What DOES "Unsocialized Homeschooler" Mean? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When people say the kids are unsocialized, what exactly are they saying about the child? A friend (with no kids, no mind) recently FLIPPED OUT when I said that I was thinking of homeschooling and he jumped right on the "socialization" bandwagon and when I said that was largely a myth and stereotype---he said "AH no....I knew some of these people growng up!" I was done with the conversation so I didn't ask him what these kids were doing that was so "unsocialized." But what are people referring to??? TIA
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#2 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 04:34 PM
 
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Well, some people are introverts no matter what type of schooling they have. I was extremely shy, still am to a degree. But I was just as shy from K-3rd grade in private school as I was at home for the rest of my schooling. My brother is a lot like me but I have an older sister and another brother who are extroverts and love being with a lot of people and make friends easily.
Some people might have looked at me and my brother and thought we fit the stereotype of "unsocialized homeschooler" quite well but it was just personality.
It's not like there aren't really shy, reclusive kids in public school! (every teen movie has at least one) So why do all homeschool kids have to be outgoing?
I guess my point is that people look at a small group of kids and find one "weird" one and assume that it's because of homeschooling.

Of course there are some families who live very separated lives and homeschool and their children may not have enough social interaction but that is more related to their whole lifestyle than just the homeschooling.
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#3 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 04:35 PM
 
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The only thing I can think of is that certain kids may be shy or introverted (by nature) and if they're homeschooled they're labled "unsocialized." I also think that many hs'd kids have eccentric, independent thinking, non-conformist parents so when their children are not like everyone else's, well....*stamp* "unsocialized."

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#4 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 04:56 PM
 
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But what are people referring to??? TIA
They're referring to those few peculiar kinds of people we also knew in school - the ones who are just kind of weird and socially awkward regardless of whether they go to school or not. Or, as Koru said, they might just be referring to shy or introverted ones who would be just as shy or introverted if they went to school. Or they might be referring to some who have been socially isolated with extremely conservative religious groups, so they don't blend in with the group so easily. But to assume that your children will be "unsocialized" just because they'll homeschool is plain ignorant and ridiculous with no real thought put into it. - Lillian

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#5 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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Part of why I'm homeschooling my kids is to avoid the kind of 'socialization' they'd be getting in public school. Public school is really an artificial kind of society if you think about it...when else in life will your child be forced into a situation where the only thing he or she might have in common with everyone else is their age? By homeschooling, my kids get to have relationships with people of all ages, just like I do.
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#6 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But to assume that your children will be "unsocialized" just because they'll homeschool is plain ignorant and ridiculous with no real thought put into it. - Lillian

Thank you, I was rather insulted...especially when he said he "felt better" after consulting "other moms" who assured him that once DS turns 5 I'll be shoving him onto the schoolbus. I was mostly upset at that because I resent that anyone would presume to know my relationship with DS better than I would. But anywaysss.

So it sounds like a lot of times it's introversion, non-conformity, and other behaviors anyone sees in public-schooled kids. What a relief! I was thinking that people's reactions make it sound like these kids were feral or had brain disease or something, but when I look at youtube vids made by homeschoolers these kids seem absolutely creative and charming and bright. What a shame that people are misinterpreting and misreporting the behavior of a child, it certainly does reek of ignorance.

ETA: I also read stories of people saying that when they were around a group of homeschooled kids that they could "tell" there was something different about them. That they "can't but their finger on it" but it was "something....." Granted, I wasn't there, but it almost seems like these people only pick up on something either 1)because they were informed they were homeschoolers so they had an antenna up and they just HAD to find something "different" but couldn't really find something different. Or B) the kids act and think out-of-the-box and possibly more expansive than many of the adults they encounter. I swear, since I don't know any homeschooled kids in my IRL, the youtube kids are winning me over!
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I think people say this because they think if the kid isn't put into a large brick building away from their families and made to be with a mix of dozens to hundreds of the other neighborhood kids 7 hrs every weekday, then how the heck can they possibly make any friends or know how to function in "the real world". I mean geez, homeschooling just aint natural, dontcha know.


