This article really struck a chord with me. My oldest tends to be obsessive about the things he loves. He loves numbers, and math, so much so that I’m sure others would find it annoying. Heck, I do sometimes! and I’m his mother, and love that he loves math. But his interests are exhausting, and often times not what his peers would think are cool or interesting. He does things in extremes. When he was 2 or 3 – he loved cars so much, that he memorized every symbol of every car brand out there, and we’d walk through a parking lot, and he would tell you what ever car was as we walked by it. I find myself often thinking about whether he would still be into the things he was into if he his surrounderings were different.
My middle guy, is a little joker. He likes to be silly and funny. There was a time when he wouldn’t leave the house without 2 different shoes on, or a fedora (my older son actually started that “trend” in our house). There was one day I dressed him and his pants were too short, so I was like, oh your pants don’t fit, let’s change. He was like, “No mama, I kind of like them like this.” When I asked him to pick a lunchbox for our outing, he picked the one with the colorful polka dots. Tomorrow, he might pick the Spiderman one.
I like that their choices are their own. Their likes are their own. It’s not dictated by what’s “cool”, by what the popular kids at school would like, by what others may or may not think of their decision. They just choose it because it’s what they like. Period.
I don’t know how long I’ll continue homeschooling, or if I’ll even home school all my kids, but I think there is just something so valuable in that – having them do things because they want to. Truly chosing interests based on what they like. No fear of ridicule, no judgements, no standards to meet (other than perhaps the ones I set). Maybe it’s just the overprotective parent in me, but for now, I love that I can do that for them. I think as a kid, so much time was spent trying to fit in, that you lose sight of what you’re really interested in if it veers off the socially “acceptable” path. And if you were one of the “annoying” kids who really did do all the things he/she was interested in, often times, you were on outlier, and there were consequences for embracing your “dorky”, “weird” “obsessions.”
I think some people often site the socially awkward homeschoolers they meet, and assume that’s a result of homeschooling (and maybe in a small percentage of cases that is true). However, for the vast majority, I think they would have been socially awkward in a public school setting, or any setting really. It just would have been a heavier burden to bear. Homeschooling may have been a means to allow them to grow into who they were going to be regardless, just with less stress and anxiety.