It may not be common knowledge, but my husband and I are debating the option of homeschool. Though if you’ve ever talked to anyone who doesn’t know much about homeschooling you’ll often here the phrase, “but what about socialization?” It’s actually quite annoying to anyone who has chosen to homeschool their children. I am going to debunk your theories and tell you why socialization is not a good argument against homeschooling.
Why the Majority Believe Homeschool Kids Lack Socialization
Parents who send their kids to school see their children around their “friends” for 6+ hours each school day. So many of those same parents have a hard time seeing how being taught at home could allow for socialization beyond family/siblings. My experience as a schoolgirl and my experience now as a stay at home mom has proved this theory absolutely wrong.
What is Your Definition of Socialization?
- The activity of mixing socially with others.
- The process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society
- The developmental processes through which individuals acquire values, behaviors, and motivations necessary to become competent members of the culture
- The process of converting a “human being” into a “social being”
- The process of internalizing the norms and ideologies of society.
I went to School and Lacked Socialization Skills
So, yep, I attended school from Pre-K on and I lacked (and still do sometimes) socialization skills like how to say hello to strangers, how to call and make a doctor’s appointment, and much much more. I lacked confidence and literally felt like I shouldn’t speak in a group. Most likely, I probably wasn’t understanding, or didn’t have the experience to respond correctly, or some other off base thought. Where did I learn that from? I didn’t learn it at school, but I wasn’t taught it at school either. What is the right setting to learn this type of socialization skill? Who should be teaching you how to greet someone properly and how to call and be responsible for yourself?
Don’t Blame the Parents
You’re probably now blaming my parents for not doing their job to teach me those few skills. That’s fair, I guess, but think about it this way. I was away from my parents from 6:30am until 4pm while at school. Does that seem long? That was the luxury of being the last stop on a rural bus route that also picked up kids from the Catholic High School that let out at the same time as us… but was located 30 minutes away.
So, again I was away from my parents from 6:30am until 4pm. That’s 9.5 hours each day. Before school, we were rushing around our small home getting 3-4 kids ready simultaneously for the bus. After school we did homework or decompressed until dinner. Since my mom was making dinner I think it’s fair to say that she was preoccupied. After dinner we would hangout with Dad since he was home from work and then finish homework, take showers, and get to bed because we had to get up early. This was a typical night without any other extra curriculars. In conclusion, my parents had very little time to teach us all the important things that parents need to teach their kids. In fact, my parents taught us so many valuable lessons, I wonder how they did it.
I Do Agree Though, It is the Parents’ Job
I agree completely that it’s the parents job to teach socialization. A parent should be the one to decide what type of “social beings” they want to raise. They should decide what values, behaviors, and motivations are necessary for their children to live in our society. So, are parents who send their kids to school outsourcing this step? No, most parents are not outsourcing this important lesson, they’re still teaching it at their homes because it’s literally that important. Now, there definitely are some kids who are only getting those type of lessons at school, and they’ll ultimately suffer, but aren’t we discussing socialization problems among homeschool children?
Homeschool and Socialization
By now, I hope I’ve established the idea that socialization is best taught from parents. So why on earth would homeschooled children suffer from socialization. Are nay sayers worried that homeschooled children don’t have any friends (no they’re not and that’s not the case)? What these people are really asking is, “Won’t your children be different than other children if you homeschool?” Correct me if I’m wrong, but typically people arguing socialization problems for homeschoolers are more concerned with what societal norms are being “broken.”
I won’t pretend that there aren’t some children who are homeschooled that I too feel like are lacking significantly in areas of socialization, but I can equally say the same thing about certain kids I know who went to school too. So, you really can’t judge the whole bushel by a few apples.
Won’t Your Kids Be Different Than Everyone Else’s?
I sure hope so, in fact, that’s sort of the goal. I would love for my children to be themselves and find the best place they fit instead of trying to fit into whatever other people think they should be. If I can instill our family’s values in our children better because I’m with them more through their early years (if we homeschool). Then I can feel better about our children being confident in themselves so they’re not so easily swayed into something they may regret later. I for one have many regrets, and every single one of them revolve around my faith and morals that my parents also firmly believe.
Okay, Last Thought… You Didn’t Think I’d Forget This, Did You?
How many homeschool families do you know… maybe less than 1%? If you visited a homeschool convention, I think you would realize you’re not dealing with a stereotypical group. As a stay at home parent who doesn’t send my kids to preschool, I’ve been around plenty of homeschool families when we visited parks during the week, or through my kids’ daytime soccer/gymnastics/etc. Homeschool kids are still interacting with other children. They actually have more time to socialize than students who attend a typical school.
Ask anyone in the lunchroom at almost any school and they will tell you that school kids rarely eat all their food because they’re talking the whole time. Kids are finally in a setting that allows for laid back conversation when they’re in the lunchroom. Because school kids are in a classroom with 20 other children does not mean they’re getting to really socialize with those children. Classrooms are designed for multiple kids learning the same thing. It takes much longer to teach 20 kids one concept than it takes to teach one, two, or even five children one concept. Don’t get me started on that.
So, you have to know that if you want your child to have the best socialization, if that’s really so important to you, then you would achieve that better in your home than in school. Or else, you really better hammer down on it during the summer.