A Homeschool Conversation about Socialization at 30,000 Feet

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A few months ago I was blessed to be able to go on a short business trip with my hubby. My kids had some grandma and grandpa time. I got to pack up and tag along to Virginia Beach where I enjoyed some time to myself to read, plan, blog, and relax. I also had dinners and lunches with my hubby between his conference meetings. It was a fun time to recharge and feel refreshed before coming back home to the real world of homeschool and household chaos.

During our travels I had a few interesting experiences – one with a TSA agent and another with a fellow passenger. 

At the airport we prepared to go through security and I was able to go through the line which did not require me to remove my shoes and light jacket. I was told to empty my pockets and walk through the metal detector.

I breezed right through until a very unfriendly TSA agent got up in my face and demanded to know what was in the front pockets of my hooded jacket. I checked them twice and assured her that they were completely empty. She kept loudly demanding that I empty them and I kept quietly and politely insisting that they were empty.

The entire security line was now stalled behind me as my fellow travelers enjoyed the early 6 AM airport freak show. The agent kept staring straight at my waistline and then announced that my pockets looked wrinkly and baggy and lumpy. I stood there helplessly because I could not argue with her anymore. My pockets were totally empty.

She still would not let me pass so I threw my arms up in frustration and apologized, “I’m sorry I look chubby to you. I’m pregnant. My pockets are empty but there IS a baby there so they might look a little lumpy to you.”

I was mortified and tired. The entire line behind me began to chuckle as the red-faced agent walked way from me and finally let the line begin moving again. As I tried to gather my purse, the other passengers came by to congratulate me and jokingly called me “Pockets.”

Apparently no one needed any more coffee that morning. We were all fully awake at my expense. 

After our wonderful start at the airport I was ready to sit down on the plane and read one of my books. I put in my headphones, started a CD of classical music, and got my Kindle ready. Unfortunately, my headphones and Kindle book did not deter the elderly gentleman that settled down in the seat next to me. He immediately struck up a conversation with me and I had to put my book away in order to attempt to be polite.

He asked all the usual questions about where I was going, where I was from, and what my plans were. He then asked if I had children. I always cringe when strangers ask me that question. I told him in fact that I had 5 children and I watched his jaw hit the floor. Now he REALLY wanted to talk with me because I had suddenly became incredibly interesting (or weird). Whatever.

Somehow the topic of homeschooling came up in our conversation. Oh dear! I usually can’t avoid the children topic but the homeschool one….Oh how I try to steer clear of it!

He immediately decided that it was his personal mission to tell me his every thought about homeschooling. And y’all, they weren’t all positive thoughts. He tried to be tactful but it wasn’t quite working on this hormonal pregnant person. I was trying hard to restrain myself not to smack him with the safety brochure. I fantasized about spilling my Sprite on his navy suit pants.

His major argument about homeschooling was the dreaded “S” word – socialization. He was just convinced that homeschooled children were weird, unsocialized, and unfit for real-world living. And his judgement was based on this ONE homeschool family that he had met one time years ago.

I scowled as I tried to reason with him. After trying to politely talk about the opportunities available to homeschooled children as well as the encouraging statistics that support homeschool success, he became a little bit thoughtful. He could agree with me that homeschooled kids seemed to perform well but he was just sure that they were all very strange. Then he mentioned that the entire family of the homeschooled children was very odd. (Well, odd in his opinion at least).

I cautiously suggested that maybe those children would have been weird (in his estimation) whether they were homeschooled or not. Just maybe they were “different” because their parents were “different.”

He nodded sagely and agreed. “The acorn doesn’t fall too far from the tree after all,” he said.

I told him that it stood to reason that children of weird parents would also be somewhat weird despite the schooling that they received.

He thought I had a point with that one. And thankfully our conversation ended soon afterward. However, I think he experienced a little turning point that morning. Maybe he doesn’t have quite such a negative view of homeschoolers now. 

But I do wonder what it is about homeschooling that makes other people feel like they have the freedom to offer commentary on your parenting and schooling choices? Why is it always open season on homeschool moms? 

Since when did public school become the only acceptable vehicle for socializing our children? I thought public school was supposed to be a place of learning – not socializing. And how is sitting in a room full of children your own exact age equivalent to true socialization?

Have you encountered this argument against homeschooling? How do you respond? 

 

Resources

And if you’re a homeschool mom who is tired and could use some encouragement, check out this book to help dispel some of the lies that many a homeschool mom believes.

Here are some more thoughts about socialization and homeschooling

And you can read my own thoughts about homeschooling right here – Did you know that I was homeschooled myself?? It’s true!

This is another great resource to help dispel the myths surrounding socialization and homeschooling.

3 thoughts on “A Homeschool Conversation about Socialization at 30,000 Feet

  1. I will never understand how it is "ok" for someone to tell me all the things wrong with homeschooling, but if I were to ever DARE state anything negative about public schooling, I'm being a mean mean bully and it is not tolerated. It's such a double standard. How about instead of pointing out all the flaws, we all just accept that EVERY choice has pros/cons and we make the best decision we can. It's a soap box of mine, for sure.

    1. When I ask my clients why they are homeschooling so we can make sure the science curriculum (and instructor) fit, I LOVE hearing the negative things about the public school system as a logical reason. It makes me feel oddly comforted by my own choices to know I’m not alone.

  2. I don't know if I'm intimidating or I just live in the right place, but even if I have to answer the why homeschooling question, they either say they've thought about homeschooling but didn't think they could do it or they just nod and leave it alone. The only person who argues with me (and attempt to argue with my mom to get her to interfere and intercede with the decision) is my aunt. And she is extremely easy to shut-out. If it counts for anything, I think you're doing a wonderful amazing thing, and I don't think I could do it 😉

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