Hello Friends! Have you been keeping up with our Homeschooling series? If you’ve missed some, find them here:
If you’re a homeschooling family, you’ve probably thought about our subject today–and doubtless you’ve had people ask you when they find out you homeschool. “Aren’t you worried your kids will be weird?” In my heart my answer is, “I hope so.” You see, my little kiddos put non-foods in their mouths, they build forts and pretend to walk to Nineveh. They wear special princess dresses to dinner. I suppose that makes them weird. Seriously–what kid isn’t weird?
But I’m guessing what this question really means to address is the social aspect. Am I worried my kids will be quiet and socially awkward? Am I worried the words and grammar they use will be so far over their peers’ heads that communication may be uncomfortable at times? In short, the answer is “Yes.” Because they have their father’s genes. My husband is quiet. His normal vernacular is not on par with the average Joe. He could conjugate verbs in his sleep–he probably does. When I worry about my childrens’ social tendencies, it’s because they are genetic–their father is that way. And he went to public schools his whole life.
I am actually delighted that they haven’t picked up on some of the “normal” social skills of their peers. When I went to school, there was a little boy named Jackson that would always find me and snap my tights. Another little girl would pull my hair when she got mad at me. I saw kids make fun of other kids “for fun,” sass their teachers, and in general have a lack of respect. I am delighted that my children have none of these tendencies.
And, I bet they have more healthy social skills than they would if they were in public school. When a child is in public school 4-5 days a week, they are mostly in the same social situation day after day. My children go to the library once a week where they learn respect and quiet skills. We have field trips. We have farm animal exposure where they learn to properly and respectfully interact with animals and other farmers. They get to go shopping and to the bank where they learn organizational, preparatory and healthy financial skills. They learn appropriate social interactions in all these different environments–ones they will use as adults. Little girls get to help cook and serve lunch guests. There are also other homeschooling children to do activities with. They would miss out on all these activities in a public school.
School teachers work hard. And by-and-large, they are good at their jobs. But they can’t discipline my child like I can. And very rarely, do you ever hear one say, “Brother, show me how you are going to serve Sister this morning.”
When I was young, I remember meeting those homeschool kids. Believe me when I tell you, I thought they were weird. I vowed never to homeschool my kids–because I didn’t want them to be weird. But then when my husband and I realized we would have to homeschool at least one of our children for a few years, I began to reflect on why I thought they were weird:
- There was one boy who joined our band class. He was a very gifted saxophone player. And he enjoyed it, and played with it while the rest of us struggled–weird.
- There was a boy who would join P.E. class. He wasn’t especially athletic. But what I remembered was that he would cheer for everyone–not just his own team. He would high-five anyone who was working hard. And he didn’t care who won. He was just as excited to loose as he was to win. And he had waaaaaay more fun than anyone else–weird.
- During cheer week in the summer, there were homeschool girls who would join us that weren’t part of the public school system. They didn’t join our clicks. They would talk to anyone. Any girl knows this isn’t normal. You are supposed to join a group of girls. If they are mad, you’re supposed to be mad too. Getting along with everyone is just weird.
As I pondered these individuals, I look at them differently as an adult. That boy in the band was so good because his parents probably encouraged him to practice everyday. There is more teacher/parent-child interaction on a 1:1 basis with a homeschooler. A teacher can’t follow all her children home everyday and remind them to practice. She can’t make every one of them accountable all the time. This boy was happy because he was good at what he did. I had very frustrating days learning to play my instruments–after I learned them it was fun to play. Instead of seeing this as weird, I see this as a quality I want for my children.
That kid who had so much fun at PE no matter what we were doing–he had great sportsmanship. He really probably genuinely didn’t care who won or lost. He was there to just play. Instead of seeing this as weird now, I want this for my kids.
Those girls who weren’t clicky, and just accepted everyone for who they were? They never let themselves get drug into the gossip. Wow. I’m really embarrassed when I look back at my own heart at this time. I want that heart and that guarding for my kids–especially my girls.
So you see, when someone asks me if I worry my kids will be weird, deep down I hope they are.
Join us later in our Homeschool series when I share with you the web sites that were critical in my learning to homeschool my children and put my fears at ease.
Do you have reservations sometimes? Does Satan get into your head and try to convince you you’re messing up your kids? Tell him to take a hike. You’ve got this Mama.
Thought for today: Proverbs 4: 23