much better to approach social situations with people you love and trust backing you up. Maybe it will take longer than getting thrown into the deep end, but you have plenty of time, and your children will end up with more confidence and a more solid understanding of themselves as individuals. In the mean time, they will be getting their academic needs met without getting overshadowed by more outgoing and assertive classmates.

    Keep up the good work!

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      Savanah Fahrney-Day says 4 years ago

      “Since when is the best approach to shyness throwing someone alone into a room filled with gregarious strangers?”

      Exactly!

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    Ellen says 4 years ago

    Sarah, kids like yours are in public school, too. I was one of those shy, introverted types. PS was very difficult for me and I was never homeschooled but I would have loved it. That is a good point. I am homeschooling a gregarious extrovert who does talk to perfect strangers with ease (making me uncomfortable!)

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      Chris says 4 years ago

      Oh Ellen, I can so relate! You just described my eldest and me to a T lol.

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    mom of six says 3 years ago

    I have a son who is very quiet in public and not a lot less at home. That’s just who he is. He’s the one that people usually look at as being under socialized. We got him involved in music. He now plays the piano and organ (twice a month for church services!) and he’s only 14. He’s quite talented and has slowly come out of his shell and I don’t always think of him as the one who won’t talk to anyone outside of the family anymore. His quietness has nothing to do with how “socialized” he is. He went to school for one year and didn’t say a word the entire year at school. He opened up a lot when we brought him back home. 🙂

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THIS ... Is Homeschooling (#2) - Little Learning Lovies says 4 years ago

[…] my recent experience at the grocery store, I feel like it’s more important and personal than ever to blow these myths out of the […]

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Lilia says 4 years ago

I’m a homeschool mom of 3 and we’re often out and about during the day but have never experienced this. But I don’t understand the “confrentation” here. Why the need to “set her straight”? Why the anxiety of having the cashier move faster? Take pride in what you do (homeschooling) and just be at peace with it. No need to explain anything to anyone.

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    Cheri says 4 years ago

    I think the author does take pride in her homeschooling decision, but this woman was-over-the-top confrontational hurtful. It took a lot of self-control for the author to not lash back in kind.

    I home educated our four for 23 years and am surprised that kind of reaction is still out there, this many years down the road. I never experienced that much hostility, but did have to explain ourselves and educate others about what homeschooling is many times.

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Kim says 4 years ago

We had a similar situation with a cashier at a “Everything’s A Dollar” store. The cashier asked the kids if there was no school today. The kids are accustomed to this question, so, my 4 year old stated that they are homeschooled. The cashier snapped back to MY 4 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER “Like I said no school”. It was around 1 PM, so we had our lessons completed before we went out. (My kids are 4 and 6). I snapped back “It is rather presumptuous to assume we did not already complete or lessons”. He continued questioning our choice. He stopped questioning our motives when my 6 year old son told him “we homeschool so I can get a better job than you”. (When my son questions why he must do certain assignments, his father tells him, “You do it so you can get a better job than me”.)

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    Samantha says 4 years ago

    Kim, I haven’t laughed that hard all week. What a fabulous reply! I can only imagine how that might have shut that conversation right down.

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    Sherie says 4 years ago

    Wow love that answer!!!!! Smart kid even though he is a homeschooler bwaaaaaahaaahaa

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    Melissa says 4 years ago

    Bahahaha, that is terrific. The best part is, he wasn’t trying to be mean, just honest.

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    Kim in AZ says 4 years ago

    Absolutely perfect! Love it!

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    Julie says 4 years ago

    Oh, I love that answer! I truly am laughing out loud!! 😀 😀 😀

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    Cara says 4 years ago

    THIS WINS THE INTERNET. Your 6 year old is brilliant. Way to go momma.

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    Michelle says 4 years ago

    Yes!! Well done.

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    Kenzie says 4 years ago

    I love that your son said that! Reminds me of something my son said once. He is autistic but very verbal, and we talk all the time. He has a better vocabulary than most adults. In the Dollar General one day we were discussing dog food. I had put a 50 pound bag in the cart, and he said (6 at the time) “That’s a lot of dog food.” I responded with “Well, we have a lot of dogs.” He nodded and said “Yes we do. We have Thor, and Jet…” And I responded just as I normally would to my son. “And her progeny”, because Jet had recently had puppies. A woman in the aisle glared at me for a moment, then got down right in my son’s face and said in baby talk “Oh, honey-child… do you even know what that means?” My boy flinched back from her (she was way too close for his liking) and said “It means her puppies. Did you know that?”

    The lady stood back up quickly and hurried off, muttering to herself. And he had no idea he had just put a nosy, presumptuous woman in her place.

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    Charissa says 4 years ago

    LOL!! Perfect 😀

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Mindy says 4 years ago

We haven’t had to many encounters but one time when we were at the grocery store an older lady asked why the kids weren’t in school. I told her we homeschool and she was kind about it but was getting a little defensive because she was a retired school teacher. I told her I was teaching some life lessons on budgeting and how to make a wise decision on purchasing meat and other groceries. When I told her that she really back off from her opinions. She did say continue the good work before she walked away. I felt like, Ok, I can do this! Lol!

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Sarah says 4 years ago

When we first started homeschooling with lived in a very touristy area that gets year round visitors. I got spoiled because I think most people assumed we were on vacation. We then moved to a very big city with few homeschoolers after three years of homeschooling in another state I had to learn to deal with opinions very quickly. I think like many moms I try to combat the negative comments with positive ones. Questions like “What about socialization?” I would answer with talking about homeschooling groups, co-ops, or sports teams. For most people they change their attitude pretty quickly once presented with the facts. A few people still can’t get a clue and for them I have a sort of panic button response. I only use this in extreme situations but I have found it to be very effective. I respond with “We have chosen not to subcontract our parental responsibilities to the school system.” That usually puts the conversation to an immediate end.

