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My perceptions of HS'ed kids growing up is influencing my decision now...advice?

post #1 of 193
Thread Starter 
My daughter is 3 and my son is 15 months old. My 3 year old attend a parent co-op play school 2 mornings a week from 9:00-11:30 and she loves it! I love working in her classroom and serving on the parent board and being a part of her school experience. It is all play based and very developmental...If she could stay there through Jr High I would be in heaven, but it is just for 3-5 year olds.

So while it is still a bit off, I have been tossing the idea of HS'ing around. I was a pre-K teacher prior to having kids, I love the idea of following my childs lead and making learning exciting, and I don't like the idea of the wasted time in schools, standardized tests etc.

If she were to go to public school, she would go to a school less than a block from our house, which is an excellent school and very sought after (probably because of the good test scores, which I don't really care about). I just hate the idea of homework for a 6 year old and lack of music and art and hands on science.

But, here is my hesitation...

when I was in school not so long ago (I'm 26) the home schooled kids I knew (just a handfull, certainly not a large sample) were weird and very dorky. I feel horrible saying that, and please know I am not calling anyones child weird or dorky! I just can't get that images out of my head and when I think of homeschooling my kids, I worry about that. When I was in Jr high and HS you could tell the kids at church who were HS'ed and I remember thinking "I won't ever do that to my kid" and now, here I am, thinking about doing that to my kid!

Is this because I lived in an area where homeschooling was not done by many people, or because it was just a while ago, or was my sample of homeschool just very small.

I know that obviously, not all homeschooled kids are weird, and that fitting in is certainly not the most importnant thing in life but I wonder if anyone else had to get past a bias like this before deciding to HS their kids?
post #2 of 193
My husband had a similar experience and was against hsing. He has changed his mind and things are fine now. There are tons more resources for hs'd kids now than just 10 years ago. Playgroups, classes, co-ops, sports, etc.
post #3 of 193
I'm weird and dorky and I attended PS all the way through. My daughter, who is only 5 but homeschooled, is a lot more social than I ever was. I don't want to generalize too much but the homeschooled kids I have hung around with are really nice, sweet kids who try to make sure all the kids, regardless of age, feel included. They are gentle and play fair most of the time. They just seem for the most part like uncommonly nice human beings.
post #4 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by amseiler
My husband had a similar experience and was against hsing. He has changed his mind and things are fine now. There are tons more resources for hs'd kids now than just 10 years ago. Playgroups, classes, co-ops, sports, etc.
Yeah that....

and I went to PS all my life and there were plenty of "weird" and definitely dorky kids around (i'm sure people thought I was weird and dorky at some point, just ask my sister )

don't sweat it.

Signed - a mom who won't be HSing. (I don't think I have it in me! DH is totally against it and I don't think it's a good fit for my son anyway. )
post #5 of 193
I suppose "weird" and "very dorky" are subjective terms. How do you define them? If that definition trumps all benefits of home education, then don't do it, it might be too risky.
post #6 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sierratahoe
I suppose "weird" and "very dorky" are subjective terms. How do you define them? If that definition trumps all benefits of home education, then don't do it, it might be too risky.
Perhaps you missed the point of my post, which is this was they way I felt when I was a kid...perhaps it doesn't make sence as an adult, but I was young, and fitting in was much more importnant to me then than it is now.

How did I define weird and dorky...I supose they seemed socially awkward, wouldn't hang around other kids, stayed with the adults, dressed differently than most of the other kids, and didn't participate in the youth activities at church. To my 10 year old brain they were dorky.

Like I said, I am starting to think about homeschooling as I think it has many benefits...am I worried my kid is going to be socially awkward, not really, it is certainly not going to stop me from HS'ing if we decide we want to.

I was just curious if anyone else found they had to get past biases they held as a child or adolecent as they found there way to HS'ing.
post #7 of 193
I know whereof you speak...highwater pants on boys, way too many obscure science fiction book references in casual conversation, an inability to make friends with children outside the family, and ill-fitting, shlumpy clothes on the girls? Hey, that was me you saw back then!

