Monday, September 17, 2007

"What about socialization?"

I love it when I tell people I have chosen to homeschool and they ask, “What about socialization?”

My answer is, “Well, I only plan to hide them under a rock 3 days a week, so they should still see some live human beings once in a while.”

But the serious answer is this:

What do you see as “socialization”? The definitions I have found (from are the following:

  1. To place under government or group ownership or control
  2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable
  3. To convert to the needs of society

Right off the bat, #1 is why I took them out of public school, so that’s out.

As far as #3, have you taken a good look at society as a whole lately? No, thanks. Not my kids. I don’t want my girls dressing like harlots and my sons acting/looking like thugs. No, thank you.

So that brings me to #2 - making fit for companionship with others and making them sociable.

In my opinion, kids need to learn the basics of being sociable with kids their own age - stuff like sharing, cooperation, honesty, generosity, etc. (They could learn this without ever leaving the house, really, since I have four kids, but I digress.) But we do leave the house. Often. Between church, Sunday School, AWANA, playdates, general errands and field trips, my kids see (and interact with) other live human beings quite often.

How much of this socialization do they get in school? Hmmmmmmm….let’s see:

In the time before school starts, they had to sit in the hall by the door of the class. Anyone talking got punished. (Not much socialization there….)

What about in class? Again, talking was punished, so that leaves out any socialization there, too.

What about lunch? In the school where my kids went, the first part of lunch was “quiet lunch” - no talking. That left 10 minutes for talking quietly. If it got too loud, that time was taken away.

Recess was a time for talking, right? Unless, of course, it was taken away as some punishment for the class. :-( Or if it rained, no recess.

So there were days that kids could go to school for 7+ hours and not be able to speak to another child (without being punished).

At best, kids got to “socialize” for 25-30 minutes a day. Out of 7+ hours. Not really a stellar testimony of the socialization that occurs in school.

By contrast, my kids are socializing all day long. Even when they work, they are often chatting with me or with each other. At times, they work together on a project or a reading assignment, too.

They also “play school” with their little brother, so that teaches them skills, too. They think they are only teaching him his numbers, letters, shapes, etc., but they are learning valuable skills, as well - teaching, patience, leadership, compassion, presentation, etc. - so, down the road, when they are asked to help teach other kids, they will be comfortable with it.Reading, writing, etc. - those are important….but there are other skills that are priceless.


EquineSpirit said...

Great entry! I get this question a lot myself though usually only from my own mother...go fig...LOL!

Blessed2bhome said...

My daughter is only 4 years old I am already getting pressure to put her in school. I have heard a few time now that she should go to preschool for "socialization". Like your kids though she gets plenty of socializing with other kids and adults.

Shay :o) said...

I really think people have the wrong idea about "socialization".

It's like if we don't put our kids in a room of other kids the same age and then punish them if they talk to each other they will grow up abnormal. LOL