Saturday, July 2, 2011

Social Distortion

Not the band. Me.

People often ask me about the 'social interaction' my children get, and if it is sufficient, being homeschooled.  Naturally, if I am with my kids, it is clearly a non-issue for us. My kids speak freely, unburdened by shyness or any lack of eloquence. They use complete sentences and have a vast vocabulary.  They carry on conversations successfully with a wide range of age groups and are often complemented on their maturity and vocal clarity. Homeschooling clearly does not inhibit social ability, though occasionally a very shy family will give rise to shy children. Whether it is a mimicked or a genetic behavior, I can not say.

I often wonder why people don't question the social environment of public schools. I myself am still struggling with my poor social skills at age thirty-two, and I was reared in a public school household. I've begun working, recently, and I am spending more time around people nowadays. It becomes quite obvious to me that my social skills are lacking when things like eye contact and vocal etiquette freak me out.  I mumble frequently, unintentionally, and I am often at a loss of words.  Yet, my vocabulary is complete and I am perfectly capable of communication in written form.
I have a lot of scars from years of a very poor self-esteem, elements of which still linger within me at times. Public school isn't completely to blame, surely, but I often think, why do we assume that children that come out of public school are socially balanced? I think it is a great misconception, a blind assumption.

I haven't come up with a good response yet when the occasional concerned grocery shopper questions the social consequences of our education path. I usually just smile and say 'it's okay, they get to play with other kids pretty often.'  The person smiles as if satiated, then goes on, never considering that maybe, JUST maybe, they might be better off right where they are.  Never ceases to amaze me, even after years of homeschooling.

Just smile and nod. Smile and nod. :)

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