As I try o smile and nod and make small talk and hope after every answer that I have finally convinced the hairdresser that I really am not interested in sharing the story of my life, I get hit hardly by yet another question! I tell you some people do more than justice to the art of resilience and persistence! So then of course the most common question follows: Do you have kids? And as I answer giving all the details, hoping that this will be the end of it, another question hits me in the face like the cold air: “Is your son sick? Is that why you homeschool?” I had no idea how to answer that, I couldn’t understand how someone in the 21stcentury could be so blatant, insensitive, and just plain nosy! So I answer with the only sentence that could make its way out of my mouth: “No, we are just weird”. I then proceed to putting my earphones pretending to be listening to something on my phone as a last effort to make the person handling my hair STOP TALKING!
As a homeschooler, we get tons of questions all the time, and I usually welcome them and make sure I answer them thoroughly and with all the details/info that I can give, because I believe that people are genuinely asking, because the whole concept is so new, specially here in the middle east, and because we are not used to see other people say NO to the system. We are used to do as we are told, and to follow rules and regulations, without even questioning them. One of the main questions that we get is:
“Aren’t you afraid that he won’t be social enough?”
If you are close enough and you do know my little sunshine, then you sure know that he is a walking chatterbox, who makes friends as he breathes. His social life is much better than mine and his dad’s, both combined. He loves interacting with everyone from the cashier at the supermarket, to the little kid sitting alone in playground, to the parents of his own friends.
If you are not that close and you don’t know my son, here are some facts for you:
Children are already competent social beings; they have the extreme ability to adapt and coexist, something that most adults lack as they grow older.
Children are not exactly some sort of adults-in-training, they are however somewhere between being and becoming. Being a child who is actively constructing their childhood, and becoming an adult as an end result.
If we can see children as the competent and complex human beings that they really are, we can begin to see their behavior beyond the polarity of positive and negative. We can begin to see the nuances of who they are, what kind of personality they have? Character? … etc.
Everyone is born with a predisposition toward a personality type. Extroverts are energized by interacting with others and the world around them, while introverts are drained by too much interaction, especially with a big group, and prefer to be with people they know well. Although all kids display traits of both types, they innately prefer one style over the other-This book is great if you want to know more about the extroverted and introverted types: Quiet by Susan Cain– so whether they go to school or not, they are who they are.
The other thing that I need to clarify here is that homeschoolers DO GET OUT OF THEIR HOMES. We do not hibernate as we homeschool. There are tons of activities that homeschoolers around the world plan, choose, and arrange for their children, depending on WHO their child is, what do they like and dislike and not just depending on a super old system called “school”.
There are homeschooling communities all around the world; and we have a great one here in Bahrain. We plan classes together, take turns in hosting and preparing lessons, we plan field trips, sports days, book clubs and many many different activities. The other advantage that we have is that kids mingle with all age groups, and instead of learning how to communicate with only their peers, they actually get the exposure they need to prepare them for the real world.
So please the next time you want to ask “How about his social life”, reconsider your question, and instead ask about what kind of activities, curriculum, adventures we do/have, to really know more about the homeschooling life.
On behalf of the homeschoolers of the world, I send you wild and free thoughts, with much love!