The most annoying question every homeschooler gets is “How will your child ever learn socialization?” And we immediately launch into defending ourselves like we owe our interrogator a well thought out answer when we don’t.
This question, and our answers, show how little both parties understand the true nature of socialization.
What is Socialization?
Socialization, from a social science standpoint, is actually the process by which we learn our culture. Everything from learning to say please and thank you to Christmas traditions and what foods we eat is socialization.
So simply put, socialization is a never ending process, dependent upon our age (a grandmother’s role is much different than a mother’s), subcultures (sports, church, etc), location (expectations in the South are much different than New York City), etc.
As homeschoolers, we need to quit assuming that socialization is just about teaching our kids to play nicely or that they do not learn socialization in school settings. Schools absolutely socialize our children, and our homeschooled kids will miss out on that!
However, I am so thankful my kids will be spared the socialization of school! In my experience, school administrations do their best to teach kids great character and to enjoy academics.
It’s what kids teach other kids that makes me hesitate to send my children to school. I remember talking about how uncool it was to love your siblings, how our parents didn’t care about us during my elementary years.
During highschool, the socialization picked up from peers often includes how certain people/groups are disgusting (dehumanizing behavior), the utter waste of time that higher academics are (“I am NEVER going to use this in real life”), acceptance of (and often peer pressure to try) drugs, alcohol, and teen sex, the clique behavior, animosity towards authorities like parents, and an attitude of “I know it all”!
I don’t have the strength or ability to fight the negative peer socialization at school with positive socialization at home so I chose to skip school with my children. As mentioned here, I will let my kids attend public school during their highschool years. If I can build their character into strong, critical thinkers with kind dispositions they will be able to see the negative influences for what they are: hot air.
Homeschoolers all agree the point of homeschooling is to teach our children to love their families and academics. We are simply choosing to not expose them to the negative socialization that school settings make possible!