Post # 1
This is what I was told last week while talking to a mother about homeschooling. She was adamant that to homeschool a disabled child, she was referring to my four year old daughter, is to rob them of the opportunity to be teased and picked on for being different. That this teasing prepares them for life “in the real world” and sheltering her is a huge diservice. (I have heard similar things 2-3x before) For those of you who don’t know, we homeschool. We have both been committed to homeschooling since before we were married. Our youngest was born with a condition that necessitated amputating one of her legs.
I actually love that among her friends, she is just one of the gang. She has never been made to feel ashamed of being different. I know that the day will come that some idiot will say something stupid, but I hope the foundation of great self-confidence will help her understand that people being stupid is only a reflection on who they are. For some reason though, I haven’t been able to get her comment out of my head. Can I have some perspective here? Is there anything she could gain by having children be mean to her or was this misguided advice?
Edit: In regard to socialization, my girls are part of a music academy and have a wide circle of kids from all types of school choices. They are very social little butterflies. 🙂
Post # 3
It was misguided. That is not a reason why people decide not to homeschool their children.
Post # 4
@Cady: That was kind of were I went with this lady. We would have homeschooled had she not been born with this condition. This is just us parenting the way we prefer.
Post # 5
That is just pathetic. No one NEEDS to be made fun of. I cant imagine that anyone would eventually get immune to being made fun of just because its happened to them numerous times before. I think she would also benefit from having one on one lessons. Of course it is good for her to have interaction with others often, but not for the purpose of getting made fun of.
Post # 6
I think it is misguided advice. For now. I’m sure your daughter has at least gotten some looks from other children and people when you take her our in public that might cue her in that she is different. I think that’s enough.
If your daughter was a teenager and you were sheltering her from other kids that might make fun of her, I think that would be a problem. But she’s so young… I think a solid foundation is a good thing. When the time is right, you can tell her how she is different and explain that people might say or do things that hurt her feelings.
I know people feel differently about this, but in general, I think it is important for home schooled children to interact with children who are not home schooled.
Post # 7
UGH, this is exactly why I don’t have many “Mom” friends. Everyone has an opinion and many feel the need to be open about them even if they are insensitive to your situation.
I’m sorry this hit home to you. Just do what’s best for you and your family.
Post # 8
I think it’s definitely misguided advice— no one should be recommending that your daughter literally be made fun of or picked on, but many (myself included) fear that homeschooled children lag behind their traditional-schooled peers in terms of socialization. if your daughter has a wide circle of friends already and sees them outside the context of your home, and does activities and other things with other kids of her age, then you’ve got that concern covered, and you should let the other mother gently know that.
Many of us have only seen the downside of homeschooling: kids whose parents don’t think of getting them the social interaction with their peers that is so critical at early ages, and therefore don’t learn how to solve their own problems, negotiate and resolve conflict as peers, and how to prevent conflict to begin with. Those kids don’t build social skills because they’ve got no one to “practice” on, which is absolutely not fair on the kids.
But like I said, if your homeschooled kids have plenty of opportunities to interact with kids of their own ages, then gently tell the other mother not to worry about it (and perhaps even explain how you’re helping make sure your daughter gets the socialization she needs, so the other mother will learn something).
Post # 9
@MrsFuzzyFace: I *think* what she was hinting at is… Children learn how to interact socially by being around other kids. Being pushed around on the playground or having those tough moments can help define who you are. I’m not an advocate for bullying or anything! I just think she poorly communicated that interaction is important.
Post # 10
She sounds like she has the mentality that kids need to be teased to “toughen up”.
Both Darling Husband and I are special education teachers and while I can understand a parent’s desire to homeschool, I do love seeing how my students (both those without and with disabilities) develop wonderful relationships (by treating them as if they were “one of the gang” but also with such compassion) with my kids with disabilities. I’m only saying this because not all kids that attend school are teased. Yes, of course, some are sometimes but it doesn’t happen all the time, as the woman seemed to have suggested.
