To all those who say home-schooled children are destined to spend their adult lives as lonely, detached, socially-awkward weirdos, meet Russell Madeiros: the (self-dubbed) pride and joy of the (self-named) West Eighty-Eighth Street Aces Solitaire Team.
“Lots of people think that just because we’re taught at home by our mommy and daddy and don’t have any sort of interaction with other kids our own age that we’re weird or something,” said the morose Upper West Side six-year-old. “Well, people who are on a baseball or football or other kind of squad aren’t weirdos, are they? And I’m not only on the team, I’m the team captain!”
Madeiros, whose parents opted for home-schooling based on Russell’s various allergies, phobias, fears, and odd temperment, will remain on the team only if he fulfills the promise he made to his parents to keep his grades up.
“I was young once too…I know how it goes,” said Russell’s father, Tony Madeiros. “At first it’s innocent and fun…all about the sport, which is wonderful, of course. But then, before you know it, along comes little Suzie the slut looking for her big man on campus with the letter jacket…her arm candy. And then it’s off to beer parties and pot cigarette joints. I’m no dummy.”
“He’s a brilliant child,” added Russell’s mother, Deirdre Madeiros. “We just don’t want him throwing it all away. I’ve seen too many kids get run over in the fast lane.”
Child behaviorist Karen Cowan of The Corinthium Medical Group, (who has not treated any member of the Madeiros family), is in marked disagreement with Russell’s parents.
“Home-schooling children, of which I am not a fan, places way too much focus on a child. Any sort of extra-cirricular, group activity should by all means be encouraged. It’s very important for a child to feel they’re part of a team. This, at least, is a start.”