Education is one of those subjects that can lead to a very heated discussion very quickly. While parents may want what is best for their children, there are inevitably going to be other parents who disagree with their choices.
But there honestly are some approaches to education that are better than others, if for no other reason than the fact that some parents are not ready to commit to, say, wholistic homeschooling, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Worried-Range1133 was becoming increasingly concerned about their grandson’s well-being, as his social skills and educational knowledge fell further and further behind his peers.
But when his skills began to impact his relationships, the Original Poster (OP) decided it was time to speak up to his mother about his education.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my daughter I don’t think but that I know she is a bad mother?”
The OP voiced their concerns about homeschooling, only to be threatened with going no contact.
“My daughter got married to my son-in-law (SIL) years ago and they have a seven-year-old son. Now he is off traveling a lot for his job and she also works.”
“At the beginning, everything was great, but they decided to pull their kid from public school. Instead of sending him somewhere else, she worked from home and did homeschooling.”
“I brought up my concerns and when most of them proved to be correct, I tried to get him back into school.”
“This f**ked up my relationship with them and they threatened no contact.”
The OP was worried about their grandson’s advancement.
“My grandson is a mess, and I have watched this bright kid fall behind.”
“He can barely read, he can’t do any math, and just forget about spelling or any other skills like that.”
“Our state doesn’t help, either, since homeschooling laws are so loose.”
“I have tried to help him in the past when I am visiting or babysitting, but she gets mad at me when I try to teach him. I sat him down for some reading since her lesson plan for that day was to ‘walk outside and look at plants.'”
“I heard about that for weeks. She also lashed out at me when I tried to teach him some math because I was not teaching math how it’s taught in school. I was teaching it how I was taught.”
“Also, she has gone to college and doesn’t believe in learning disabilities.”
“He is so behind. He is seven and can’t even solve ‘two minus one’. He should be able to do decent subtraction at this point.”
“It’s so obvious when you put him with other kids. Everything is behind: his vocabulary, his social skills, just everything. Honestly, I can’t even say confidently that if I told him to draw me a square, he could do it.”
“It’s just sad.”
When the mother was called out by a fellow mom, the OP used it as an opportunity.
“She was over last night and was ranting about a parent refusing to let her kid hang out with him. This parent basically called her a horrible parent and wouldn’t allow her kid to come over and play or to host my grandson in her home.”
“My daughter asked me if I thought that also.”
“I told her I don’t think, but that I know, that she is a bad mother. Her kid can’t even subtract and it’s laughable if she thinks she is a good parent.”
“She called me a jerk and stormed off.”
“I’ve gotten so many texts saying I need to apologize. I am unsure if I should, and I don’t know if my comment was too out-of-line or not.”
“I do know that she can’t afford to keep her son away from me, since I babysit for free for her four times per week. So at least going no contact is not a concern.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed with the OP’s “bad mother” comment and said this was a form of child neglect.
“NTA. Unless you do not call Child Protective Services (CPS).”
“What she is doing is called Educational Neglect. It is horrible for a child his age. Maybe CPS with either force an education plan on your daughter or force her to enroll him in public school. Even Homeschooled children must pass state testing.” – MinsAino
“A few years ago I looked into it for a kid whose homeschool education was being neglected in grades six through eight.”
“The child only had to pass a state constitution test at the end of eighth grade to move on to high school. That was it.”
“There weren’t any resources available to check on the kid to make sure he was doing school work (he wasn’t) or anything else, as long as the parent signed up for homeschooling and ordered the free materials. No accountability at all.”
“If the OP doesn’t hold their daughter and son-in-law accountable, there’s a good chance no one will.” – ProudCatLadyxo
“I feel like if you are signing up to homeschool your kid, you should actually, you know, teach your kid and prepare to go back to public school if you realize it isn’t working and you are just a horrible teacher.”
“I hear too many stories of people neglecting learning and disregarding it all altogether.”
“I can’t understand parents who will just let their kid suffer educationally because they are too prideful or ignorant to put in the work to teach them or throw in the towel and send them to public school.” – Proper_Pen123
“As I read this post and my horror grew, I thought, ‘So she’s not just a bad parent, she’s neglectful as h**l.'” – BONE_SAW_READS
“Report your daughter and SIL for educational neglect. I would even go so far as to say that they shouldn’t even have custody of your grandson.” – Proof_Elevator_7590
One Redditor in particular was alarmed by how the mother was failing her son.
“My cousin has three boys (ages 5, 4, and 3). She is a nurse and she moved to a state specifically because of its lack of homeschooling laws.”
“I love her and her boys. My son is six, and he loves playing with them. We don’t see them much but a few holidays a year now but still.”
“Her oldest barely talks and is developmentally behind; her mom said she thinks it’s Autism and I wouldn’t disagree, but I’m not a doctor.”
