From The Mud Puddle

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Last week I posted about how we came to be a homeschooling family. Steven commented:

"I think home-schooling is a wonderful choice. I am of the opinion that kids need interaction with their peers so that the world does not shock them later, but it sounds like you involve your kids in a variety of activities that allow them to be full members of the community at large."

Rather than totally respond to the issue of socialization in the comment section, I thought I'd address it here. It is an important issue that a parent has to consider prayerfully as they think about homeschooling. Steven's comment reminded me of this topic that is equally important to discuss in relation to homeschooling. I am mainly addressing the socialiation issue of homeschoolers vs public school. I do not know how things work in a private schools as I have not had any experience with that to consider in how it might be similar/different.

It's interesting that when people say that they home school, many ask or comment about socialization. It is interesting because to it's core, when you home school, you cannot help but socialize your kids. They are not socialized in the public norm, but in a way that, in my opinion, is far better than the socialization that happens in a public school setting.

Kids that are in public school are grouped together with other kids of their own age. Peer pressure takes place and kids often are socialized by their peers. This socialization, in my own experience, was not positive. It was a contest of popularity, trying to fit in, being pressured to conform. My best attributes were not understood or highlighted. I was expected to go along with the crowd. It took getting out of that setting to really understand who I was without all the pressure. I am not talking about the issue of healthy competition, but the issue of the negative impact of a group of kids socializing other kids. As we considered the pros and cons of homeschooling, the issue of socialization was addressed. We realized we did not want a group of eight year olds teaching my kids what is right or wrong or how to behave. We also did not want a teacher, possibly holding opposite beliefs from ours, teaching our kids. God gave us the responsibility to raise up our kids. I am accountable to Him with what we do with this time. In that I dont agree that kids need other kids their age around them regularly in order to be socialized properly.

The socialization my kids have received has come from being in groups of kids of various ages. It has come from going on errands with me during the day. It has come from being with their grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends of various ages. It came also when my kids went with their grandmother to her senior meetings to help. They have been around babies as well as the elderly. In times past, they got to know other kids within the homeschool support groups we were a part of. (including one at church for a short time) They do get exposure to kids their age at church in the youth group, but more so they have learned how to relate to people of various ages. They have learned to speak up and to have their own opinions not pressured by what is considered "cool". They have learned to base their thoughts and ideas on God's word. (that in itself is a post)

When kids go out to get a job, in the real world, they will find that they will work with people of various ages and stages. Kids do not go into the real world finding that they work with other adults exactly their age as they might have gone to school with. I never had a job where I just worked with people my exact age. Everyone has always been younger or older than me. (mostly older)

Homeschoolers rarely just sit at home all day and do school. (though admittedly, now that my kids are in High School with their homeschooling, we do spend a lot of time here as they work through their studies because that is our focus of the week...and it leaves little time for other things). Homeschooling affords us opportunities to go out and be in the community at large more often than if they were at public school all day. (as Steven pretty much hit on the head in his comment)

There is a lot on the Internet about this topic. Most studies show homeschoolers to be even better socialized than public school kids. Yeah, I should link a few, but I am feeling sort of lazy, I'll let you google 'em if you're interested LOL.

Anyway, that is our point of view on the topic. It was just part of what we liked about homeschooling as God led us into it. It works for us and our family.

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