All right. I suppose it’s about time we address perhaps the most prevalent perception about homeschoolers: being socially awkward. Stereotypically, homeschoolers are shy, homely creatures – very uncomfortable in social environments and basically unable to interact normally with other people. It’s true that there are probably homeschoolers out there who do struggle with these issues. However, many more are NOT socially awkward and here’s why:
1. They’ve had more interaction with people of widely-varying ages.
Rather than spending their days in public schools surrounded by peers, homeschoolers generally come into contact with people much older and younger. When my sisters and I got together with other homeschoolers, there were usually some people around our own ages, but there were also students younger and older than us. We also had a lot of exposure to other adults simply because of the different kinds of opportunities we had.
2. They’re flexible.
It’s pretty obvious, but homeschoolers tend to be quite flexible. Our lifestyle demands it. Structure is important, but within the structure, we learn to do things in different ways. One example is learning styles. If something doesn’t work, homeschoolers have the flexibility to try something new. We have a think-outside-the-box mentality that easily lends itself to social situations.
3. They have a strong support system.
Because of their situation, homeschoolers get much more one-on-one interaction and attention. They usually have very strong family bonds. Growing up in such a supportive, safe environment with people who care about and encourage them does wonders for a child’s self-esteem. This situation is not unique to homeschoolers, but it is certainly very prevalent simply because of the types of values that usually lead parents to homeschool.
Bottom line: homeschoolers may not be “cool,” but they’re not necessarily socially awkward.
Just because they don’t embody the latest trends does not mean homeschoolers are unable to function socially. They may interact with peers a bit “differently,” but more than likely, that’s a good thing.
What has played the biggest role in your social growth?