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#8 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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My MIL is one that talks about the socialization issue all the time. When people talk about homeschoolers being unsocialized, they are referring to the fact that they tend to stick to themselves and they are not loud and obnoxious. MIL works at a ski resort during the winter months and she is always talking about how homeschooled kids stand out and how they just seem to be unable/unwilling to socialize with other kids. I considered most of her "complaints" to be positive. I don't understand how people can see well behaved kids in public and label them as weird because they are not mingling with kids their own age. They tend to act too adult and don't know how to be kids. At least that is what MIL says. I guess if a kid is loud and obnoxious people assume that they are in PS.
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#9 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 07:20 PM
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ETA: I also read stories of people saying that when they were around a group of home schooled kids that they could "tell" there was something different about them. That they "can't but their finger on it" but it was "something....." Granted, I wasn't there, but it almost seems like these people only pick up on something either 1)because they were informed they were homeschoolers so they had an antenna up and they just HAD to find something "different" but couldn't really find something different. Or B) the kids act and think out-of-the-box and possibly more expansive than many of the adults they encounter. I swear, since I don't know any homeschooled kids in my IRL, the youtube kids are winning me over!
I can usually pick a home schooler or especially a group of home schoolers out of a crowd of kids.
1 they don't segregate by age. you will see older kids playing with and helping much younger kids
2 they tend to not fight to get to something. they often end up getting ran over because they want to patiently wait for their turns
3 they will start up conversations with adults.
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#10 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 07:27 PM
 
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"AH no....I knew some of these people growng up!"
Ok, to that I would have said "Obviously they weren't unsocialized if you knew them!"
Now for the record, there was one homeschooling family I knew growing up, the would come to get togethers, but even then their kids were not allowed to play with anyone but each other. No one really knew them, only knew of them. That IMO is unsocalized homeschooling. Activly preventing your children from engaging with other kids, no matter what the age.

But most homeschoolers are not like that. Seriously I would be surprised if I met another family like that in my life time.

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#11 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sha_lyn View Post
I can usually pick a home schooler or especially a group of home schoolers out of a crowd of kids.
1 they don't segregate by age. you will see older kids playing with and helping much younger kids
2 they tend to not fight to get to something. they often end up getting ran over because they want to patiently wait for their turns
3 they will start up conversations with adults.
Interesting, thanks!


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"AH no....I knew some of these people growng up!"

Ok, to that I would have said "Obviously they weren't unsocialized if you knew them!"
Now for the record, there was one homeschooling family I knew growing up, the would come to get togethers, but even then their kids were not allowed to play with anyone but each other. No one really knew them, only knew of them. That IMO is unsocalized homeschooling. Activly preventing your children from engaging with other kids, no matter what the age.

But most homeschoolers are not like that. Seriously I would be surprised if I met another family like that in my life time.
Thanks for sharing this. I will still have plenty of opportunities to respond to his claim (he likes to rile people and himself up), I will keep this response in mind.
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#12 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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When I hear that term, or the idea of kids who "look" homeschooled, I think of the kids who dress funny and/or in dirty clothes, have bad homegrown hair cut, don't comb their hair or brush their teeth, and have no boundries. ( I only know one family like this, and they have burned through all the homeschool groups in our general area.
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#13 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 09:35 PM
 
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I think people tend to have this view in their head of families that homeschool for religious reasons, where the kids are almost brainwashed for lack of a better term. They dress differently, they don't act anything like a normal child of a similar age, and they seem incredibly sheltered. It is entirely possible to shelter your child from outside influences if you homeschool, and I think this is what people are getting at. Most homeschoolers are perfectly socialized, because their parents take them on field trips, they hang out with other homeschoolers, and they converse with others in their community. Those are not the kids that the worried folk are talking about.
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#14 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 09:36 PM
 
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Another thing that's different about homeschoolers and it's often noticeable to the mainstream is that homeschoolers don't know what's "cool." They know what they like and have no idea that it might not be considered cool by ps kids thier age. To me, that's a good thing, but it can make them stand out some. It's so nice that my kids think that what they like is great and nobody's there saying "that's sooo yesterday" or whatever kids would say to put other kids in thier place. There's no popularity contest, so the kids really are themselves. Sometimes, "themselves" are a little quirky. Wouldn't we all be a little quirky if we could just be ourselves?

My first encounter with an unschooled group was uncomfortable for me because the kids seemed so goofy. In comparison to kids in PS who are paralyzed for fear of appearing uncool. PS kids need peer approval for thier clothes, dancing at dances, playing with certain other kids, etc. It's really different when kids don't have those pressures. The might appear "unsocialized," but in reality, they are more comfortable in social situations than most because they are comfortable with themselves.

