|ABC's The Middle|
The mother's closing voice-over intoned how hardworking people with average kids trying to get by and help them grow up isn't ordinary, but extraordinary. It's not a horrible sentiment, but I wonder who relates to this show. Mostly because the characters' are social skills cringe-worthy. In another episode, the mother sends the youngest, an isolated book worm, to social skills classes to prove to the father how his poor social skills are affecting his son. And all I could hear as I watch this was my mother-in-law demanding to know how our children would be socialized if we homeschooled.
Now this is not a mother-in-law bashing article. I like my mother-in-law. She's an educator by trade. I taught before I decided to stay home. I have deep respect for education. I love teaching. I just happen to believe sitting at a desk with thirty other kids and a set schedule isn't going to do as much as I could for them by homeschooling. But inevitably the question I am repeatedly asked is how I can expect to socialize my children.
Well, if your only image of homeschoolers involves awkward, unfashionable kids with stern, conservative parents, you're missing out. Anyone who knows me understands I'm a diva-hippie-rockstar cross breed of a mom (at least that's what I'm going for), but that's not the point. Tonight as I watched The Middle, I watched this girl struggling to make a friend and find a spot to fit into and I sort of wondered how my children will be socialized if they attend school. Is it really so desirable to help them achieve status quo amongst a group of kids from roughly the same income, same racial groups, and same neighborhoods? What do we learn from merely fitting into a puzzle comprised of too similar pieces? And what about those awkward kids struggling to achieve even that? What does school socialization accomplish for them?