Sooner or later you will meet someone on your home ed journey, whose sole justification for not liking what you do, is that one socially awkward kid they met whose ‘mom’ home educated them.
Notice the quotation marks?
Yup, annoyance number one in this scenario, it is the mother that gets blamed for any social awkwardness like home ed dad’s have no impact on their kids upbringing whatsoever, not to mention genetic make up, parenting skills * mumble grumble huff* .
You know the type of kid they mean, they can’t look you in the eye, hold a conversation with you, smell a bit like cabbage (OK I might have made that one up), there’s something just a bit weird about them. They know all this stuff, and they just want to tell you about it all, all the time.
And that may well be the case. But the colossal point that these people seem to miss, is that there are plenty of kids who go to school, and plenty of adults that go to work that are like that too. I’ve seen them, I’ve met them. Some of them have become my friends. Heck, I suspect I am one of them.
I have been seen by educated doctors with the worst bed side manner and whose social skills could be bettered by a gorilla.
In thinking about this blog this morning, I Googled socially awkward. There were all kinds of self-help articles, explanations, and tips for ‘getting socially well’ and not a single one of them referred to them being only applicable to grown up home educated kids.
Which suggests to me, there are plenty of others out there.
And yet we don’t talk about them. Never have I ever heard the school they went to blamed for their social awkwardness. Ever!
This makes me ask myself, then why do we measure home educated kids by a different yard stick? We seem to expect different things from them, than we do the rest of the so-called socially integrated, population. It’s ok to be socially awkward if you went to school, but not if you learnt at home?
But the deeper more troubling question is, why are we so hung up about everyone being the same?
While I think it is important to be able to function in society, to get on with people as best you can, and try not to let fear and anxiety paralyse you socially or in any other way. We need to not try to squeeze everyone into the same mould. There are always going to be some kids and adults that will struggle with social norms regardless of their education.
The human race is a diverse, beautiful bunch of people -mostly. Everyone brings their own individuality and uniqueness to the buffet table of life. That what gives it, its richness. I love the fact that I have extroverted friends and introverted friends, and friends who rock the social world, and friends who are quieter and you have to spend time alone with to tease out who they truly are. Some of my most socially awkward friends are the most interesting, loving people. I wouldn’t be without them.
So what if that socially awkward kid, was always going to be that way? No matter what educational path they took?
And what if that kid is happy with who they are? They like the fact their family treasures their uniqueness?
And what if it’s really society that’s screwed up, in expecting those around them, to be perfect, and robotic Stepford kids?