Cozy little dinner party topics

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My latest episode with Momversation comes right on the heels of the circumcision debate - both of our boys are circumcised and as I've said, and I'm quoting myself, we do not regret our decision or reasons for doing so; nor do I think our decision is open to debate anymore than that of not circumcising. I have too much respect for the arduous journey others take in approaching this decision to go criticizing them for it - much less assume that it was a choice fueled by ignorance.

We're all trying to do the best for our children and I don't think that it's prudent for anyone to assume that they've acquired a level of intimacy with someone that would justify telling them how to care for their child.

Extend that to homeschooling, which is what this video is about. I recount what will be a familiar experience to some of you as I wrote about it earlier - the lady in the store who got all up in my bidness about why my kids weren't in school on a weekday. There is a lot edited out to fit within the time frame for these episodes (especially with me on this subject; my first video was around eight minutes) and iIt's pretty impossible to cover all the bases of such a complex issue ( I talked about expense, some requirements, etc.) but I thought we all did well. I was more interested in hearing what the other ladies' responses would be as I've addressed the topic repeatedly here. The only thing to which I would take a slight exception is this: "On the other hand, homeschooled students can miss out on social and academic opportunities." I completely disagree and discussed why here. (Giyen's class picture totally nails it, too, doesn't it?)


my sister-in-law and all her siblings were homeschooled and she's planning to homeschool her three girls. it works for her.

my siblings and i all went to private school and i send my kids to private school. it works for me.

that's just it. homeschooling is not for everyone. but if it's for you, GREAT. i could never...i would be the worst teacher to my own children EVER.

I don't have any problem with homeschooling, per se. There are several families in our neighborhood who homeschool their children and from my limited experience with those children they appear well educated and well adjusted. For me, though, I don't think I'd have the patience. But, then, my kids aren't in school yet, so we'll see :-) As of now, I guess you could technically say I'm homeschooling, since I stay home with them and I am their primary 'teacher'!

Hi Dana -

I just discovered your blog - and at a perfect time. My kids are 4 and 2 and I am planning to homeschool them. I myself was homeschooled (at a time when it was not even legal in my state). It did not improve the relationship between my mom and myself, so that is a bit daunting, but not enough to stop me from trying.

I am beginning to do some pre-school-y stuff already with my 4 year old. I figure it will give me a chance to see how well I do with patience, how well we do together, and how well he accepts learning from me. He seems to be at an age where he learns best if I am "stealthy" about it - playing educational games instead of sitting down and being all "ok, get serious, this is learning time"

I have been researching curriculum. What I used was horrid (and also 20 years ago, so things are better now, I hope). I find myself drawn to Unit Studies. What do you do? I know most people do quite a bit of supplementing with outside activities and co-op stuff, but do you have a core that you work from?

Thanks! Sorry to be so long on my first comment! I feel very passionatly about home-schooling and it is refreshing to see I am not alone.


I understand where you are coming from when people question you about why your kids aren't in school. I teach at a high school, and we teachers get the same weird looks on a school day if we are seen out and about (at the doctor's office, the grocery store, etc.) It's as if we owe the community an explanation for why we are not at work. Of course I am accountable to the community in which I teach to a certain extent; but if my administrator agrees that I have a legitimate reason to be off from work, I really should not have to go through any extra approvals, right?

I am a fan of good education in any form: homeschooling, private, public, extra-curricular, etc. There are so many stigmas about home-schooling as well as public schooling. People are suspicious of educational arrangements they did not have. Or perhaps more specifically, people are suspicious of the motives of anyone who chooses something different for their children. I suppose it is rooted in the faulty notion that it's a dichotomous decision. Some people think that if you have chosen home-schooling, then that means you have chosen against public schooling. That could put people who were education in the public school system on the defensive. When in reality, choosing what is BEST for one's own child does not mean that one is choosing against the other options.

I hope that the growing number of homeschooling families will begin to challenge the notion of "isolationist weirdos" that homeschooling used to conjure... at least to anyone who is willing to make a semi-informed judgment.

I know that you've written here before that you tire of feeling as though you have to qualify everything you say about homeschooling in order to avoid stepping on someone's toes about public schools. I do not/did not take exception with anything you said in the momversation or blog on this issue. I only wish to point out that negative stigmas are attached to any form of education a parent chooses, whether it be private, public, home-school, religious, or other. It's a shame because, in my limited experience, most parents and teachers are trying their hardest to do what is best for their children and students. There's really no reason for anyone to judge or feel threatened by anyone else's choice--should it be different from their own. Because, as you said, it's a personal one.

oooh, the circumcision thing made me feel a little sick. not for any other reason than my kids' (twin boys) peni (is that the proper plural?) are no one else's business and it grosses me out that there are moms thinking about their sons getting their jollies later in life. and our boys are and that's all on that. other than the fact that they went into the procedure screaming and came out smiling. whatever. they are a little weird like that.

i can't watch the homeschooling vid on this computer, damn work laptop, but i cannot wait to see it. i have become uber excited about the HS thing since finding your blog and the joyful voice of reason you have presented. there are 4 or 5 different books waiting to be picked up at my local library regarding education and HS. so thanks for empowering me on this one.

i have a post stewing about in my mind regarding the whole thing. be back to see the video when i can. you should post your unedited versions somewhere, i like your style, lady.

