My family was just volunteering cleaning up a local park when I happened to mention that I homeschool my kids. One of the other ladies working on our team right away was like “Oh we were seriously thinking about homeschoolng. Our main thing though is what about socialization?” The people I encounter who find out I homeschool seem to think that homeschooling is a good thing because after all the kids get a good education, you have control over what they learn, the kids aren’t tied down to a school year schedule and you can vacation and take trips throughout the year, you can teach them at their pace etc etc. The only thing people seem to be hung up on is the question about socialization.
I laugh because they see my kids face to face and can see how well they interact with all age groups, are well-behaved and know how to deal with various social settings. Most can see they have a group of friends and are not stuck inside our home all day 24/7. So why do they think that homeschooled kids are not able to be properly socialized?
Ok so what do people mean by socialization? Do they mean knowing how to stand in line without talking, only working with and talking to their peers of their own age group? Raising their hand in order to talk when the time is appropriate to be allowed to talk? Waiting to go to the bathroom until a pre-approved bathroom break? Walking down the hall with a buddy etc? Or does it mean allowing your kids to be bullied or be a bully? Maybe being exposed to drugs and sex at an early age so that they can be tempted and see whether or not they have the character within themselves to refuse and do the right thing? Or do people just think that homeschooled kids are not allowed to meet and do things with other kids outside of a public school environment. I don’t really have the answer to what some people think socialization means to them. If they think it means to be “social” then school is definitely not a place for that. My memory of school was sitting at a desk in a very controlled environment. After all some places don’t even have recess anymore and others are getting rid of physical education, art, music as well as other disciplines.
Let’s look at the word itself. There are various definitions for the word. From an online dictionary, socialization can mean “a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.”
A medical dictionary states that it is “the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status ”
As I look at these definitions I wonder whose responsibility is it that our kids learn these things. For me it is the parents’ primary role to make sure their kids know how to behave and act. Parents are the ones who should be teaching their kids proper values and overseeing who might be proper companions for their kids. The schools only responsibility is to teach your children various subjects such as Math, English etc. Your child’s teacher is not going to take your child by the hand and take the time to teach them how to behave in a certain situation, how to deal with a situation that comes up etc. They already expect your children to be raised in a home where they have been exposed to and learned proper etiquette and behavior etc.. Is it a wonder our schools are not meeting the standards for education these days since they are now supposedly expected to also raise people’s kids and take over the roles of a parent?
Ok I got off on a side note there a bit. Really though think about it? I homeschool because I believe in a strong family and a warm loving home environment where my kids feel secure and have proper boundaries in order to know what is expected of them. My kids are being taught by me in order to learn how to grow up to be responsible, caring and compassionate adults so they can withstand temptations and be strong in what they believe. I want them to have a vision for their life and learn what they want for in a life mate if that is what is in the future for them. There are so many other things they should learn from their parents that no school can possibly replace. I for one would not want my kids to be brought up a government or any people who may or may not share our personal beliefs, morals, and convictions.
I think people have been nrainwashed by teh groups and people who oppose homeschooling to autmatically think socialzation does not happen with homeschoolers and blindly accept it rather than think it thoruhg themselves. I say this because of an experienc eI had many years ago. At a park during the week, I was in a picnic pavilion with a group of homeschoolers (maybe about 40 or more families). THE kids were running around together playing and talking. The moms were talking amongst themselves and watching the kids. An older gentleman walked over to a small group of Moms I was sitting with and asked what was going on. We tols them what we were doing that day. He got a funny look on his face and said you homeschool? What about your kids aren’t you afraid they won’t have any friends or be socialized? We were just dumbfounded and resisted the urge to laugh. Before him were groups of kids laughing and playing together. They were getting along. Little kids and bigger kids playing with each other as well side by side. Older kids were watching out and taking care of the younger kids and they weren’t even in the same families. Without words, what a wonderful answer to the question of socialization and he was totally blind to it. Before our first child was even school age, my husband, daughter and I were at the zoo and happened to watch a father and his kids talking and interacting. They passed by and the youngest said something to us and I Knew that they were homeschoolers just from their words and behavior. I asked and sure enough it was true. You just know when you see kids that are homeschooled because there just is something special about how they act and behave towards others and how they carry themselves. Knowing all of this I know that socialization is only a problem to others who do not yet understand what homeschooling is all about or do not want to know.
Yes you may find a child here or there that seem to not have any socialization but you know what? I suspect that it is not the result of whether or not they were homeschooled. These kids will probably be that way from in or out of school environment. If you look around you may even find more “schooled” kids that have not been properly socialized. I strongly believe socialization is the role of the parents and not an institution.