The #1 question that I get asked about when people find out I homeschool my kids is…” What about socialization?”. What exactly is socialization?
The definition of socialization refers to social interaction but it also refers to understanding and learning to navigate a society’s social norms and rules of behavior. So in essence, your kids who are socializing in school are mimicking the kids who they are around and duplicating the things that they see so they will fit in.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never looked at a high school cafeteria and thought, “Wow, these kids are so mature and socialized. I wish my daughter was more like them”.
When I think back to my public school days and what stands out to me was my teacher repeating things like, “Be quiet.” “Hands to yourself.” You’re not here to socialize.”. Today, public school kids have 30 minutes for lunch. They are rushed from one class to the next and told not to talk in the hallways.
I look at my own kids and their journey and we’ve spent lots of time in homeschool groups at the park, where the kids play with their friends and have fun talking about what they’re learning. We have had coop groups where the kids present their science projects and explain what they’ve learned.
I think about my niece walking up to a hospital worker when she was 8 and saying, “Excuse me, sir, where is the trashcan?”. In my opinion..that was pretty social…and respectful….and weird. The man looked at her like she was an alien and pointed towards the trashcan.
My kids have many chances to get out of the house and be with other humans. We have field trips with our homeschool group, we have church activities and even a church prom. The boys have scouts. My daughter has dance classes. They are not starved for human contact as non-homeschoolers believe.
If the fear of socialization is stopping you from homeschooling, I’ve got some good news for you.
Schools are required to allow homeschool students to participate in sports and other activities. This means that your kids can be taught at home and then head over to the local high school for baseball, 4H, drama club or swim team. They are not going to be isolated.
Maybe you’ve thought, “What about that weird kid that lived down the street from you in 5th grade who was homeschooled? He was odd…it must have been because he was homeschooled.” I hate to break it to you, but if you’re weird as a homeschool kid, you’re going to be weird as a public school kid too. Weird is weird.
Being homeschooled won’t make you weird. As a parent, you get to enroll your kids in all of the activities that they want. You get to be in control and help your kiddos navigate the treacherous world of being social. They can learn in a safe place with you by their side to quietly help them understand cues and develop confidence.
What are your fears about socialization?
Could you share them with me in the comments?