There’s a hilarious Pin on my “In a Few Words” board on Pintrest that features Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl,” meme. It basically says we socialize dogs and educate kids.
Wikipedia‘s definition of “Socialization” states
Socialization is the process by which human infants begin to acquire the skills necessary to perform as a functioning member of their society, and is the most influential learning process one can experience. Unlike other living species, whose behavior is biologically set, humans need social experiences to learn their culture and to survive.
As the whole world knows, home educators NEVER leave their house, hence their concern for the well-being of our children. When they ask the inevitable, “What about socialization?” What most are REALLY asking is, “Do you ever leave your cave?” As if we are hermits, holed up in our compounds, who never make eye contact with civilization when we dare to make a trip to the grocery stores without our husbands (or wives). (gasping for breath)
Okay, okay, it’s not THAT bad but the question does surface and not necessarily from friends but sometimes strangers. My husband and I were grilled, chastised, made to stand trial for our decision to homeschool our kids by acquaintances (a former teacher and her daughter… who was a teacher).
“We need good kids in our schools.” Like it’s MY fault I won’t feed my sons to them? She proceeded to ask the question of the universe, “What about socialization?” Her nose crinkled when she asked it. I immediately thought of the bullying epidemic. Was that the ‘socialization my sons were missing out on? No thanks. I don’t recall our answer. My husband jumped in to enlightened them. Satiated with our reply, the women went on to complain about class size and uninvolved parents.
Yes, the question does get under my skin.
I used to feel obligated to defend my choice to homeschool. I was caught off guard once and vowed never again. When I was asked again, “Do you socialize them?” I had a list of things ready for their approval. “Boy Scouts, Spring Baseball, Sunday School, Community Bible Study Group, volunteers at church coffee bar…” and that was just my eight-year old son. Was it enough to satisfy their standards?
The more time went on and the questions still came I became less and less worried what anyone thought. I didn’t have to justify our decision. I didn’t need their approval. I am certain that my sons are socialized. They can survive in their culture. You may now resume your regular programming. (pun intended)
Our sons are polite. They give firm handshakes, look people in the eyes when they are talking and ask follow up questions. My oldest son loves to volunteer in the coffee bar at church where he has learned to make coffee, prepare snacks, set up tables and interact with patrons. My youngest can’t wait until he can help. They contribute to society through their work in Cub Scouts and soon (hopefully) 4-H club. Some may think my boys are TOO busy.
Homeschooling in Texas is supported by hundreds, if not thousands, of homeschool groups and Co-Ops. Homeschooling can be as solitary or rather, isolated, as much as you want it to be. So much culture is available to homeschooler’s. In October, we’re going to Sea World, which ties in quite nicely with our study of Cetaceans, nektonic and benthos creatures. (Look it up). San Antonio Museum is hosting a tour for homeschooled children. The list goes on.
Ugh, that was snooty. Forgive me, I still feel like I’m scrutinized and have to impress the skeptics.
I socialize my boys. My boys can survive and contribute to their culture and AND hopefully better it. My boys personalities will not be hindered by cookie-cutter expectations. They actually get to grow up and be themselves, think for themselves and not be limited by tests.
I’m fortunate and blessed to be able to do this for my family. I am not better than anyone else for homeschooling, though I’m sure there are those who do think that way. There are a lot of good and bad reasons for not homeschooling. Fear of “not being socialized” is just a poor excuse.