Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Socialization

Anyone who homeschools or has thought about homeschooling has probably heard a question similar to this, "But what about their socialization?" I often joke that my kids are some of the most socialized, unsocialized homeschoolers ever.

First of all, there are 5 of them. My philosophy is that they have to learn how to get along with each other first so that they can interact with others. Now, I'm not saying that they ALWAYS get along with each other. There are a lot of days where the bickering drives me batty, but for the most part, they get along fairly well.

Second, we have a wonderful church where there are many opportunities for them to make friends. My children love going to church and have many friends there.

Third, they have the activities they are involved in. The Boy and Soccer Girl have made many friends playing soccer, and Ballerina and Little Red have friends at dance class.

Finally, homeschooling allows them to develop social skills that are important in life. My children are able to interact with others of many different ages. While they aren't always the most articulate when speaking with adults, it is a skill we are working on, and they usually do a pretty good job.

I think a lot of people have a misconception about the socialization done in a traditional school setting. To most, this seems to be the only place that children can "be socialized". In actuality, quite the opposite is true. Children in a traditional school setting are only around other children the same age as they are for 6 to 8 hours a day. For the majority of that time, they aren't allowed to "socialize". They usually have about 30 minutes for recess in which to do all of the socialization that most people assume is so important for children to get at school.

I've said before that homeschooling isn't for everyone; I understand that and place no judgment on anyone who chooses a different means to educate their children. I just want people to understand that socialization (or the lack of socialization) is not a reason NOT to homeschool. The definition of socialization 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." This process can and should take place in MANY more places than a traditional school setting.

We had the opportunity to "practice" our socialization skills last week with some friends. We love getting together with this family, and the kids always have a great time. It was so much fun watching my children get filthy hands making mud pies, play on the tire swing, and just hang out with friends.












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