Socialization

Some people object to homeschooling, claiming that homeschooled kids won’t be properly socialized.  This term means different things to different people, so you can’t adequately answer someone’s questions without establishing a definition.

  • gracious manners
  • interacting with a variety of people
  • getting along with others
  • socialism

Socialization can mean gracious manners, social skills, etc:  Who is the better teacher of appropriate social skills?  A skilled adult, or a kid?  If school kids already knew social skills, we wouldn’t need to teach them.  Research documents the fact that children learn better social skills by spending time with responsible adults than they do by spending large amounts of time with other children.

Socialization can mean interacting with a variety of people:  This doesn’t happen in school. Kids are placed into peer groups and don’t learn to interact with others who aren’t their age unless their parents provide opportunities outside the classroom.

Socialization can mean getting along with others.  Kids are supposed to practice this in the classroom, but they don’t learn it there.  I provide direct supervision and teach my children to get along with one another. We invite others over and I provide supervision, ensuring that my children get along with others, not just with their siblings. We go to the park and I make sure that my children are getting along with whoever happens to be at the park.  That doesn’t happen in schools. The majority of kids get along with one another most of the time, but it’s due to what they learned at home long before being old enough to attend school.

Socialization can mean what occurs in the former Soviet block.  Many people don’t realize that our educational system was modeled on the Prussian system, and developed specifically to separate children from their parents.  Nor do many people realize that OBE was developed not in this country, but in communist countries. The goal is to separate kids from their parents.  It is not to produce educated thinkers, but workers who will unquestioningly do as they’re told. I want better for my children.

Usually people conduct polite discussions, but some people are aggressive or hostile.  If a proponent of public schools attacks your decision to homeschool based on the socialization factor, you can turn the tables and tell them that if you were to consider allowing the public schools to socialize your child, you would need some information first.

  • How does the district define socialization?
  • What are the teacher’s goals for the socialization of his/her students?
  • What specific aspects of the curriculum are directed toward meeting those goals?
  • Does the teacher present a set of values and assume that the parents will agree that those values are acceptable and appropriate, or does the teacher make a point of reinforcing the values that parents teach at home? Regardless of which approach is taken, how does the teacher go about doing that?

The fact is that desirable socialization is not a by-product of our public education system.  It is a direct result of responsible homeschooling.

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