Well What About Socialization??

Ah… the good old socialization question. The number 1 question that most homeschooling families, including ours, gets asked.  What people don’t realize is that it is such a silly question because kids in public schools are not allowed to socialize normally. When, in any other time in a person’s life, are you grouped with only people the same age as you? Last night my children proved to me that kids who are homeschooled are just as or even more socially adept as their public school peers.

We were invited to attend a Christmas party yesterday at a friend’s house. We have never been to her house and did not expect to walk into a party this size. There were easily over 50 kids there as well as their parents, plus a whole lot of neighbors and other friends! We didn’t know anyone aside from the little girl and her mom who invited us, one of my dancers. To say that it was loud, chaotic, and a bit overwhelming is an understatement. My husband later confided that if it was him, he would have turned tail and left right away because he is very uncomfortable in social situation like that. Gabby and AJ however didn’t even hesitate before handing their jackets over and jumping in the fray. They introduced themselves to the other kids, asked to join in the games, and disappeared in the chaos without a glance back. I heard Gabby tell another girl that she likes animals and asked the other girl how old she was while AJ found a whole bunch of little girls playing dolls in a bedroom. It was lovely to see them interact with everyone.

Did I do anything special to “make” Gabby and AJ this social? No way! What I did do was give the girls the tools to feel confident in all kinds of situations like making sure to ask names, to speak clearly, to find a common ground with other kids who are new. Being in the homeschool co-op the girls are used to playing with kids of all ages and accepting everyone for their individual quirks. This is not to say that they never need a little bit of help, but last night definitely put their confidence to the test! Of course there are some kids who are naturally a bit quieter, not every child is going to be the same in every situation. But at least for my girls I now know that they are pretty sure of themselves, even when they don’t know anyone else!

I think that people who do not know homeschooled kids personally are under the impression that they are all shy introverted wall flowers who can’t interact with new people. They worry that we are doing our kids a disservice by teaching them at home, shielding them from the “real world”. It is funny because it’s the real world that teaches my kids how to interact with everyone from the postman to the librarian. We say hello to the special needs workers at the grocery store, I have the girls order for themselves at restaurants, and they now pay for their own treats at the stores. I am pretty sure that they get more socialization opportunities that their public school peers on a daily basis.

Socialization is important but schools are not end all in terms of helping our kids navigate the world. So rest assured that my homeschooled girls will socialize just fine with the rest of the world!

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5 thoughts on “Well What About Socialization??

  1. I know the YMCA that i go to actually has homeschooling times, where i guess if you home school you get your gym time in maybe? i know they do swimming and the guy who does basketball with my boys says he does basketball at the moment with the home schooled kids, so that is a way to meet people and one would think when you are out and about doing field trips you would meet kids and on play grounds. The only difference is in a school setting you are forced to interact with your classmates,since you see them everyday and have to work with them.

  2. What a good way to look at it. I never thought before how unsocial school is. It truly is. You’re not allowed to talk or socialize in class, or at least in a truly social, playful way. And then in the hallways or at lunch or recess, it’s click-ish and bullying can occur too (which can also happen out of school in the corporate world too), but you’re right–we are never forced to socialize only with people of our same age outside of school. To be honest, that is one thing I always thought about with homeschooling children…not thinking of it from that view or about all the extra curricular activities children can participate in outside of school.

    1. I think many people still have the misconception that people choose to homeschool because they are super religious or want to shelter their kids from the world, which is not the case in *most* families. Personally, I want my kids to be prepared to live a full, happy, and fulfilling life and I don’t think that schools have that interest at heart anymore. I want them to be able to interact with people of all walks of life and not see labels or preconceived notions. Schools create an environment that does not allow normal interactions and facilitates bullying and cliques.

  3. Great entry. I will not be able to homeschool my Little Man, even though I would love to, but I am envious of the amazing opportunities you have to prepare your children to be confident and social. I am hopeful that I can still accomplish this when my son is with me, but I am not confident that traditional school fosters that kind of exploration.

    P.S. I love your blog.

    1. There are also options like Montessori schools and such that are a little more relaxed in their way of thought. I think that if you have the mindset of encouraging freedom and being a gentle parent your son will turn out just fine!! Thank you so much for visiting and I hope you come back soon!!

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