socialization or the lack thereof

We were recently in a group setting which included seven homeschoolers and seven public schoolers. I’m sure everyone’s heard the stereotype about how poor unsocialized homeschooled kids can’t possibly have a conversation with adults. And yet, during this particular gathering, the public schooled kids – no doubt popular and confident in their own tiny classroom settings – sat silently in a row, while the children educated at home conversed easily with the adults present. Interestingly, when the “normal” kids were asked questions, they responded with monosyllables, making us wonder if they didn’t possess even the most basic of conversational skills, or were simply bored with the company. Further, they responded best to the adults they already knew, but were unable to ask even one polite question to the adults they were meeting for the first time. And – one more fun fact – the one who had the best interaction in this setting was a foreigner, who only spent the last few years in our country!

Is this surprising?

No. Not to me – I’m grateful to have been home educated!

But it should be surprising to parents who chose to send their children to public school. No doubt they think their kids are properly socialized, based on the number of text messages received, the number of sleepovers attended, and the number of Facebook friends/twitter followers.

Why was this inconsistency not addressed? Why did no one say to these parents, “I notice your children seem socially handicapped. Do you think this is a result of the public education system?” 

We didn’t state the obvious because it’s not polite. My husband observed, “Etiquette expects us to internalize the facts, carry on with pleasantness, and focus on what we can control – our own children.” That’s our plan!




5 thoughts on “socialization or the lack thereof

  1. I love this. Not bc it encourages us home schoolers but bc it reinforces just one of the many benefits of educating our children at home!

    It is very sad to see kids interact this way (with adults or other kids). They will be very socially insecure and unable to “connect” with others going forward. If they are Christians, how will the gospel go forth? That requires a personal connection. How will they encourage or rebuke the body of Christ “for His name sake?” What will the use of their spiritual gifts look like since those are given for the edification of the body?

    Wow – so many concerns!

    Lord, help us know how to encourage these young people to interact with others for your glory!!!

    • Hi Jill! You’re exactly right, it’s a sad and concerning situation to observe. You have a great point about witnessing, although I have seen times when the enthusiasm of a new & close relationship with God breaks someone out of their “shell” a bit! Unfortunately, it’s difficult to maintain a deeply rooted faith in the public school system.

      Insecurity seems like one of the biggest handicaps in life! Gregory is always listening to new business podcasts and reading blogs from a handful of leaders in the business world, and I’ve been surprised to hear how much of their information relates to this. Assertiveness, confidence, boldness – it’s all about knowing your worth and not being afraid to challenge the system.

      I’ve had a few memorable experiences with people who were extremely socially insecure, just like you described. I may do a follow up post about that. Thanks for your comment and for coming along on this soapbox! :))

  2. (Note, our children are the only home schooled family within our extended family- on both sides. And being raised in the public school system I am VERY passionate about this topic.)
    Once when we visited with my in-laws and accompanied them to church, my mother in-law was amazed to see each one of our children confident and eager to be dropped off at the door of their age appropriate classroom for “sunday school”. With not one crying toddler she remarked how surprised she was that not even the shyest of our children hesitated. I realized she had just discovered that there was something more going on here.
    Home schooled children (imo) are the leaders of our future. Public school is now a federal run institution. With the exception of a few good teachers, public education in general does not edify a “think for yourself” atmosphere or curriculum. The only good thing coming out of today’s common core program is perhaps some parents may soon remove their children from this system of producing “the collective” and take up their EL given authority to raise their own children in the way they should go.

  3. Hey Emily! Great example. And I think that type of eagerness for society is typical of most homeschooled children. There are some exceptions, of course, but overall there’s a comfort level with adults that far surpasses public schooled kids.

    The “luck” factor is one of my pet peeves. As if we {or homeschool parents in general} are simply LUCKY to have kids that like to smile, who are naturally polite, who enjoy the company of adults. Nonsense! It’s all about the training, right??

    Gregory and I were talking about public school the other day, and I had just read an example of a parent begging to take her child out of class one day to go on a field trip with her. Combine the lack of parental rights with the fact that it’s a federally run program and it starts to sound almost like prison! I don’t know a lot about the common core curriculum but I’ve heard some disturbing things. Guess I need to educate myself {:))} a bit on it.

    Love your conclusion. Amen! Perhaps we will see a new wave of homeschoolers! While it’s still legal, at least. {sigh}


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