The most common question when it comes to teaching your children at home is:
What about socialization?
Today we will define socialization. We all have our own definition of socialization, without really thinking too deeply about it.
From what I have observed over our years of homeschooling is that people automatically get this picture in their head of a small classroom in our home and the children are sitting at a desk or table all day. Nothing can be further from the truth!
In yesterday's post I told you about how my first semester of homeschooling was tear filled. Well, that was because we were sitting in a room, with our child at a desk and answering ALL of the questions on EVERY page in her workbooks. You see, she and I were miserable because all I knew was to sit at a desk and answer questions. Oh, how God has been so good to lead us from that bondage, but that is another topic for another day.
Back to socialization. My definition of socialization is to be able to communicate and interact with people of ALL AGES in society. This can not be done when the majority of a child's day/week/year/ childhood is in a room full of children her age.
The dictionary defines socialization as:
1. "To place under government or group ownership or control."
In essence when you enroll your child in the government school system you are placing them under the government's control. Can we truly TRUST the government to do what is best for our children? Do we trust them with our money (taxes)? I sure don't, just look at the debt situation our country has. Look at how literacy rates have dropped dramatically since the start of compulsory attendance.
2."To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable."
Again, as I stated earlier, children need to be taught to be sociable with all ages, not just the 30 other 9 year olds in her class.
I try not to become too irritated when people ask me about the socialization issue because it really is their ignorance (just not knowing) of what true socialization is. They are thinking just like I did that first semester, a desk in a room with a book. /
The opportunities to socialize that are open to homeschoolers are endless. Our 'schooling', and I hate to call it that because we have a lifestyle of learning not a school in our house, happens all day every day. Our children go everywhere with us. They have always gone with me when I shopped, paid bills, dealt with emergencies and cared for our neighbors.
We are very involved in our community. We belong to a few civic groups and we ALWAYS take our children with us. When the dirty work of such groups needs to be done our kids are right there with us. When adults are not acting like adults, our kids have been right there to watch, which gives us plenty of character lessons later. Jeff is a volunteer fireman, all of our kids are there to work every fund raiser, they are usually the only young people there. We volunteer at the county fair, when other children are sitting in a classroom. We get a ton of the socialization questions then! ) But as long as our children are well behaved, pleasant and WILLING to do the dirty work most adults welcome them. We gain their trust and friendship as time goes on. We even volunteered at the nursing home for a couple of years, that was a hard yet rewarding experience.
Because our children are at home with us and Jeff is self-employed our children take turns going with him everywhere. We were able to travel with him out of state twice last year as a family, we couldn't have done this if they were in a school. Just for the record, I think traveling is the best way to teach children anything and everything!!!
These are all opportunities to socialize. Then there are our field trips with other homeschoolers, church activities, 4-H club, music lessons/recitals, Leadership class, Speech class, Spanish class, co-op classes, balls, planning parties, and soccer with other homeschoolers. If anything, my biggest challenge has been to say no to alot of extra activities because we do need to stay home some and do book work! ;o) Some school years are busier than others.
So when you think deeply about it, most homeschooled kids are MUCH more socialized than public schooled kids. This does not mean that ALL homeschooled kids do well in this area, just as not all government schooled kids are not well socialized. My point is, asking the, "What about socialization?" question is silly! Overall which group of kids have the most opportunities to interact will ALL age groups and social classes? Which group of kids will see the adult world as it really is?
Here are two great radio broadcast I listened to recently on this subject. I encourage you to listen to them:
I can't wait to share with you my special guest at the end of this week!
Visit here for Part 1 of our series: Stepping Out of the Box