She's in college now. An art major with a solidifying style and a keen wit. She's getting better, she tells me, at speaking her mind. In high school, she was a coward who kept her mouth shut to stay in proximity to the popular kids.
For more than twenty minutes, she recounts tales of woe and despicable behavior that played out around her as a teen in school. At the center of this imploding mess was an Alpha girl and a wannabe. Those two, it seems, were the catalyst and trigger for a swath of atrocities. But she was too insecure to do anything. She didn't even dare leave the circle of dysfunction.
"I envy you your homeschooling," she announces. "I wouldn't have thought I was stupid." A moment. Then, "I'm not stupid."
Each time she is reminded of this fact, the opposite message she learned in school fades just a little bit. A self-proclaimed nerd, she finds much comfort in the words of Paul Graham. She's not stupid. The kids were simply mean and the system so inflexible that it couldn't accommodate her strengths and help her overcome her weaknesses.
People critical of homeschooling tend to talk of socialization in the teen years as if it is something homeschoolers lack. The more I talk with kids who survived this period of time, the more I'm prone to think the opposite is true. Skipping this "cruel and stupid world" may actually be a very good thing. This young lady didn't learn how to deal with bullies. She's learned--and is learning--since high school ... not because of it.
So when should you not socialize your kids? When you'd rather lay a foundation and spare them from the nastiness of a society run by insecure children who have little purpose in the world they are forced to inhabit.
What other reasons have you discovered that keep you from "socializing" your kids?
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester
P.S. The irony, of course, is that those of us who stayed home for some of these years were likely far better socialized for it because we were in a real world with adults.