Extended family issues

Anyone mind if I have a bit of an insecure rant/wobble?

To put you in the picture:
DD will be turning 5 next week.
The schools around here started back a few weeks ago.
My MIL and my Sister are primary school teachers (MIL is retired).

I'm feeling pressure.

I didn't expect I would feel like this since, even when we were planning a family, we had been leaning towards HE and let all of our family know this before LO was 1.... but I think they all thought we would snap out of it.

Ironically the only person in my family who seems to genuinely not have a problem is my mother. I had a HELLISH time at school and I think the HE option had occurred to her during that time..... I would have done better, but the option wasn't really open to her. I say 'ironically' because my mother and I really don't get on that well, so I don't speak to her often.

I get lots of questions from my family about school hours, etc.... we are doing/ have always done autonomous learning...

On Sunday, my sister (a teacher) phoned and started asking leading questions about what LO was doing...... I had to postpone the call because we were getting on a steam-powered mini-railway and we were in the process of chatting about how the fire makes the wheels go round.
I am nervous about phoning her back because I feel I have to put up defenses

Later on Sunday we visited the in-laws. They used to regularly take LO for 1 day a week, it gives me a small break/chance to catch-up, and it gives LO a closer bond with her grandparents... so as we were leaving (I was already in the car and I don't think OH had picked up the same vibe I was getting) OH asked if they wouldn't mind taking LO for a day this week "isn't she getting educated?" was the response.

When she does visit the in-laws, they put her in front of the TV all day :(

It seems to me that they just don't 'get it'

And this whole thing has made me force LO to sit down and do 'work-sheets' this past week :( I don't feel right but I feel it is what is expected.

I know I cannot be the only Home-ed parent who has these issues... its only family that I have the issues with, as we've already parted company with 'friends' who came right out and told me it was wrong and irresponsible.

I don't want to lecture anyone, and I certainly feel that other parents are the most difficult people to talk to as they seem to see it as an attack on their choices.
Does anyone know of a non-offensive fact sheet about the realities of home-ed that I might be able to share with family and friends so they stop being so disgusted at our hippy-lifestyle?

wobble, wobble, wobble :(
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As a high priority, get in contact with your local HE group if you haven't already done so. That way, at least you'll be able to hear about success stories in home education.

As for the MIL and sister, it depends on how dirty you want to fight. A large number of children leave school illiterate and unable to do even basic maths. Schools are good places to learn about drugs, get bullied and be discouraged by your peers from being too bright. School is very inefficient, of the nominal five hours a day teaching time, a typical child is likely to benefit from one, perhaps two hours at most. Ten hours a week of quality 1:1 education tailored to your child will easily better that. Children learn much faster when they're interested in the subject matter, rather than being bored by a teacher droning on about subjects of little interest. As they grow older, they will come to understand that sometimes we have to endure boring bits in order to progress to the next interesting phase, and that understanding will help them work at it much better. Children educated at home are far more in touch with the real world and get chance to interact with people of all ages, not just the thirty others of the same age in their class. When it comes to socialisation, it is very possible to be completely alone in a playground full of children. Quite a few teachers and ex-teachers home educate their children because they've come to realise that it's better.

Don't just put up defences, go on the attack and meet anything they say with a good rant on the inadequacies of the school system and let them have to defend for a bit. Eventually you'll get them down to a few snide remarks which can be ignored or responded to in kind.



I am also having problems with family and friend who seem to think its k to tell me that i am doing the wrong thing and i am not educated enough to teach my daughter. Don't worry about them and don't go having to defend yourself cause in the end you will get yourself more stressed out. Just concentrate on your child who is the most important person. Take it a year at time and if you dont want to follow work sheets just go with the flow and see what is best for you both. As like you my daughter was meant to start in Aug. What i do with my daughter is 2 hours of work books and reading from 10am to 12pm unless we going to group meet then we will not do workbooks that day but maybe just do a bit of reading. Most afteroons are out, on ipad or laptop watching movie, board games or her own time just playing with toys.

If you need to talk just pm me :)

Sharon and Beth

Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
You are not alone Concerned Father started the Awful Day thread after a bad day with his workmates .
Ask your child if she would like to make paper mache with the workbooks it will be so much fun and educational too.
Thanks guys :)

I did read that post the other day Elaine, thanks. I know OH has some issues with a handful of folks at his work too, but we don't find that as hurtful as family.

