As a homeschooling mom (6 children, 4 school age) I get the socialization questions/concerns on a regular basis.
A couple ball seasons ago I was at the baseball field for Boy1’s game. I was there with all kids in tow (I think Greg was out of town.) I forgot to make sure the stroller was in the van and so I had Girl3 in the carrier on the ground and Girl2 was a crazy maniac (sort of :). Either way, it was not ideal. Someone asked that lovely question, “Are ALL these yours?” Ah… “Yes.” Anyone who lives in NOLA knows the next question. “Where do they go to school?” That is a big status symbol here. “They’re homeschooled.” The E N T I R E group on those bleachers looked at me in stunned silence as if I had told them I send them to Jupiter each morning. This one more vocal mom started “the” questions. One of which was socialization.
Let me say that we had been the wierd-ish, Christians all season… and that was fine. I knew I had to give a gracious, God honoring answer.
I tried to tell that lady (and the folks who were tuning in) that there ARE indeed kids who have been homeschooled and are socially inept. I could name several! I also tell people that I know plenty private/public school kids who are social failures. There are plenty on both sides.
As far as my options here in New Orleans… Just last week we had 8 people shot (several died) within a few miles of our home. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of these shooters were raised by the public schools and were “socialized” there. It’s tragic. I do realize however, that NO is an extreme situation. I don’t think I would turn over my child’s development to the public school here. I’m sure there are great private options if you sell kidneys on the black market… even then, what does that socialization produce? We’re blessed with the options we have.
Public/private schools “teach” our children to “relate” (btw- free sex is a great way to relate) to their peers in a similar age category. I suggest that homeschooled children learn to socialize on many levels. Let me give a couple examples:
My older 4 children (age 8-14) work well with young children… they’ve learned about child development and behavior from their younger sisters. They know how to hold infants, guide toddlers and change diapers. Those are life skills that will benefit them greatly one day… skills that even the best home-ec (do they still teach that?) class can’t teach. I’ve seen adult women that were raised in public schools who can’t function with basic infant care skills- dirty diapers, spit up… (Note: This does not include ALL women) I’m not suggesting this is the FAULT of the school system… just an area where homeschooling could be considered a perk.
Homeschoolers often learn to socialize with sr. adults. Being a musical family often provides great opportunities! My children have been asked to sing for sr. adult luncheons/dinners. They learn how to relate to these precious members of society. Senior adults often need special understanding. These people are often dispised and cast off. There is no class on spending time with seniors in the public/private school system. I’m not suggesting that public/private schools are anti-sr. adult as much as I’m suggesting being homeschooled might create an extra perk in this area.
In our home, our kids must learn to spend 24/7 with their siblings and parents. Their weaknesses are often confronted and they are forced to deal with them. We work through sickness & health. We work as a team; sharing responsibilities to make it all happen. What GREAT socialization!
Let me just say that this is not true for my kids only! Many homeschooled kids have similar experiences. I’m suggesting that having the opportunity to socialize with different ages is beneficial.
Homeschooling is NOT for everyone. It’s not. But to think that socialization is a legitimate concern is bogus. Let’s just lay this silly concern to rest.