Here’s the first of our series on answering questions we get asked about homeschooling.
So how do you answer the question and comments about socialization, like some of these:
- What about socialization?
- Your kids need to be with other kids their age.
- Homeschool is fine, but when do they get to be away from you and with their peers?
- If you are not going to send them to high school, how are they going to be able to handle the social pressures of going to college?
- How will your children be prepared for life if they’re not socialized?
I was born and raised homeschooled and went on to college with no problems and that was at age 16. I am a pastor’s wife and a mother of 5 children. I think I can function socially well enough, but I now have a child with autism and social ability has taken on a whole new meaning! None the less, I think I turned out all right.
But that’s just my answer 😉EsbyMember
I often reply with, “Oh yes, socialization is a problem! We could easily spend all our time socializing with our friends and not have time for our schoolwork.” Then I list the activities that my kids do.
When it comes to college questions, I usually just say, “I’m soooo not worried about my kids being able to handle college.” I don’t go into details because it’s a crazy question…I would never ask that question of another parent. So I just display friendly confidence and steer the direction to common ground.
I inwardly laugh at the question about my children not being prepared for “real life.” My local elementary school has a guard at the door, even parents aren’t allowed into the building without permission, and the recess area is fenced off and monitored like a prison yard. Meanwhile my children spend the day interacting with the world at large and they encounter all sorts of people and situations. Who is better prepared for real life? But I don’t say that when questioned. Again I just say, “I’m not worried about their ability to handle themselves and to have a great life.”
For those who may be interested, I would like to recommend the book “The Whole Hearted Child” by Clay and Sally Clarkson. Clay and Sally have dedicated the entire first chapter of their book to these indictments against homeschooling. It’s a wonderful read with lots of sound and practical answers for those who may question our calling to homeschool. I would love to quote some of it, but I believe we are not allowed to do that here. Anyway, if you can get your hands on one, take a peek. It’s well worth it. 🙂MamasongMember
Has anybody read “The Socialization Trap” by Rick Boyer? I’ve heard that it addresses this question in great detail but I haven’t read it. Oh, and the first section of “Educating the Wholehearted Child” is extremely helpful on this matter… I second that suggestion!
Short quotes from books are fine. Just don’t post large portions. We want to honor the authors of such useful works by not violating their copyright.primalMember
First of all, I went through school in its entirety. I was had very little socialization skills and actually had social anxiety disorder. So much for that theory.
Do kids need to be with kids their own age? Yes and no. I believe, strongly, that a great problem in this society is the way people segregate themselves. Kids with kids; teens with teens; 20-somethings with 20-somethings, etc. All the way to the death people do this. When my 3rd child was 12 she was mistaken for a college-age person because of her ability to intellegently, comfortably and successfully interact and converse with someone in their 40’s about all sort of world events and ideals.
Rather than believe they must be around kids “their own age”, I’d say “around kids”.
Children should be around people of all ages. Centering their lives around their so-called peers is detrimental. Limiting interaction to a particular age-group which is as inexperienced and foolish as themselves is not healthy or wise. And that’s what happens in school. In my life, there is no such thing as a generation gap. From birth to death–everyone interacts as friends with people of all ages. This is how we become whole people with a greater perspective and understanding of others and the world around us.
I don’t see that happening on any grand scale when the limits of associating with others “their age” are put on them.hvfth99Member
I usually answer the same as Esby–Yes, socialization is a problem for us. We get too much of it! I then launch into my list of activities that we are actively involved in and that puts an end to it.
One of the responses that I’ve gotten from two friends (PS teachers, ironically enough) is to not let my kids get “weird.” I always think that’s so funny when they are constantly complaining about the crazy kids in their classes!
I’ll add one that we use. It has some similarities to what has already been posted.
I like to start with a question. “The purpose of socialization is so that children can grow up to function in society and real life, right?” That usually gets agreement.
As adults, when we go out into the workplace or other social situations we are not limited to only working with a group of people our own age or background. We have to interact across the spectrum.