Seriously, I agree with amseiler. I went to a homeschool meeting in my area a few months ago...nary a highwater in sight, all the children playing together very nicely and nobody hiding in a corner. Well, ok, one kid hiding in a corner. I imagine a lot has to do with the parents' sociability and ease with others and disinterest in total isolation from peers (what leads to many of these problems, in my case and others I've consulted with). I think it can be homeschooling can definitely be done where you can balance the dorky with the hip...what is that.."hipork?" Nooo, doesn't sound right....dorky with cool..."drool"...no...
post #8 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by USAmma
I'm weird and dorky and I attended PS all the way through.
Hey, I resemble that remark! I would've looked like that no matter what my education looked like though, because that was just me, just our financial level, just how my life was. And I was very shy.. no sci-fi though.. I was all Little House on the Prairie all the time.

I agree with PP's.. the atmosphere really has changed, (my goodness, it's practically mainstream around some places!) but I think it depends on where you are and who is homeschooling around you. I see some hs kids here that aren't exactly sporting the lastest styles, but what I like is that they don't care and no one around them does either! I think, with the families I know personally, it's about choices and priorities, and they can't afford the nice clothes because their moms stay home with them, and they aren't rolling in cash.. but again, they don't care. I like that. They are very sweet, (not that they don't have their moments, I just mean comparatively and averagely, yk) very social, and all of them have a whole huge pack of friends, mostly but not all other hs'ers, and not all relatives either!

I imagine your memories from being a kid are accurate, it's just that, quite naturally, you compared those hs'ing kids to the kids in your classes at school and church, (I was too shy for participating in our church stuff, too) and there usually is a noticeable difference, on some level. I think kids would pick up on that more obviously than adults would. I was just a late bloomer, socially speaking. I think I would have handled things a lot better if I hadn't been repeatedly forced into situations I was neither equipped to handle nor eager to experience. (I pretty much remained miserable until my early 20's, when I really wanted to be a part of other people's social lives, then I figured it out)

My dd... social butterfly extrovert extraordinaire. Thank goodness I got over my shyness, I'd be just terrified to go anywhere in public with her for fear of who she'd force me to talk with! But you know, she is all clothes and fashion and super girly and I've met more people in this town I've lived since she started talking than in the previous 18 years I lived here without her!

Anyway.. I don't think she will ever look like the hs'ing kids from your childhood, but I worry that my ds (me, if I were a little boy!) might!


lizzie
post #9 of 193
It sounds like the kids did not feel the need to conform to the group standards that many children deal with at ps on a daily basis.Not to say it does not ocur in hs children.But fads/trends and pecking order seem to be far less of an issue in hsers.

Lol, my dd found it frustrating at 5 dealing with her 6yo friend(going to ps),because she kept telling dd she was not *cool* if she did not wear make up,carry a purse,or do the latest dance/cheer.

<<<How did I define weird and dorky...I supose they seemed socially awkward, wouldn't hang around other kids, stayed with the adults, dressed differently than most of the other kids, and didn't participate in the youth activities at church. To my 10 year old brain they were dorky.
>>>>
post #10 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbigailsMomSarah
How did I define weird and dorky...I supose they seemed socially awkward, wouldn't hang around other kids, stayed with the s, dressed differently than most of the other kids, and didn't participate in the youth activities at church. To my 10 year old brain they were dorky.
And if you hadn't been in school, yourself.... you probably wouldn't have noticed nor cared about any of those things.

For the record, I went to public schools all the way through.

My kids are mostly okay in social situations, but I guess to some kids they might seem awkward. You might ask why that is. Well, school situations (IMO) breed some of the stupidest and most antisocial behaviors on the planet, and my kids don't feel comfortable engaging in those behaviors. My neighbor's 8th grader was bragging the other day about how he tried to start a fight with this "little weakling" in his class, and how on the last day of school he plans on dumping a drink on the kid's head. My own 14 yo ds shakes his head in disgust when he hears things like that. The neighbor's kid thinks his behavior makes him "cool" and can't understand why my son doesn't think so. I would say he definitely thinks my son is "dorky."

My kids also don't care about name brand clothing or $100 shoes. They haven't been conditioned to care about those things.

