Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The check up.

When we first started homeschooling, people kept telling me that the thing I had to be prepared to answer was, "What about socialization?" Even the books I read gave me great expectations. 

Everywhere you go, people will wonder how your poor homeschooled children will ever learn to be socialized. People will ask - as they themselves are socializing with your children! - what you are going to do about socialization. 

I figured that made sense. It was probably one of the things I would have asked before we took the plunge and dropped out of school. (Also - I was super curious how homeschoolers knew what to teach. How do you know you're covering all the right things? Now I know no one knows all the things. I'm over it.)

I waited and waited to be grilled about socialization but I never heard a word. Maybe it's because we live in a progressive part of town that is open to all kinds of schooling. Or because us homeschoolers tend to travel in herds. Perhaps I'm totally oblivious to criticism from strangers. Or maybe homeschooling is just not that weird anymore. At any rate, I'm lucky to have been spared the lecture. 

But there are some people who maybe still don't get it. Like our pediatrician. Liam had his 8 year old well visit yesterday and he totally got grilled. On friends and books and favorite subjects. It was all very conversational, but I could tell it was a clever kind of quiz. 

"How do you know those friends?" was code for, "If you don't go to school, how do you have friends?"

"What books do you like?" translated to, "Do you hippies know how to read?"

And, "What's your favorite subject?" meant, "What exactly are you learning at that there homeschool?"

I get it. It's his job to make sure we're covering our bases. All our bases. And since we've brought Liam's education under our roof, that includes everything that used to be the responsibility of the school. 

But it's still funny to me to think that anyone might be concerned when I know how rich Liam's education is now compared to when he was "in school."

It made me wonder, do pediatricians grill all kids like this? Or if you say, "I go to such-and-such school," do you get a pass? I hope not. It's important that all kids are getting a full education, not just the homeschooled ones. 

Liam handled to conversation great (I stayed completely out if it). My favorite part was when the doctor asked him about his favorite subject. 

"Hmm," Liam said thoughtfully. That's hard to say..."

"Just pick one. Do you like math? Or..."

"I guess I'd have to say science. It's pretty fun."

"Science," he repeated thoughtfully. "Like experiments?"

"No, we didn't really do a whole lot of experiments this year."

"So...outer space?"

"Well, we learned about bones." And about a hundred other things!, I wanted to yell. But this was Liam's conversation and I was not about to butt in. 

"Bones, huh? you know how many bones are in the human body?" 

Seriously? A quiz?! This is what I read about! Pediatricians throwing out random questions to test how much homeschooled kids know. I couldn't believe it. What kind of 2nd grader would know how many bones are in the human body? I certainly didn't know and I went to school!

"Well," said Liam, completely unfazed. "If I remember correctly, the adult human body has two hundred and six bones."

I was shocked. Where in the world did he full that from?

"That's exactly right," said our pediatrician smiling. And he promptly ended the test. 

On our way to the car I told Liam he handled the appointment really well. "You know, our doctor might not know much about what it's really like to homeschool. He's lucky to have a patient like you who can help educate him." Liam rolled it around in his head thoughtfully and I'm sure he stored it away somewhere that will surprise and inspire me one day soon. 

Or perhaps he'll save it for his next well visit. 

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