I get it. You love my kid and you want what’s best for him. Or hey, you’re a complete stranger who just likes sticking their nose in other people’s business. And yes, it’s one or the other, there never seems to be an in between.
It’s like a weird word association game where when I say “homeschool” you blurt out “Socialization!” “Homeschool.” “Socialization!” “Homeschool.” “Socialization!” You go on and on with word vomit about how important proper socialization is to a child as though it’s second only to the air he breathes. Do you want to ask me about that too?
Maybe you’ve never known anyone who homeschooled their kids before. Or you remember that one kid who started off homeschooled and then came to public school and they were a little bit odd. You know the one. It was totally because of the homeschooling too because I mean, absolutely none of the other kids who went to school their entire lives were ever a little odd, and definitely never you, you were never odd. You, you were totally normal all the time. No awkward stages. Not ever.
And I mean, maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I’m not being explicit enough. Maybe I need to start saying, “We’re homeschooling. But-don’t-worry-it’s-not-like-I-keep-him-locked-in-a-closet-all-day-we-sometimes-leave-the-house-like-go-to-the-museum-and-library-and-science-centre-and- we-love-to-hike-and-here’s-a-list-of-his-extra-curricululars.” Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m answering your question wrong.
If I seem sensitive, it’s because I am. From the second that stupid little pee stick announces that you’re carrying a little bundle of joy, the judgements start rolling in. “You can’t do that when you’re pregnant!” “Breast is best!” “It’s really selfish that you won’t give your baby a bottle so someone else can bond with him.” “You gave him WHAT as his first solid?!” “Those shoes aren’t nearly supportive enough.” “Where is your mother why isn’t she hovering over you? You shouldn’t be climbing the playground yourself!” “Stop being so overprotective, a little sugar won’t kill him.”
And quite honestly, up to this point, my son hasn’t been cognizant of your concerns, so maybe that’s why it has stung, but not quite made me so rage-y. But your criticisms, sorry, “helpful advice” concerning my parenting choices are being heard and internalized by my child on this one. My child, who already feels he is missing out on a part of the collective culture that involves bells and desks and assemblies and after school activities, is going to grow up hearing how “weird” he’s going to be because he’s not experiencing such things.
(And no, those experiences are not worth the anguish that public school was, so please don’t go there.)
The mama guilt is bad enough without your help, thank you.
We chose homeschooling because it’s right for our family. It’s difficult. And exhausting. And quite frankly, if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t have chosen it if I didn’t feel that I had to do it. But you know what? I am so happy that it’s the road we’re on. I get to choose books and subjects that I know my kiddo will love. I get to help him learn the way that he learns best. I get to incorporate things like baking and an obscene amount of field trips. We talk about everything from politics and current events to money and household management to technological advances to a really silly joke that we just can’t stop laughing about. The possibilities are endless.
And that socialization you’re so worried about? It’s not like he’s homeschooled in a closet. Really, I promise. Have you seen how small the closets are in a 1960s side split? He’s in a number of activities with kids his age. We visit with family and friends of all ages. We go to parks and he makes friends with museum docents who are happy to answer his stream of questions for a few minutes to his complete delight. There are even homeschool programs. Heck, he spent two weeks in Europe! Not a day of school was missed. Homeschool is where you are.
And yes, maybe my kid might turn out weird despite my best efforts to normalize him. Any kid that isn’t forced to conform to norms is probably going to have a few quirks. But I don’t see that as a bad thing. And honestly, at the end of the day, I’m his mom. I went to public school my whole life and while I can do a pretty good impersonation of a normal person once in a while, deep down I’m a big ol’ weirdo. Aren’t we all?? I’d rather him be able to own who he is then spend years trying to pretend, only to grow up and realize it’s the weirdos who end up happier because they don’t try to hide who they are on the inside.
So yes, I’m homeschooling my kid. No, socialization is not an issue. In fact, I’d argue he comes into contact with a wider range of people by getting out into the world than he ever would sitting in a classroom. And if he does turn out to be a weirdo, trust me, it’s not because of the homeschool. That’s 100% genetic right there.