The Question of Socialization -- Eye Roll

That title is snarky. I'm usually not a snarky person. 

I'm a little sorry, but I guess if I was really sorry, I would have changed the title.

It's the question I dread most when talking to people about homeschool.

"How do you socialize your kids?"

Here is what I actually hear:
"Do your kids have friends?
Do your kids know how to act in public?
Do you ever leave your house or do you just keep them sheltered from the outside world?"

People might as well just say to me, "ya know... homeschooled kids are socially awkward."


Honestly, I used to think that too.

I remember a couple of homeschooled kids that went to my church growing up. I realize today that I only thought that because of what other kids said to me. When I look back, I liked those girls and I admired them a LOT. They were quiet, yes, but I'm quiet too. 

They were really polite, paid attention to and respected authority, were super talented, and were so KIND. One of them selflessly, without prompting from any adult, traded a solo with me in our kids choir, because she knew I wanted that particular song. She made a huge impact on me at a young age.

In fact, when I remember those girls, I think to myself that I would LOVE LOVE LOVE my children to be like them. 

I can't place any behaviors that made me think that they were weird. They just weren't friends with my friends. That's what made us think they were socially awkward?! Shame on us.

Listen, I taught in a public school for ten years. I encountered numerous socially awkward kids. 

Assuming all homeschooled kids are socially awkard makes the assumption that all public school kids are socially adept which is SO NOT TRUE.

Socially awkward kids tend to come from socially awkward families; socially adept kids tend to come from socially adept families. 

There are always exceptions, of course, but just think about it. Everyone knows someone who is eccentric or "weird." Everyone has someone in their life that is hard to work with or difficult to be around. What made them that way? 

Were they all homeschooled? 
Probably not.

Did they come from a family that had different personalities and ways of doing things than yours? Probably.

My kids have friends.
My kids are learning (because well, they are four and six and no kid's behavior is always on point) to love and respect people.
My kids get out of the house. (In fact, as I write this they are with my husband at an astronomers club gathering looking at the moon and Jupiter. And that is after hours outside playing with the neighbors).

We are doing things differently from most other families and if that is what makes us socially awkward then, so be it. 

Let's be real. We all have quirks and socially awkward times. I'll start! 

I am an introvert. I suck at pleasantries and surface conversation. People often think I am stand-offish and stuck up when they first meet me. To avoid that impression, sometimes I over compensate with smiling and head nods during conversations.

Tell me a quirk or awkward moment of yours in the comments : ) 

16 comments:

  1. I think it takes an incredibly patient and dedicated mama to home school and I'm certain you are raising beautiful and inspired souls. No eye rolls here :)

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    1. Oh thank you, Alina! That is the sweetest : )

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  2. It's true that homeschool kids can be just as socially aware (or unaware) as kids in a traditional school setting. As a public school teacher, I met plenty of kids who were super socially awkward that had been in school for 7 years...while school is ONE way to help kids develop social skills, there are lots of other places to interact with peers, too. Your snarkiness is justified. :)

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    1. lol. Thanks, Meg. You're right, school is just ONE way. I think there are so many more opportunities now for kids than when I was a kid.

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  3. I know plenty of kids who I went to school with that were WAY more socially awkward than kids I knew that were homeschooled! You're doing great!

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  4. In our area tons of kids are homeschooled and it is much more commonplace! Good for you for doing it! I have thought about it in the past and might later

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    1. Neither homeschool nor public school are permanent decisions. That's one comfort I took when we actually committed to homeschool. If it doesn't go well... we can try PS.

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  5. I have met plenty of homeschooled children who aren't at all socially awkward, and plenty of public school kids who don't understand how to act in public at all! There are so many ways to develop a child's social skills whether you are homeschooling or not!

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  6. It's crazy to me how many stereotypes are attached to homeschooling. I think any mama who does is a rockstar and kids are going to have their share of successes and challenges regardless of how they receive their education.

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    1. There are a ton of stereo types! I am hoping smash some of them ;)

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  7. Omg I am so awkward! I was always the quiet shy one and I'm not great at making conversation. The worst is when I'm talking to someone else is who socially awkward because I can just feel the tension. I don't know if public school helped or not but I'm still pretty awkward as an adult lol. - Christina

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    1. RIGHT?! I need extroverted people. When I am with a fellow introvert... it is SO awkward. I get it : )

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  8. As a former teacher turned homeschooling mama, so. much. yes!!! I have encountered way more socially inept students in public school than in the homeschooling world.

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    1. Being in the school system as an adult taught me a whole lot about how much is lacking in today's American families. It was a real wake up call.

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