A couple weeks ago I took the kids to the dollar store because they wanted to spend a little pocket money. When we got up to the check out, the cashier asked almost immediately, "Are you guys homeschoolers?"
I quickly glanced at the kids to see if anyone was wearing the hats I made for them with our charter school's name on them. No one was. Then I asked myself what time it was; was it early enough in the afternoon that most kids would still be at school? Nope, it was well past 3.
So I chuckled and asked how she knew?
She revealed that she comes from a family of 9 kids and that she was homeschooled all the way through high school. She explained that she can usually just tell. I guess fellow homeschoolers give off a vibe to each other. She said some clues were that:
1) I had multiple children,
2) no one was swearing,
and most importantly
3) that the kids were so well behaved in the store.
Now, this is probably largely observational bias and a lucky guess. I don't think anyone's actually done a study on if homeschoolers tend to be more polite and obedient than public schoolers. (And certainly I have plenty of friends that send their kids to public school and I wouldn't say they're all unruly hellions!)
But it was still a fascinating observation and a nice pat-on-the-back. Later, when we were in the car, I explained to the kids what she had said and told them how proud I was of them for being such good examples.
At the risk of sounding arrogant or proud, I will admit that we have been told similar before. Usually people of the older generation will say after finding out that we homeschool, "Oh! I could tell. Your kids are so well behaved. They carry themselves confidently. They're polite. Good for you for homeschooling. I think that helps!"
I'm really not trying to "toot my own horn." I learned soon after my second baby was born that my children's personalities and actions have a whole lot to do with how God made them, and don't ride solely on my parenting skills. "Nature" is just as important as "Nurture."
However, nurture still does play an important role. I'm glad that nurturing them on the path of homeschooling has seemed to yield positive results. There are still many detractors in the world who would say that I'm harming or stunting my children by not sending them to public school. But if it's by their fruits that ye shall know them, then I think it's becoming quite clear that those detractors are wrong. We could use more polite, respectful, kind people in the world!