One of the most often heard questions when considering homeschooling is, “Aren’t you worried about socialization?” I’m not sure if those questions are truly about socialization, or if they’re about socializing. There’s a big difference between the two.
While this issue of socialization seems to be on the minds of people against homeschooling, those who actually homeschool never give it much thought. They know that their children are not going to suffer by foregoing public school socialization. In fact, most homeschool children are probably better socialized than public school students.
Socialization is basically learning to conform to today’s society. What is it about homeschooling that would keep a child from learning to conform to today’s society? And do we really want children that conform and become little automatons? Or do we want children who can think for themselves while having something to offer society as a whole?
Children are little sponges, so just by being a part of a family they will begin to learn what society expects of them. The only way a child would fail to be socialized is if they were secluded away from everyone. The image of a backwoods, backwards, misfit homeschool family is just not accurate. Homeschooling families are generally active in their local communities, and often involved in volunteering to help others. These activities will help solve any socialization issues.
So if you plan to homeschool, how should you respond when asked about socialization? Are the questions really about socializing instead? Well, I can honestly say, my kids have grown up to be very social. Not only did we attend church every week, we had days during the week that we met with other homeschool families. The best thing was that they went with their mother on shopping trips and were very likely to strike up a conversation with anyone, no matter their age. That’s a lot better than being stuck in a room with only kids their own age to talk to and learn social rules from. If those activities aren’t enough, homeschool children have play days, skate days, and trips to the bowling alley. How much more social does a child have to be?
When thinking about socialization, one has to wonder, are the lessons they learn in public school really any better than what they’ll learn at home? Since public schools create artificial societies which rarely mirror real life. In public schools children learn about drugs, alcohol, violence, and sexual promiscuity. Most homeschool parents are very happy that their children won’t have to learn those lessons.
If socialization is supposed to teach your child how to behave in society, how to properly respond to people, and be responsible adults, it isn’t very likely that a child will learn that from public school. All one has to do is go to nearly any public middle school and walk the halls. After witnessing the behavior of the students there, ask yourself which of those behaviors you would truly want your child to emulate. That should get any parent’s attention and quell any further questions or concerns about a homeschool child’s socialization.
If you are interested in exploring homeschool socialization myths and suggestions in even more depth then The Old Schoolhouse has a new ebook that will dispel the homeschool socialization myths for you even further.