Socialization, Homeschool Style

This is the story of a homeschooled child. A socialized, well-adjusted homeschooled child. We don’t get many comments along the lines of “But how does she get socialization if she doesn’t go to school?” but I know that’s a common question among those who don’t really get how homeschooling works.

[Perhaps the question we do get is indicative of the test-obsessed mentality of some schooling parents. I don’t get this question from everyone. Most of my schooling friends don’t worry about this question. I have wise and loving friends. Our most frequent question is: “Does she take the tests?” When I tell folks that testing isn’t required for homeschoolers, a perplexed look followed by “But how do you ensure she’s learned the stuff she needs to know?” is how the conversation ends. Sad to think that some folks think tests are needed to show what kids know. Help me reeducate the world, won’t you?]

So, my daughter just participated in that oh-so-important high school ritual, the prom. Well, it’s a homeschool prom so it isn’t called the prom (it’s the Gala), and it differs from prom in a lot of ways. Here she is in her get up. Doesn’t she clean up nicely?

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I find at this time of year that I really like homeschooling and homeschoolers. Having attended some of these events in the past, here are some observations I have about them:

  • Dancing is more like the moving of bodies to music and less like the having of sexual relations with clothes on at a homeschool event. [Don’t ask me about the one time I chaperoned a middle school dance in my early teaching days. I still have scars.] People dance in all sorts of ways, too. Modern dance, Pride & Prejudice type dance, ballroom dance.  Homeschool kids tend to just do their thing.
  • Clothing ranges from nice church clothes to fancy gowns and tuxes. It’s okay to wear what you want. No need for short gowns only at one dance and long gowns only at another. It’s free form. I’m not sure why there isn’t more peer pressure with these homeschool kids, a need to conform to a standard set by the peer group. I suspect it’s because many of the homeschool kids dropped out of school because they wouldn’t bow to any kind of pressure, positive or negative. While that can be a problem when a kid refuses to learn algebra, it does have its perks. Homeschool kids march to their own drummers a lot of the time.
  • Kids do like prom. A lot of them do. Some adults think prom was the most important event in high school (really?) and some thought it was a waste of a good evening. Even when there isn’t pressure to go to prom for prom’s sake, kids still do like to get dressed up and go to a fancy event. Even homeschool kids.

So while I’m grateful that promposals aren’t a thing in the homeschool world (Ack! The pressure!), I’m glad our kids have a chance to engage in typical teen social activities on their terms. The adults who organize these events have my undying gratitude. And a big shout out of thanks to all the kids who make my kid feel included. Homeschoolers do know how to socialize. They just do it homeschool style.

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