I was thinking about socialization because of a conversation I recently had with a non-homeschooler. It is unbelievable that this is still as big a topic as it is surrounding homeschooled children, considering that socialization affects all children, no matter what context they are schooled in.
The people your children look up to will have the attitudes and behaviors and language that your child will adopt - that's what socialization means. Try to find people and influencers that will shape and mold your child into a better person in the future. Look at friends, yourself as parents, tutors, or class teachers. Look at who they listen to including the media they consume and the leaders they admire. Look at social media - those who post are literally called "social media influencers." The language, attitudes, and behaviors of those people will begin to be the same language, attitudes, and behaviors that you will see in your child.
It's important for our homeschoolers to be exposed to the real world - it really is! But at the same time, we can discuss the virtues of the qualities they see, and limit exposure while we can - while they are still in our home. That intentional shaping and molding of behavior is how we can raise children into pleasant adults.
I was talking to a friend who was condoning some pretty outrageous behavior. She said that was "being real," but I disagree because in private, I really don't do those things. In my children, I really don't want them doing those things. I want them to grow up to be kind, gracious, gentle, humble, slow to anger, and truthful. There are people in the world who are "real" but also have those genuine characteristics. They are kind and speak kindly, at least in large measure. And that's what I want for my children.
We want to raise our children to think on good things, and say good things not just to others, but also in their self-talk.
Watch who they listen to and admire. Guide them to watch people of character, but who also speak with the decorum you want to see in your own child.
As I was thinking about it, these two verses came to mind.
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
If you enjoy scripture and applying it to homeschooling, you might like Finding the Faith to Homeschool High School: Weekly Reflections for Weary Parents. My friend Dorothy had this to say about my book, "It is as though a friend has sat down beside you to whisper needed encouragement into your tired, anxious ears. Having second thoughts about your calling to educate your children outside of the school context? Lee's beautiful weekly devotional will turn your heart back towards God and your children." — Dorothy Murphy, Home Educating Parent and Exam Tutor, United Kingdom
Who your child hangs out with and watches day to day will influence who they become. Because you homeschool, you can encourage them to hang out with those that will cause them to grow into a kind, loving adult.
I have 20 grandkids, 11 of whom are/have been home schooled. I occasionally have people comment on their concern for home schooled kids' socialization. I really don't see a problem with it. My home schooled grandkids are doing fine. They don't have some problematic friends that public schooled kids sometimes have. They aren't listening to non biblical teachings that public schooled kids sometimes have to listen too. They are polite, sweet, well mannered, articulate, kids who can carry on an intelligent conversation with friends and adults.
I don't see why people worry about home schooled kids not being socialized! Just because they are home schooled doesn't mean they are raised in a box! They still have friends. They interact with neighbors, public schooled kids, they go out in the world and meet people and interact with them.
There is more than one way to teach a child! And one is not necessarily better/worse than another. They are perhaps different. Kids learn differently so why can't they be taught in different ways? It doesn't necessarily make it bad. Just different.
I homeschooled for 20 years, and I used to ask people (after they stated their concern for our children's lack of social opportunities) "What do your children do in the summer? Don't they do things outside of your home? Baseball, swimming, time with neighborhood friends? That's what my children do all year, in addition to play groups, co-op classes, volunteering, youth group, etc. In fact, our biggest challenge is LIMITING our social time. There is no lack of social interaction in homeschooling."
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