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#15 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 09:43 PM
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Another thing that's different about homeschoolers and it's often noticeable to the mainstream is that homeschoolers don't know what's "cool." They know what they like and have no idea that it might not be considered cool by ps kids thier age. To me, that's a good thing, but it can make them stand out some. It's so nice that my kids think that what they like is great and nobody's there saying "that's sooo yesterday" or whatever kids would say to put other kids in thier place. There's no popularity contest, so the kids really are themselves. Sometimes, "themselves" are a little quirky. Wouldn't we all be a little quirky if we could just be ourselves?

My first encounter with an unschooled group was uncomfortable for me because the kids seemed so goofy. In comparison to kids in PS who are paralyzed for fear of appearing uncool. PS kids need peer approval for thier clothes, dancing at dances, playing with certain other kids, etc. It's really different when kids don't have those pressures. The might appear "unsocialized," but in reality, they are more comfortable in social situations than most because they are comfortable with themselves.
...well said
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Part of why I'm homeschooling my kids is to avoid the kind of 'socialization' they'd be getting in public school. Public school is really an artificial kind of society if you think about it...when else in life will your child be forced into a situation where the only thing he or she might have in common with everyone else is their age? By homeschooling, my kids get to have relationships with people of all ages, just like I do.
Yes! This is basically what I was going to post...I'm 25 and was homeschooled and have recently been thinking a lot of what the pros/cons of my homeschooling experience was (definitely more pros than cons, btw). This was one of the BIG pros. Being homeschooled allowed me to be around people of all ages, not just my own age group. I met other kids that were in "regular" school and they couldn't relate to other age groups nearly as well. Now, people seem surprised when they ask what schools I went to and I tell them that I was homeschooled. Apparently I don't fit the stereotype that most people seem to have about homeschoolers!
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#17 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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ETA: I also read stories of people saying that when they were around a group of homeschooled kids that they could "tell" there was something different about them.
And yet, we quite often used to hear from docents and group leaders of various kinds that they could really tell a difference when they had a homeschool group, because our kids were so polite, interested, outgoing to adults, and appropriately behaved. Lillian
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#18 of 57 Old 11-08-2008, 11:18 PM
 
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In comparison to kids in PS who are paralyzed for fear of appearing uncool. PS kids need peer approval for thier clothes, dancing at dances, playing with certain other kids, etc.
That's exactly what I've heard some homeschooled teens describe as "school kid behavior" - the need to run with the herd right down the smallest nuances. HOWEVER, those same kids also had school friends who weren't like that at all, and they recognized that difference. So it's not as if they had assumptions that everyone came under a stereotype, but just that there was a certain kind of behavior that could be found in certain circles. - Lillian
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Now for the record, there was one homeschooling family I knew growing up, the would come to get togethers, but even then their kids were not allowed to play with anyone but each other. No one really knew them, only knew of them. That IMO is unsocalized homeschooling. Activly preventing your children from engaging with other kids, no matter what the age.
I grew up across the street from a hs'ing family like this. Very religious & very seclusive. The neighborhood was teeming with kids but they were NEVER outside playing. Their reasons for hs'ing were obviously to "protect" their children from negative influences & it was a bit odd. But...my mom says that they are all wonderful young adults now, working as teachers & midwives & missionaries all over the world.

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#20 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 12:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sha_lyn View Post
I can usually pick a home schooler or especially a group of home schoolers out of a crowd of kids.
1 they don't segregate by age. you will see older kids playing with and helping much younger kids
2 they tend to not fight to get to something. they often end up getting ran over because they want to patiently wait for their turns
3 they will start up conversations with adults.
I totally agree. To this I'll add ...

4. siblings actually seem to genuinely like each other
5. parents relate to the children in an unhurried manner that conveys genuine respect and enjoyment of the children's company

I know some school families that have all these attributes too, but they're much more common amongst homeschoolers, IME.

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#21 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 12:50 AM
 
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I just don't understand this reaction from people. when I mention the people that I am going to start hs next year with DS#1 their first reaction/response is "well, what are you going to do for socialization?" Like we live in the middle of no where and don't see people for months at a time. Hello!! we go to the grocery store, gym class, art class, we have family that we see at least once a week, we also have several friends we visit regulary.

I just don't get it. Is it just an automatic response? They don't know what else to say so that's what pops out? I try not to be offended since I'm not usually talking to complete strangers and don't want to seem snarky in my comeback but geez it's getting annoying!

