I don’t post much these days, too busy doing other stuff I guess! Like stopping my 22 month old from falling down every five seconds and smacking his face on stuff! Seriously, this kid just lurches around the joint and keeps banging his face and head on things. Even when I think I’m supervising sufficiently he can manage to damage himself. The other day we were both crouching down looking at a beetle he had found. I was right next to him. He was crouching…he suddenly tipped forwards too far and didn’t put out his hands and smooshed his poor little cheek into the concrete step we were near! Sheesh!
This year is going well so far for Mr 11 though. He’s taken up sailing on sundays with his Grandad, he’s still going to Scouts and enjoying it (even though he doesn’t really get all that involved with the others at least he’s staying there and hanging around watching!) He’s also much less argumentative about doing his schoolwork and we are making great progress so far. I guess the general happiness and cooperative behaviour of our boy is why I feel I don’t have much to blog about anymore…which is great.
One thing I did want to say, which has brought me to the computer today is my frustration with people and kids and the whole ‘socialising’ thing that people go on about.
Every time we go to the park (which is pretty much every day), inevitably people will ask my older son why he’s not at school today. He tells them he’s homeschooled. They then talk to him for a little while and then will usually seek me out to talk to me because it’s a curious and different thing. When they find me, they then have to approach with their little ones. My little one (22mths) is very talkative and open and will walk right up to any child and say ‘hi!’ the most common response he gets without doubt is for the approached child to stare at him briefly before walking away looking confused. This used to happen to Mr 11 a lot too. The only thing I can think of is that the other kids his age just don’t have the same level of communication skill and they get freaked out. That’s fine, I get it. I usually just take over the talking and tell my little one that it’s OK and he can try to talk to someone else. Usually older kids will respond well to him. But most kids under 5 aren’t very willing. I’m used to it having seen this with my older son trying to connect when he was little. So back to the parents who have come to ask me about homeschooling and why etc. We chat for a bit, and within probably the first few sentences they will ALWAYS ask me, “But what about socialisation?”
Did they not just have a conversation with my son? Did they not come to tell me he’s so interesting and clever? Did they not just witness my younger son try to socialise with their child and their child ignore him, or run away or stare blankly?
Yes they did, but it doesn’t compute, because in their minds (in lots of people’s minds) socialising is something done at school, in same age peer groups. I have read so much research about how this just isn’t true. Children learn their social skills from older people and especially from adults and most especially from their parents! This is why my children are actually very good socialisers. They can communicate with people of all ages. Yes, my older son has autism so he has trouble with social situations where things get tricky, but actually he’s quite good at ‘socialising’ in general. It just annoys me. And obviously there is no time at the park while chasing my little one to explain all this to the stranger who has approached me. And so I simply smile and say, “yes everyone asks that! Homeschooling has a large community of great people and socialising is done by meeting up and doing different activities. It’s not a problem”.
Secretly I want to ask them what they are doing about socialisation in terms of teaching their kids not to ignore someone who says hello to them (note, I’m not talking about shy kids who are hiding and don’t want to say hi, that’s fine!), or to speak up and not mumble when they do answer (for the older kids) or to share (in the true sense, ie, not just giving up something you currently have because you were told to, but in waiting and taking your turn when the other person is ready to give it up.). I wonder what they would say?