I have participated in homeschool support groups that run the gamut between atheist homeschoolers and ultra-religious homeschoolers. I hope nobody takes this the wrong way, but I've noticed a definite difference in kids who are homeschooled for religious reasons vs. those who are homeschooled for other reasons. It's entirely possible that the kids in your church who were homeschooled were only allowed to socialize with other homeschooled children of their faith. I lived in Virginia for four years and encountered this a few times. People who are too secular in their lifestyles are considered to be bad influences by some of these folks, and they wouldn't want their children to be damaged by kids who are exposed to too many worldly things. There are few places more "worldly" than public schools.
post #11 of 193
My husband never knew any homeschooled kids growing up. I knew lots since I was homeschooled. None of my friends were weird, though. We avoided the ultra-conservative Christian groups though because they did tend to be weird. I think the weird homeschoolers do stand out because, well, they are weird. Thing is you may run into lots of "normal" homeschoolers and never realize they homeschool because they seem so "normal" to you. I've met some weird public and private schoolers, too, with no social skills. It doesn't make me think all are weird, though. Make sure you provide your own kids with normal social interactions (not hard to do at all, particularly in this day with the high numbers and acceptance of homeschooling). Some kids will just be weird and socially awkward no matter what you do, though.
post #12 of 193
I went to school and was very weird and dorky by your definition--yes I was the one wearing "funny" clothes, reading a book at recess, would rather stay with the adults, etc. I only knew a few hs kids, but I envied them because they were as dorky as I was, but they didn't care! I was very self-conscious about my dorkyness, while the hs kids weren't exposed to what was "cool" so they were (to my mind) blissfully ignorant of their own dorkyness.

I did feel sorry for the hs kids in another way, though; I thought that having your parents as your teachers was like being schooled 24 hrs a day, i.e. you never get a break! I mostly got along well with my parents and I *hated* school, so the idea of contaminating one with the other scared me.

Anyway, I *want* my kids to be "dorky" and "uncool" in preserving their individuality and values. I know that socialization doesn't have to mean conformity, but I think too often they go together.
post #13 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbigailsMomSarah
How did I define weird and dorky...I supose they seemed socially awkward, wouldn't hang around other kids, stayed with the adults, dressed differently than most of the other kids, and didn't participate in the youth activities at church. To my 10 year old brain they were dorky.
Were those kids happy? Because being happy is a lot more important than being perceived as dorky by other 10 year olds. I went to public school and I was not a dork, but I certainly wasn't popular, either. I had a hard time relating to the other kids because they were interested in tv and shopping. I became a drug-using punk because I was trying to find a place to fit in that was not with the hair-and-makeup crowd. I think that it would be less likely that homeschooled kids would have to go to that extreme to find a place to fit in because they have regular contact with such a wider range of people.

Looking back, I probably should have befriended the dorks. Those kids knew a lot more about what really mattered that most of the other kids.

Namaste!
post #14 of 193
Quote:
I have participated in homeschool support groups that run the gamut between atheist homeschoolers and ultra-religious homeschoolers. I hope nobody takes this the wrong way, but I've noticed a definite difference in kids who are homeschooled for religious reasons vs. those who are homeschooled for other reasons. It's entirely possible that the kids in your church who were homeschooled were only allowed to socialize with other homeschooled children of their faith. I lived in Virginia for four years and encountered this a few times. People who are too secular in their lifestyles are considered to be bad influences by some of these folks, and they wouldn't want their children to be damaged by kids who are exposed to too many worldly things. There are few places more "worldly" than public schools.
Well, we homeschool for the religious reasons you mention (among many, many other reasons) and I don't think it makes the kids anti-social or anything like that. I think it does make them more resistant to peer pressure, which might seem like being anti-social or dorky.
post #15 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
Were those kids happy? Because being happy is a lot more important than being perceived as dorky by other 10 year olds. I went to public school and I was not a dork, but I certainly wasn't popular, either. I had a hard time relating to the other kids because they were interested in tv and shopping. I became a drug-using punk because I was trying to find a place to fit in that was not with the hair-and-makeup crowd. I think that it would be less likely that homeschooled kids would have to go to that extreme to find a place to fit in because they have regular contact with such a wider range of people.
But it's also important to have some friends that you connect with, I think, in order to be happy. Even if it is a crowd of fellow dorks and rejects. It sounds like the OP is saying that these kids had no other friends among their peers -i.e. they couldn't associate with other kids and only hung out with adults. I didn't have friends when I was HS'ed and it was lonely, but I would help my child find friends and social opportunities. Friends are also probably why you also started hanging out with the punk crowd - to find acceptance and your own social milieu. It was for me, after starting public school.

