Friday, January 22, 2010

"What about socialization?"

 Do you follow the TOS Homeschool Crew on Facebook?  If you don't, you're missing out! We have a great team of contributors and share lots of interesting information with our fans each and every week.  Tuesdays is our Tuesday Topic day - and starting next Tuesday (the 26th), it will work more like a "Crew Carnival".  Each week, there will be a new question posed, and Crew members will have opportunity to answer this question on their individual blogs.  Be sure to check in each Tuesday for the new question, as well as links to blogs where you can read answers.

This week's question is probably the biggest question posed to homeschoolers --- What about socialization?

If you're a homeschooler, you've probably heard this question about a million times!  It gets old, doesn't it?  I know that I get sick of hearing it, and sick of answering it!  And, like is often the case with me, I often leave a conversation thinking "oh, if only I had said ...." (but I can never think those clever things fast enough).

Over the years, after having been asked this question so many times, I've come up with some things that I answer each time.  Here they are, in bullet points, for ease of reading:
  • How much socialization does a child really receive in school? I mean, get real. They sit in a classroom all day, where they aren't allowed to speak without raising their hand first.  The only socialization time is during lunch and recess/break.  That's probably only about 45 minutes per day, right?
  • How many people in your child's peer group at school do you really feel comfortable with them socializing with?  My daughter Ashley had a brief stint at the local public school and, out of about 22 kids in her class (at any given time), I could probably count on one hand the number of them that I'd approve of as friends.  Funny, I had opportunity to speak with one of her teachers when the school year had ended, and I remember her telling me that, out of all the classes she had ever taught (and she was close to retirement at the time), that particular class had the worst bunch of girls she had ever encountered.  Now, that's just sad. But, it pretty much cemented my thoughts that there really weren't many good friend options there.
  • What is the good of socializing with only those in your own peer group?  I mean, anyone can talk to those their same age.  I want my kids to learn to socialize and interact with people of all ages.  I want them to be able to (and willing) to play with younger and/or older children (and have fun doing so).  I want them to be able to hold intelligent conversations with adults. I want them to enjoy both young and old (and, in turn, I want the young and old to enjoy interacting with my kids).  Having spent most of my growing up years as an only child, I feel that I exhibited these qualities (even though I wasn't homeschooled), and I want them to be displayed in my own children.
  • They socialize with each other (and with me) each and every day.  Not to be smart, but what more could a kid want?!  Seriously, there's a book out there with a title something about making siblings best friends.  Mine aren't to that point yet; but I sure would love to see it.  Someday, we (Brian and I) won't be around anymore;  I'd love to know that my kids love each other and continue to enjoy each other's company (that they desire to be together).
  • We go to church, they take lessons, and we spend time in the real world.  Plenty of time for good quality, healthy interactions with people.

A fellow Crew mate, Debra, shared her response to this question, which I just loved and had to share!  Why, oh why, didn't I ever think to answer like this?!

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Debra said...

Oh, you are so sweet! :)

I love your response, and honestly, most of the time I get the question, I do hit more on things like you wrote. Only in the case I wrote about, those querying me weren't truly interested in homeschooling, they were only interested in proving homeschooling was wrong. My usual answers wouldn't have been heard. So I went for something they totally didn't expect, LOL, and I had a ball doing it.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points! Well said. *applause* :)

Lisa C. on the Homeschool Crew (Missionary Blog)

Michelle said...

Great answers, Heidi! ITA! *Ü*

Heather said...

Good post! Really--they often are not even allowed to talk at lunch anymore!

Felicity said...

I (obviously) am going to see this somewhat differently. I have no problems with homeschooling but I also don't think that schools are really any worse - they're just different. On socialization, in addition to time before/after/between classes, our students have an hour for lunch and it's relatively unstructured. If the students are passing their classes then they're allowed to have the hour to themselves. I usually have a classroom full of students, freshman to seniors, hanging out with me and eating. It's crazy but a lot of fun. I get to know some of them really well and they come back year after year. In addition, my class is pretty laid back; I'm more into discussions than I am hand-raising so there's a lot of interaction/socialization taking place. For sure public schools have their problems, I'm just not sure that they're the ones you're pointing out.

Berry Patch said...

Excellent post, Heidi. I love that my kids are able to talk with anyone and everyone - no matter age or gender. My boys don't think girls are "icky" well - for the most part. They love hanging with everyone who will listen to them. ;-) I really think it's more of a "real world" environment. My boys also still like to hang with me & my hubby since no one has every told them that's not cool.

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