Besides our own family, we interact with other families, people at church, and in the community. That interaction cuts across all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. Homeschooling is then much better training for what our children will face in real life.
I suppose the snappy one-liner version is something like “So you think it’s better for kids to learn how to function from others their age and as clueless as they are?” 🙂
Thanks Doug, I will then go ahead and post my favorite quote from the 1st chapter of the WholeHearted Child:
“Those who say home schooled children aren’t in the ‘real world’ just aren’t thinking straight. School is the false world. Never in the rest of their lives will your children be forced to live and interact with 20-30 age-mates in a sterile, isolated classroom totally segregated from real living experiences. The real ‘real world’ of home, family, work and ministry prepares children to work with people of all ages in actual situations that they will experience as adults. School can’t counterfeit that kind of experience. Tell those naysayers to ‘Get real!’MamasongMember
I remember reading that, very good insight and so well articulated! Thanks for sharing it, my copy of the book is currently loaned out.
Here’s my one-liner: A few years ago, my brother questioned me about this issue of socialization, and his timing couldn’t have been more perfect for I had just returned from the shopping mall where I was repulsed to witness the so-called after-school “socialization” of children there. So I said to my brother (with a bit of fire in my eyes), “You mean you want my kids to go to school so they can achieve the high social skills so eloquently displayed by their peers at the mall?”
He never mentioned it again.the9clarksParticipant
I always tell them that socialization is very important to us, so every morning I assign a bully and a nerd. The bully gets full reign of the nerd, but to keep things fair, I will every so often give a verbal warning that he should be nice. If “the nerd” does something particularly embarassing, the bully may stuff him in a closet and leave him there. I then instruct the other kids to all bang on the door and laugh.
Name calling is also permitted during the day, so long as it doesn’t interfere with completion of schoolwork.
The whole socialization argument is ridiculous. If I tell them all the activities that my children participate in, I’m just argreeing with their false definition of what socialization is.RebekahyParticipant
Once I know a person well enough – I always try to reason with them about what an absurd argument this is. I’ll also explain to them how offensive this question is, by asking it, (whether they realize it or not) they are insinuating that I am weird or socially inept. After all, if I were “normal” certainly my child could just learn how to socialize from watching me and practicing with me.
Short arguments I use include: Aren’t teachers ALWAYS telling students, “We’re not here to socialize”. I know I heard it often enough.
I’ll then ask who they would rather have their child grow up to behave like – them (the parent) or the kids in their kid’s class.
If it’s a Christian parent, I just tell them that I hope my child ISN’T socialized properly, I want to have “weird” kids – I’ll say, half tongue in cheek half seriously. I’ll explain that I have no greater goal than raising a child to be Christlike and certainly that isn’t normal. In fact, I have scripture to back it up, Rom 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world”. The perfect example is John the Baptist – he was a pretty freaky guy by the world’s standards – I mean eating bugs, wearing totally out of style clothes, living out in the middle of nowhere, but wouldn’t you want to have parented the one who had the privilege of baptizing Christ?? In fact, just thinking about John the Baptist makes me think that perhaps I am a little over socialized to the world and I need to be “freakier”.
@the9clarks, That is too funny! We just about fell out of our chairs laughing. And I’m glad I can now laugh about my painful youth as a nerd in public school. 🙂
There is a story I also like to tell when asked the socialization question…
I was traveling recently and had to wait in line to go through airport security. There was a family in front of me going through the process. As the parents were answering the security questions, there was a young boy standing there oblivious to the whole thing as he played his portable video game with earphones.
The boy seemed a little inconvenienced when he had to stop playing to send the game through the security x-ray machine. But as soon as they got through the check point he grabbed the game and continued where he left off.
As I went on my way, I heard his mom calling as she ran after the boy. He had wandered off in a direction different than the rest of the family because he had his eyes and ears focused on his game and hadn’t noticed.
I probably can’t count the number of times I’ve run into similar situations. We’ve probably all noticed a family in a restaurant or driving by in a car where all of the kids sit independently listening to their own iPods, together physically yet very separate.
And I ask, “who’s unsocialized?”
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