Yet another person asks “but what about socialization?” and I nod and smile, “I know, that’s something we’re working on.” It seems the first thing people ask when they hear you’re homeschooling is a pointed criticism.
Worse, it’s one of the main things I’m worried about.
Homeschooling isn’t new for me. I’ve got this. In fact, I’m probably one of the few people out there who can say I know what I’m doing because I’ve done it – K through 12, and right into college. I would say it worked pretty well because I graduated Suma with a double major in 3.5 years. Not bragging, just saying I am experienced and capable.
What I don’t have is experience with a 2e kiddo. This is new. This is frustrating, because what I know should work, doesn’t! I have to rethink each concept and plan to make sure that the Engineer won’t get bored or frustrated because he just doesn’t learn that way.
People think (but are usually too polite to say it) that homeschooling makes kids weird. Undersocialized, unable to carry on a conversation, and unable to function in a “normal” world. I hate that word.
Normal is a bell curve. Just because most people happen to land in the middle doesn’t make it the right way to be.
The thing is, we have the weird no matter what. I love my kid, but I can’t ignore the fact that some of the stuff he does or says turns people off. He looks and acts average 90% of the time, but that last 10% is way out there. If he went to public school he would be a tempting target for bullies and a constant bother for teachers.
So I worry. Will he get enough interaction to be able to study and learn acceptable behaviors? Can he learn to function in a large group of people without having a meltdown? Will I be able to teach him effectively? Will he hate me forever for making him do things he hates, like math? Can I force him into a co-op situation to help him learn without triggering massive meltdowns? Will I be able to keep up with his endless questions and curiosity?
And then I have a moment of clarity: if we can’t do it, no one else can. There is no magic school or teacher that can step in and help him more than we can. We are his advocates, his support, his guides, and no one can do it better because we love him and (mostly) understand him. We’re invested in helping him succeed more than anyone else could be.
The path ahead is scary, I won’t lie. I can’t visualize what he will be like as an adult. The possibilities frighten me if we can’t help him learn to cope and adapt now. But that’s for later – I have enough worries right now.
Right now, I need to worry about doing a project on soap. Because the Engineer wants to know how do we make soap, and why does it clean your hands? And even though I can tell him it’s a colloid I can’t explain precisely what that means in 4-year-old terms yet.
Good thing I have great study skills, right? Because I’m sure going to need them when he asked about particle physics or string theory. Ouch.
(and yes, his dad tried to explain string theory to him already. that’s our normal)