Although, in my opinon, it was also WAAAY more fun to hang out with the punk crowd (sans drugs, of course) than the mainstream kids. Why worry about the new Cover Girl line when you could be slamdancing?
post #16 of 193
I don't think it was so much the homeschooling that made those kids dorky... it was that that homeschooling was a tough choice a generation ago, pretty far from the mainstream, so it was mostly families and kids who really had problems fitting into the mainstream who took the plunge. In other words they chose homeschooling because of dorkyness, they didn't become that way due to homeschooling.

The other posters make some valid points too ... there have always been dorks in public schools, dorks can be perfectly happy people, hooray for dorkdom and individuality, dorkiness isn't a negative label amongst homeschooled kids the way it is in schools, etc. etc..

Miranda

(who completely lost track of who she was for a decade or two due to being so successful at actively avoiding any expression of dorky traits)
post #17 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
But it's also important to have some friends that you connect with, I think, in order to be happy. Even if it is a crowd of fellow dorks and rejects. It sounds like the OP is saying that these kids had no other friends among their peers -i.e. they couldn't associate with other kids and only hung out with adults. I didn't have friends when I was HS'ed and it was lonely, but I would help my child find friends and social opportunities. Friends are also probably why you also started hanging out with the punk crowd - to find acceptance and your own social milieu. It was for me, after starting public school.
Friends are important, but why do they have to be same-age friends? When I was a kid I *always* wanted to hang out with the adults. I just couldn't relate to people my age, and I hated being confined to the kiddie table. Ironically now that I'm grown up, I find most adult conversation boring and tedious, so I gravitate towards the children at social functions. One of the many problems I have with conventional schooling is the artificial age segregation. My kids interact equally well with babies, children, teenagers, adults--it makes no difference to them. That's very liberating I think.

If you don't mind my asking, why didn't you have friends when you were homeschooled? Did your family not let you? If you were socially awkward, would you have been any less so in school?
post #18 of 193
Quote:
I have participated in homeschool support groups that run the gamut between atheist homeschoolers and ultra-religious homeschoolers. I hope nobody takes this the wrong way, but I've noticed a definite difference in kids who are homeschooled for religious reasons vs. those who are homeschooled for other reasons. It's entirely possible that the kids in your church who were homeschooled were only allowed to socialize with other homeschooled children of their faith. I lived in Virginia for four years and encountered this a few times. People who are too secular in their lifestyles are considered to be bad influences by some of these folks, and they wouldn't want their children to be damaged by kids who are exposed to too many worldly things. There are few places more "worldly" than public schools.
I was going to say something similar - even just 15 years ago, my understanding is that the vast majority of homeschoolers were very religious, which often meant very sheltered, and often raised in a completely different way than families who are less strict about their religious beliefs. I think those are the kids you saw. Today, the fastest growing segment of homeschoolers are secular and middle class.

I KNOW it has more to do with the parents and their lifestyle than it does homeschooling itself. From my brief experience of our homeschool group, most kids look pretty darn normal, and so do their parents. There are a few with dorky clothes or messy hair, but so do their parents! I'm not proud of admitting this, but I am very into clothes, styles, matching outfits, brushed hair, etc., even for my kids. I don't force them into clothes they hate, but pretty much the only things they have to choose from in their drawer are current styles, and I don't see this changing. Of course, my ds will have to get a court order before I buy jeans that hang off his ass, so in that sense, he might look a little dorky when he's 14 and wearing jeans that actually fit him.

I'm actually hoping for a little bit of dorkiness, in the sense that being a kind, concerned, engaged and respectful pre-teen/teenager would actually be considered dorky nowadays. If I ever notice any sort of debilitating social awkwardness with ds I will be sure to address it in an appropriate way.

