Negativity from other children?

Just wondered how other home ed families deal with negativity from school-going children. We spend time with lots of other home ed families but plenty of school-going children too. Most don't give a monkeys whether you go to school or not but lately my 5 year has encountered a few children who cannot accept that it's OK for her not to go to school. One girl in particular is getting quite vicious in her comments. I don't want to start being negative about school when talking to my daughter about it. Other people's choices are their business,not mine. And I don't want to set a precedent for belittling other people's values. But would really like to hear if anyone has any helpful advice.

Sheila Struthers

Well-known member
Going back a bit but I seem to remember school children being a bit envious and/or a bit scared.

The young girl you mention has maybe discussed the situation with her parents - who may well have been on the defensive.

That school is compulsory is such a commonly held view - coming to terms with the fact that it is not can be difficult for adults and children to get their heads around.

I still remember my gran telling me that I had to go to school or my Mum and Dad would have to go to jail.
We often get children having a go at H for not being at school.

Generally it starts of as innocent questioning about what school he goes too, or why he is not at school, it then often ends up with a child deciding that he must have been kicked out of school or is playing truant.

We have also had problems from children who are jealous that H doesn't have to go to school.

The biggest problem we normally have is adults who can not get their head around the idea that he is not in school as he is educated by me at home, and that he hasn't been expelled from school.


Hi Sapna

Sorry to hear you have been having these problems. It is quite hard on children to have to defend themselves in the face of this kind of criticism. I have encountered similar issues recently with a 'friend' of my 6 year old son. It usually takes the form of disparaging comments about his reading ability (which is incidentally fine for his age) or about how it is only possible to do/know certain things if you go to school.

I think a lot of it stems from parents having to 'big up' school to their less than enthusiastic children. It is probably no coincidence that my child's friend loathes school! When children know that another child doesn't even have to go to school, the parents have to do a particularly hard sell. They may resort to giving lots of examples of why not going to school is a bad idea and of all the things that you won't be able to do if you don't go to school. Whilst parents will keep their mouths shut when you come to visit, the children won't!

I tend to deal with this kind of problem by limiting the time we spend on relationships like this. We have maintained contact with all our school going friends but I feel that gaps have gradually developed over the time we have been home educating. It is natural I am sure. Home education is so much a way of life - as a family we have become closer and I have become even more of full time carer just at the time when everyone else is getting their children into school and going back to work. I am starting to accept that some of these relationships are going to change and play more of a background role in our lives.

Something I have noticed recently is how some of the young children we know who have recently started school seem to have lost the art of play. Consequently my children get less out of these relationships in any case. This is particularly sad - these kids are in all probability just exhausted. So when my son is exposed to these disparaging remarks about his abilites, I always make sure I redress the balance later. Of course I tell him his reading is great! I also tell him that he is great at playing and using his imagination and that these are really important things to be able to do especially when you are a child. I say that it is a shame for children who go to school because they don't get the chance to do all the things he does. He is usually fine about it because he has no desire to go to school anyway!

Regarding the question of appearing to belittle other people's values, I think it's not the fact that the values are different that is the problem but the way the other girl is choosing to represent them. I might be tempted to point out to my child that the world contains millions of different people with millions of different ideas and that people need to be kind to each other even when they are different. You could say to her that whilst she is being kind the other girl is not!

Hope all is otherwise fine and look forward to hearing your baby news soon!

We got quite a bit of this when DS came out of school - especially from children who felt somehow threatened/confused by it (or perhaps more to the point, their parents did as it had clearly been discussed) It's quite a BIG THING to discover that school really isn't compulsory :wacko:

We told DS he had nothing to justify and didn't have to answer ANY questions if he didn't want to. We suggested that after he'd answered the first questions ( confirming HE, how it worked etc. ) once it got personal or awkward that he simply ask why they were so worried about/by it? - and stick to that kind of answer. This usually stopped any attitude as it shifted the attention back to the questioner ;) Easier to do with a an almost teen.

Once we were at a community music session (in a school, with schooled children! ) and one child just wouldn't let it go, DS just stuck to his "why does it bother you?" routine so the child reported loudly to the Musician (Teacher/tutor/Leader) "Sir, F isn't at school, he's Home Educated!"
His reply was "I know! Shocking isn't it?" :faint: It was never mentioned again LOL


Well-known member
Lol, I remember constantly being asked 'what's 1 and 1?' by school kids. It sounds like nothing's changed in over 20 years.