Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Socializaton? Ridiculous!

I've been home schooling long enough to know that ‘socialization’ is a prime focus of individuals who are either questioning the 'rightness' of home schooling or looking for a way to poke at homeschoolers.  How will your children be socialized?  I didn't understand the concern when I first looked into home schooling and the truth is, over three years later, I understand it even less.  I'm to the point now where it is such a ridiculous question that I ignore it all together.  I don't think that the folks (friend or foe) who ask it really have stopped and thought about what they are asking.  I've also been fortunate to be surrounded by supportive friends and family and even for the one or two strays who are 'concerned' over our choice to home school, "How will she be socialized?” is not one of the concerns that have been voiced.  My point being; I had yet to be asked the question; even though I know the 'rumors' of unsocialized homeschoolers exist.  So, imagine my surprise when the other day I am confronted head on with the question.  I ran into an acquaintance that I had not seen in many years.  'What have you been up to?" leads to the fact that we are now home schooling.  And then, bam!  I'm asked, "What about Punky's socialization?”  Socialization?  Seriously?

The reason I have such distaste for this issue is two-fold.  I suspect when one asks the question, “What about socialization?” what they really means is ‘What about a student’s social life?”  Socialization and social are two different issues.  As a homeschoolers, at least most of the ones I know (and I know a lot) would agree, we have a hard time balancing our children’s academic schedule with their social schedule.  Our children are involved in so much, with other children, that we usually have to say “no” to many wonderful social opportunities in which our children could be participating.  And on top of that, our children's ''social' is also educational and, more often than not, of their own choosing.  Our children interact daily with a wide range of folks - not just little people of their own age.  These are valid points; however there is an even better point to be made, in my opinion; the one that actually addresses ‘socialization’. 

Socialization, by definition, is a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social  skills appropriate to his or her social  position. 

 When I began to look into home schooling, I found many research articles that indicate young children do best by developing a strong foundation of right and wrong and who they are through the family.  Children for whom family is their primary educator and influence for the first twelve years have a more firmly established understanding of their place in the world and what is and is not morally acceptable.  Interesting.  If a child were to spend the majority of his or her day interacting mostly with other children their age, how then can they learn what they need when their peers are also in their formative years and as yet not secure in their foundation?  When my daughter was two, I did not think she would learn manners and respect from other two year olds; I knew she would learn it at home from her father and me.  Why then would I think she would learn about even bigger moral and social issues from her peers in elementary school?  

How many complaints have been heard from parents about the horrible children their children have been exposed to in brick and mortar schools?    Now, how many homeschoolers have we heard about in the news that brought a gun to their school room and took out the teacher and fellow students?  How many homeschoolers have you read about in the newspapers that were caught dealing drugs on their school grounds?  These are examples of real ‘socialization’ issues that occur in the public school system that do not seem to come up in home school.  These examples may seem excessive, but they demonstrate my point, because really, I could go on and on.  Perhaps what sums it up best is what I've heard public school teachers say regarding many of their students, "These kids are animals".  Yep, they are social – just not socialized.
 I am not attempting to prove, or even validate, the idea that home schooling is better than public schooling.  The real truth of the matter is that there are issues with traditionally schooling your children and there are issues with home schooling your children.   But an equally valid truth is this:  one could encounter unsocialized children in the home school community; but no more so, and usually less so, than can be encountered in the public school systems. There is no Utopia.  So please, unless we are going to put socialization on the list of problems in the public school system, remove it from the list of problems with home schooling because it is ridiculous.

~Mari B. 

P.S.  Punky was very excited to receive the homeschooling shirt SHE has been dying to have:



  1. I have both homeschooled and public schooled nephews and nieces, the homeschooled ones are not only more knowledgeable then the others but they are less tempermental. Good for you taking control of your child's education and future!!!

  2. I have an only child and I worry about this quit a bit, unfortunately. We don't have much family that lives near. Not lots of other kids her age. Then I take her to dance class and she is a perfect little student. :) She was sweet to the other kids, but was not distracted from the teachers instructions. She did great. She has been known to be very shy and I've always chalked it up to her never being in a day care or school type setting. After that last dance class I worry a little less. :) Didn't stumble and stutter when the teacher asked her a question. Followed instructions to a T. I was so proud.
    Thank you for this post. Makes me a little more at ease. And most homeschool moms know we need that. :)

  3. I've never worried about socialization in the true sense of the word but we have had periods of time with very little peer socializing especially since we've moved twice in three years. Right now my daughter has zero local friends to just hang with and it makes me pretty sad. She mingles with kids her age in many outside classes but she doesn't have a best friend or anything. She only sees the kids in class. I just don't know what to do about that, if anything. It's harder to make friends at 13 versus age 6 esp in a small town where people are already established and/or very religious. Sigh.

  4. Booster has the same T-shirt, and I have the mother of an unsocialized homeschooler shirt :)! Seriously, I have a difficult time convincing some people that my shy kiddo would be even more shy in the public school setting. So many think it is a result of homeschooling, but, as you pointed out, we are so involved sometimes in outside activities that I worry we aren't spending enough time at home. So, obviously,that isn't the case. Let's face it. I was painfully shy as a child, and he is less so. But, the shyness most likely came from simply being my child.


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