Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Socialization Question

so·cial·i·za·tion n. The process of learning interpersonal and interactional skills that are in conformity with the values of one's society.

The homeschooler's favorite question was posed to me today as I sat in the dentist's office waiting for my daughter. I had a brief conversation with a very friendly gentleman who was waiting for his two sons as well.
The conversation went something like this:

"...that's great that you home school, but are you planning to continue through high school?"

"...yes, we believe we can do it with all of the available resources and my daughter will probably complete some classes at a local community college while in high school.."

"....that's great but what about SOCIALIZATION?..."


This is our fifth year of homeschooling and I can't believe that every time someone asks that question, I am momentarily speechless. I went on to say something like this:

"..We're really not that concerned with it......It's not as if we live in some remote area and don't interact with others..."

I really can't remember exactly what I said, but I'm so disappointed in myself for feeling........awkward. Why didn't I just say what I really believe in my heart?--

".....socialization?....socialize with who?.....tons of other kids who are grouped into cliques....socialize in an environment full of profanity and promiscuity......NO THANKS!..that's not what God has called our family to do..."

I am very aware that the things I just mentioned are not a part of every public or private school, but in our area the public schools are pretty bad.

My 7th grade daughter is not by any means lacking in the socialization area, just by the shear nature of her personality. But even if she wasn't as outgoing, would I thrust her into high school to socialize her?

Out of all of the facets of homeschooling, why is socialization the only facet that people question?

I must develop a way to respond to this question in which I can share our family's view without being offensive.

After the dentist, we went to the pediatrician's office for my toddlers check-up. While there the nurse asked my older daughter about school. She informed her that she is homeschooled. The nurse asked me---"What do you do about physical education?" Now that's a question that I can handle. (LOL)


Gem said...

The socialization question makes me crazy. I loved learning, hated school. I was awkward, too smart to be popular, not so smart to be one of the smart people. I didn't fit any cliques. Sound like anyone? Sound like the stereotype of a homeschooled kid? I would have been awkward no matter if I had been at home or at school. The sad thing is, I would have learned a LOT more at home, since I wouldn't have so worried about what everyone else was thinking.

Anonymous said...

This year our oldest is attending our local high school. We didn't see that coming. She had finished her academics for graduation and really wanted to be part of the *gasp* social scene. She is not interested in the academics side of things and we all knew it. At first we said NO!

Since our daughter was not interested in pursuing higher education (although she is going to a one year Bible college after graduation - very willingly)the community college was no draw to her. She wanted drama, band and a foreign language (she has already studied French, Spanish and Japanese on her own). The more we said NO! the more we felt convicted that our answer was wrong. That was a struggle for my husband and I to let go and trust God on this.

We have dealt with some attitude issues, but she is working on them. It is amazing to see how God is working on her heart during this time and how we are able to have opportunity to deal with issues that can be diffused or changed before she leaves our circle of protection. This was not our plan, but we do believe now, that it is God's.

She has never been "under socialized" that is for sure. Not many homeschoolers are. Through this she may be "over socialized" but she is learning discernment, a focus that she didn't have before and her determination to do her best in this setting will be of great benefit in college and life beyond. She is now contemplating furthering her education after the Bible college. We'll let God help her figure out that part too! He is doing a great job so far.

Sorry about the book, just an area of passion I guess.

Suzi said...

Part of the reason people ask about socialization, I think, is that they've heard that question and haven't heard an answer from a homeschooler.

Another part of it might be that they've heard that homeschooling is great academically and wonder how it is in other ways.

But I too get tired of that question.

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jpe said...

Lots of people probably figure that homeschooling is a reaction to parents' overweening desire to shield their children from the world. In your case, the inference seems justified:

tons of other kids who are grouped into cliques....socialize in an environment full of profanity and promiscuity......NO THANKS!

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