Yes, My Grown Homeschooled Children Are Odd — And Yours Will Be Too!

Yes, My Grown Homeschooled Children Are Odd — And Yours Will Be Too!I am sick and tired of defending homeschooling from the question, “What about socialization?” Members of the modern homeschool movement have insisted for thirty years that homeschooled children are well-socialized. We laughingly refer to socialization as the “S word.” We deflect the socialization question by insisting it’s a myth. And yet, it persists.

We trounced the academic argument long ago. Very few people challenge the notion that homeschoolers are intellectually curious, self-directed learners who match or exceed the academic prowess of their school-going peers. So, why do you think we can’t shake the socialization issue?

I’ll tell you what I think. The truth is, homeschoolers are not well-socialized.

There. I’ve said it. Someone had to.

I say this with the greatest respect and affection for the homeschooled or unschooled. Nevertheless, in my experience, homeschoolers deviate from the norm. They are not well-socialized in the traditional school sense. They are odd ducks swimming in a big, standardized social pool. They stand out from the crowd, and a trained eye can spot them a mile away.

Now, please understand that for years I’ve been a champion for homeschooling and have countered the socialization argument with rational explanations and practical examples of how homeschoolers are well-socialized. You know the drill:

  • Homeschool parents model appropriate social behavior and teach their children how to interact and get along with others.
  • Homeschoolers interact and play with other children and students through homeschool support groups at Park Days, in co-op classes, and on field trips, etc.
  • Homeschooled children participate in (and win!) math olympiads, spelling bees, geography bees, science competitions, and debate teams.
  • Homeschoolers join choirs, orchestras, book clubs, athletic events, and they even go to homeschool proms!
  • Homeschoolers take classes and compete academically in community college, adult education programs, museum events, online forums, summer school, and at camps, etc.
  • Homeschoolers participate in community activities such as Scouts, 4-H, Little League, Pop Warner Football, AYSO soccer, theater classes, martial arts classes, dance classes, etc.
  • Homeschoolers volunteer in the community.
  • Homeschoolers play with neighborhood kids from both public and private schools.

I’ve also pointed out the advantage homeschoolers have because instead of being socialized by interacting with the same 30 children in a classroom, who are the exact same age, on the exact same academic track, from the same geographic and socio-economic area — homeschoolers get to interact with people of varying ages, abilities, ethnicities, and socio-economic diversity on a day-to-day basis in the real world.

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4 comments to Yes, My Grown Homeschooled Children Are Odd — And Yours Will Be Too!

  • Melody

    I also have noticed too, that no matter how hard I try to keep my children isolated we just can not escape the socialization from Church functions or from our ballet classes. In fact there is not one day during a given week that we spend all to ourselves. Except for the occasional holiday when things are canceled, but then we are usually around the cousins or other kids. I’ve never been concerned about getting my kids socialized, I’ve been concerned that we are getting too much socialization. And I do love your article, as I see that when my children do play with other public school kids they influence them to use their imagination in playing outside and making up new games. My children do have different ways of thinking and influencing the children to follow them in their way of playing. I’ve not thought of it they way you have put it.
    Very good insight you have.

  • Leslie Bandi

    Wow, I needed that! Excellent article! And, as a grown homeschooled parent now homeschooling my own two kids, I can say that yes, I’m odd. I’m blendable in most situations but always looking at things in a nonconventional way. I HATE the s-word, always have. But I think this article helped me to embrace who I am, who my incredible parents are, and who my children are becoming.

  • Socialization is definitely not the problem with homeschooling. Homeschooling provides interaction with all ages and this ability is brought into adulthood. If someone told me my kids would have this experience when they grew up I wouldn’t believe them.
    My three kids started a business as game developers, and the six people working on a project, ages 19-27 were chatting about a variety of things and then the topic of school came up. Without any of them knowing much about the others childhood, they discovered the whole team had been home schooled. I couldn’t believe it. since some of them had gone to high school at the local public school it never came up,at one point they were like oh ya when I was a kid I homeschooled too, what park day did you go to? and before we knew it, we discovered all our paths had been crossed in local community classes and park days. We discovered that everyone at one point had taken Mr Macs science classes and that some were in the same sudberry school for a year (at different times).
    As a parent to see this unfold. It made the decision to homeschool my kids that much more empowering.
    Another surreal thing happened to me on a flight to New york, I was sitting beside a woman who started talking about her son and how she had decided to homeschool him and it had been only six months and she was already seeing academic results and positive behavior (her son was bullied in first grade). A man sitting in front of us heard us talking and said oh do you homeschool your kids? I said I did through high school and he was so excited because he was homeschooling his three teenagers and his kids were very happy and doing well. I could see that other people started listening and staring at us, again here I was socializing with homeschooling parents I had never seen before on a random flight.

    Talking about being part of a community of people, it is really great.

  • Sophia Kent

    As the mom of two grown homeschooled sons, I can say that one of the most rewarding aspects of “looking back” is that my boys did NOT share the socialization of traditionally schooled children. They were able to escape the peer-pressure and conformity and make decisions on their friends based on similarities and shared interests. If some would call that odd, I challenge those people to redefine the term. I am so proud of the men my sons have become!

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