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    Amanda says 4 years ago

    My go to for socialization is ” have you been in a public school lately if that’s the socialization your talking about no thank you” ” we prefer more positive socialization”

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      Sarah says 4 years ago

      We like to say, “Oh yes, socialization can be a real problem for homeschoolers! It can really get in the way of our education, so we try to make sure we stay home at least one day a week!” 😉

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Life As A Convert says 4 years ago

I tend to walk away in instances like this or change the subject. I’ve never really gotten into a confrontation about it, but have had some disapproving people. Most tend to just go about their business as they inwardly judge me and my little family.

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Carrie says 4 years ago

I have had a similar situation in the past. I however, did things differently. I say to each their own. I have told various people who decide to confront us this: “A ssoon as you start making the payments, you can make the decisions. Otherwise, I can’t figure out how you think it is any of your business. If you have honest questions, I am happy to answer them. I hope you have a very blessed day. ” Most of the time this is said with a smile on my face and said in a joking manner. The only time I got all momma bear in my voice (farmer’s daughter here who has a voice that can be heard for blocks! ) I simply kept repeating the above phrase. I refused to answer any other questions with that particular person. Everyone in the store was looking at that person like she had lost her mind. I always start out nice but if you give us grief, I will not tolerate it. I am trying to teach my son how to stand up for himself while doing it as nice as possible. Life is too short to put up with evil people. I do my best to protect my kids as I don’t think they should have to listen to nonsense like that. My youngest son is catching on on how to use humor to deal with the nasty ones. He is 15 and a great kid and good looking if the looks the girls at church give him. He was an row over getting something to add to the grocery cart. Lady asked why he was not in school. He said he was home schooled. She said that was horrible and he was not getting socialized. He then hollered at me – mom we have to cancel my guitar, piano, and organ lessons. I will not be able to shovel out our elderly neighbors and tell Dillon, Tyler, and Ryan not to come over. Be this time I am next to him and trying hard to keep a straight face cause he was giving me that grin. Why I ask? He said this lady says I am not socialized and I need to be in public school. So I asked him what about the next days activities and the day after that. The lady never could get a word in edge wise. (Happens a lot with our family) As she walked way we both lost it laughing. One of the store managers had seen and heard most of it. He told us he had never seen that lady diffused like that. He said she has never had anyone who could keep her from saying her piece. Once we were done shopping, I told the boy to go grab some ice cream for thinking so fast on his feet and being nice about it. The manager happened to check us out and told us that lady was still trying to shop and had this confused look on her face trying to figure out what happened. He offered to buy our bucket of ice cream for my son’s actions. My son said to pay that much on that lady’s bill as clearly she was having a bad day if it was OK with me. I said yes as it was a gift to him and he could do with it as he wished. He just asked the manager to tell it was his gift to her. The manager said he would be glad to do both. He also said to come work for him as soon as he was old enough. He said I can use more guys like you. Sure made our day. So one can stand up for one self and be nice about it. I don’t let my loved ones talk like that to me, I am sure not going to take that kind of verbal abuse from strangers!

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    Kim in AZ says 4 years ago

    Made my day. Keep up the good work.

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Vonnie says 4 years ago

I hope I would have handled that situation that well! I have to say, though, that if that were me and the woman decided to continue the confrontation in the parking lot, that would have been another story. That’s when you have to go into mama bear mode and say, “Get away from me, get away from my kids, get away from my car or I’m going to call the cops!”

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Laura says 4 years ago

We live in a very homeschool-friendly community (I’ve met a number of people who have moved here specifically for the homeschooling laws, and the size of the homeschool community) so in the 6+ years I’ve been homeschooling, we have never encountered any type of negativity. We’re also an interracial family, so I think we’re doubly noticed when out and about during the day, but no one has ever been rude to us, and when people have asked if we homeschool, the response when we’ve confirmed that we are has been very supportive. I’ve found that we live in a bubble of kindness though; when we’ve traveled we’ve encountered a lot of unkindness, but to be honest, the racism hits a lot harder than any snide comments about homeschooling.

I myself was homeschooled K-12, and my mom was afraid to leave the house during school hours due to the harassment we received. For that reason I was determined to NEVER homeschool my own children. Ha ha! I am grateful that my own experience homeschooling has been so much more positive than my mother’s was.

I think your response was great. When we’ve been traveling, and we have encountered negativity (usually racism, rather than anything about homeschooling, but occasionally both) I have just ignored the person/people spewing hate, and removed my kids from the situation–though in the those cases the people were so hateful that I was concerned about violence, so engaging the individuals would have been unsafe for both my children and myself.

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Heidi C says 4 years ago

So far I’ve not had any terrible comments. A funny thing came up recently, though. My two youngest and I were at a cookie exchange at a local church and pretty much everyone asked my oldest what grade she was in. A sweet lady asked her, and I recognized the lady as the mother of one of MY old teachers. I gave the obligatory explanation of being homeschooled and the man who was my grade school principal made a big deal about how my kid was missing out on the best teacher ever. I just smiled, but laughed about it later. I can’t imagine he would have said that If I were a ‘real’ teacher 😀 I doubt he even thought about the fact he was belittling my skills or hurting my feelings (he didn’t) 🙂

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    Chris says 4 years ago

    I had someone do that a bit ago, jokingly about teachers being boring (or something I honestly don’t remember). My eldest who was 6 or 7 at the time took it as a direct insult. She shouted back my Mom is not ….. Oh she got so hot under the collar, he had never thought about it that way and apologized profusely.

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Michelle @ My Blessed Home says 4 years ago

I’m sorry you had to experience that. You handled it beautifully. I had a similar experience about 4-5 years ago, but the lady who confronted me was not nearly so antagonistic as your lady. I tried to handle the situation in a similar way. You can read our little story here: http://www.myblessedhome.net/2010/03/i-passed/

God bless and keep showing grace!

