But what about Socialization?!

That pesky question every homeschooling family gets from a concerned family member, friend, or stranger.

But, what about it? What is it about society that makes the average person think the only way children will be socialized is to be around kids their exact age, stuck in a classroom with a teacher for 8 hours per day learning information they may or may not be retaining? What about learning from parents, siblings, cousins, the librarian, or the cashier at the grocery store?  These few examples provide numerous possibilities for homeschooled children to learn how to interact with different races, ages, religious beliefs and personalities.

Socialization is not just learning how to interact with people your age in a controlled environment; its learning how to navigate through everyday life with people of all sorts of backgrounds and finding your place amongst society.

Merriam Webster defines socialization as “the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status.”

Dictionary.com defines socialization as “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.”

My problem with traditional schools is they are very structured and not conducive to socializing.  We are naturally social beings and schools are not set up to allow our children to socialize, and most times children get punished when they do. I think it is safe to say we all have a memory of a teacher telling us that school is not the place to socialize or to stop talking to a friend. Schools can end up suppressing socialization, but we immediately think school is the best place for our children to be socialized.

Throwing an average of 22 children of the same age in a classroom with 1 teacher to guide them on how to deal with others will not teach them anything about developing a personal identity. Children learn by example and I do not want my children’s example to be children of their own age.

By homeschooling, I am able to let my children explore, experiment, and navigate their everyday lives on a personal level. When it is warm enough to go outside we go to the park or the playground in our area or go hiking. We also go to story time at our local library. If I have any errands to run, my girls are with me. When our family goes to the gym, my husband and I go to the weight room and lift while the girls are in the daycare provided at the gym.  Unless children are specifically asked not to attend something I need to go to, my girls are always with me.  It may or may not be the norm to bring them with me, but by being with me they are learning by example how to interact with others, whether it is an adult or child. I would much rather my children learn from me than a teacher that may or may not truly love their job.

Homeschooling is a wonderful setting conducive for children to be socialized. They are able learn when they are developmentally ready, and have plenty of time throughout the day to master whatever strikes their fancy. So concerned citizens, despite your beliefs on socialization and going to school, I assure you my children will be just fine and socialized by spending their days learning from me and my husband and all the lovely people we encounter throughout the day.

What are your feelings on socialization? Do you think socialization only takes place in a school setting or do you think you can achieve socialization through homeschooling?