"We are all wanderers on this earth...our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I have weird kids

You've met them before, you know, the weird homeschooled kids. The ones that seem to have socialized with far more adults than kids. The kind that will actually shake hands with you, look you in the eyes, and take the time to have a conversation with you before running off to play with their friends. The kind that will show affection to their mother and father, in public, or wear a tail or costume all day, or proudly show you his plush bear that he's had for 9 years, without any thought to who's watching or what a peer (or adult) might think. The kind of kids that will play with all age groups and not compare who's older, who's taller, who has better clothes, or a fancy phone. The kind of kids that will stop to help a younger one tie their shoes without being told and without hesitation.

They are also the kind of kids that have a strong sense what what's right and what's wrong. They have no fear in telling a peer "no" or if what they think they did is wrong. So when these kind of kids get picked on or called names for absolutely no reason at all (twice in one week actually) and by kids they don't even know, they get a little confused as to why. And what's even more confusing, is when these kids have the courage to tell the other parents that their kids were being mean, and those parents laugh it off, and say "oh you know, they're just being kids." These kids don't understand that this is common in a different schooled life. They have never had reason to pick on another child, to say terrible things like "worm" or "midget", and don't understand why another might. Perhaps, this is part of their wierdness, that they haven't become accustomed to brutal teasing, unprovoked meanness, and superficial comparisons. Perhaps some would call this the "real" world. Perhaps, my kids are strange because in their lives, they know their actions reflect how they feel about themselves, and how they feel about the world around them. In their lives, treating others how they want to be treated is not just a "rule", but a living, breathing understanding. And in their lives, where their parents are their greatest influence, when they can be happy being exactly themselves, there is absolutely no cause for bitterness, comparison, or hate.

I understand now that my children have been sheltered from this kind of playground politics. I don't know about you, but I find it sad that some would consider this kind of world, the "real" world. And I don't know about you, but I would rather have weird kids that can believe in a better kind of world and a better way of treating people, than have them accept the "real" world as a world without compassion and without unconditional kindness. When I started homeschooling, I admittedly feared that I would be the one with the weird kids, and look at me now.

Disclaimer: Please know that I know, not all schooled children are mean like the ones we encountered this week. In fact, school may have absolutely nothing to do with it. We know that conscious parenting is the key to raising kind and respectful children, yet none can deny the kind of meanness that occurs in groups of children without adult supervision. What does this mean? How is that children can be one way with parents, and another way when parents are not looking? Is it children's nature to do so? I do not believe so at all. I believe every behavior is a reflection of what is happening inside a person, some easily explained, some not. The sooner we help children understand this--- the sooner we understand this about ourselves, the better off we will all be. But... alas, that is a whole other post isn't it :)...

Peace to you friends...


  1. I have tried to raise my children to be kind to everyone--just to be a nice person. How wonderful it would be if everyone made that a priority.

  2. MJ, unfortunatly it's not just 'school' kid's that can act so mean, it can be homeschool children too. Elizabeth wrote a wonderful post concerning thttp://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2011/10/bully-reading-and-ruffle-bumps.htmlhe same point.
    I have had a child on the receiving end of that meanness and to this day it makes me cry. I have taught my children to live by the golden rule, but I have learned that quite a few parents don't.
    I love weird kids!

  3. Yes, you are right Tracey, and maybe we are lucky to not have experienced this yet with homeschooled kids. Bottom line, it's the parenting, as usual :).

  4. What always confuses me is the insistence by 'mainstream' parents that kids need to be together to learn 'socialization'. When will they learn that immature people cannot mature together? It is only in a culture of maturity that immature people can grow in maturity.

    A beautiful, thoughtful post, MJ.
    Much Joy to you and yours.

  5. I love your weird kids! It seems we've got similar ones here (too bad we couldn't arrange a playdate). So sorry that you have had some yucky encounters recently, we've been there. I am proud of my weird kids and know that it's always the weird kids that grow up to be amazing adults who do amazing things in the world (even if they are a bit weird).

  6. my kids are also weird like this : )
    they go to school but we did our best to find an area and a school were everybody knows everybody and such kind of non weird kids are not an often encounter... but still it comes to a point that our kids are weird because they say Thank you, because they love eachother and make no fun of anyone... because they don`t care about funcy toys or clothes.
    we need to raise our kids so they become the kind of world we want them to live in.
    You are doing a great job MJ!

  7. oh sweet friend- it must be in the air- you'll have to read my post here- http://www.adventurezinchildrearing.com/2011/12/out-of-mouths-of-my-babes.html to see what happened to my (newly) 7 yr old this week (it was an adult)and my son handled it better than his mother- I really do hope we get to meet y'all at the park before you set off on your next journey :) I love that you are raising your children to respect others- it's, sadly, all too rare these days. Actually, bullying is what led us to homeschool. My oldest was an "innocent" yet intelligent 5 year old, sensitive to others needs and excited to make friends - he was the kid on the playground (at 5) who held his hand out and said "hi I'm Parker, you wanna play?" They crushed him! He actually handled a certain bully as best as can be expected- he came home and asked me if daddy had a machete' and if he might could learn how to use it in case he had to defend himself. Blew me away, until I learned that for his first 3 weeks of Kindergarten this kid had told him he was going to cut his head off with a machete' EVERY SINGLE DAY. The real problem was that no one did anything about it and even after almost a year of continued bullying, they didn't seem to think it was necessary. Sad for that boy, Parker is fine. He's still the kid that will rush across the room because a stranger dropped something or to get the door for someone. Merry Christmas to you and to your "weird" children - we're "weird" too! :) If only more parents would take an active role in developing character & not depend on the school system to do it- and NO, I don't believe homeschooling is for everyone, I just mean active parenting! :)Hugs!

