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!