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Seth Haynie says 4 years ago

I see most of these comments are from parents. I was home-schooled all the way, K-12. I dealt with all the criticism and bad attitudes based on mis- or dis-information. I plan to home-school my kids K-8, 9th grade is up to them, but they have to commit to the full year before they decide to continue or return home. I am a well-educated, successful, professional, social, contributing member of society. My statement of being home-schooled myself has shut up hypocrites in situations similar to this. We (the home-schooled) are a growing population. I often reflect on the accomplishments of my fellow home-schooled friends, and look forward to continuing mine. This type of lifestyle bigotry is gradually decreasing but there are still under-educated people everywhere to shake their head at home-schoolers. And remember, as the population increases the overall average IQ decreases. I may be a cynic, but no amount of “re”-education will save the crazy doctrinization that is public school. I just go on, spreading the benefits of my and my parents choices.

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    Lisa Easterling says 4 years ago

    Mic drop. Seth for the win. 🙂
    By the way, you sound very much like my own five now-grown-up children who were homeschooled throughout: intelligent, confident, articulate, and with a spectacular sense of humor to ice the cake. You are a blessing.

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My reaction to something | Meister's Productions says 4 years ago

[…] read this post from Sarah Modersohn over at Little Learning Lovies. The way she handles the situation that she […]

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Ganeida says 4 years ago

Now mine are all out of school I have become proactive because those still homeschooling still put up with this ignorance. So I still talk to people about homeschooling & I write articles & blog posts because one of mine is a professional musician, one on the mission field, one finished Bible School, one about to start bible school. None have a conventional graduation or conventional qualifications but they are thriving & people love working with them. Says it all.

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    Kim in AZ says 4 years ago

    God bless you.

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    Lisa Easterling says 4 years ago

    Right there with you, love. After twenty-five years of homeschooling, I will always support the right of parents to educate their children in the way that fits them best. I am in college right now working on a teaching degree. Won’t I be a hoot as a public school teacher? 😉

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Debbie says 4 years ago

I have homeschooled for more than 20 years. And yes, I have faced a few situations like this. You did beautifully! I used to have people quiz my oldest son about current events, etc… when we were out, but he usually had a kind and quick answer, to my relief. Most situations were/are handled by smiling and explaining that we “are at the store so that I can teach them about shopping and spending wisely” That answer usually gets nods of approval and “free advice” from all the onlookers. 🙂 The worst attackers were often relatives.Now that my 2 oldest are well adjusted adults, who read, write and spell better than most public school graduates of today, the relatives have started coming around. 😉

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Alyssa Marie Thys says 4 years ago

Thank you for your example of handling negative people with peace and grace! It can be so hard sometimes! Your children will continue to prove the negative arguments wrong! God bless you and your family!

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RuthWW says 4 years ago

I send my congratulations to you for doing what you feel is correct for your children. My five children went to public school and have graduated from college. I thought about homeschooling my children but felt unprepared to handle it. I did participate in a home preschool program for a few of my kids then a parent coop preschool at the local elementary school. The homeschooling programs were few and far between 30 years ago. Nowadays there is so much more support for you young moms. Two of my daughters are now homeschooling their children. It requires lots of time and love to do it. You don’t have to have a MS or a PHD to do it…just lots of love and time. I feel so many people take the easy way out and send their children to preschool and elementary public school. By that I mean, i saw too many mothers putting their small children in preschool where I was the receptionist so they could have ‘THEIR’ own time. Not for employment. To each their own. It DOES take hard work to raise children let alone homeschool them, too! I congratulate you on your grace in a tough situation in having to defend yourself.

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Jodi says 4 years ago

I had one bad experience like this a couple years back. It was a winter afternoon, I was sick with a cold and badly needed cold medicine, so after we finished up our school we went to Walmart. While in the cold medicine aisle, a man looked at us, took his wallet out and flashed a pretend badge at my kids and said he was a truancy officer and asked why they weren’t in school. He had NO badge. He was NOTa truancy officer and I was SHOCKED! How dare he! I told him that we homeschool and then we left the aisle, I refused to give him any more info. than that as he didn’t even require that explanation. I was completely dumbfounded. Our kids were 7, 5 and 2 at the time. That didn’t and still don’t know what a truancy officer is. I’ve been gun shy to have my kids out in public during the day since this happened.

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    Mae says 4 years ago

    Not to sound completely paranoid, but men who carry around fake looking badges are sometimes pedophiles who are trying to intimidate children into doing what they want or going with them, etc. I think the cops should have been called on him for impersonating an officer and threatening you all. That’s creepy that he even had anything that looked like a badge.

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    Vonnie says 4 years ago

    That is really creepy. I was about to say pretty much the same thing Mae said. The only thing that I really dislike about Walmart (much to the annoyance of my left-leaning, pro-union friends) that that it is a magnets for pervs. I have lived in my town for 10 years and I don’t recall any incidents of a man exposing himself here until Walmart came to town. The incident involved him doing it to adult women, but still very disgusting and scary. When you go to Walmart, never let your little one out of your sight for a second!

    I know you didn’t think about it at the time, but if that ever happens again (to anyone) call the police! It is illegal to impersonate a police officer. At the very least, complain to the manager that someone harassed you in the store.

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Joyinthemorning says 4 years ago

Wow. I could never have managed that much self-control in public. I would have escalated that in order to defend and protect my kids! What a blessing to read this blog this morning. I will practice grace. I will remember “a soft answer turneth away wrath” I will remember sometimes it is a “seventy times seven” moment, and “as much as possible, live at peace, one with another.”
I only home-schooled a few months, while the Christian school was going through management reorganization. Gym class was the toughest! Haha. Playing with an 8-yr-old on the soccer field.
I only feel sorry for the lady who posted that she defers religious education in her home-school curriculum…why not defer all schooling?, wait until the child is old enough to decide for herself if she wants to be literate, socialized, or employable. Not logical IMO!
I have a great adversion to public school system. Pray for freedom in USA.