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#22 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 01:50 AM
 
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I can usually pick a home schooler or especially a group of home schoolers out of a crowd of kids.
1 they don't segregate by age. you will see older kids playing with and helping much younger kids
2 they tend to not fight to get to something. they often end up getting ran over because they want to patiently wait for their turns
3 they will start up conversations with adults.
Oh can I add to that...they might not be wearing the latest trends in clothing and have this season's hottest toys.
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#23 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 01:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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PS kids need peer approval for thier clothes, dancing at dances, playing with certain other kids, etc. It's really different when kids don't have those pressures. The might appear "unsocialized," but in reality, they are more comfortable in social situations than most because they are comfortable with themselves.
This is a big, if not the biggest, reason we want to jump into hs'ing from the start.
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#24 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 09:44 AM
 
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One thing I have found is that as parents, you have to take an active roll in the socialization of your children, whether they are home schooled or not. And of course, some kids are more introverted than others.

I have 4 younger siblings were all home schooled. The youngest one is very much introverted, and at the same time, my parents took no initiative to help him with his social skills. He doesn't really have any, and he does poorly in social situations.

The next one is the complete opposite. He is extremely sociable, by nature, kind of like me. We both thrive in social settings. He, on the other hand, is a lot better at relating to adults than I ever was. In fact, I still have a hard time with it, and I AM one. The only adults I ever interacted with were those that were in authority over me. I never saw adults as "regular" people. So even to this day, I get along better with the younger crowd.
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#25 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 09:50 AM
 
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When people say the kids are unsocialized, what exactly are they saying about the child? A friend (with no kids, no mind) recently FLIPPED OUT when I said that I was thinking of homeschooling and he jumped right on the "socialization" bandwagon and when I said that was largely a myth and stereotype---he said "AH no....I knew some of these people growng up!" I was done with the conversation so I didn't ask him what these kids were doing that was so "unsocialized." But what are people referring to??? TIA
How many people could he have possibly known that homeschooled if he didn't homeschool as well? I would have asked him that. Most people don't run in to HS kids often and if they do then they base what they know about HS on that one family and if it's a good family then it's good in their mind and if it's a bad family then it's bad and they never change their mind about it.

Usually, I try to ignore people like this. There are a lot of great books out there for homeschoolers that go over socialization, some in depth.

The best answer for me is that a child can't possibly learn from kids their own exact age all day long sitting in a classroom. It's like the blind leading the blind. My children are exposed to younger children, older children and adults each day of their lives and THAT to me is real socialization. My children also respect authority figures unlike a lot of children in PS who disrespect their teachers and other authority figures. Kids who hang around kids their own age day in and day out start to get in trouble. They have no way of teaching one another anything except what they have learned in their very short lives.

Another thing you can point out to these kind of people is that they probably don't have a job that they go to each day where they work 7-8 hours with people who are their same exact age, do they? So they are very likely socializing with people of various age groups each day of their life and then there are likely days when they don't socialize much at all. Are they socially inadequate? My children are learning to socialize much like most adults do and they will be better prepared for college and the work force. If they were stuck in a classroom all day long it would be much more 'un'realistic to socialize only with kids their own age, not to mention boring. lol.

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#26 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 11:16 AM
 
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Our homeschool group has a whole range of kids and personality types. It has nothing to do with the school social pecking order that they are 'missing out on'.

One thing that bugs me to no end is some of my family members who blame every tiny little perceived flaw in DS's behaviour as being due to homeschooling. Recently my BIL was over (very opinionated childless person) and DS was trying to do magic tricks for him and was somewhat monopolizing the conversation there for a bit. I gently told DS to do one more trick and then that we needed a break and he should find something to do for a while and when DS left the room BIL told me something to the effect that if he were in school, he could get BEAT UP a few times and that would solve that problem.

And this happens no matter WHAT **TINY** little 'misbehaviour' DS displays. It's very irritating. As if all kids in school are perfect little angels with adult-like awareness of social rules.

Then again, back when DS was younger, BIL blamed things on us co-sleeping or DS being an only child, so there was always some 'REASON' for everything - and mind you, DS is a pretty great kid, IMNSHO, so this wasn't like him having terrible outbursts or anything, just normal kid stuff.

I think sometimes those 'weird' kids are homeschooled BECAUSE they were 'weird' not that homeschooling made them that way. OR they are HS'd due to very strict religious reasons and those kids would have been judged in school as being 'weird' just the same.