I do feel really positive about what we usually do, it is only when I have to defend myself from other peoples comments/ opinions. I don't really want to attack them and hurt their feelings (though, I know, that is exactly what they are doing to me..... I'm too nice for my own good)

I know that this is the right way.... I know that our choice is right for our family. I'm normally very laid back about everything, but you know what it is like when something gets under your skin.

Before last week our days were full of all sorts of things - I read to her a lot, we talk a lot, we play a lot and we watch a lot of DVDs... she also helps around the house and in the garden (we have a mini-holding)

Why should I force her to sit and try to read when she doesn't want to? I know shouldn't, and I am going to stop, because it isn't working, and it was never the plan.

As for local groups... I do try, but we are very rural, on a tight budget, I don't drive and there doesn't seem to be many clearly defined groups around here, but I'll work it out eventually ;-)
.... and to top it all......

.... and we actually specifically keep this secret from friends and family....

..... LO goes to bed at 9pm and often doesn't wake up till after 10am.....

..... I don't think this is wrong, but I hide it from others in case THEY think it is wrong....

The single hardest thing about this home-ed malarky is fear of other peoples opinions...



Your so lucky Ann please tell me secret lol, my beth goes down about 8:30 but most morning shes up about 7:30 >< i would love her just to sleep to 9am lol or 10 :p

From experience I think we put up defences due to our own insecurities and worries re. HE for our kids. Don't do it, you are doing the right thing! I would cut a conversation short by simply saying it's my decision now and when they're old enough it will be their choice. If I wanted to make a point I would tell the adversary that research has it that kids learn more from 20 mins of conversation at home than 6 hours at school! Not to mention the additional homework - where is the time to be a child in all that?
I think the gentle way of dealing with this is to acknowledge their concern, but say you have researched the subject and if they have any concerns that you would ask that they do so to. Most teachers are pretty unaware of the way home education works and what the law is on education. Read up as much as you can, the EO website used to have a lot on there. The other question to ask them is do they really think that sitting at a desk is the best or only way to learn.
My son, 15, has always learned what he wanted, when he wanted, got a B in his GCSE maths last year and managed to get into the local college to study Higher Human Biology (we are in Scotland) on just an interview. He has never been to school. It can and does work.
Also getting involved in your local home ed group with give you support and strength.
good luck


As you go on with home education you'll get more confident with it and be less interested in what other people who violate children's rights to choose their mode of education think. I think home education has made me grow as a person because, at one time, I really cared what my neighbours thought. Now I don't. As to my family, my mother watched my eldest daughter go through many years of being cruelly bullied and yet still had the nerve to say "Isn't she missing her friends?" when I took my child out of the hell. I asked her which friends? The ones who tried to trip her up in PE, the ones who spread rumours about her or the ones who soaked her shoes in a shower in the middle of winter... etc. etc.

Of course, my mother has senile dementia so she has an excuse.

When you step outside the 'norm' and do the absolute best for your family you become a trailblazer and a maverick. Your child/children can be anything they choose to be. However, everyone in The Matrix is totally threatened by your choices. Don't let them bother you.

My parents reaction and they are in their eighties was , Well you cant do a worse job than the schools do and since then they have taken an active interest and learnt more about home education. Its a shame they live 400 miles away from me. My in laws on the other hand , who are local to me won't discuss it and basically ignore the fact that ds is at home. Only real adverse remark from a relative came from my stepsister in law who when asking Harry last year before he was due to start school, was he looking forward to it and I replied we are home educating him,well the look on her face was one of complete shock. I now believe it to be one of complete ignorance.
Within my local community, I feel very insecure when I take Harry out because I feel that everyone is staring at us, but other good friends whose children are at the local school accept our decision and respect us for it. Again its education, a lot of people believe children have to be in school and do not understand people who go against the norm.
Continue as you have been. As others say, its your child and you will do what you believe is best for them, ignore everyone else, I know its hard but they must learn to respect your decision.
We told everyone we met in the village that we would be home educating long before school age was reached. This was done in the hope that everyone would just get used to my son's presence and know what was going on and not feel inclined to report us to the LA. Only one surviving grandparent, who is generally in favour, a bit of disapproval from some other ILs but as they're in the US it's not a problem. Add the fact that since Badman I've developed a thick skin and a good line in counter-arguments and we're hopefully able to cope with any adverse or ignorant comments coming our way.