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Andrea says 4 years ago

My kids are in college now, and both looked like adults by the time they were 15, so it’s been a few years since we were confronted. The worst incidents came from relatives, one making me cry because she was berating me about not making the kids go to highschool, we had had our fun, and now it was time to get serious about education! A cousin actually swore at us, saying that she will be glad when homeschooling was outlawed. My most effective answer to them and others is “fortunately, you can’t control our personal decisions or the law. ” The proof, however is in the pudding, with their kids being hateful and aloof, and our kids still being loving and engaged, even as college students. Hang in there mom!

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Karie says 4 years ago

I recently went to the store with obvious school aged kids in tow during school hours. An older woman in the produce section asked my girls about school and I held my breath waiting for her to give that disapproving look or words. She smiled at me and said “Good for you.” Not what I was expecting but so appreciated! I know the day will come when someone will disagree with our choice and I will get to hear all about it, just hoping I can do as you did and not stoop to her level of rudeness.

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    RuthWW says 4 years ago

    Good for you for taking your children to the produce section of the grocery store. Most preschools and elementary school kids have to be taken on field trips to see a produce section!

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Alva says 4 years ago

So, this is when I’m actually thankful for mainstream television, because Tim Tebiw was homeschooled his entire K-12 years. Therefore, if I ever get hit with that situation, I could ask them if they’d ever heard of him. If that didn’t work, I could simply tell them about my Ph. D., & then smile for the rest of my grocery packing & unpacking. : )

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Wayne says 4 years ago

I totally agree with what Julie Ann Filter posted! And for those times when you are called to speak out and educate the humble fool, maybe have business cards handy with this web address: http://www.collegeathome.com/homeschool-domination

It’s a GREAT summary of real studies that show how much better homeschoolers do in academics (and other aspects) of life, regardless of the parents’ education or income level. 🙂

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Elizabeth says 4 years ago

I’m always so worried about this happening to us. We’re just starting out on this adventure. My oldest is only 5 (almost 6), so most people just assume that she isn’t old enough to go to school yet. The funny thing is that one of the reasons we decided to homeschool is because she is so far ahead of the average kindergartner that she would have been bored to tears in our little rural school system. We live in a very small town (if you can even call it that) and people talk. Incidentally, we have been in the regional news of late because of the sudden departure of 4 of our public school’s teachers (when there are only 36 employees total 24 of which are teachers in the whole district, that’s a significant change!).

But, I digress…

As I said, I do fear the day when this inevitably will happen to us. You handled it so well, and I fear I would not do the same! My husband’s sisters both homeschool their children (14 between the 2 of them), so I have support from that side. My family (I am an only child) supports me at the moment, but always makes sure to add the caveat that we should be “letting the professionals handle it” by the time the kids make it to 3rd or 4th grade. I come from a family of public school teachers (my grandmother and aunt, and numerous cousins). I could not possibly know what I’m doing after all…I’m just a mother. Clearly, I’m not that smart, or I would have figured out “what caused” the birth of my 4 children (please note my sarcasm…it’s hard to type)…so clearly, I’m not qualified to teach those same children.

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Beth in Texas says 4 years ago

Not necessarily negative but one day I need to run to the store and knew I would get comments and questions and wasn’t looking forward to it. Sure enough, not even out of the produce section yet and this elderly gentleman asked “why aren’t the kids in school?” I looked at him and just smiled. Didn’t say a word. My precocious 7 year old said “We’re homeschooled. Do you know what that is? It means everything is school. My mom will be asking us to do math to figure out what’s the better deal. If we want to buy something new, she’ll make us read the label to make sure it’s nutritious. . . . ” He kept going. The guy just smiled and walked off.

Another time (on a much brighter note), the cashier at IKEA asked if there was a school holiday she didn’t know about and the same son, who wasn’t too thrilled with the whole homeschooling thing at the time, rolled his eyes and said “we’re homeschooled.” She responded with “Good for you! Good for your mom. That means you’ll be smart. Me? I graduated from high school but I was never any good at school and look at my job. You’ll get a better job than being just a cashier. I mean, I love IKEA and all and it’s a great company to work for but being a cashier is not a great job. Because you’re homeschooled, you’ll be very successful.” I was a bit stunned.

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Pam says 4 years ago

I have only ever had one reaction that was borderline negative. We took our kids to the movies, in March, in the middle of the afternoon (for my daughter’s birthday). The young guy (likely a college student) tearing tickets asked if the kids were playing hooky, and we explained that we homeschool. He seemed to think that meant we should be at home– schooling. I told him that the lovely thing about homeschool is that you can make birthdays a holiday and take the day off. He didn’t look convinced.

Once, I had an older lady ask why they weren’t in school. Her face lit up when I said we homeschool and she said she wished she had homeschooled her children. Delight and intrigue have been the most common reactions that we’ve had so far (thankfully).

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Wanda says 4 years ago

Your article/blog was shared by another site and I was very curious to see how you handled this situation. I say Bravo! I wish I could have homeschooled my children. We might not have had some of the issues that came up from public schooling. Again, Bravo!
Sincerely,
WS

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Brandi says 4 years ago

I just had to defend myself and the homeschool group to some women last night. Thankfully my children weren’t there. But I got asked if we were actually doing stuff with our kids. As in really homeschooling. I’ve never had anyone ask me that before. And how can I say what all the other women/families do? It was crazy to me, especially because I was asking their place of work to do a class for us.

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Piwi Mama says 4 years ago

I have yet to have this experience, we have had the curious looks and the lovely people who like to ‘quiz’ my eldest about what we are learning. I have always been tempted to quiz them about the last book they read or (on my grumpier days) why they aren’t at their place of employment. Surely if they can be so rude to interfere in our business we should be able to inquire into theirs. I think you handled it with class! Thanks for your post.

