Thinking about homeschooling - worried about social aspect because of my own experience. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was homeschooled, but my parents didn't start until I was in 2nd grade. I remember having a traumatic experience in kindergarten/1st grade. I went to an inner-city "Christian" private school for those 2 years and for some reason I became extremely shy to the point that I would not talk at all to anyone all day long. I remember feeling very anxious about school and any social situation at that age. I still remember those feelings, and I don't know why. Obviously I can't blame that on homeschooling, because it started before we started homeschooling. We also moved around a few times, so maybe that also added to the stress? But, I wonder if homeschooling allowed me to continue to be like that and didn't force me to grow out of it. Maybe if I had stayed in school I would have gotten over, it, I don't know...

 

Anyway, I continued to be like that, as a kid, even after we were homeschooled. I was fine at home and happier but had serious shyness issues anywhere outside of the house. I remember hating that about myself. It took me until highschool to really grow out of it, which is way too long in my opinion. It's normal for kids to be shy, but I was shy to an extreme and it shouldn't have taken me almost my entire childhood to grow out of it.

 

So, I'm afraid of my kids having this problem. I don't really know why I was like that. I was never abused or anything. I always thought I would never homeschool my kids because I was afraid I'd be allowing them to be anti-social like I was and I wanted to really make it a priority to be more social and have friends as a kid. Now I am reconsidering home-schooling. My baby is only 6 months old so I have a while to decide, but just thinking about it!

 

What do others think? From your experience, does home-schooling have anything to do with social skills? I know there are plenty of ways to learn social skills while homeschooling, and perhaps even better social skills because you can be proactive about where and when your child meets with others and makes friends. I know that personality and some temperament is hereditary, so perhaps my child will be naturally shy, but I want to do everything I can to make sure she is not shy to the extreme point that I was. I always felt very different and alienated from others. I don't see anything my parents did wrong, except for moving several times and going from a small city to a large one, which perhaps that was a big change for a 5 year old.

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#2 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 03:31 PM
 
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Have you ever read The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron?  You might want to see if it fits you, to help you understand where you were coming from as a child if it does fit you.  I was a highly sensitive child and am raising at least one (probably two).  If this is your situation, I think most schools can actually be more detrimental than helpful.  I'm fortunate to be in an area with a wonderful homeschooling community and endless opportunities for social interaction.  And parents are expected to be at most events, and welcome at pretty much all of them, which is great for my sensitive daughter.  She can interact with others but still get guidance and support from me if she needs help working through something.  With the student-teacher ratios at our local public school, there's no way she could get the support she needs to work through confusing peer interactions in a positive way.

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#3 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 03:32 PM
 
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I think homeschooling and lack of social skills/shyness are two totally separate issues.  If you are worried about it however, I would start making connections with other parents who homeschool or plan to homeschool as soon as possible.  I joined a local HS group when dd was only 3, and met lots of nice people through it.  I also met many people through friends of friends who knew I was homeschooling/going to homeschool and would "set me up" with their friends who were thinking about homeschooling.  Get out there and start networking!  It's never too early!
 


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#4 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 07:21 PM
 
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I used to be really shy and anxious (not to the extent you were, but still a lot more than most kids) and I went to public school. I also didn't get over it until high school. I think some kids are just this way, I don't think if you went to PS you would have gotten over it sooner, I think it would have just made you more miserable! Maybe... If you want to HS and its right for you and your kids, then go for it. Just strive for being in lots of groups and getting out a lot!

Proud Mama to Abigail Noelle and Brady Phoenix (August 29, 2009) and Claire Zoe (October 26, 2010)  love.gif
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#5 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by puddle View Post

Have you ever read The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron?  You might want to see if it fits you, to help you understand where you were coming from as a child if it does fit you.  I was a highly sensitive child and am raising at least one (probably two).  If this is your situation, I think most schools can actually be more detrimental than helpful.  I'm fortunate to be in an area with a wonderful homeschooling community and endless opportunities for social interaction.  And parents are expected to be at most events, and welcome at pretty much all of them, which is great for my sensitive daughter.  She can interact with others but still get guidance and support from me if she needs help working through something.  With the student-teacher ratios at our local public school, there's no way she could get the support she needs to work through confusing peer interactions in a positive way.


Thank you for the recommendation of this book, I will look for it at the library!

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#6 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 08:52 PM
 
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I was very shy as a kid, and going to school didn't help me become less shy - it just provided opportunities for me to be teased or left out because of my shyness.  By the time I graduated from high school, I was better, but still pretty shy.  My DP was also very shy and found school a miserable experience.  One of the reasons we were both attracted to homeschooling was because we didn't want our kids to have the bad social experiences we did in school.  As it turns out, our DD gets along really well with other kids and would probably do fine socially in school.  DS seems shyer, but it's too early to tell how things are going to work out for him.