  8. you have great kids! and you're a great mama.

    i tend to think it has more to do with parenting than schooling. although of course HSing has that lifestyle where they tend to not be around groups of cliquey kids all day. so it must help a whole lot.

    loving parenting, being your children's biggest influence, mindfulness (not just leaving it to the world 'out there' to teach them right and wrong).... that's key i think.

  9. oh yes. we have many of those kids in the neighborhood and it's unfortunate. and yes, it's mostly parenting or a lack thereof, the kind that just dismisses the kids and their bad behavior. children should be taught kindness from the beginning, it will stick with them through life. so when you describe your kids, you could be talking about mine and you know, weird or not, i wish more kids were mindful and aware.

  10. I know some wonderful teens who have gone through a public school system and are amazing, loving creative people. It's the parenting. Part of parenting is being aware of what is going on IN school. If my kids started complaining of bullying (or were the bullies themselves)...WOW. I would be in there so fast. I always talk to my oldest who is in Kindergarten about respect and why we never call any other child or person a mean name. I am very much looking, watching, talking to her and the teachers about what is happening with her in class. And, I know all the other students in the class by name and what their general tendencies are.
    All that takes a lot of energy and not all parents want the job.
    If I for ONE MOMENT thought that public school was in anyway harming my children on the slightest level (and not nourishing them as it should) I'd pull them out quicker that you could bat an eye. That's how it should be.
    Much love. I hear you and get it. Totally.

  11. great post, mj. radical kids rock. and they luckily have parents who are so tuned in and validating and there for them, that they will heal over these bumps quicker than a wink. i love this line "in their lives, where their parents are their greatest influence, when they can be happy being exactly themselves."

  12. Your children sound great. My children are schooled. It is a good school, kind, caring teachers, good results ( but to be honest that means nothing to me, the results I mean ), but they do find it hard...the playground politics. I think if you are taught to love and be kind at home,if you come from a loving environment the "real" world must seem so cruel. Gosh it's hard growing up and being a parent isn't it.
    You do a great job, I am sure.
    Much love

  13. Not weird at all!! They sound like wonderfully kind and thoughtful young individuals. And a lot of that is a reflection of their parents. Bravo to you and your husband!!

  14. we are weird too. my kids have had similar experiences as yours. ours seem to happen when we are at a museum or site and groups of school kids come in and trash whatever we are looking at. look at my post tomorrow - you will see how weird we are! i am hoping to get to orlando for the january co op!

  15. The description of your kids really sounds so much like my neighbours kids (who are home schooled) and like all the wonderful friends that come and visit them. I was quite shocked and amsazed at their behviour compared to other kids I know, they speak to me, look me inthe eye, and play with my 2 and 5 year old happily. I have struggled with the idea of puuting my daughter into school but decided to try it and see how she gets on and how I feel about it as it goes along. Fortunately its a really lovely small village school, only 15 kids start each year ,so its still wonderfully "sheltered". I never understand folk who worry that their kids might be sheltered from the "real" world. This is the world...? The connotation always seem to be that the real work is harsh and unfair...who wants that anyway!?

    I rave on about my neighbour to people as I think her kids are the most inspiring and intelligent kids Ive met (apart from my own of course!!ha). I do think a huge part does come down to parenting though so hopefully mine wont grow up to be meanies!!

    Festive warmth and greetings to you and yours x
    oh and weirdies are the best x

  16. This is so beautifully expressed, but I am truly disappointed that you and your amazing kids had to deal with such unkindness.

    I agree, as you and others have noted that it is not necessarily a matter of schooled and unschooled/homeschooled children, but one of the beautiful things about being in the unschooled set is that you can choose your company carefully. Of course we all encounter things we dislike, and it's often character building, but there's no reason to spend the bulk of your day around people who will only tear you down. Spending time with people who inspire us, cheer us, and just make us feel wonderful and connected, makes life worth living. I love the idea of being able to make those choices with my children :)

  17. It's a shame that you had to write the disclaimer because bad/bullying behavior has more to do with in touch parenting. Thank you for writing this post I'll be keeping this article for myself for my little encouragement. For quite some time I get the same question over and over "What do you do about socialization?"
    I haven't come up with the right response that isn't snippy but the socialization that happens in school and sometimes at the playground I can pass on it. If it's preparing for the real world well let's face it if all adults acted liked bullies and the taunting and on and on we wouldn't put up with it as an adult so why should our weird kids.
    So what do I do about socialization for my wierd & creative kids I let it happen and observe their interactions with different age groups and many settings.