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Thomas Smith says 4 years ago

Our culture is terminally ill and terribly deceived as a result of having abandoned Christ. Thank God for families like yours and mothers like you who shine in this darkness! It’s amazing how deceived and duped people have become- to the point of actually believing that the State and its secular indoctrination is a necessary ingredient in the “socialization” of children and that in fact, the State is BETTER at raising children than the parents! It’s absolute lunacy! The family is the foundation of community in ANY form. God created family FIRST- before any village formed. It is the essential building block of community and the inner sanctum where the most intimate and authentic relationships are birthed, nurtured and come to fruition. All other relationships outside of Family are simply secondary in relative terms. So how can it be possible that children really can’t learn to properly relate with others and culturally integrate until they are inserted into a “public” and State run school? Nonsense! How in the world have we come to this where we actually have those who feel they are doing good by confronting and chiding a mother with her children simply because she has the conviction to raise and teach them apart from a State run school? God have mercy and help us in these times.

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    Lisa says 4 years ago

    Thomas, parenting is hard enough without people throwing out harsh judgments. Some parents send their kids to school because it’s the best choice for their family. Just like this family’s best choice is to homeschool. I would think that Christians would be more compassionate, but you’ve reiterated why I don’t adhere to a faith anymore.

    To the author, thank you for seeing her as a troubled individual in need of grace. You are wrong about courage. It wouldn’t have been courageous to go defend yourself. It was courageous to be polite, answer questions, and not engage her obvious fishing for a public altercation. Anger and defensiveness are easy paths to go down. They feel justified and satisfying. I came to this article because a friend shared it and I try to be a supportive friend, even if our lifestyles and beliefs are vastly different. I choose to learn about others’ lifestyles so that I can understand their choice and ally for their causes (or at least their right to choose their cause). While homeschooling isn’t for me (Hey, I know what kind of parent I am, I know the limitations of my patience), I fully respect and champion your choice to do so. You reminded me that the Christian world isn’t full of harsh judgments. Unfortunately, Thomas didn’t. So it’s all balanced, I guess.

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      Thomas Smith says 4 years ago

      Please…. Harsh judgments? Come on get real.

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        Thomas Smith says 4 years ago

        Oh and my wife and I have 5 children of our own. We have home schooled in the past but don’t now. The fact is that there was a time when the sovereignty of the family as being the last authority over what’s best in the decisions of raising a child were a societally unquestioned given. Today, that is not the case. We literally have people who truly believe that the secular values of the public school system are necessary in order to properly raise children. That is what I was addressing and what the person who confronted this lady is a prime example of. To “harshly judge” that person would need to be done directly person to person but expressing genuine dismay at that kind of behavior within the confines of this blog post hardly qualifies as harsh judgment.

        Frankly, you accusing me of such is what’s rather harsh.

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          Lisa says 4 years ago

          I wrote out a very long post about your misguided attempt at “social compassion,” but it’s not worth it. You have a very rigid view of the world, one where compassion and humility does not exist, unless it’s self-serving. I’m sorry you live like that.

          (BTW, THAT was me being judgmental… my previous post was calling you out, but you go on with your delusions.)

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            Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

            Thomas and Lisa… This is a perfect moment to practice grace. You presumably to not know each other and yet you’ve chosen this to argue over. Thomas, I think she was a bit upset that you were so negative about those who choose to send their children to public school and then it all went south from there. I personally think that when most people send their kids to school they don’t even think about it. They do it because that’s what you do. Lisa, however, has obviously given this thought and has made a decision that this is what is best for her family. Grace, friends!

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          Thomas Smith says 4 years ago

          Wow! Talk about harsh judgments! Lisa, I simply have NO idea of where you are coming from or how all of the rude things you have said about me have absolutely anything to do with what I posted! Do I know you? Then how is it you are able to so confidently summarily judge my character as darkly as you have? Do you hear what you are saying? You are angry about something and I am afraid that I am simply being lashed out against out of your own anger- of which I do not desrve. I did NOT say anybody who does choose to put their children in public school is wrong or bad and as I mentioned ALL 5 of my children are in public school! I simply addressed the growing moral belief by many in out post-modern culture that public school enrollment is NECESSARY to properly “socialize” children into adulthood! Is it wrong for me believe that in light of how this person confronted the author? Is that really such an unreasonable assessment? I don’t think so.

          Then you tell me that I am one of the reasons you have lost your faith? What a thing to say! ! Lisa I would respectfully submit that there is more than meets the eye going on here in your heart and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with me. For that, I sincerely pray that you will find the REAL grace that ONLY Christ provides. People WILL disappoint and offend you but what how you react to the cross of Christ is ALL that counts and THAT is between you and God alone. But to walk away from Christ and blame imperfect people for it isn’t right at all.

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          Thomas Smith says 4 years ago

          Sarah, I would add that I believe both you and Lisa have misinterpreted what I wrote.

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          Thomas Smith says 4 years ago

          I’m sorry, I meant Sandra!

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          Niki says 4 years ago

          For what it’s worth, I didn’t see anything harsh or judgmental in what you wrote. *shrug* :-/

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            Lisa Easterling says 4 years ago

            Same here. 🙂

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Kathleen says 4 years ago

I have never had a negative response from strangers but my teacher aunt shared her degrees and how my choice to homeschool without using the state’s online curriculum causes her to “cringe.”. This was at Easter dinner in front of the entire family. She obviously wasn’t interested in learning about our curriculum choices or activities so I just shrugged and changed the subject.

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    Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

    I think it’s so much harder when the negativity comes from family! Good for you, though, for not taking the bait! ♥

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martha schmidt says 4 years ago

I like what you said about kindness and grace.
Also knowing that your children were watching you and would remember more what they saw you do than what the other woman was saying to you. You didn’t need to defend yourself. You did a very good job and should be proud of yourself.
Martha Schmidt

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    Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

    Thank you, Martha! ♥ They ARE always watching and learning… And that stranger was in no frame of mind to learn about homeschooling. Thanks for reading and commenting and for believing in kindness and grace! ♥

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Kindra says 4 years ago

I do not home school. But my daughter is not old enough to go to school yet. So when we go to the store, we get looks too. Several people have nicely asked why she is not in school. I say she is not old enough. She is very tall and looks about a year older than she actually is. Once though, a lady accused me of not knowing when my daughter was born. I said to fer, “Really?! You weren’t in labor with her for 12 hours. She is not 5 so she can’t go to school.” Then I turned around and walked away. Conversation over. The nerve of some people really surprises me.