It's funny how everyone 'knows' a 'weird' homeschooler. Kind of like my experience with infertility and everyone 'knowing' someone who after they adopted, had a baby on their own. Even though for the VAST % of people, that does not happen, so the fact that everyone KNOWS someone like this is a bit suspicious
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#27 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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I wonder if anyone else has read The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling. It's a well-researched clearly-written book addressing all these "socialization" concerns. It's a 2007 publication too, so it's culturally relevant.
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#28 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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. The best answer for me is that a child can't possibly learn from kids their own exact age all day long sitting in a classroom. It's like the blind leading the blind. My children are exposed to younger children, older children and adults each day of their lives and THAT to me is real socialization. My children also respect authority figures unlike a lot of children in PS who disrespect their teachers and other authority figures. Kids who hang around kids their own age day in and day out start to get in trouble. They have no way of teaching one another anything except what they have learned in their very short lives.

Another thing you can point out to these kind of people is that they probably don't have a job that they go to each day where they work 7-8 hours with people who are their same exact age, do they? So they are very likely socializing with people of various age groups each day of their life and then there are likely days when they don't socialize much at all. Are they socially inadequate? My children are learning to socialize much like most adults do and they will be better prepared for college and the work force. If they were stuck in a classroom all day long it would be much more 'un'realistic to socialize only with kids their own age, not to mention boring. lol.
Even before I ever though of hsing, I knew this. Age group socialization is unnatural, man made and just silly. The blind leading the blind so to speak. And it happens nowhere but schools. How do kids without social skills learn them from other kids who also dont have them?


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Originally Posted by JavaFinch View Post
Our homeschool group has a whole range of kids and personality types. It has nothing to do with the school social pecking order that they are 'missing out on'.

One thing that bugs me to no end is some of my family members who blame every tiny little perceived flaw in DS's behaviour as being due to homeschooling. Recently my BIL was over (very opinionated childless person) and DS was trying to do magic tricks for him and was somewhat monopolizing the conversation there for a bit. I gently told DS to do one more trick and then that we needed a break and he should find something to do for a while and when DS left the room BIL told me something to the effect that if he were in school, he could get BEAT UP a few times and that would solve that problem.

And this happens no matter WHAT **TINY** little 'misbehaviour' DS displays. It's very irritating. As if all kids in school are perfect little angels with adult-like awareness of social rules.

Then again, back when DS was younger, BIL blamed things on us co-sleeping or DS being an only child, so there was always some 'REASON' for everything - and mind you, DS is a pretty great kid, IMNSHO, so this wasn't like him having terrible outbursts or anything, just normal kid stuff.

I think sometimes those 'weird' kids are homeschooled BECAUSE they were 'weird' not that homeschooling made them that way. OR they are HS'd due to very strict religious reasons and those kids would have been judged in school as being 'weird' just the same.

It's funny how everyone 'knows' a 'weird' homeschooler. Kind of like my experience with infertility and everyone 'knowing' someone who after they adopted, had a baby on their own. Even though for the VAST % of people, that does not happen, so the fact that everyone KNOWS someone like this is a bit suspicious
your bil is just a nitpicker who must find fault, sounds like.

I have had the same thought reacently. I was thinking about it one day. I use to think all hsers were "weird". I was watching the kids at our hs group play and they are pretty normal kids. There was one little boy that was kind of unique, but yeah, it dawned on me that probally it wasnt hs that caused his personality but that because of his personality and special needs, his parents choose hs to preserve that. he is a witty, intelligent kid but a little diffrent and in ps would be the one bullied,picked on, singled out, beat up. See, those kids exist in ps or hs, they just fare far better in hs.

I saw this with myoldest ds when he joined an acting troupe, he was younger, but watchign the teens, none of them were 'cool' ya know, they were all quirky in their own way. But they were all comfortable with themselves and they all excepted each other just the way they were, no pressure to conform. I dont know if it was the nautre of that group and acting in general or if those types of kids gravitated to it, but it was great. And there was a mix of hs and ps kids in there.

I watched my own kids this morning playing and reazlied that they may be "weird' by age ten becuase no one will have defeated thier spirits, the silliness will not have been stomped out of them. LIfe will still be fun.

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#29 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alison_in_oh View Post
I wonder if anyone else has read The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling. It's a well-researched clearly-written book addressing all these "socialization" concerns. It's a 2007 publication too, so it's culturally relevant.
No,but its on my list now!!!

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#30 of 57 Old 11-09-2008, 02:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alison_in_oh View Post
I wonder if anyone else has read The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling. It's a well-researched clearly-written book addressing all these "socialization" concerns. It's a 2007 publication too, so it's culturally relevant.



I just ordered it from www.half.com

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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