Socialization and homeschooling

So, most homeschoolers have heard the question. Okay, “most” is an understatement. It’s only the most commonly asked question (in its various forms) any homeschooler in the U.S. gets:

But, how will they learn social skills?

I have often tried to address that question with reassurances regarding how often my kids have play dates, go to co-op classes with other kids of various ages, genders, and ethnic backgrounds, engage in community service projects, go to Sunday School, engage in the world through shopping and field trips, and so on. No more. Here is my new response:

Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha. Hee. Hee hee haa haa haaaa! Oh, ha ha! Hee hee hee. Hoo hee haa! HA! HAA! HAAA!

(Picking myself up off the floor): Oh, you were serious? Oh, you actually meant that question? Oh. Oh! Oo-kay. Here then:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21661718/ (Headline: Girl, 13, Gets Detention for Hugging Two Friends–Illinois) (Synopsis: Girl hugs female friends goodbye for the weekend. Falls under school’s “no public displays of affection” policy. Gets two days of in-school detention.)

And then, right here in my local elementary district:

After several weeks of harrassing my friend’s fourth grade daughter in typical fourth-grade-crush fashion, a fourth grade boy decided to take a new, modern approach. He went to her and asked for sexual favors. Specifically, he told her that if she wanted to be friends, she would have to suck his dick.

The daughter, angry and indignant, wrote a very rude letter to the boy telling him how much she hated him and cussing him out in no uncertain terms. She did not deliver the letter to him, but did show it around to “friends”–one of whom ratted her out to the teacher for her inappropriate language.

Result: Letter-writer sent to the Principal’s office, where she was told that if she has a crush on someone she must find more appropriate ways of expressing herself (what?!), and given a “citation.” Sexual-predator-in-training… nothing. Well, okay, they sent a psychologist to the classroom (without singling anyone out) to talk about appropriate forms of expression and inappropriate forms of expression.

Social skills lessons of the day:

1. Friends are not for hugging.

2. Dicks are for sucking.

3. Never, never, never write a letter when you feel angry. Much better to tell someone to go suck your dick. (See lesson #2).

On the other hand, my homeschooled children are learning that:

* Hugging your friends is good.

* Telling them to suck your dick is not.

* Writing a letter is an acceptable and healthy way to express your anger. (But if you can’t refrain from profanity, best to tear it up as soon as you’re done writing and try again).

Well, if those lessons make my kids misfits in our society… I think I may just go ahead and opt out of society right now anyway. Go, socialization!

 

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