Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Great Debate – Socialization for Homeschoolers


I have wanted this bumper sticker on my car since the beginning of our homeschool days but the principal of our school disagrees that it is funny. (That would be my husband) I always chuckle now when someone asks me “What about socialization” when then find out that we homeschool. At first, I was afraid that they were judging me so I gave them the reasons we have came up with for homeschooling in general. You know what I’m talking about. “We feel like God has called us to keep our children at home.”, “We feel like we know our children better than the school system”, “It was a difficult decision but we feel it is best for our family”. When it comes from family members, I know that they just are concerned for my kids. When it comes from anyone else, I usually just think they are curious about our different lifestyle.

My children are definitely social kids. We believe that socialization is important. We want our children to succeed in life, everyone, not just parents that homeschool. David and my goals as parents is to raise children who love God, who can lead productive lives. We want them to work well with others, have great personable skills that allow them to have relationships, interact with all people, be able to work through conflict, treat others with respect and be genuine loving people. School is not generally the best place to learn these skills.

Remember when you were in school? Did you socialize with people of all ages? Probably not. Children are divided into groups of like ages. Little kids are not on the playground with older kids. It is getting to the point that all ages are not even on the same buses or in the same buildings. How can you learn to interact with all ages if you are around 30 other individuals of the same age? It is a good thing we do not pick our friends and coworkers the same way young children do. Boys don’t like girls and vice versa and older children never seem to enjoy playing and interacting with younger kids. Bullying and ridicule are far too common in classrooms, playgrounds and cafeterias.

I love that my kids are getting their habits, skills, attitudes and ideas from my husband and me and the people that we choose for them to be around. My children may not have a large number of friends but they do have good friends. It is not likely that you keep in touch with all of the friends you had in school. Until Facebook, I honestly hadn’t talked to any of my high school friends more than a handful of times since I graduated almost 20 years ago.

I have also been told that my children will not fit in. Well, guess what? I really don’t want them to. I don’t like what I see from young kids today. Most are mean, rude and have no respect for authority or adults. God tells us not to be of the world. I want my children to be different. I want them to be respectful, kind and caring. We feel that they learn this best by being around respectful, kind and caring people, not 30 children their age vying for the attention of one teacher. Even if the teacher is a Christian, they have far less influence than the kids in the classroom.

So, what do we do to make sure our children are not lonely? We take them to church, the store, the post office, the bank and everywhere else that we go. They interact with people of all ages. My kids have friends who are all ages. They love little kids but they also have a friend who is 18 years old (she was homeschooled by the way). We take music lessons. We have been involved in Cub Scouts, homeschool groups, book clubs and many other activities where they get to see other children. We want our kids to Love the Lord with all their heart.

Deuteronomy 11:18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

We don’t feel like we could do this if we send them away five days a week for 8 hours a day.

While homeschooling isn’t for everyone, we have decided that it is best for our family. We love being with our kids every day, all day. I can’t imagine a better life. So give us “Unsocialized homeschoolers” any day. We love em!


Karen said...

Well said. We have three high school homeschoolers and two in middle school. People really notice your children's lack of social skills when they get to be teenagers. They open doors for ladies, talk to adults while looking them in the eye, are kind to small children and are respectful as well as mannerly. "Unsocialized" indeed!

TOSHeidi said...

Great post! I need to make mine now!

Heather said...

Good post! I totally agree and love your inclusion of scripture:)

Renae said...

I was sort of taken aback by your comment about not wanting your kids to fit in. Somehow in the back of my mind I still worry about that and the way you said it reminded me that "fitting in" is not our goal for homeschool.

My son does have a hard time making friends though, so it keeps coming to the forefront of my thoughts.

In a few years, I pray that I won't think about this subject much at all.

Tonya @ Live the Adventure said...

Just stopped by from the Carnival of Homeschooling- great post.

I have teenagers now and people always comment how social they are for homeschoolers! LOL That just cracks me up...for homeschoolers...makes me wonder how many homeschoolers they've encountered!:)


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