The kids got two compliments within the last two days. Yesterday, while waiting outside my yoga class for five minutes, they sat and read/doodled on their DSi games. When I came out, a woman who had been sitting across from them told me how "wonderful" my children are: they sat quietly and spoke to her politely when she inquired whether school was out for the day. She told us homeschooling "is the best," and she beamed at them.
Then at Meijer, the kids returned bottles and got to keep the money. We stood at the end of the checkout, cart full and paid for. They eyed the toy and candy machines, weighing their choice of saving versus spending. When I gave a last call to "either spend some money or save it so we can go home," they both said "Save!" A woman sitting on a bench about six feet away exclaimed: "Good for you!"
Maybe it's all this being-in-the-adult world that got them going with this next topic. I'm not sure. On the drive home and in the car wash, they talked at length about how "mean" and "bratty" this-and-that kid had been in school. Nate said there were even kids who seemed glad he would be going; Madelyn talked about how she wouldn't miss this one ordering her around, that one putting her down. When I was at the dentist yesterday, the hygenist asked about our "socializing." It is assumed that being in school is the optimal place to learn how to interact with other people. Except, according it my kids, it's not. It's a place to be called names; it's a place to be isolated in a crowd; it's a place where the kid to adult ratio is such that small disagreements get ignored for the sake of moving a class along--and small disagreements turn into silent wars when left unattended.
My kids have to work on their manners and self-control--but so does every person alive. At a time when those habits are forming, they were left on their own more than not at school, a situation that doesn't exist now that's we are one on one every day. Those minor irritations are managed and smoothed over, laying groundwork for the big irritations bound to come.
How are their social skills? Getting better, now that they're not bombarded with group-think or mob-rule.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
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