On Sunday I attended a block party hosted by a friend up in Newburyport. He had hired an English circus family to perform and afterwards I served some food and drink to the 13-year-old and 16-year-old members of this family. Unlike the typical sullen American teenager they had exquisite manners. It turned out that they had never been to school. They’d lived their whole lives traveling around with their parents and siblings, oftentimes in a smallish RV (they started calling themselves “the Sardine Family” because of these cramped quarters). All of their education came from their parents and from older siblings.
Could it be that going into a community of thousands of teenagers (i.e., school) is bad for a kid’s manners? And that spending time with a high percentage of adults (i.e., home school) is good for a kid’s manners?