Should "Normal" REALLY be the Goal?

Thanks to several posts on Dana’s blog, I’m back on the issue of socialization. Again.

I’ve been giving this some thought lately in response to an article which was posted by a youth pastor from Nebraska. In his post, the Serial Youth Pastor cites lack of social skills in homeschoolers he has known as one of his arguments against homeschooling:

"Social skills usually aren’t great – again this is the norm and NOT the exception. I have witnessed this more times than I can count."

And in an article entited Homeschooling Researched, Katie Kriss writes:

"How can a parent make such a crucial decision without their child’s consent to remove them from a world that is considered to be the ‘norm’..."

How many times have you heard someone say,

"Well, I met this homeschool family, and frankly, they just weren’t normal"?

When a youth pastor says that the majority of homeschooled teens he knows lack social skills, I wonder exactly what he means by that.  I wonder by what standard he has measured these kids and found them lacking? Is it a fair measure? And more importantly, is it a right measure?

In a reply to one of his commenters, the Serial Youth Pastor gives an indication of exactly how he measures the social skills of the kids in his youth group. He says, "I do think the ones that have better social skills do blend in."  Blend in?  With whom?

Think about the social climate of the youth culture around us.  Have you sat in the food court in a shopping mall and watched teens lately?  Have you watched kids at a schoolbus stop? I’ve had the "privilege" of working as a substitute teacher in our local public school.  It is abundantly clear that the way for a child to "blend in" in this setting is to be disrespectful, rude, and disinterested. Is this behavior normal?  Well–yes–it is normal.  In today’s youth culture, it is normal. And it’s disturbing. 

And here’s my point.

Kids who are not fully immersed in this culture WILL be different. They will NOT blend in. And I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I’m not concerned that people continue to raise the socialization question. I AM concerned that these people insist that the social culture of today’s youth is the standard by which all children should be measured.

Youth culture in our country is in serious trouble.

We need a lot more kids who are not "normal".


9 responses

  1. I agree 100%. We homeschool because we don't want our kids to be "just like the others". We want our kids to grow up into who God intends them to be, not what society makes them.

  2. I was also very disturbed by the idea of public school kids being a standard of 'normal'. PS kids are as individual as HS kids- some are shy, some are athletic, some are geeky…. What of children being measured by their character, and not by their ability to discuss "American Idol"?

    I think that when someone knows a kid is homeschooled, they put them in a fish bowl and the poor kid can't blow his nose without someone critiquing his actions. It's like the PK and MK situation, where the children of church leadership and missionaries are expected to maintain exceptionally high standards of conduct.

    I know the Bible says that a 'companion of fools shall be destroyed'. There is nothing wrong with being careful of the company a child keeps.

  3. I absolutely agree with you. After three years of Cub Scouts with my son being the only homeschooled child among dozens of public school kids, I don't WANT him to be socially "normal" if that's what most of them are. The vast majority of the boys in our current pack seem to be unable to be respectful to anyone for more than the most fleeting of moments – and the pack we were in before, in a totally different city, wasn't much better.
    Mine might not be the most outgoing or most fashionable child at an event, but I'd prefer to have him counted among the most polite & well-behaved children rather than among the most "popular", who spend most of the meeting running around, shoving each other out of chairs, and yelling, regardless of who is speaking.
    These pack meetings are chaotic enough that I leave each month seriously considering attempting to find the resources to start a pack only for homeschoolers in our area.

  4. Thanks, we just got a new camera, so the pictures turned out really nice.

    Watching it from a window is totally the way to go. That way you don't have to freeze. Lol.

    On the other hand maybe it is part of the experience to have to brave the cold. 😉


  5. The thing that really gets me is a pastor commenting on the "social skills" of students. I would prefer he stick with what he knows well. How, exactly, do those kids measure up spiritually? Isn't that what matters?

    I haven't no intention of raising "hot house Christian boys" in this home. But, neither do I intend to throw my children out into the trenches of this world and say, "You'll be fine! Fend for yourself, son."

    So much of this kind of mentality against home schooling drives me NUTS! More dialog is probably needed. I pray I do the right thing, and that my kids will "shine like stars in the universe as they hold out the word of LIFE" to those around them. If they shine in a "funky, abnormal way" then so be it! Edited by MayTheyBeMightyMen on 22 February 2008 at 4:36 PM

  6. I love it when you blog like this.

    I'm waiting for the next person to come up to me and upon discovering that I homeschool ask "aren't you worried about socialization?"

    My response will be "YES! Why do you think I homeschool!"

  7. I read the youth pastor's blog. He needs seasoning: age, experience, a wife and children. He might find his views about home schooilng change a little after he has experienced fatherhood. Until then, he's a knucklehead.

  8. I agree with you! Absolutely… we really DON'T want to be "social" because that in itself lacks good socialization!

    Oh I am hosting a challenge that maybe your girls would be interested in doing! : )

    Miss Jocelyn

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