The Big Question!

I bet if I asked every homeschool family what question they were asked the most, it would be this.  Yep!  What about socialization?  That got old very quickly for us.  At first, I enjoyed the debate.  But, soon, it just became annoying to discuss it with others- as if they even had the right to ask in the first place!  And, if anyone knew my son, they would know that he is a social butterfly- part of the reason public school was not the best place for him!

So, here are my thoughts, other people’s thoughts, and some stats for those of you still battling the question.  I start my answer by listing the numerous activities that fill up my son’s day- mostly things he wouldn’t get to do if he spent his time in school- working at an alpaca farm, volunteering as an usher at a local theatre where he then gets to see a play every week free, volunteering at a place for mentally handicapped adults, playing tennis, weekly church activities, our homeschool group activities and field trips, string bass lessons, and soon taking a french class.  If that doesn’t end thier questions, I go on.

How is sitting in a room with 25- 30 other kids who also have no clue how to act a way to learn socialization?  To me, that’s not socialization, it’s chaos!  I do not want my son learning how to act from other kids I don’t know.  How, exactly, does that make him a better person?  Wikipedia says that socialization is learning how to live in one’s own culture- inducting all members of society to its’ moral norms.  So, can any of you tell me how often you are with 30 people the same age as you now that you are an adult?  I’m thinking the majority of you can’t say that it would be very often- maybe your high school reunions every 5 years?  So, why do people insist on pretending that by putting 30 hormone enraged young people together 5 days a week for 8 hours that they are creating the optimal setting for socialization?  Socialization is “important in the process of personality formation.”( http://anthro.palomar.edu/social/soc_1.htm)  So, I think, as a parent, I should be the one to guide his personality formation- not people I don’t even know! 

The HSLDA (Homschool Legal Defense Assoc.) Has been studying this question. http://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003/Socialization.asp

“In 2003, the Home School Legal Defense Association commissioned the largest research survey to date of adults who were home educated. Conducted by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, the study surveyed over 7,300 adults who were homeschooled. Over 5,000 of these had been home educated at least seven years, and the statistics in this synopsis are based on their responses. The results confirm what homeschoolers have thought for years: “No problem here.””

In his article, “Socilization- The Home School Advantage”, http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/faqs/a/socialjacobs.htm Eric Jacobs, who was homeschooled, describes how socialization can be a positive reason to homeschool.  Jennie Von Edgers, a homeschool mom,  says “As the “socially challenged” homeschool kids are out and about, partaking and interacting in real life situations, the government students are “socializing” under a controlled environment, behind four walls with a controlled group of people (also known as their peer group).    http://homeschooling.about.com/od/socialization/a/socialchallenge.htm

And, really, need I say more?  The proof is not in the words we say to those who ask.  The answer to their unending questions can’t be said.  The fact is, the answer is in our children.  They are the ones who learn how to act in the way we want them to learn- by living life and watching the role models we set out before them- the people we know and trust to share in the forming of our children’s personalities- our children’s future’s.  When I see my son volunteering to help someone- young or old- that is a well socialized child.  When I see him decide not to watch something or play something on the computer because it’s inappropriate, that is a well socialized child.  When I see someone talking to my son and he is carrying on a conversation looking adults in the eye and unafraid, yet respectful, that is a well socialized child.  And, they can ask all they want, but they can’t ignore the obvious.  Homeschooled children learn how to act in in the real world by doing real things with real people.

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One Comment on “The Big Question!”

  1. yfs Says:

    I think a lot has to do, again, with how things are done. Years ago, some parents may not have been as aware of the “socializing” aspect of homeschooling (I know some didn’t… I went to college with a few), but now that everyone has made that one of the “big arguements” against homeschooling, I think it has really raised awareness and created opportunities for many homeschoolers so that now, socialization is consciously written into and accounted for in the curriculum, which give it an advantage over the traditional school systems where socialization is not taught, but assumed to occur before and after school, passing in the halls, and at lunch and recess. Just my 2 cents…


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