Post # 11
When I was in highschool we had many special needs student. I don’t remember them being teased out of the ordinary. One of the most well liked children in our school had dwarfism. I know this is totally beside the point but I just wanted to tell you this if you ever do consider public school for whatever reason.
Post # 12
@Mrs_Amanda: “Children learn how to interact socially by being around other kids. Being pushed around on the playground or having those tough moments can help define who you are.”
I agree. I don’t think this mom was truely meaning “Your child needs to be teased” but more that she worries that, because of homeschooling, your daughter may be missing out on those interactions and conflicts with people her age that help us define our social being. I just don’t think she got her point accross very well.
Post # 13
Stick to your guns. The most well-behaved children I have ever encountered are all homeschooled, and they don’t seem to have any social problems. Of course, those I know all have several brothers and sisters. Plus, there are usually homeschooling get togethers that offer plenty of socialization for children. There is such a thing as too much socialization. Ask any kid who was a victim of bullying, sexual abuse, physical abuse, etc., while on school grounds.
I am not any better prepared for cruel people today than I was as a kid. No amount of teasing prepared me for the potential cruelty of mankind. You know, my husband has cerebral palsy. He wasn’t teased in school as a kid at all, apparently. His worst critic was himself.
Post # 14
I think I get where she is coming from – the ability to brush off criticism and grow from it — but I don’t see that as any different than a non-disabled child. The kind of teasing you get on the playground teaches some sort of socialization, and it shows you how to defend yourself (hopefully verbally!). At the same time, aren’t teachers there to make sure kids aren’t being made fun of?
I also remember going to my public schools with a mix of disabled and non-disabled children, and no one picking on them for their disabilities. I think this woman worded her opinion very poorly and wasn’t able to articulate what she was saying (I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt and hoping she’s not just a jerk).
For what it’s worth, I think that as long as you’re kids as socializing in other ways (like the music academy), then homeschooling is fine. My issue with homeschooling comes when the kids don’t do anything outside the house and don’t have any real social interaction with their peers. As long as the kids have interaction with other kids their age, homeschooling is a great option for some. Kudos to you for putting the effort in to handle her education yourself!
Post # 15
Sigh. If I hear the “but they aren’t socialized” line one more time……..
Studies have shown that they are actually MORE socially capable than their counterparts. Speaking from experience (public school and homeschool), in public school, I was exposed to the same kids for years – with a few “new kids” now and then.
When I was homeschooled, we partcipated in different groups and were meeting and making friends with new kids all the time. Different people brought their kids to come play at our house, and we spent plenty of time with cousins and friends.
The perception of homeschooled children as these socially awkward spelling bee champ nerds is just so wrong.
And OP, of course that lady was wrong. Nobody “needs” to be picked on. Your daughter and her friends certainly notice that she is a bit different, but it also sounds like they are smart enough to know it doesn’t matter.
Post # 16
I think misguided advice. Your choice to homeschool was going to be there with or without your LO having lost one of her legs, and doesn’t seem like you made the choice to “shelter” her from the outside world when you had to cross that bridge. If she has friends, other social events etc I think what you are doing is wonderful. I wonder what your friends thoughts would be on the children who are taunted and teased endlessly in school, to the point they sink into depression and end their own life?
I think everyone is teased about something, at some point in their life – whether from a physical condition, mental, or otherwise (let’s face it, kids will make fun of anyone for anything!) and if your child has high self esteem and confidence to let any stupid comment roll off their back, or better yet, have them stand up for themselves and educate the person with said stupid comment, all the power to them.
I went to a school for the arts which also was home to a large number of disabled students (mentally and physically). They were never teased – they were welcomed as just “one of us” and they were the best kids to work with.
I wouldn’t let her comment bug you. It sounds like you are wonderful parents who want the best education for their children – and kudos to you for being able to do it. 🙂