“Her middle child is smart but again has a speech difficulty. I’m not hating; my son has a speech therapist and didn’t talk until he was three. He also has a severe processing disorder and is behind also.”
“A huge part of me feels like it’s my fault for not putting him in preschool. He is now in first grade and struggled with spelling and math and I feel awful.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I work with him at home and he is in school. He has an IEP and he works with several different specialists. I have no doubt he will catch up but for me, his speech and delays were all the more reason he needed to be in school.”
“The only reason I didn’t do preschool is that he has severe separation anxiety and I had tried daycare/preschool and they would call me almost everyday to pick him up. I just kind of figured the older he was when he started, the easier it would be for him to process and for the most part, I was right. He didn’t even cry his first day; I was stunned and relieved.”
“But my cousin straight-up told me they are on their tablets ALL DAY and I asked why she wasn’t sending her kids to school, and she said it’s because of fear of school shootings and that they might learn about things she doesn’t approve of.”
“While I understand the fear of shootings, you can’t let fear rule your world and if you do, then you need to step and actually do homeschooling. Real homeschooling: have lesson plans and teach them everything they would be learning in school, and unless you’re a teacher, that’s hard to do.”
“There is a reason why teachers have four years of college and why specialists usually need a master’s or special classes.”
“My biggest gripe is that by taking your child out of public school (even for kids in private school), you lose out on a ton of resources, like IEPs, and I find the people who are usually home-schooling are the kids who need public school the most. It’s the kids that need the IEPs and specialists.”
“I’ve had two other friends homeschool and in both cases, their kids would have needed an IEP. One kid suffered a ton of trauma and abuse and his parents overdosed alone with him at home when he was eight, so his much older sister took him in. He was nine and couldn’t read or spell.”
“She enrolled him in some alternative school where you could show up any time of the day and then the kid would choose what they want to learn about. For older kids who have gotten down the general education already, that’s fine. But for a kid who hasn’t learned basic math, reading/writing, or even basic spelling, learning about dinosaurs isn’t going to help them. It’s just so sad.”
“My other friend was one of those ‘I’m just going to keep him home and take him for a walk and teach him about grass,’ and it’s like, what?”
“Are you trying to fail them?”
“As parents, we are supposed to be their biggest advocates. How is shielding them from the world advocating for them?”
“Not to mention just the lack of socialization itself is detrimental. Kids need to be around other kids and adults to learn social cues and acceptable behavior. We are social animals, so that reason alone is enough to make me think homeschooling is generally a terrible idea for 99% of people.” – anonymousthrwaway
Others encouraged the OP to do what they could to educate their grandson.
“Going to school teaches a lot of socialization skills, which are apparently so lacking that other kids aren’t gonna be forced to interact with this kid.”
“OP, when you babysit for free, do you do anything to help this kid learn? There are a lot of games out there that involve spelling or math but aren’t schoolwork per se. Playing card games like Rummy where you have to add up your points, Scrabble helps spelling and word recognition, etc.”
“Do you take him places where he can interact with other kids appropriately, taking turns or group activities?”
“She may be a bad parent, but a good grandma will step up, and teaching a kid that they aren’t the only person who matters in the whole world is a major part of the job.” – Chime57
“You babysit four times a week. Why aren’t you taking it upon yourself to teach him? Not quiz him… Actually sit down with him, find out what his strengths and weaknesses are, if he is consistently having difficulty or whether it is actually to do with her parenting and lack of attention to education?”
“I would be actively taking a role here and trying to get to the bottom of it and informing the likes of social services if he is behind due to lack of medical attention and assessment or lack of any interest by the mother in his education.” – lynfaix
“During the pandemic, my granddaughter was in kindergarten. I helped her with her homeschool stuff every day because her mom was working. Kids need to be in school if they don’t have a dedicated teacher. That’s going to make sure that things are getting done and make sure the children understand what they’re doing.” – Known_Paramedic_93
“I was homeschooled and have been teaching my small children at home. My five-year-old can read and do math significantly above his grade level. All parents are meant to teach, but it’s definitely a question of when and how much to rely on others for a child’s education and development.”
“For most people, it’s not something you can adequately do alone. The data supports this: the greatest predictor for doing well in school is parental involvement.” – succedaneousone
The subReddit was disgusted with how much the OP’s grandson was being failed by his family, both in his education and social life. If a parent refused to babysit him or to allow their child to be babysat by his parents, we can only imagine what the grandson’s behavior is like, and for good reason.
With such poor math and reading skills at the age of seven, how neglected have other important skills been?
Whether the OP works to teach him in secret while babysitting him or seeks out other resources for him, it’s obvious that something needs to be done before the grandson’s lack of advancement becomes essentially irreversible.