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Alexander Moon says 4 years ago

Well .. just a comment of MY experience. My grand daughters were home schooled by their parents, with my grateful approval, too. They were max-achievers and high-scorers on the State-required examinations. Today, one has achieved her PhD in Bio-Chem and the other is teaching K-5 kids. Both won full-paid scholarships based on their achievements during home-schooling. They had puhlenty of socializing since we were also a church family, so plenty of friends, activities, trips, campings, etc. I wish my own parents had been able to do the same for me.

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MP says 4 years ago

When having a bad day myself, I have quipped back. Oh, don’t you worry. We’re socializing them properly just like the public school kids get. Every morning we beat them up, steal their bag lunch and lock them in the bathroom.
Not my finest moment… :/

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    Stephanie says 4 years ago

    Maybe not the best response, but certainly a funny one! I was snorting out loud!

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    Niki says 4 years ago

    Do you also say to them, “You’re not here to socialize”? lol I went to public school and heard that a lot. 🙂

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      Lisa Easterling says 4 years ago

      LOL! I needed that chuckle, Niki. 😀

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    Rachel says 4 years ago

    I said something similar to a cashier once too when she very directly told me I was abusing my child by keeping him home. I told her “it’s ok, I let him out of the closet every few hours” My son busted up laughing, I wished her a good day and we walked away giggling. Not the best response I could have given but it flew out my mouth before I knew it was coming.

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monica says 4 years ago

I must confess I probably would have given her an ear full and not have been as gracious as you–I have never really had an experience like that–in 19 years of homeschooling. Well done.

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Tammy says 4 years ago

Yes, I’ve had to defend our decision to homeschool a few times, although thankfully, the person doing the interrogating wasn’t quite as difficult to deal with as your experience. You handled it beautifully!! Well done!

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Becky says 4 years ago

I still remember the day an older couple started questioning me. But unfortunately they were sitting at my table and I could not escape.

You handled yourself so well!

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Sheri says 4 years ago

I have to say that I’m glad I’ve got some “cred” now, having graduated one student, because I hated those confrontations! Now, I have a lot more confidence and can assure people that my kids are doing just fine and, in fact, my oldest is a freshman in college! To most people, college = success.

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    Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

    Funny that going to public school does not guarantee that you’ll get accepted into a college, huh? lol Congrats to you, though, on your freshman! My oldest (twins) are 9, so I have a bit of a way to go. If I stop blinking, that is. lol

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Stephanie Moran says 4 years ago

A friend shared this on her FB feed and I saw it…and boy did I have a response. LOL! Keep in mind, we’re a very unusual family. Here’s a little background on us: We are full time RV’ers, and we’re at the end of our journey with that experience. While it’s been good, we’re ready for a brick and mortar home again, and getting ready to shift into that direction. We’ve been homeschooling for close to 9 years now. My kids are teens now. In the beginning of our journey, we were unsure, scared, and fumbling around for how to shift from a public school life to a homeschool life. Eventually, we got our foothold, and now we cannot even think of looking back or changing how we work. I’ve asked my kids, many times, “Do you want to go to highschool?” and they always come back with a resounding no. They have friends in public school, and hear enough from them to know if it’d be what they want. We’re extremely involved in our community. My husband and I founded and organize a non-profit organization, which has allowed us opportunities to speak at the Dallas Museum of Art, take over an entire city for a city-wide convention, do presentations at other conventions around the country (which the kids have gotten to do public speaking), work on a movie set (both kids got to work with various members of the set, including special effects, and sound – and got their names in the credits as production assistants – they were just 10 and 11 at the time), and a host of other unique things. Every thing we’ve done, the kids have been involved in. None of these opportunities would have been possible for them while attending public school. Our free flowing schedule lets us do these things without stress of accusations of skipping too much school, and so forth. We have one lady who has recently given up on quizzing my kids at random, because my son finally shut her up when he started talking to her about quantum physics. (His own elected subject of interest as of late). She’s asked all the questions you all have gotten, and then some. LOL! We, too, elect to answer kindly, and keep grace in tact. It’s pointless to defend our decision, because those who disagree with not be swayed and only see us in a more negative light all together. My favorite so far as been the question of if we’re secular or non-secular learning. I always answer secular, because it’s the truth. The reactions are always a range of shock, to disapproval; as if to say we’re Godless and have no soul. Truth be told? I’m Catholic. I was born, raised, baptized, and brought up in a Catholic home. For a time, I went to Catholic school. My husband is Catholic. My kids? They remain without religion, as of yet. Why? Because *I* want them to explore ALL religion and find their own path….not the one I chose for them. Their education in religion is simply put…to explore it all. When they are old enough, they’ll figure it out, and chose for themselves. Kind of like how I allowed my daughter to decide if she wanted to pierce her ears or not, instead of deciding FOR her that I would put holes in her head. Sure, my ears are pierced, but no one asked me when they did it to me. And guess what? I’m allergic to most metals, so I have holes in my ears that I almost never put earrings in. When my girl turned 12, she asked me for them, and I gladly took her. Do I look down on anyone else who does differently? Heck no! But, that’s the difference between me and lots of interesting folks we’ve met along our way.

So anyway, back to my original response… (oh yeah.. I’m a typer… and I love to talk and share stories with people I meet! So, sorry for my War & Peace novel here)

Here’s what I said to my friend in response to this blog post:

I get it every so often, especially with the kids being teens.

1) Some who do not know us, assume my kids are punks and truant. So they are shitty to them unless I am present and ready to defend my child. Sucks, but it’s true.

2) People assume they are missing out on the “once in a lifetime moments” like homecoming, school dances, prom, graduation ceremony. It’s funny because…I went to none of those things, and I seem to be A-OK with it, and my education, life quality, social standing, and mental health all did just fine even with having skipped those events. The best part? I was NOT homeschooled. LOL!

