Homeschool and Socialization Concerns?

There are multiple reasons why mothers choose to homeschool, and I’ve found that the reasons are almost never the reasons I used to think people homeschooled their children. I used to think people homeschooled their children solely for religious reasons or because they were over protective. In reality, families tend to homeschool because they do not have faith that their children will be able to maintain their individuality and autonomy and thrive to their full potential in the public school system.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some pretty amazing people in the school districts I’ve been involved with. I’ve seen people giving it their all for my children. I’ve seen teachers willing (and grateful) to be communicating with me about all of my children. So, please know: I’m not anti-public school in any way.

The biggest concern any parent considering homeschool has mentioned to me is, “What about socialization?”

Let’s go back a second.  Socialization. I don’t have all the answers, but I really think my 11 year old would have blossomed more fully without that kind of “socialization.”

Many ask themselves, “What is it that makes us think that children will grow up socially inept if they are not constantly surrounded by 29 other children exactly their same age?” In what “real world scenario” would a person be in that kind of environment as an adult?

File:Student in Lancaster County Mennonite public school 1942.jpgIt didn’t used to be like this. It’s essentially a new thing, if you think about it.  From The Library of Congress:

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, most American students attended a one-room schoolhouse. A single teacher would typically have students in the first through eighth grades, and she taught them all. The number of students varied from six to 40 or more. The youngest children sat in the front, while the oldest students sat in the back. The teacher usually taught reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and geography. Students memorized and recited their lessons.

Certainly, our kids are learning much more advanced math and science lessons now than their 20th century same-age counterparts did. But that’s not the point, because that’s not the argument, certainly parents unable to teach advanced lessons should not attempt it, but what about socialization?

 

Do you homeschool? Do you have any problems with your children being socially capable?

 

6 Comments

  1. I started doing Waldorf homeschooling with my 2yo son because he knows his entire alphabet and can count to 15- I was worried, that in combination with his inability to be exposed to gluten and tree nuts, that his intellect wouldn’t be nurtured. Both his father and I are Gifted and Talented, and our son has inherited that trait. I was a teacher- and while I appreciate the accommodation made for disabled/special needs students, there is almost NONE for Gifted students. It’s a SHAME that Gifted students are recognized as special needs and accommodated thusly. In fact, socialization in public school is almost non-existent now! My fourth grader attends public school and she gets one, 30min recess a day- the rest of the time is structured learning. Essentially, my daughter is putting in a 30hr school-work week, with less breaks than labor laws enforce. Can you imagine?! No wonder all of our children are being diagnosed with ADHD!

  2. I certainly agree, one of the biggest reasons we homeschool is because we want our children to have the opportunity to socialize with people of all backgrounds and ages, not just peers from our zip code! We want to travel, show them the world, even if it’s not far outside of our backyard. I think school inherently teaches segregation – kids divide themselves into groups and cliques. I want them to keep this beautiful innocence that they have right now when they are playing at the playground with a very diverse group of kids in our neighborhood and my children never question why others have a different color of skin, they just play together! It’s not really so in school. They speak two languages, that’s also something I would like to keep, I want them to be in touch with the culture of their parents.

  3. Tara West

    We homeschool and have NO ISSUES whatsoever with socialization. My daughter is a social butterfly. She makes friends anywhere and everywhere she goes. We do extracurricular activities where she is exposed to other children as well as weekly homeschool co-op groups that are more similar to a one room school style atmosphere with children of various ages present.

    She asks lots of questions, is constantly making new friends, and doesn’t need a classroom to socialize. Whether we are at the park, with family friends, cousins, dance class, co-op, choir, or just walking down the street, she is always social.

    We participate in two homeschool groups. One is a standard co-op that is 2 hours per week where she sees the same kids each week. The other is a more intensive group that has children ages 4-8 all together in class. It is a group for children who are following a classical model of education.

    Essentially we feel we are able to expose her to a variety of learning and teaching methods as well as cater to her individuality that just can’t happen in public school. I think it is a win-win.

  4. Cassandra

    Yes socialization in public schools is a ridiculous notion!!! SOOOOO many “bad” behaviors, rebellion, bullying, negative attitudes toward learning, peer pressure, drug use, alcohol use, smoking, etc. are direct results of the public school system. It has become the bane of nearly every child’s existence and only the strong few come out of it with their original potential. I agree wholeheartedly with Kate’s comment about children essentially putting in a full work week with less breaks than adults get by law. That is exactly what it is. Heartbreaking to me. Children have no time to be children anymore. Childhood should be a time of exploration, wonder, discovery, discovering interests and talents, and healthy growth so that they have the chance to become the person they want to be. The get 20 or less years to do that and then they have 60 or more years to be in our adult world with work and rules and politics, etc. Don’t let them lose that small portion of their lives!!! I enjoy this post that points out more silly things that are supposed to “socialize” our children in public schools: http://themysticalkingdom.blogspot.com/2009/04/no-thank-you-we-dont-believe-in.html

  5. mother of Zain

    Not to mention, i believe that putting our kids in the general public schooling system exposes them to much of the cancerous social problems of youth — like exclusionary cliques, a class-oriented system of popular kids vs. unpopular ones, wealthy kids vs. those with less, etc. Bullying, tormenting, negative peer pressure… being a kid in school was often not very fun, nor conducive to healthy self-esteem…not at all.

  6. mother of Zain

    i recently started homeschooling (last year), and my 6 yr old is not unsocial at all! He gets to play with kids all the time, both in informal and more formalized settings where there are organized activities for the kids to partake in. And when he does have issues or conflicts with kids, I am right there when he needs me, to talk to him, tell him how he can deal with these issues, reinforce good manners and keeping good positive friends in his life, and he is doing wonderfully, thank God. I was worried about the socialization factor at first, but my boy soon proved me wrong! 🙂

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