Homeschooling And Socialization

I have to laugh when someone, after finding out our kids don't go to school, asks about socialization. I'll never understand what one has to do with the other.

Are they saying that when their children are not in school (like weekends or summer breaks) they're isolated from other children? That when they're children are not in school, they have no social opportunities. How sad that they have to depend on a government institution for their children to have friends.

I mean, why else would they be asking?

It certainly can't be because they're concerned for my children. Just talk to any of my unschooled children and they'll tell you about their girl scout troop, gymnastics classes, homeschool classes, neighborhood friends, homeschool play groups and sleepovers, not to mention the time they spend playing with each other.

All that socialization...without school.
Imagine that! :-)

And they do these things with children of all ages.

Yes, it's true.

My youngest child has friends who are teenagers, one of my teenager's friends is nine years old and my preteen age child loves to read to the little ones in our homeschool group. Age never seems to be a factor when determining if someone is a potential friend.

And if that wasn't enough, the really cool thing is...they actually have a choice!

Suppose one of my children doesn't feel like being around other kids. We all have those times when cocooning in our cozy home and being able to think and dream and just be alone in our own head, is what we need. They have the freedom to do that. They don't have to push those feelings aside and spend seven straight hours with other kids (the same age as them) when they don't feel like it. They get to decide when, and how they socialize, and with who. Just like I do. Cool, huh?

And let's not forget the battle cry of teachers across the country..."You're not here to socialize!" I know we all heard a teacher say that at one time or another. So, if school is not for socializing, why are parents of schooled children asking us how our children socialize? We should be asking them.

Yup...when someone asks me the infamous socialization question, I have to laugh. And then a part of me feels sorry for their kids.

*originally written in 2005. updated in 2008*


LivG said...

That is one of my pet peeves when people find out that I was home schooled and they ask how did I ever get any socialization, and wasn't it boring?, etc. That is one of the things I loved most about being home schooled, we interacted with everyone, not just our peers!

Anonymous said...

I really don't see what one would have to do with the other... My son isn't in school yet, but I don't see anything wrong with homeschooling!

Joanne said...

Are you planning on homeschooling him? I wish I had homeschooled my youngest from the start. We ende dup taking her out in the middle of the first grade but I always have a bit of envy for the parents who homeschooled right from the start.

Anonymous said...

Yeah it's so funny, I work from home and I get the same question all the time. When you go to school you only get the chance to socialize with the same kids all the time, and when you go to work to an office you only get the chance to socialize with the same colleagues. When you are at home you can plan your day and certainly have more spare time to socialize and spend some quality time with people you choose spending time with.
Keep up the good work, you rock!

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that schools put the majority of their resources into preventing socialization - no talking, running, playing, laughing, making noise... this is the ideal environment for socializing children? Hmmm.

Pittsburgh Midwife said...

Fantastic post, which sums it up I think. I laugh and scrunch my face up when people ask me about socialization. I just ask them which socialization trait it is that my kiddo is missing out on.

Sometimes they start to 'get it' and realize that they don't really like the socialization that their schooled kids are involved with -- those are nice days (when they 'get it').