Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Gee, you're well-socialized!

Just when I start to think the homeschooler stereotypes are starting to be dispelled as homeschooling continues to grow, something happens to prove just how far we still need to go.

We've all heard the socialization question. I have no idea why people have such strong opinions on such a non-issue in homeschooling. Yes, there are homeschoolers who are secluded from society. I understand that. And perhaps some homeschoolers aren't always up-to-date on the latest pop culture or fashion craze, or are largely unconcerned even if they are. There are also public-schooled students that are socially dysfunctional or too driven by popularity and the latest thing that is "in". However, those in the homeschool community know, when it comes to social skills that count, homeschoolers are usually ahead of the game. Homeschoolers have more opportunity to interact with those outside of their exact age peer group and are exposed to many more real-life situations. They also aren't afraid to interact with adults.

Apparently an adult that had recent interaction with my 13-year-old daughter didn't realize this. My daughter spent the last week at a camp for girls interested in technology. The girls learned things such as web design, robotics and game design. As part of the camp, women working for some of the corporate sponsors came in and spoke with the girls over lunch about their jobs. I really appreciate these women, especially as a mom who was in a field dominated by men.

However, my daughter reported to me one day that a mentor from Google became quite inquisitive about the fact that my daughter was homeschooled. After talking to my daughter for a bit, she says to her, "You are very mature and well-socialized." Well-socialized? I know it was meant as a compliment, but would she have said this to any other girl there other than a homeschooler? What, exactly, was this mentor expecting? Did my daughter perhaps break down some stereotypes?

When my daughter told me this story, the first thing out of my mouth was a sarcastic, "Did you tell her that your parents unlocked the closet for you to attend camp?" It is just the sort of snappy comment that I'd like to say when I hear these sort of things.

"No," my daughter replied, " I just told her that is isn't like people think. We aren't always working one-on-one and we get out and do many things."

Of course that is what she said, because she knew a snappy comment would not be appropriate. Unlike many teenagers today that are being socialized by their peers, my daughter is well-socialized.

I know the idea was for my daughter to learn from the mentor, but I hope that mentor took home a new perspective of homeschoolers that day.


Loving learning at Home said...

Good for your Daughter, Heidi. I'm sure she takes after you! Don't you love it when they don't make smart remarks even when it would be appropriate.


Tracy said...

Hooray for your daughter! She did a great job! She seems mature and poised for her age - is that another way to say she's well socialized?? :)

Pebblekeeper said...

I had to share this with a friend this morning, we were just having this conversation yesterday. So many people come up to me after a community function and say in bewilderment - "I didn't know the boys were homeschooled??". I always sort of wonder what that means. I take it as a complement and smile. It usually is followed with some sort of wonderment that they are normal - or of praise that "at least I must be doing something right", like all of my stereotyped friends must not be? I usually follow up with - you'd be surprised in a room full of kids - you'd never be able to "pick out" the educational background of most. :)

Sravani said...

Hi Heidi,
Good for your dd! I hope the mentor went home with her newfound knowledge on homeschooled teens:).

Jessica S. said...

Awesome!! I am glad she got the opportunity to set him straight!! In a very 'well-socialized' manner!! LOL!! =]