3) I have one family member who insists that if they ever get custody of my kids because something happens to my husband and I, my kids will “immediately be enrolled into school, and none of this nonsense about staying home will take place”. Because, you know… my kids can’t possibly be learning anything at home, like they would in a school.

4) How in the world will they ever learn to drive? Don’t they need school and drivers ed? (Yep, because I’m an idiot and cannot teach my kids to drive, or enroll them into driver’s ed classes offered locally).

5) What about friends and parties? OF COURSE! I forgot ALL about that part! Teenagers thrive on friends, parties, dating, and having a life outside of home. It must have totally slipped my mind. Darn it. Fortunately for us, they have friends, and go to sleep overs, and parties, and hang out with friends – lots of them go to school too even! Imagine that. A Homeschooler having Schooling friends? (And…as a perk? Both kids are still virgins at 14 and 15 and have been propositioned by some not-so-nice teens they’ve met, have never done drugs, but sure as hell have been offered them by punks, and have never been in trouble with the law…for anything.)

6) How will they know anything about life skills, history, tolerance, hardships, confrontation management skills, or job skills? I guess once they leave my womb, my job is done. I don’t have to teach them any of that. It’s ALL up to the school from there on out. I must have crossed some major lines when I taught them to tie their shoes, ride their bikes, how to read, proper personal hygiene, how to cook, how to wash/mend laundry, how to keep a home cleanly, how to handle a bully, how to defend themselves, how to repair the most basic problems with a car, how to budget finances, how to grocery shop, how to speak, walk, or swim, how to count, recognize colors, tell a joke, have manners, show compassion, befriend the elderly, care for animals, tend to basic medical issues, or any of the other countrless number of things I’ve personally undertaken. I really should have known that those things weren’t my right to do.

Yep…. we get the looks, and the questions, and the unwelcomed lectures (especially if Autumn’s hair is a unique color), about once a month. Not so much when the kids were little though. But now that they are teens? It’s like a free-for-all with disrespectful, nosy people who think they’ve got it all figured out.

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    Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

    There is so much that I LOVE about this comment, Stephanie! We could turn this one into it’s own blog post! lol I just love your attitude about everything. Thank you so much for sharing all this with me! You had me laughing AND crying! (that last one isn’t too hard these days. I’m expecting and I cry at everything right now! lol) ♥

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    MP says 4 years ago

    well said!

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Shawn M says 4 years ago

A woman who I had never met before, but who clearly had seen my children’s picture in my parents shop and had heard them talk about the kids being homeschooled walked up to me in Walmart and said that she didn’t believe I should be allowed to homeschool. I was ruining my children and setting a bad example for other parents (?) I just told her I was glad that it wasn’t up to her and walked away. She never went back to my parents shop, but they were relieved.

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Nancysue says 4 years ago

Perhaps if the woman had been homeschooled herself, she’d be a kinder, more inquisitive, yet openminded, and more social adult.

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Shannon says 4 years ago

I have not had this pleasure – probably because we aren’t actually homeschooling yet 😉
(mind, one child is on an unconventional calendar, so we’ve had numerous opportunities).

This reminded me of my wedding dress fitting. I was playing statue while the nice lady was showing me the various ways it could be bustled up so I could maneuver decently after the ceremony. All of the sudden, another lady piped in, “Oh, that’s no good!” Seriously, I have never seen her before in her life, but she sat there and acted like she was running the show – even talking over me. After several minutes of this, I finally said, as nicely as I could manage, “Excuse me, but I don’t believe I asked for your opinion and you are preventing me from talking to the seamstress.” I then turned to my best friend and said pointedly, “What do YOU think of this one?” The lady huffed about, but remained blissfully silent. I could also see the seamstress visibly relax.

There are some people who feel entitled to dictate everyone around them, espouse their opinions on private personal decisions, and generally be jerks. It’s never okay. My go-to response is now, “I’m sorry, but I don’t believe I asked for your opinion.” It covers all kinds of pushiness. Sorry you had to deal with that!

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Diana B says 4 years ago

My biggest confrontation came while I was in a church acquaintance’s house staying the night. Couldn’t get away from it, put up my best argument and then had to just walk away.

Most of the time when we are ‘confronted’ in public, they are curious and might wonder what the laws are. We get very few comments though, which is surprising considering our town! 🙂

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Alli says 4 years ago

Bravo to you for responding with love and grace. I get so tired of the socialization issues people have with homeschooling. My daughter homeschools my 4 grandsons and they are the most social kids I know. Last Sunday my 8 year old grandson walked up to a child who was visiting our church for the 1st time. He extended his hand, smiled and introduced himself to the new kid. He then offered to take him to children’s church. Social skills? They have more than enough.

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Sharon F. says 4 years ago

You reacted perfectly. I have never been confronted about being out during the with the kids. I probably wouldn’t even know what to say. I might just stare at them as thought they were crazy. (That is probably not the best reaction.)

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Grace Horst says 4 years ago

I Look At People Like This And Wonder What Their Background Is. WhereAnd What Have They Come From.Perhaps Seeing You So Happy With Your Children Triggered Some Unhappy Memory In Her. Everyone Has A “Story” And It Helps Me So Much To See Other People In This Light. Ilove That You Handled It With So Much Grace! The World Needs So Much More Of That!

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Melanie Hall says 4 years ago

Oh wow, I can picture a specific family member of mine being that woman in line. She is completely disgusted with the fact that I homeschool and has gone out of her way to try and embarrass or belittle me in front of the family on this matter. I feel as if I do not owe anyone an explanation. Not that I would withhold one, but they are, after all, MY children. How ridiculous, rude, and immature coming from so called the “social experts.” Unless someone wants to have an adult conversation and speak respectfully and be open-minded the discussion is closed. Great job in handling yourself. If she truly wanted to share her concerns it would have been in private NOT in front of an audience. She was looking for an argument. Just think, real life social teaching moment, you don’t have to engage in every argument.