So to answer your question, I have thought about the issue of "weirdness," but living down the street from one of the top highschools in our city and seeing the kids who go there and listening to the way they speak, I have to say that I am more afraid of my ds being "normal."
post #19 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
Friends are important, but why do they have to be same-age friends?

If you don't mind my asking, why didn't you have friends when you were homeschooled? Did your family not let you? If you were socially awkward, would you have been any less so in school?
Oh no, I definitely don't think a child needs to only hang out with same-age friends. I think it's best to have friends from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. But to be able to get along with other children at all is a nice thing. Most adults don't always want to play dolls, or do role-playing games, or whatever a kid is into...and I think it is important for kids to have their own kid time. I guess, if they want it.

I didn't have friends when I was homeschooled because my parents were sorta anti-people and terrified of the "bad influence" of other children on us. They were redneck hippies, in a sense, back to the landers. We were not religious - but as others have said, there were few hs'ers back then, and all were religious except my family. I am personally not that fearful of peer influence at all (and no, I also don't like the book Hold On To Your Kids for that reason alone), and it wouldn't be a motivating factor for homeschooling her next year - it would be because I think institutionalized, rote, gold-star learning is hella dorky in a bad way! I really hated that part of public school.

I wasn't as socially deprived during the times I did attend school (starting in sixth grade) because my parents didn't need to make an effort. I was socially different, but I still had my one friend at school everyday to look forward to being with and just hanging out with. By HS, I found my group (punk/goth/grunge kids) and was very happy - I could be into 1920s silent films, interested in independent learning and random philosophers, and be in the super-cool crowd! I also went to a pretty awesome HS though where you could design your own learning (it was based on the Grace Llewellyn book).
post #20 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
Oh no, I definitely don't think a child needs to only hang out with same-age friends. I think it's best to have friends from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. But to be able to get along with other children at all is a nice thing. Most adults don't always want to play dolls, or do role-playing games, or whatever a kid is into...and I think it is important for kids to have their own kid time. I guess, if they want it.
Well, I still like to play dolls and role-play, but I know I'm the exception... I agree that kids should have the opportunity to be with other kids *if they want to,* but I think conventional schools are a destructive way to accomplish this. Don't take this analogy too far, but prisoners often have very close relationships with each other; you don't see people choosing to go to prison for the social experience. School kids don't get to play or socialize in school; they're too busy doing busywork.

Quote:
I didn't have friends when I was homeschooled because my parents were sorta anti-people and terrified of the "bad influence" of other children on us. They were redneck hippies, in a sense, back to the landers. We were not religious - but as others have said, there were few hs'ers back then, and all were religious except my family.
Okay, that makes sense--but your family chose to be isolated and homeschooled you for that reason, you weren't isolated *because* you were homeschooled. Also, I hate to bring this up again, but y'all are saying "religious" like it's a bad thing or code for mouth-breathing flat-earther. We are what some would call "ultra-religious" homeschoolers and are pretty well adjusted (well maybe I'm not, but the rest of my family is).

Quote:
I am personally not that fearful of peer influence at all (and no, I also don't like the book Hold On To Your Kids for that reason alone), and it wouldn't be a motivating factor for homeschooling her next year
I thought "Hold On To Your Kids" resonated with a lot of my personal experience and observation, but I can see how you wouldn't. So do you think that peer influence is usually a good thing?

Quote:
I think institutionalized, rote, gold-star learning is hella dorky in a bad way! I really hated that part of public school.
On this I totally agree with you!

Quote:
I wasn't as socially deprived during the times I did attend school (starting in sixth grade) because my parents didn't need to make an effort. I was socially different, but I still had my one friend at school everyday to look forward to being with and just hanging out with. By HS, I found my group (punk/goth/grunge kids) and was very happy - I could be into 1920s silent films, interested in independent learning and random philosophers, and be in the super-cool crowd! I also went to a pretty awesome HS though where you could design your own learning (it was based on the Grace Llewellyn book).
Not a hostile question I promise: do you think you would have had such a positive experience at a conventional school, or would you have missed isolation? To me, being isolated is better than being ostracized, and much better than being harassed.

I really do mean all of this in a good way. This is giving me a much better perspective.
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