My kids are shy.  Sometimes painfully so.  I don’t know if the pain is theirs or mine.  Probably more of the latter.

But Mommy, I can’t talk to that lady!

I don’t want to say hi!

I don’t talk to anyone in art class because then I can’t concentrate.

I just want to play alone for awhile.

When we are out and about these kids of mine are likely to be right by my side.  Or on my hip.  Or holding on to something…a hand, a leg, my shirt.  If someone new approaches they often avoid eye contact or bury their head into whatever part of me they’re holding onto.  I sigh.  I try to smile and act like this is normal behavior.  I try not to say much because I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say, and sometimes I say too much.  Explaining what needs no explanation.  I’m learning.  I suppose I’ll always be learning how to act and what to say when my kids aren’t doing what I wish they’d be doing.

In response to my bemoaning, my mom has told me she remembers my preschool teacher telling her I was an observer.  I always joined in eventually, but on my time, when I was good and ready and comfortable.

My husband is a quiet guy.  I think Susan Cain must have known him in another lifetime.  Her latest book was all about him.

We’re observers and quiet and need time alone.  That’s okay.  Why do I expect differently from my kids?  I shouldn’t.  I get annoyed or embarrassed or tired of all the clinging.  But I shouldn’t.  Deep down, I know they’re okay.  They’re normal.  They won’t always hide behind their mommy’s leg when meeting someone new.


Now we’re homeschooling.  Officially. As in I say it out loud and we already missed the school sign ups for next year.


Now we’re homeschooling and my kids are shy.

No wonder that’s how they act.  They’re homeschooled.

If they went to school they wouldn’t be so (shy, quiet, fill in the blank).

Doesn’t she want her kids to be normal? And socialized?

Just writing down these worries of mine, these imaginary thoughts of my imaginary friends, makes it sound so silly.  It’s nonsense, really.

These kids of mine are shy, quiet, reserved.  They’re observers, listeners, slow to warm up.  They are so much more than that, too.  They’re awesome, really.  They’re who they are not because they go to school or don’t go to school.  It’s simply who they are.  I have doubts.  Homeschooling doubts.  Parenting doubts.  I suppose I always will.  But I get to be by their side, experiencing and witnessing it all.  Like the other day at the playground when I heard:

This is my brother, do you want to play with us?

I’ll race you down the monkey bars!

How old are you? I’m 5. 

Do you know I’m a dancer and an artist?

They were laughing, playing, talking, being silly.  Kids at a playground.  I bet no one could tell they were homeschoolers that day.  I bet no one can tell on the other days either.  Maybe just my imaginary friends.  I think I need some new voices in my head.


7 thoughts on “My kids are shy, we homeschool, and I may or may not worry too much

  1. These words run through my head (weekly? daily? hourly?) and I find it very hard to silence the internal anxiety. Mine are 8 and 6 and have both been in school, so there is the benefit of actually knowing how, yes they had friends but they were quiet and nervous and easily overlooked in an energetic classroom. Reminding myself of what observational power they have helps. As does stepping back and noticing their general amazingness:)

    • Thanks for sharing, Wendy. It’s nice to hear I’m not alone. I’m sure this is a subject I will continue to re-visit and worry about, although I hope less and less! Those internal voices are relentless, but you’re right, focusing on the positives that come from being a quiet kid (person)helps.

  2. I understand, especially in our world of extreme attention to “socialization”!!! I think your children will be just fine… I had some that were more outgoing than others, some that were painfully shy, but they are all learning that they can do all things through Christ which strengthens them…. a little at a time. My older ones are able to communicate very well w/ other people even though they still don’t choose to grab the attention… and I am glad they are not show offs. If you continue to feel worried or ashamed or whatever, your kids WILL be affected by it and make a bigger deal about it than necessary. If you are convinced that God is leading you to homeschool, please, just do it confidently and teach those precious ones what they need to know… they will reach out when they are ready and pushing them doesn’t really help in this area, but I think it can lead to lifelong insecurity that they learn to hide…not what we want. If you are new to homeschooling, I understand the insecurity and getting to know other homeschoolers can help that. I faced some of the same insecurities you speak of…especially as there are people waiting for you to fail(or it can seem like it).You want the best for your child more than anyone else and there are a lot of resources available if you need to look them up… Don’t let the insecurity stop you or lead to teaching your children to be insecure. You obviously love your kids and they love you – I am SO glad you are homeschooling – HAVE FUN and enjoy the time of learning w/ those precious little ones. :)

    • Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging comment! I agree, pushing kids before they’re ready never really works. I love this post that addresses this very issue: Kids do pick up on everything, don’t they? As of now, mine know that I love them exactly how they are and that we are very happy and lucky to be homeschooling together :)

  3. Pingback: What I fear most about homeschooling, and it’s not socialization | Our UnSchoolhouse

  4. Thanks for sharing your heart on this one. I have entertained those same voices in my head. But it is so true, that those moments when you get to experience your child’s amazingness day in and day out help to keep things in perspective. Thank, Amy. I am really enjoying your blog!

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