 

Anyway, homeschooling strikes me as a better choice for shy kids. They can socialize with a small group of familiar kids, or have playdates with just one or two friendly kids. That's a lot easier to deal with than being put in a classroom with 20 other kids and having to figure out how to interact with them and make friends.  And parents are likely to be around during homeschool get-togethers so there's less opportunity for bullying or meanness.  My homeschooled DD is 9, and she has literally never had a bad social experience with other kids.  (And she's had plenty of good social experiences - she's not at all anti-social or isolated.)  Today her 10 year old cousin (who is not homeschooled) was talking about other kids who have been mean to her and made her really mad and when she asked DD if there was anyone she felt that way about, DD couldn't think of anyone.

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#7 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was very shy as a kid, and going to school didn't help me become less shy - it just provided opportunities for me to be teased or left out because of my shyness.  By the time I graduated from high school, I was better, but still pretty shy.  My DP was also very shy and found school a miserable experience.  One of the reasons we were both attracted to homeschooling was because we didn't want our kids to have the bad social experiences we did in school.  As it turns out, our DD gets along really well with other kids and would probably do fine socially in school.  DS seems shyer, but it's too early to tell how things are going to work out for him.

 

Anyway, homeschooling strikes me as a better choice for shy kids. They can socialize with a small group of familiar kids, or have playdates with just one or two friendly kids. That's a lot easier to deal with than being put in a classroom with 20 other kids and having to figure out how to interact with them and make friends.  And parents are likely to be around during homeschool get-togethers so there's less opportunity for bullying or meanness.  My homeschooled DD is 9, and she has literally never had a bad social experience with other kids.  (And she's had plenty of good social experiences - she's not at all anti-social or isolated.)  Today her 10 year old cousin (who is not homeschooled) was talking about other kids who have been mean to her and made her really mad and when she asked DD if there was anyone she felt that way about, DD couldn't think of anyone.


This is wonderful! I'm really happy I started this thread and can hear other's experiences! I really feel like home-schooling may be best for us. I'm really excited to look into it more. I have a lot of time, but I'm glad I've thought about it early :) Thank you for sharing!

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#8 of 10 Old 08-08-2012, 07:45 PM
 
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Totally echoing what Daffodil said. I'm another who was a horrifically shy kid, and school was TERRIBLE.  First of all, I couldn't figure out what everyone else was doing.. everyone else seemed to know what was going on, what to say, how to act, and I just couldn't figure out how they knew all that.  So 2), I was terrified to talk too much to anyone, in large part because I knew from experience that I was very likely to do something or say something wrong, embarassing, etc.  And 3) I was horribly teased because of 1) and 2).  

 

As others have said, I started getting better a bit in high school.  But I wasn't really BETTER until university age.  As in, truly confident in myself, no longer terrified to place an order in a fast food lineup, able to make a phone call.  

 

I've read quite a bit about introverted and sensitive kids.  One of the most important things to realize, IMO, is that it takes a WHOLE LOT OF ENERGY for a very introverted/shy kid to get through a day of school, surrounded by 30 other kids.  With all that energy being expended on just surviving in a crowd, there's not much energy left for learning.

 

In my case I did fine with the academics - because it was in fact the only thing I was actually good at.  I was determined to be the best in the class, and somehow believed, year after year, that this would earn me respect and popularity among my peers.  Heh.  And without a huge crowd of friends to go out with all the time, I guess I also had lots of time for homework.  :p  

 

Be that as it may, whether or not an introverted child is able to do well academically in school, it does no service to improving social skills.  I finally starting getting 'better' when I started to realize and accept my own self-worth, etc etc, and not because I 'had to' socialize in order to 'survive' in a school environment.  In fact, the more pressure to 'socialize' I felt, the more I would shut down.


Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#9 of 10 Old 08-09-2012, 08:13 AM
 
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I'm the mom to a now-grown homeschooler who was very shy, to the point of Selective Mutism, as a young child. Her anxiety in large group situations was the major reason we began homeschooling in the first place, and as Daffodil says, homeschooling was a great choice in that it allowed her to experience gradually more challenging social situations, rather than overwhelming her with large-group all-day socialization at age 5 or 6. Her anxiety began gradually improving around age 8, and by high school age she was over the worst of it: people who just met her would see her as perhaps mildly reserved, but not overly shy or awkward. So it took quite a long time for her to get a complete set of large-group social coping skills, but it wasn't a long time fraught with stress and anxiety: just gentle challenges suitable for where she was at in her development.

 

By age 15 she was comfortable travelling abroad in foreign countries without family, by age 17 she moved across the country on her own to live independently, manage her own life, advocate for herself when life presented obstacles and so on. That was the year she also started high school part-time, and she had no trouble with that. She's now in school full-time, she's assembled a vast social and support network, and is happily launched as an adult with no particular hang-ups or baggage. 

 

Some kids are just wired in ways that make large-group social skills stressful and difficult to learn until they have the maturity they need to assemble coping skills. It takes time, but mine, at least, didn't require a stressful "push" to get over her social anxiety. Just support and gradually increasing exposure, and homeschooling was a beautiful way to give her that.

 

Miranda

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#10 of 10 Old 08-15-2012, 06:48 PM
 
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I was a shy and socially anxious child/teen. I still have some social anxiety actually. I was schooled all the way through. I think homeschooling would be easier on a shy child. If you have a shy child you could always look into ways to help her deal with social anxiety or shyness--even therapy. That, too, would be easier if she were homeschooling.

Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys! 

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