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Melissa says 4 years ago

I have been questioned, too. Sadly, it happens. I usually say, yes and let people know that I am state certified and hold a master’s degree, but that anyone who cares about their kids can choose to homeschool, if it is what the family wants/needs, and be successful at it. After all, I don’t go around asking why people use public school and pointing out my concerns.

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Misty says 4 years ago

Yes!! I have SO had to do this. I actually hate going to the grocery store with the kids because it happens almost every time. People are rude, and you handled this with MUCH better grace than I have 🙂

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Andrea Gardner says 4 years ago

Another homeschool blog shared this and it popped up in my news feed on FB.
I think you handled the situation wonderfully. Grace goes so far.

I homeschool, but let us pretend this woman was me. If you had responded back to me and been defensive I would have taken it as that….you being defensive. I would not have taken it as education or enlightenment. Your defense would have bristled me and I would have gotten defensive right back, escalating the argument. You would have only solidified my negative opinion on homeschool families.

However, you opted for grace. You were kind and courteous and direct. You didn’t ignore the woman. You made sure to let her know just as much as she needed; it is legal, you are qualified, they are loved and get a great education. She doesn’t need to know anymore. I think you mystified her. I think when she watched you in the parking lot she was trying to figure you out. “Why is this woman calm.”

I think it is telling to your children that you didn’t stop focusing on them and fight with this stranger. You showed class. I think we can all learn for you on this. Good job Mama. I know I am walking away a bit wiser.

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    Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

    Andrea, thank you so much for this… You made me cry! I think you may be correct about her reaction once we were in the parking lot. She didn’t know what to make of us. Isn’t it amazing how, after the fact, you question yourself about what you said or did? I’ve thought of dozens of things I could have said in the moment. But on reflection, I think I’m really glad none of them came to mind until later… Thank you!

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    Sheri says 4 years ago

    I agree with Andrea!!

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Daphne Fitzpatrick says 4 years ago

It sounds like you handled the moment of ignorance beautifully! Grace, grace, grace is the way to go. I do not homeschool but fully support those that do. You showed a great example of socialization by using good manners, bravo 🙂

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    Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

    Thank you so much… A really big part of me hopes she stumbles onto this article some day, but I know she won’t. lol

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Emily says 4 years ago

I experienced something similar not too long ago. My eight year-old son and I were serving food at a local soup kitchen when one of the ladies eating asked where he attended school. When he responded that we homeschool, she got on a soapbox and decided to tell us both why it’s wrong to “deprive a child from school.” Good gravy, I still can’t get over the fact that he was there serving her (obviously “socialized” enough to do so), but all she could do was criticize our choice to homeschool.

Lots of grace was needed for us too. Sheesh.

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    Sandra Modersohn says 4 years ago

    Oh my! Even in those hard moments, though, the children learn so much about being TRULY socialized, don’t they? Maybe you could have thanked her for providing an opportunity for your son to practice grace and forgiveness. In fact… Maybe I’ll say that next time! lol

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Michelle says 4 years ago

Thank you for this post! I too have 4 kiddos (we’d love to add more!). My home-schoolers do the grocery shopping with me every Wednesday.. mid-day. The two oldest are visually impaired and at least one of them have their cane with her when we go anywhere. So, we get looked at, smiled at, and frowned at. 😉 Just today we were running a Christmas type errand.. My oldest had her cane with her and the gentleman driving the car beside us as we walked in the parking lot almost smacked another vehicle. I saw him staring at us. I’m not sure if it was because my kids were shopping in the middle of the day or if two of them are blind. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me.. and sometimes it does. I need to be reminded of that word “Grace” often. 😉

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Nicole says 4 years ago

I’m certain you know this, but your children, your family, and your choices had nothing to with this conversation aside from your grace diffusing this lady. She was out looking for a fight and you were simply convenient. At least, that’s been my ongoing experience with these types of situations. Additionally, I have recently met several people who are just too ignorant and maladjusted (think ongoing dysfunctional home life from birth) to be able to conceive of homeschooling, or why a parent would even want a good relationship with their child, or would be willing to do the work. Also, there seems an increase in the number of people who are only able to process the world through contempt, at least in our part of the world. Anything outside of that is asking too much. I am not attempting to belittle her in order to diminish any argument she may have flung at you – but rather offer you peace in confirming that she was probably just spoiling for a fight and picked you due to her own deficiencies. I think you handled it admirably and I think it’s great that you didn’t seek her out to justify yourself. She wasn’t owed that.

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Christy Jordan says 4 years ago

I could feel my face grow hot as I read this and my first response was exactly like yours, “Grace, Grace, Grace”. Wow.
I’m new to homeschooling and have never experienced anything like this but feel better prepared after reading. You don’t good. Sorry this happened. That person was filled with so much judgement and hate that there can’t be much room left for anything else.

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Julie Ann Filter says 4 years ago

I think you handled it perfectly!!!! Every time something like this happens Proverbs 26: 4-5 comes to my mind, because it addresses the two different types of interactions we are to have with others. In one instance, we are to stand up and speak. In the other, we are to sit and be silent. This was FOR SURE the “sit and be silent” type characterized in Proverbs 26:4, because it is the kind of “fool” who is prideful, arrogant, and looking for a fight and to debate something but not at all to understand your thoughts on a matter. The “fool” in verse 5, however, is a humble fool who speaks out of ignorance and lack of understanding, but may have a heart to understand more if only given the information. I would say that your discernment was on full alert in this instance and you responded by the Spirit. Well done! That stinks that this happens, and stinks that people do these things, but I am fully one that believes that unless God Himself is moving the heart towards a place of understanding, all the knowledge in the world will not make one wise. This woman was very unwise. But you, fellow Mama, were wise and reflected wisdom before youur children. Well done! Blessings!

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Tanya says 4 years ago

Wow! Some people are so obnoxious! Whether she believd your decision to homeschool was wrong or not, it is your choice!

We have never dealt with this as my children are very young, but I too believe that the best way to respond is the way you did. No argument you give someone who is blaming and not seeking for answers will ever be convincing enough.

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