Socialization: A Different Conversation

This “conversation” can be found posted across the internet on homeschool sites and blogs. Perhaps you’ve read it already.  I just came across it the other day and found it amusing.

Author Unknown

Two women meet at a playground, where their children are swinging andplaying ball. The women are sitting on a bench watching. Eventually, they begin to talk.

W1: Hi. My name is Maggie. My kids are the three in red shirts—helps me
keep track of them.

W2: (Smiles) I’m Terri. Mine are in the pink and yellow shirts. Do you come
here a lot?

W1: Usually two or three times a week, after we go to the library.

W2: Wow. Where do you find the time?

W1: We home school, so we do it during the day most of the time.

W2: Some of my neighbors home school, but I send my kids to public school.

W1: How do you do it?

W2: It’s not easy. I go to all the PTO meetings and work with the kids every
day after school and stay real involved.

W1: But what about socialization? Aren’t you worried about them being cooped
up all day with kids their own ages, never getting the opportunity for
natural relationships?

W2: Well, yes. But I work hard to balance that. They have some friends
who’re home schooled, and we visit their grandparents almost every month.

W1: Sounds like you’re a very dedicated mom. But don’t you worry about all
the opportunities they’re missing out on? I mean they’re so isolated from
real life—how will they know what the world is like—what people do to
make a living—how to get along with all different kinds of people?

W2: Oh, we discussed that at PTO, and we started a fund to bring real people
into the classrooms. Last month, we had a policeman and a doctor come in to
talk to every class. And next month, we’re having a woman from Japan and a
man from Kenya come to speak.

W1: Oh, we met a man from Japan in the grocery store the other week, and he
got to talking about his childhood in Tokyo. My kids were absolutely
fascinated. We invited him to dinner and got to meet his wife and their
three children.

W2: That’s nice. Hmm. Maybe we should plan some Japanese food for the
lunchroom on Multicultural Day.

W1: Maybe your Japanese guest could eat with the children.

W2: Oh, no. She’s on a very tight schedule. She has two other schools to
visit that day. It’s a system-wide thing we’re doing.

W1: Oh, I’m sorry. Well, maybe you’ll meet someone interesting in the
grocery store sometime and you’ll end up having them over for dinner.

W2: I don’t think so. I never talk to people in the store—certainly not
people who might not even speak my language. What if that Japanese man
hadn’t spoken English?

W1: To tell you the truth, I never had time to think about it. 
Before I even saw him, my six-year-old had asked him what he was going to do
with all the oranges he was buying.

W2: Your child talks to strangers?

W1: I was right there with him. He knows that as long as he’s with me, he
can talk to anyone he wishes.

W2: But you’re developing dangerous habits in him. My children never talk to
strangers.

W1: Not even when they’re with you?

W2: They’re never with me, except at home after school. So you see why it’s
so important for them to understand that talking to strangers is a big
no-no.

W1: Yes, I do. But if they were with you, they could get to meet interesting
people and still be safe. They’d get a taste of the real world, in real
settings. They’d also get a real feel for how to tell when a situation is
dangerous or suspicious.

W2: They’ll get that in the third and fifth grades in their health courses.

W1: Well, I can tell you’re a very caring mom. Let me give you my number—if
you ever want to talk, give me call. It was good to meet you.

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This entry was posted in Family, Homeschool, socialization, socializing, unschooling. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Socialization: A Different Conversation

  1. That is so funny. I coach sports for only homeschooled kids and there is such a huge group of them for soccer flag football, basketball and baseball/softball…I “love” the stereotype about how socially inept we all are and what we are “doing” to all kids.

    I can teach a homeschooled child (except mine) a concept in a couple of practices that it took me months to do in the city sport leagues.

  2. Meagan says:

    I read this post a couple of days ago, and still cannot decide if I’m more offended or amused. Hmmm….I’m leaning towards the latter. I loved the line about visiting their grandparents “almost every month”!

  3. Angie says:

    Meg, it should be noted that this is not a made up conversation simply to poke fun at families who chose to send their kids to school. Rather, it is a parody on a very typical conversation that any homeschooler has had dozens of times. If you have been quizzed in the typical manner and asked the typical questions of the “what about socialization?” variety, this conversation becomes much more amusing, though I suspect without having had such a conversation it could seem a little offensive.

    So I apologize for any offensiveness about it. Perhaps I should edit my post to point out that it is a parody.

  4. Meagan says:

    No apology needed, Ang, and I appreciate your note.

    I did understand that this was a parody, just some of the references to W2’s children “never (being) with me”, and how she “never talk(s) to people in the store” rubbed me the wrong way. Much like (I assume) the usual comments you get about your choice to homeschool would irritate you as well.

    I hope I didn’t convey that I was offended by you posting the conversation, this was not what I meant. I think I just lack the same perspective on this as a homeschooling parent would have. I am impressed by what you do for your family, and respect your choice to teach your children at home.

    My….that was a serious sounding comment!

  5. Elena says:

    This is great. I like to have my life portrayed on the side that’s NOT on the defensive, for a change. Sometimes I feel like such a foreigner, although I also notice that the responses are much different now than they were ten years ago when I first began having these conversations with people. I am often pleasantly surprised now when people know others who homeschool, or say that they are considering it, or just have a basic understanding of homeschooling and its benefits. It is exciting to watch it enter the mainstream, and especially exciting to see people re-evaluate “regular” school as a choice and not a given.

  6. Angie says:

    I notice a huge difference as well. Although my oldest is only eight so I haven’t been homeschooling all that long, I was homeschooled. So I can say there is a big difference from twenty five years ago when people started asking me if I was “starting Kindergarten this year”. We grew up not knowing anyone else who was homeschooled. My mom had virtually no support, and information/resources were a lot harder to find. (Especially considering there was no internet!) Things have changed big time!

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