The Shock That We're Normal

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A mom, years after starting homeschooling, was asked by her mother, "But ... what about socialization?"

This veteran homeschooler looked at her mom in disbelief. Then, exasperated, she asked, "Have you met your grandchildren?"

<smile> I love that.

Too often, the socialization question seems a reflex. It's as if the person asking is quoting from a script they memorized but never bothered to understand. I've encountered this myself heading to the airport and at the local pool. The socialization issue is something people say; I don't think many of them mean it -- if only they took a moment to consider.


So when the socialization question showed up to a group of homeschoolers on Facebook, I smiled at the responses:

  • My personality is antisocial, but homeschooling helped me work through it.
  • People are always shocked when they hear I homeschooled. "But you're so normal!" lol
  • No one would ever guess I was homeschooled.
  • I'm so well socialized, normal people can't handle me!
  • Get-away-from-me-all-you-people-while-I-crawl-back-under-my-rock! jk
  • I've never understood the antisocial and sheltered stereotype.

I don't get the stereotypes, either. I mean, I do ... because this makes sense to someone who doesn't actually know many homeschoolers. But I don't because I've learned a bit more about what makes someone socially awkward in a school. And while I was sheltered, it was more like a day at the beach than a decade in a bunker.

We homeschoolers are normal. That means we display the regular range of idiosyncrasies. Some of us are loud, obnoxious, and a tad endearing in our bravado (me); others of us shy away from the spotlight, are careful with our words, and gain friends through our loving demeanor (my wife). But it wasn't homeschooling that did this to us. We were both homeschooled. As humans, we represent the spectrum of experience. Homeschoolers come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us struggle to read for years (me); others of us become phobic of math (my wife). And then there are those few out there who simply excel at everything (your children).

There is no determinism here directed by the magic that is homeschooling. We aren't able to dictate outcomes by our curriculum choices. What magic there is, and magic in spades, is the opportunity to connect with our children, to learn how to help them learn, and to show them a world into which they fit as only they can so that they are inspired to follow wherever the Lord leads. Homeschooling is a great option. But it is one of many.

The important question that we should all ask ourselves is "why?" Why did we choose the path that we did for this child? Because homeschooling, and homeschooling with Sonlight, offers a certain set of amazing benefits. And it's the pull of homeschooling that draws us back, year after year.

People are frequently shocked to find out just "normal" we are.

I am frequently amazed at just how good this homeschooling gig is. And when people get over the shock that I was homeschooled, I like to share with them these benefits.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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