Saturday, November 6, 2010

socially awkward

Yesterday, my daughter planned and hosted a Disco Party play date for several of her friends, complete with karaoke and fondue.  My son had a friend over to keep him entertained while the girls did the "lawn mower" and "the sprinkler" beneath the swirling lights of a disco ball... which was painstakingly installed by yours truly earlier in the day.  It was crazy, foot-stomping, mic-roaring, chocolate-sauce dripping, nonstop girl fun for two solid hours.

When the last guest finally departed, we (and when I say "we" I mean just the family... oh, and Kayden's friend and her family) dashed off to Friday night service at our church.  There we joined a circle of adults and children to drum, sing, storytell and "fill each other's buckets."  Afterward the kids all enjoyed a snack, a craft,  and a self-initiated game of duck-duck-goose.

We got home after nine, and by the time they were scrubbed and jammied... oh, and had completed their several-hundred word goals for their novel challenges... it was well after eleven.  The kids and my husband drifted off to sleep, and I stayed up until 2:00am writing.

The alarm at 8:30 this morning was a shock to my system.  I jumped out of bed, dressed quickly, and barely got in a cup of coffee before I had to rush Cady off to her two dance classes.  Jay woke Asher around ten so they could make it to his woodworking class at Home Depot. (He made a football stand, brought it home, and gave it "as a gift" to his friend next door.  He was so proud.)

After dance, which I stayed for because it was observation day, Cady and I rushed home for a clothing change, then off to Chuck-E-Cheese for a birthday party!  After two hours of dinging, buzzing, dancing, running, pizza-eating (and great mom-versations, bonus) Cady and a few of her friends (including one new one) begged us to take them to the family-owned animal-friendly dog store around the corner for some puppy love.  We agreed, and three of the girls and three moms hiked off to pet puppies.  We stayed there for an hour, and I ended up booking a really cool-sounding Brownie Troop field trip for our eighteen-girl troop in January.  Whew.

5:15pm  Back home, I threw myself on the couch while Cady ran around the corner to ask her friend over to play.  Asher was already outside bike-riding, and he is now laughing and generally doing boy-things with a neighbor boy downstairs in our basement-come-family-room.  With Dad in the kitchen whipping up some mashed potatoes and beef for dinner, my day is winding down rather nicely, don't you think?

 My grandmother, the other day when she was here for supper, was concerned that if my kids were not "learning age-appropriateness from other kids" that by the time they were twelve they wouldn't know what twelve year old kids did.  She played the "socialization" card.

 What does this mean, really?  My children are not reclusive.  In fact, some days like today, we are overbooked!  In general, kids like my kids.  Kids who really know them.  Kids who don't judge based on the tiniest "cracks."  In fact, my very dear friend told me just today that what her son would "really like to do this weekend is see Asher and Cady."  I'm thinking brunch tomorrow in our dining room... pancakes and overnight egg casserole, pumpkin muffins, coffee, juice... a breaking of bread, is in order.

That would be a nice, warm start to what promises to be a very busy Sunday:  Two theatre classes from 2:00-4:30 followed by a another birthday party!  This time for the whole family.

I understand that some children who are educated at home are socially awkward.  Some children who go to public school are socially awkward.  Some children who go to Montessori or Catholic school or Christian school are socially awkward.  Let's not stereotype these kids, is what I say.  If my child opens doors for the elderly, but doesn't "hang" with the "boys" and talk about what happened on "Corey in the House," does that make him socially awkward?  If my seven year old daughter holds the hand of a four year old while chatting with a thirteen-year-old on a field trip to our favorite historical village, is that socially awkward? 

I really wonder why home schooled children were given this label.  Perhaps somewhere along the line, someone decided that the only way children could learn developmentally appropriate behavior was through modeling their behavior after... other children exactly the same age.

 Rest assured, Grandma, my kids will know how to be twelve when they are twelve.  They will learn this by being around children their own age, children much younger then them, teenagers, adults and the elderly.  They will know how to be twelve when they are twelve because they will know who they are inside their own skin.  They don't need school to teach them how to be an adolescent. 

In fact, they (meaning my children) might fare better without it.


  1. Wow, you had a busy few days!

    My family asks the same questions. We are not quite as busy as you are, but I feel with the playdates and park dates and co-op and choir and field trips...they are getting plenty of socialization.

  2. I'm sure they are Theresa. And we are trying not to continue to be that busy! It can get overwhelming. I just find the whole question to be incredibly interesting... What does a "socialized" child behave like? I think if your child interacts with human beings on a normal, regular basis they won't have a problem at any developmental stage. If you are homeschooling because you are reclusive, or your child already has a developmental disorder, then yes you may end up with a socially awkward child. But I think that type of child would be socially awkward even if they were in school... maybe moreso! :)

  3. I always have to laugh and shake my head in amazement when people play the "socialization" card as a deterrent for homeschooling. My two nephews (ages 20 and 16) and one niece (age 13) have been homeschooled their entire lives, and ("Aunt prejudice" aside) I think they are the most sociable and "socialized" children I have ever met. They have friends, they have jobs, they play on several sports teams, they have "book smarts", they have "street smarts", and they are kind, generous, and loving. I also know children that were "socialized" in school from preschool through high school who are now in jail. Obviously, "school" isn't the only way in which a child is socialized, nor should it be. Keep up the good work, Kara. I think your kids are awesome!

  4. it always seems to be the 'go to' for those not in the homeschooling community (or know those who are). "well, I'd just worry about socialization" said the mom at the weekly storytime my children attend after we saw each other at jungle java. Really? So my current go to is 'well, if I were you I'd be worried about academics!. we have social time down!'
    loving you all in your groove <3

  5. FYI- The Westland Humane Society does a fantastic field trip program, and it's FREE! Our troop made kitty forts as a donation last year and then visited the shelter to drop them off. It's about an 1.5 long program and they teach dog safety and give a tour of the animals, among other things.

  6. That sounds great Christina! Thanks for the info!