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Enough About Homeschooling Socialization Already!

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Enough About Homeschooling Socialization Already!

By Linda Dobson

BoysTugOfWar socializationNo other aspect of homeschooling has garnered more attention, commentary, and criticism over the years than the socialization of its children. I can’t believe anyone really thinks we make the decision to homeschool so we can lock our children in closets, chain them to the kitchen table, or otherwise see to it that they don’t interact or communicate with other human beings. Think about it for a minute: Wouldn’t that make it that much more difficult to educate them? Wouldn’t that make it that much more difficult to be around them for large portions of each day? Wouldn’t that be downright counterproductive to a parent’s natural inclination to raise well-rounded children into adulthood?

So Why the Big Fuss Over Socialization?

So why the big fuss over socialization? Rather than being related to any real problem homeschooled children have meeting and mingling with fellow human beings, it seems to be a problem with the thinking of some adults. These folks think it’s “weird” that families would have the audacity to decide for themselves with whom, where, when, and how much or how little “socialization” occurs. The converse of this, of course, is that someone outside the family should – for some inexplicable reason – decides these things for our children. Thus, in recent history, it has been decided that children’s socialization occurs in the institution of school, away from the rest of the world, much as the prison institution keeps inmates away from the rest of the world. (Yeah, that’s the way young human beings should be socialized!)

See also “Homeschooling Myth #2: Homeschooling Takes Place In Isolation at Home

And the constancy and intensity with which this decision is defended, mostly by those with a vested interest (read paycheck and/or power) in making sure the institution stays full, is cause for parental pause. This focus on school as children’s socialization device is an even more recent invention than public school itself.

What can we learn from this? That (a) the educational decision makers believe the public school system’s job extends beyond teaching academics; (b) these same decision makers need a strong criticism of a growing educational alternative that by-passes their control; or (c) both of the above.

The proliferation of topics addressed in schools, from drugs to sex to health to peer counseling to values training, coupled with the giant “strings attached to federal aid” programs such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, shows that choice “a” above is definitely true. And it is all accomplished under the seemingly benign term of socialization.

The Truth About Homeschooling Socialization

Research and personal evidence show that homeschooled children get along with others as well as, and in some cases better than, their publicly schooled counterparts. If what the educational decision makers mean by socialization is the ability to get along with others, familiarity with even a small amount of research reveals the criticism as absurd.

But if their definition of socialization reaches beyond the ability to get along with others, and encompasses a standardized list of behaviors, attitudes, values, and thinking they wish to implant in all children, then, indeed, homeschooling has bypassed their control and choice “b” is also correct, making “c” the right answer.

If you didn’t choose answer “c,” don’t worry. I’m a home educator; I’m not in the habit of grading people like slabs of beef. It just means it’s most important for you to get the other side of the story from those who don’t hire public relations firms to put their own spin on this issue. Listen to the voices of experience, those who dared to bypass control and decided to define, value, and actually practice “socialization” on their own terms.

From this vantage point, it’s easier to put the modern definition of school socialization into perspective. From this vantage point, you and your family can see how homeschooling offers you real choice now that the importance of parental choice in education grows increasingly important to our children.

Linda has been listening to people who don’t know anything about homeschooling say the kids lack socialization for 26 years, which is about 25 1/2 years too long.

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8 Responses to “Enough About Homeschooling Socialization Already!”

  1. Cristina says:

    To me, I see it as a case of saying a lie often enough so that it becomes truth for the majority. Most times, I don’t think people even understand what socialization means. As far as I could tell–and several teachers told us this during the course of my own school years–you aren’t in school to socialize, you’re there to learn! That’s why I never did learn to socialize in my 13 years of public education. I learned that it’s better to be as invisible as possible so that no one–student or teacher–can make fun of you!

    Peace and Laughter!

    • Cristina, You are so right on! I not only heard the same thing (being there to learn), my fifth grade teacher threw a piece of chalk at me, hitting me on the cheek, because I was socializing! You’re right about the lie repeated often enough, and as long and often as I’ve heard it, it’s got to be well ingrained by now. Thanks so much for reading and commenting – so glad you’re here!

  2. Theresa says:

    I am a so called pre homeschooler. When I an asked this I just ask how much socialization did you really have in school? Usually that’s the end of discussion 🙂

    • Theresa, with everything they’re having to cut out of school their answer can ONLY be, “Not much!” Sounds like it’s a great way to nip the S question in the bud – good for you! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. […] Enough About Homeschooling Socialization Already! Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  4. Inspiration Mathematics | The Talk says:

    […] mentioned today during our talk, people who choose this learning path still have plenty of time to socialize with their friends.  In fact, it is often times the case that they are able to spend more time […]

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