That’s what homeschoolers do.  Improvise. 

There was a cute article about New Jersey’s 6 year old Henry Marinovic.  He’s taking organ lessons at a church, because the organ is bigger and better.

Henry Marinovic

 His hands wander over the keyboard for a moment, producing a vigorous riff. I ask him if that’s a piece of music he has memorized, but his mother Amy says he was making it up.  "It’s called improvising," Henry says helpfully.

Photo Credit to Kirk Petersen

We’ve been practicing test-taking the last couple of years to prepare for ACTs, SATs, CLEPs and the like for college.  The boys were taking a standardized test with a proctor this past spring and relayed there was a 9 or 10 year old taking the same level high school test they had.  They were mildly amused that he thought the test was pretty easy, where they said it was a struggle here and there.

We homeschoolers are often told that our kids aren’t properly socialized, and we’re weird.  Many kids are homeschooled because parents don’t want there to be "too great a desire to make him conform to a class",  as Henry’s mom put it.  Sounds like they like him just fine the way he is. 

This  past weekend, with my Natural Resources Superintendent hat on, I just had a one-sided conversation with one of my judges at the 4-H Fair about the same subject. One of the kids had a thorough, well put together poster.  The judge knew the family and that they homeschooled.  She said: "They’re doing a good job, because ___ is well rounded socially.  Most homeschoolers aren’t well socialized".  My never-in-school kids weren’t there because they were working at 4-H Camp. She forgot they were homeschooled.   Or that she’d offered to mentor Kel at the state park, which is her workplace.   Kel hasn’t been able to take advantage yet, because we have too many other interesting things going on. I didn’t pursue the issue because we were in the middle of judging.  It wasn’t the time or place, plus I love the absent-minded judge and thought it was hilarious. 

I love our pastor too, who had just finished a long conversation with our boys several years back, and mentioned to me how much he enjoyed them.   I was on the back of a 4-wheeler with him and since he told me what a mom wants to hear, I relayed that we homeschooled.  He told me he didn’t have a problem with the homeschooling, except that I needed to be sure and watch out for the socialization piece of it.  It seems to just automatically come out of peoples’ mouths now.  A little scary when you think about it.  I’d be more defensive if anyone ever talked about their education, but that rarely comes up.  Just that Socialization thang.

So it appears that Henry’s parents are doing what works best for their precocious son. 

An IQ test a year ago was inconclusive, Amy said, because "Henry kept trying to tell her how to run the test."

Henry’s three-year-old brother, William, "is a very different child," Amy says – more socially adept, less intense.  William is in a traditional preschool program.

I suggest they must have concerns about wanting to let Henry have a childhood.  "He’s never shown much interest in being a kid," Amy said.  "He’s an absent-minded professor."   He gravitates toward adults more than toward other kids – his approach with grown-ups is, "you have information and I want it, so I’m going to talk to you until I get it."

Henry is what he is.  His parents accept that, and don’t try to make him conform to a ‘expert’ standard relating to 6 year olds.   They’re improvising, and Henry is a fortunate boy for it.


Improvising — 6 Comments

  1. his approach with grown-ups is, “you have information and I want it, so I’m going to talk to you until I get it.”

    This perfectly describes my 12 year old!

    I think it’s funny that socialization is one of the main concerns of others about homeschooling and is also one of my concerns about “regular” school.

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head, Mary. He wants to do “198 things at once” when he grows up, and he’s not going to waste any time. 🙂

  3. we are on the same wavelength of something. i was just making notes the last couple of days to write a post on the ubiquitous “weird homeschooler”. 🙂

    the socialization thing never fails to crack me up. as though publicly schooled kids get tons of great socialization. they often get no recess and some aren’t allowed to talk at lunch. mmm.

    people can’t get out of their narrow views/prejudices even when evidence to the contrary is staring them in the face. i asked a friend to vouch for me with his son’s mom as she didn’t know our family and my son wanted to invite her son to his bday party and sleepover. he told me he just let her know that my kids are homeschooled “so they don’t have any friends.” lol. even though it was a big party and my son was outgoing enough to invite a child he’d only met once at another party. mmm.

  4. I’m good being on the same wavelength as you, Lori. We’ve gotta love our friends, but sometimes I just want to shake ’em and say WAKE UP. 🙂

  5. This has apparently gone international as I´ve heard the same thing from various Europeans and Australians while discussing homeschooling. I would like to think that the fact that they were having this conversation with a former homeschooler would be prima facie evidence to the contrary.. or maybe not? Hmm..

    Oh well, my mom thinks I´m charming.

  6.’s weird when people are describing your life for you.
    I’ve also wondered if we’re just not getting the message, but then again.. you are SO charming, Dill. So, it must mean that we’re “not in the real world”?