I get it all the time. “Oh, your kids are homeschooled. Aren’t you worried about socialization?”
In a word, Yes. I am very concerned about socialization. That’s why my kids have a couple of classes each outside of our home. We talk about things that went on in the class. Since I watch from the back with the other parents, I have a loving adult perspective to offer. My kids have regular park days with other homeschool kids. They are building strong relationships with their friends, who they see weekly. When an issue comes up that the kids have difficulty dealing with, there is a group of caring adults to mediate.
“Aren’t you worried about NEGATIVE socialization?” My return question to the socialization query is usually met with stone cold silence. Seriously, the number of people I have heard complaining about things their kids learned in school and brought home is stunning. What’s worse, I’ve heard many other parents worried what their kids are going to bring home this year. Here’s an idea. Don’t send your child to school.
In school, children learn their social graces from other immature human beings who likewise are lacking social graces. That’s like the blind leading the blind. (no offense intended to people without sight)
Spending day in and day out with only people your own age? That’s not socialization, that’s separation. In some cases, I would even say that’s abandonment. The kids are fending for themselves in a group of 30-ish others with one teacher and maybe an assistant or two acting as teacher and mentor. How is it “socialization” to spend most of your waking hours with such a small homogenous subset of our society?
Most homeschool kids are taught behavior from involved parents. I’m lucky, I have an entire community to rely on. We have created an environment that is nurturing and accepting. The kids interact with every age group. As a result, my kids play happily and appropriately with ages ranging from grandparents all the way to infants. That, people, is socialization.
I can take my children into a fancy restaurant, the post office, the grocery store, getting the oil changed in the car, weddings, even toys-r-us without a problem. It’s because they know how to act in all these places; they live in the community. That, people, is socialization.
Don’t get me wrong, some schools are great and homeschooling is not for everyone. But if we look at what the word “socialization” means, school can only provide a very incomplete experience.