Mar 6, 2008

Socialization : A NON ISSUE

So a mom posted on one of the groups that she was really considering homeschooling, but she was concerned about her child's socialization skills. I HAVE HEARD THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN! I can't imagine how many people don't homeschool for this reason. Having lived both sides now (granted the latter has only been for a few months) I felt I needed to give a response:

Socialization is always the topic when people learn that I started homeschooling in January. Honestly the children, tweens, & teen homeschooler that I have been privileged enough to meet are MUCH more social than any PSers. My daughter is 10 & in 5th grade and every year she has had a new "BEST" friend, not because her interests have changed or we moved, but because her old "BEST" friend is no longer in her class at school. The socialization that kids learn in school is to not stray from the norm. Do as you are told and DO NOT think outside the box. In order for a really gifted and talented child to thrive in PS they must withstand years of ridicule, peer pressure and bullying because they have ideas that others may think are cool or they just don't understand. They sit in a classroom for 6 or more hours a day and are expected to barely speak to each other, except for the 25 minute recess break, which really how can you get any kind of game or activity really going and be completed in 25 minutes. The homeschoolers that we have met have all been welcoming, accepting, generous, and really interested in learning about each other. Finding common ground to base a friendship on and not just who is sitting next to you for the next 9 months. They also seem to keep that wonderful "kid" essence longer. They are not afraid at 10 years old to admit they still play with dolls or chase after dragons! I really feel like my daughter is getting a better socialization experience as a homeschooler than she ever did in PS.
I hope that you also think about your experience in PS or whatever school you attended and think about the time from all the kids perspectives. You never know what direction yours will choose and honestly the best parents can still end up with a child who makes bad decisions, because of peer pressure or rebellion, but I have never heard of a homeschool child getting in to the trouble that a lot of kids are now at younger and younger ages. Just thought I would add my 2 cents having seen both sides of the coin!
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