I will start by saying if you know me and my son personally, don’t let him know I wrote this. He has a killer evil eye.
Anyway, I just finished reading a slew of comments on the blog of someone who was asking questions about homeschooling. Most of the comments said something to the effect of homeschoolers are socially awkward, blah, blah, blah. The truth is that many homeschoolers are socially awkward, including my son. Many homeschoolers are also not socially awkward.
My son was born … different. He has always been a serious person, and while mischievous as a baby, he always seemed to be having deeper thoughts. His first year in preschool was interesting to say the least. For the first six months, I asked his teacher “how’s he doing?” on a regular basis. Her answer was always cryptic as she would say things like “well, he’s Jackson”. While I thought her reply was strange, I really didn’t read anything into it. Then in the early spring I had a conference with her and she suggested I keep him home the rest of the school year and try again in the fall. I asked why, and she replied, “well he doesn’t speak”. “DOESN’T SPEAK?” I replied, while as if on cue he began yelling at his baby sister who was trying to swallow a classroom toy. His teacher jumped up, ran across the room and got on her knees and was hugging him as if God had just healed him of his muteness. So you can see, he has always been quiet, and it does not help when he has clueless teachers.
Over the years, he spoke a little more in school, but only when he had something important to say. But his last year in public school, he began to go back to his preschool classroom-mute behavior. It turns out he was being taunted daily because is first name was also the name of the school. This small fact gave a group of kids the reason to smack in in the head on a daily basis and also caused him to go into a severe depression.
Meanwhile, we were considering homeschooling for my daughter who teachers wanted medicated for ADHD, and so he asked to be homeschooled as well. It took him two years to become a bit more social and happy. Still, he remains a bit socially awkward.
Just last Friday night, we had to practically shove him into the car and then push him out at a homeschool group Valentines Day event. Fortunately his group of friends appreciates him for who he is, and would not let him sit in the corner all evening. They talked to him, and even pulled him onto the dance floor. I trust that in time, his friends will help him open up even more, and while there will always be a seriousness about him, he will become more confident and adventurous.
I write all this to say, that yes, homeschoolers can be socially awkward, but that might be the very reason they are homeschooling in the first place. Take that same socially awkward child and put him in a school system, and you could end up dealing with depression, suicide, and other horrific outcomes.
I am glad my socially awkward child is a homeschooler.
*Have a question about homeschooling? Just ask.
* Have you seen the homeschooling curriculum glossary?