At a Christmas party a few weeks ago, I was asked the socialization question—probably the question that prompts the most dip-passing by homeschoolers. “Does he ever get to be around other people?”
We’re not even done with a full week of school yet, and I am already thinking we are around people way too much. This week my son has seven different classes or events to attend. Yes, he’s around other people. So much so that the laundry is backing up and the two year old is taking a nap in the car almost every day and we’re able to pick up our library books the day they come in since we’re going to be going that way for something anyway.
In this person’s defense, I really do think homeschoolers used to be very different. I used to say that I would homeschool my kids, but I didn’t want them to turn out weird. (I realized that with me for a mother, though, they were pretty much doomed to weirdness anyway, so that didn’t really have to factor into our educational decisions.) There was the homeschooling family at church who really did look different, and when you talked with them, it was clear they were not living the same lives we were. These kids didn’t get out much.
Today, homeschooling is much more mainstream, and with its increase in popularity there has been an incredible increase in social opportunities for kids. Community centers, libraries, museums, and sports centers all offer classes targeted at homeschoolers. You can even take homeschooling vacations! If you want your child to be involved, there are all kinds of ways and places to make it happen.
Though several of the activities my son participates in are geared toward homeschoolers, he’s also around public school kids on a regular basis; he’s even in a speech therapy class at a public school—taught by a former homeschool student. I’m glad to say that he’s comfortable talking to people of all ages and has no problem asking for help at a store or interacting with adults, either. Of course, it helps if you are well-versed in Ninjago or Harry Potter, but if you’re not, he’ll do his best to bring you up to speed.
Homeschooled kids today typically do not fit the old stereotype of the sheltered oddball that stays home all the time and only comes out to win the spelling bee. They’re all over the place, playing sports, taking classes, volunteering, and just living life–and they’ve got the exhausted moms to prove it.