Hi! I'm taking quotes out of context (fairly, I hope!), so please go over to the original thread if you want to read the whole posts. *** Link no longer working ***

But these are the parts that I wanted to respond to in this new thread:

Originally Posted by acs
The irony of this all suddenly struck me. In the country at large, homeschoolers are definitely the minority, often mocked or mistreated because of their decision. As a result, a little defensiveness makes sense, as does a certain evangelical-ness when you have found that homeschooling really works.

Originally Posted by PhysicistDave
I suspect that I may also have a different conception than many people of what social experiences count as �positive�: I think that �socialization,� even with good peers, tends to boil down to learning to be like other people (which of course is one of the reasons why it is better to have �good� peers than �bad� peers). I think that is a bad thing. I want my kids to be honest, courteous, kind, etc., but I would rather they be a bit blind to all of those little social cues and pressures that cause most people to fall in line with the �group,� whether what the group is doing is good or not.
I’m not sure that most homeschoolers are very defensive about homeschooling, except in the limited sense of wanting to protect their legal rights.
And, in fact, when I have talked both with acquaintances and with random strangers about our homeschooling over the last four years, I’ve gotten an overwhelmingly positive response.

Well, I have felt defensive about my choice to homeschool, and I have seen other homeschoolers acting as if they are defensive. I have had to explain to friends and relatives why I am doing something so out of the mainstream. I have read and enjoyed the "Bitter Homeschooler's Wishlist," which though an exaggeration for comic effect, is only funny because it has some truth to it. ( http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/001/bitter_homeschooler.html )

The fact is, most of us secular homeschoolers do want to fit in. We do want to be liked by others and accepted. We want our kids to be liked and accepted. People are more than little brains; they're social creatures.

To that end, we don't like being in the minority. We want to feel like what we're doing is okay. It's a big reason why HSers groups exist. I think acs is right: I think some measure of mild defensiveness is the norm among homeschoolers and is perfectly natural. You may not feel defensive, Dave, but I really think you're the exception, not the rule there.

But one of those misconceptions that I'm trying to disabuse people of is the notion that homeschooling is inherently anti-social--it's just not! At the risk of being wrong, I'll say that I think Dave may be trying to distinguish between "socialization," which HSers tend to think of as the need to conform (and therefore tend to reject), and "being social," which homeschoolers tend to embrace just as all human beings do. Socialization is viewed as being lock-step with those around you; being social is having friends and having fun. (That's why you should never ask a HSer about "socialization" unless you want to see smoke come out of his/her ears!)

You could choose to shun people as part of your homeschooling, I suppose. You could do as I joke about and really lock your kids in the basement and throw books down the stairs to them, but no one I know does anything close to this. We're far more out in the world than kids are in school, really. When else in life does one interact only with people who are all exactly the same age, regardless of interests or abilities? Never! IRL (as opposed to school), we gravitate toward people we enjoy, jobs that offer like-minded co-workers, and activites that interest us. School is the one and only time in life when virtually all that matters is one's age. I think that's weird. It's certainly counterproductive for many GT kids.

But unlike Dave, I don't want my kids to be blind to social cues. Even peer pressure I want my kids to see and understand for what it is. I want my kids to be well-liked in groups and in one-on-one interactions because I know the value of those interactions. I do think HSing could be viewed by others as a potential stumbling block to those interactions, so especially with new people I feel a little, well, nervous, I guess. It's only natural.

99% of the conversations I've had with non-HSers about HSing have been positive and supportive. Even people I thought sure would have something bad to say have been positively chirpy about our family's choice! smile But the 1% that wasn't positive was ugly and really blindsided me. I wasn't expecting the nastiness I got about it. It only takes one of those conversations to make a person feel defensive.

It's especially hard for us because we are NOT HSing as a philosophical choice, but because we didn't see any way for our school to teach our child. So when people hear that we're HSing, I have three equally lousy choices: 1) let them assume we're religious HSers, when we're not (!), 2) tell them that we're HSing because school wasn't working for DS6, which leads them to think that he's a behavioral problem, when he isn't, or 3) tell them that he's "really bright." In every case, they're likely to be turned off to us. So defensive, yup, I'll cop to it!

I guess this is a long way of saying that while I agree with a lot of what you wrote, Dave, I don't think you speak for everyone in HSing. I think acs's observations about defensiveness were right on target. I think there are two things that spur HSers to be evangelical: being so sure you're right that you have to tell others (I think this one is the minority), or because we like the choice we've made, but we feel defensive about it. That's the more common cause, I think.

Human beings don't argue when we know we're right. Then we shrug, say "You're wrong," and let it go. We argue when we feel insecure. I think many of us who HS feel a little insecure. And why shouldn't we? We're choosing to do something outside the norm. It's still the right choice for our families, but a fair percentage of us are still a wee bit nervous about choosing to be so different. That's normal, and it's okay. But it does tend to make people feel a bit defensive...and therefore evangelical.