Hey there
Just stumbled over here all the way from the UK for the first time and read your last post on the Birds and the Bees and ye gods!
I'm not quite there yet (my son is 6) but he did tell me he's "never going to snog a girl because licking the inside of someone's mouth is just wrong"!
I'm wondering if I should have taped him or made him sign a contract or something!

I think homeschooling is a fabulous concept, especially if it allows one to live in an area with sub-par public schools or super expensive private schools and allows children to work at their own pace and unique learning style. I don't agree with people who use it to isolate their children (I often meet more people in real life than online who are homeschooling for this reason).

I would LOVE to homeschool, but it would not work for me. I wish that there were something in between, like a school designed with courses similar to a college, where you could pick times, grade levels, teaching styles, etc, then supplement with at home work, online work, travel, projects. I think that there are many people who would take advantage of this type of school structure. It would allow parents to work around employment schedules & give children the opportunity to experience many different viewpoints and types of learning. It would allow one to choose to take just one art class, then do the rest at home or take all the classes there, then travel to learn language by immersion.

I think I would have been better at math if I had learned it in the context of building a house for habitat for humanity in say, Brazil, for example, than in a classroom where I stayed awake by writing novels in my head, completely ignoring the teacher because I was lost, scared to ask for extra help because I was too shy or my parents wouldn't pay for a tutor, because I "just wasn't trying hard enough, I did well in art, science & english, so why not math". I did, however, do well in math in college because I had a teacher who acknowledged different learning styles.

I guess I just can't see how people don't see homeschooling as positive and unselfish. I sympathize with you, Dana.

The pertinent debate should not be about home schooling or child raising or anything except ... the fact that when they are about 17 years old your sons will realize that the entire female population KNOWS that they are circumcised because their mom posted it on the web back in 2009.


Here is another cozy little dinner topic for you... people asking about your reproduction plans. I have one child. That is not my choice. I'd rather not go into that topic with people that I see once a year. I think there should be a test for certain subjects, such as "don't ask if you don't know my middle name and my birthdate".

Your position on homeschooling is your own. No need to defend... sort of shocks me that people who don't know your middle name or your birthdate feel like they have input in your life.

Good luck with the homeschooling.

"Some people think that if you have chosen home-schooling, then that means you have chosen against public schooling. That could put people who were education in the public school system on the defensive. When in reality, choosing what is BEST for one's own child does not mean that one is choosing against the other options." Amen to this.
I would love to homeschool but it wouldn't be right for my kids. I supplement their public education as much as possible and am fortunate to be in a school district with excellent, committed teachers. I don't like feeling on the defensive about this decision and I do know a homeschooler and she is very critical of the public schools and her child is a year behind in her studies and the mom freely admits this. I know several other homeschooling families and they are doing well but there is a disconnect and a defense posture with this whole subject. I wish parents especially moms could come together more. I find too much dissension in the ranks of mothers and we are truly more alike than different and we would all be the better if we would and could acknowledge this. Getting off my soapbox.

We know several homeschooling families. To a child, they are smart, interested in learning, and as socialized (and sometimes more so) as any other kid we know due to all the activities their parents have them enrolled in. The parents love doing it...they love the flexibility and the control, and the fact that they can work in their faith.

We're going the private school route (at least for elementary school). It's costly, but worth every penny to me.

To that busybody (and any who follow) who said, "Why aren't they in school?" you might say, looking her dead in the eye, "Not that it's any of your business, but they are." Some people won't be convinced no matter how hard you try to convince them, and those people aren't worth the energy. Just keep on doing your're good at it and your boys are shining. That's all that really matters.

C'mon Dana ... of course your homeschooled kids miss out on social opportunities. They'll never know the wonders of bathroom antics, drug deals in the halls, gang banger intimidation, immature tarts in overly sexual attire, ... why, I can't begin to list all the opportunities!! ok /sarcasm off now.

After watching the homeschooling Momversation, I decided that I need to come over and start reading your blog. I really appreciated you bringing up the topic and how it is sometimes treated by others.

I have four boys, am pregnant, and am currently homeschooling my oldest (who is in kindergarten--yes we're nuts). I have been amazed at the progress my son has made so far with the curriculum that we are using. We have really struggled with what we will do next year because my second son will also be school-aged and I'll be dealing with a newborn (as well as two others not in school).

There are definitely sacrifices and benefits no matter which way you go. Homeschooling can limit some of your fun time and freedom as a mom, but it can do amazing things for your kids.

Again, thanks for making it part of the Momversation debates.

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