A couple months ago, an adult asked if Daniel was in school yet. He said, "No, I'm homeschooled." This adult looked at me and said, "Oh, really? Well, I hope you make sure your kids learn how to behave normally. I know a family who homeschooled their boys, and they are so strange. Just, not normal. They're grown up now, but they are still odd."
I replied with my usual patter about how I was homeschooled K-12; my husband was homeschooled for high school; I understand the need for children to learn how to interact with others, including those who are not their family members, etc. I was as respectful as possible, first because this person was older than my own parents and deserved my respect, second because they obviously didn't know many homeschoolers and I wanted to leave as positive an impression as possible.
I've been thinking about that conversation a lot, lately, and things I could have said that would have worked better. And this is what I wish I had said:
I might have couched it in somewhat more respectful terms, but that's really what needed to be said. Don't point at homeschooling as the cause of someone's "weirdness" before you know whether or not they were homeschooled because their parents knew that for whatever reason, they would not fit in with other schoolkids, and they wanted to spare their children that trauma.
My kids don't have any conditions that would make them pointed out as weird. They're not autistic, mentally challenged, emotionally challenged, or anything else. However, both Daniel and Mercedes are very bright and very sensitive. I don't want them to be made fun of because they're smart (like I was in college) or have their sweet, affectionate natures trampled on by kids made of sterner stuff. And while I'm not just homeschooling them to shelter them, I'm grateful I'll be able to shield them from a lot of emotional drama while I'm at it.