  18. and this is one of the biggest reasons i want to homeschool my children... what a great post mj. you are so good at expressing your feelings and thoughts about it all. must be why your kids are too. those are things i value most - good communication, standing up for what you believe is right. i think that's one of the problems in a traditional school situation - it will bring about so many differing values (or no values at all) from children and your kid will have to deal with that insensitive playground behavior. there are a few kids like yours out there in the school system - but, they are the rarity. good job on the disclaimer. i'll have to remember that too for future posts of my own.

  19. Love it! I have much respect for the homeschooling parent! I don't believe I could do it. Yet, I do find myself spending lots of time and energy explaining and undoing the playground politics my kindergartner experiences.

  20. I hope to have weird kids too! They sound delightful.


  21. Beautifully said!
    I grew up surrounded by home schooled children who were so cruel to me because I went to the demonic "public school" system! Parenting is definately a key player. But oh, how I wish some day to have some weird kids as well!
    I can't wait to home school our kiddos- as long as they don't pick on the "demonic public school kids." : )

  22. I don't think your children are weird at all.. they're so beautiful..inside and out.

    Even though Chase is not homeschooled, we were helping him with a bullying situation a couple of weeks ago. It always surprises me to hear the names that kids exchange at the bus stop, or elsewhere in public, and the parents act like pod people the entire time.

    You have such gentle souls on your hands.


  23. Oh goodness. We've been going through a really rough dynamic in our 'hood that has to do with this. A very long story short: it seems we had to go down this wrong path with our kids and ourselves to get back in the right direction.

    I never really envisioned pulling my kiddos out of a group of kids and parents I thought were healthy for us. It's been a really rough road that I'm still navigating. Right now, I only know that kids can do severe harm when they tease and taunt - and it doesn't just come from school as you stated.

    I'm rambling...so grateful to have stopped by and read this this morning. It feels good to know I'm not alone.

  24. I so know what you are talking about. I went through such a hard time when my oldest was ready for kindergarten. As you know we did opt for public school. Now five years later, and a total of three daughters in school (and one still at home), we have the increased demand of what i call "being counter-cultural". My children spent their first five years at home with me, to give that sure foundation, and me and my husband purposefully arrange our lives, and the lives of our children, to continue to be "home-based", even with six and half hours a day, five days a week in public school. I think the debate does not so much lie in the "school choice", but rather "home choice". Public school for us, serves my children well to educate their minds, broaden their experience, but their character is shaped by the time we spend with them in our home.
    It is more of a challenge, having to deal with the constant "that's what other kids do/have/say..". Being completely honestly, having a break during my day, leaves me more refreshed and calm, so I can jump in and be the mom they need me to be from 3 'O clock on, and on the other 225 days a year they are not in school.
    Good stuff as always MJ.
    Keep it coming.

  25. i so connected with you on this one. my kids do go to public school, i had wanted to homeschool, but circumstances didn't allow for it.

    so far we have done pretty well. my youngest who is very sensitive and has is very much an empath has had a more difficult time. though i am lucky that neither of my girls has come across any viciousness, my youngest comes home so often concerned for her classmates who she feels have been treated unfairly.

    i think it is a learning process, a lesson they will somehow have to learn, that there are nasty, selfish, greedy people out there and how to deal with them with grace, but you wish they didn't have to learn so young.

    i have to laugh a little. i am trying to raise my girls to be kind, considerate and generious. like you said, my girls have spent a good deal of time with adults, so they speak like adults a lot of the time. the funny part is that i used to think, oh my,my girls can be so unruly sometimes, then when they hit school age and we started having some of their friends over i thought, good grief i have the most well-behaved children in the world.

    i am thankful for you and others out here like you that are also raising kind and compassionate children. make you feel less like you are out of the ordinary.

  26. We dealt with MANY of these circumstances this summer when the kids were out of school and the playground behind our house was the "place to be". It was so heartbreaking when my big girls would run home asking what a certain word meant or why their close boy friends (as in friends who are boys, NOT boyfriends, phew) would no longer play with them when the other boys came around. I was so thankful L knew they weren't for him and went off on his own when he sensed trouble. The girls were more torn and it was hard to deal with (possibly mostly for me...). I'm so glad you are raising such beautiful, loving children, MJ. It reminds me that we're not along in raising these "weird" kids. :)

  27. I have beautiful thoughtful children, and they go to school, and I hate the way they have to deal with such rubbish. We used to have families over to play, but I very soon realized that when mean behavior happens, most parents don't care. In fact they are just grateful they don't have the bother of their kids for a while. It is so saddening for me. Most people just don't care.
    Although my children attend school, I feel they are more home schooled than not. My reasons being that I school them too, not just in bookwork, but in values, and the art of being comfortable with themselves and us. I really care about my children as the future, not just an accessory, to have 'had' to have ticked some box.
    Great thought provoking post, thank you.

  28. I just checked 2 books (very tentatively) out of the library on homeschooling. It is something I am beginning to consider for my son's future. This post was wonderfully written. As someone who used to think homeschooling was silly until she had a child of her own, it was great to read.


“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw