My homeschooler’s social skills

I didn’t realize this until we started homeschooling, but adults begin child-oriented conversation with a question about school. It’s like the weather. It’s safe and universal.

When we were at the grocery store, buying junk food, the cashier said to me, “Your sons must be so excited to get out of school today!”

I said, “They don’t go to school.”

She looked horrified.

I made a note to myself to just say, “Uh huh.” It’s like when someone asks you “How are you?” The proper answer to all school-related questions is some version of “Fine”.

Then, two days later, I saw my six-year-old playing with a group of kids who live outside of Chicago. I always watch him play because he’s the only one in the family without Asperger’s and his play instincts look like magic to me.

A kid said, “Hey, you look familiar. What school do you go to?”

My son said, “I go to a school far away from here in the country.”

And everyone continued playing.

13 replies
  1. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I love it when my kids are good at something I am not good at. Not only is it fun to watch (wow! I put that in the world!) but it’s also reassuring. Certain things just are innate, and what they don’t have may not even be my fault.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I think this is why parents love teaching kids a second language. But now I’m seeing there could be lots of things — it’s just that none of those things are in school.

      I mean, we all learn the stuff in school so there’s no magic to it. The magic is the kid picking something up on their own.


  2. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    That’s a really good answer from your son. I wonder what the background is for his response. I would imagine he got similar questions as you regarding schooling previously and got a similar response when he replied that he didn’t go to school or he was being home schooled. However he decided to come up with a clever yet truthful answer rather than muddling through or avoiding the issue. Also I think it’s pretty amazing the assumptions we all make regarding other people based on our own experiences and what’s considered the norm.

  3. Zellie
    Zellie says:

    He may be wise beyond his years. You should hear some of the things homeschooled kids say. “We don’t do school. We just play all the time,” or worse!

  4. Mark K
    Mark K says:

    Probably the best thing about home schooling is the opportunity it affords for us to learn from our kids.

    It’s a beautiful mutual process if you are open to it. It’s great that you already have realized this.

  5. karelys davis
    karelys davis says:

    It’s like when you’re an adult everyone always asks what you do for a job! it’s because our identities are so closely tied in with the work we do.

    who you’re friends with is a bit more subtle.

    So as an experiment I force people into disclosing to me by asking probing questions right off the gate. Then I smile.

    And surprisingly it works!

    I think people want to be known but we’re lazy and just default to the whether or work.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      The pop machine. He loves the pop machine. It’s like a video game to him — watching the bottles fall from the shelves.


  6. Lori
    Lori says:

    being oot and aboot in the community, we’ve gotten this a lot. if you say “we’re homeschoolers” you often invite a free, unrequested lecture (usually from the elderly, who correlate with the nosy) about why hs’ing is a bad choice.

    here’s our avoidance script:

    “why aren’t you in school today, young man?”

    “we have a teachers’ institute day.”

    “what school do you go to?”


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