Socialization Geniuses

I have been homeschooled from first grade to present, my sophomore year of high school. (Wow, that makes me feel old!) I have to say, homeschooling has way more perks than non-homeschoolers give it credit for. We get way more free time, hardly any homework, snacks whenever, great relationships with our tutors/teachers, and did I mention snacks?

Homeschooling, with all its diversity and free time, has given me the opportunity to make A LOT of friends. I’m a military kid too, so we’ve moved a lot and lived in places like an RV park with a continuous cycle of different people moving in and out. And one of the best things about homeschooling is that all of my friends are not the same age as me. Mom says that’s because I collect people and like to herd them, but that’s not true at all. 🙂

Anyway, my closest far-away friend is four years younger than me, and her vivid imagination fuels our WWII story. I met her in the RV park, where we played WWII spy characters, complete with princesses and torture. When I moved, we continued writing and narrating our characters’ lives. We hope to have a publishable book soon. The nearest friend that is close to my age is 17.

I guess I’m merely saying that homeschoolers are a bit more social, or at least more open-minded to who is ‘acceptable’ to socialize with.

What’s my point? Well, have you noticed that many public schoolers tend to seek out the popular girls, the ones that are their age, or the guy magnets? At least this is what I’ve noticed. As a buoyant homeschooler approaching a group of public schoolers, I was shocked that one could be turned away simply because you weren’t the same age. It hurt. A lot. I remember complaining to my mom that some girls at the park wouldn’t let me play with them because I was too little. I was one year younger than them.

The opposition seems to increase as you get into high school. And I get it. Those teenager hormones make you a raging beast one moment and an angel the next, contributing to the lack of social skills. I’m certainly not as people-needy as I once was, but I like to be welcomed to a group of girls around my age, not subtly ignored because I’m new or young or homeschooled.

I go to a co-op where homeschoolers take enrichment classes two days a week–classes such as biology, martial arts, history, you name it, High Country teaches it. This is a place where over 400 homeschoolers convene. Are we social? YES. And not only with people of our own age, but small kids, older kids, and kids who are physically or mentally challenged. When I go there, I can feel the welcoming arms of these people radiating from the place. Public schools like to segregate. This age here, this age here, and no kindergarteners allowed on high school campuses.

After so long, it’s funny how homeschoolers can spot each other in a crowd. We can also tell a public schooler when we see one. Mannerisms. As Dad would say, body language. It tells a story. A homeschooler may stand in a corner waiting for a certain friend or group of friends to arrive, but we do want to know other people. Make the pack stronger. If a three-strand cord is not easily broken, try a ten-strand one!

Now, I know not all public schoolers are like this, but quite a few interactions I had with public schoolers were full of bragging about their boyfriends or just a stand-off-don’t-touch-me-I’m-only-talking-to-you-because-no-one-else-I-know-is-here attitude. Once their friends do come, it’s goodbye to that weird girl over there who reads way too much. Oh yeah and did I mention, when we are ‘not socializing,’ we are reading. Sure it gives some of us imaginary friends, but what of the knowledge we are accumulating? We often share those interesting facts with the people around us, from toddlers to grandparents.

I mean no judgement for those who are or were public schooled. I guess I’m merely saying that homeschoolers are a bit more social, or at least more open-minded to who is ‘acceptable’ to socialize with.
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Socialization Geniuses article Hi, I’m Rebecca Bray. I am a military kid, currently in my second year of high school. I have been homeschooled since first grade. I went to a German kindergarten and at that point looked with bravery at the public school across the street. Thank goodness I never went! We have lived in many places, including Germany and Hawaii and now reside in Colorado with an upcoming move to Alabama. I love to write, but I had no idea a Facebook post would become an article! Thank you Hip Homeschool Moms for this opportunity![/mks_pullquote]

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  1. Great article, Rebecca. I appreciate that you shared some of the vulnerable moments of trying to socialize with the mainstream kids sometimes. Totally have seen this with my own girls, starting at a very young age (like before kindergarten). Sad!

    Keep writing. We need your perspectives and encouragement… for all of us.

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