“We heard many a doubt expressed by friends, extended family, and others regarding homeschooling through high school. Our two oldest are now attending private colleges, on scholarship, and doing extremely well. They aren’t lacking in social skills, either! Now those skeptics are finally coming around.”
“My neighbor kids who go to public school were going to have a birthday party, but did not feel comfortable inviting the neighborhood kids because they did not know them well enough. These kids have been in the neighborhood almost as long as mine, have played with the neighborhood kids, ridden the bus with them, and attend school with them. My kids were asked to do the inviting, because they know all the kids in the neighborhood, and they all like them so much. My kids are homeschooled, and only get to see the neighborhood kids occasionally during the week and on the weekend. I loved the fact that my kids were more socialized then the birthday kids!”
“We were at our local nursing home recently to play music for the residents. Coincidentally, the bookmobile was there the same day. The librarian asked my daughters if they were homeschooled, and when one of them answered affirmatively, the librarian said, “Yep, I could tell.” My daughter asked her how she knew, and the woman said, “You have better socialization skills.” I about fell over.”
“We had taken a goat to the vet. While there, a woman approached me and asked if our children were homeschooled. The children in unison answered proudly, yes. She had a great smile on her face and was proud of herself when she said, “I knew it.” I asked her how she knew, and she said,” there is just a remarkable difference in homeschooled children. They are more polite and better behaved as well as more engaged in conversation. Over all, they are well mannered, friendly, are always dressed better, and hold themselves better. I can’t explain it, but the homeschool children I have met have always brought me joy.” She then concluded with, “Keep up the good work.” I looked at her in amazement, and thanked her on behalf of all the homeschooling parents who work so hard in raising their children right. For me it just confirmed that I was doing the right thing.”
“When parents who are interested in homeschooling ask me about socialization, I ask them to tell me what “socialization” means to them. Simply put, a child who is socialized is one who is aware of social rules and nuances, so he is able to get along with others well. This includes being able to communicate well, being at ease with others, responding appropriately to bad behavior, having manners, knowing basic etiquette, etc. That said, the more important question comes to light: “WHO is doing the socializing?” Once people think about that, most agree that peers are a poor substitute for parents when it comes to influence in socialization.
It’s funny this topic came up today. Not to brag or anything, but this past week, our youngest child and I visited two of the four college campuses that he is considering attending. At both campuses, a professor, an admissions counselor and someone in reception who spoke with our son, later told me how impressed they were with his manners, politeness and ease at conversation, saying that it is especially rare to find a student with those qualities these days. Socialization? No worries!
“God did not plan for children to have socialization among their peers. If that had been His original plan, He would have given us litters like cats and dogs. Instead, His plan is for our children to get along with family members – parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins – and neighbors, etc. When our children grow up, they will never find a work setting, church group, or social setting that only consists of their age groups. Why do we bother with it while they are young? My three sons are three years apart. It takes a lot of socialization for them to get along on a daily basis, but their interaction teaches them how to lay down their agendas and sacrifice their desires as they compromise with one another to keep peace in the household.”
“We live within short walking distance of a public golf course, and during the summer months my sons (11 & 13) walked to the golf course and began picking up random balls from the driving range and taking them to the Pro shop. They would do this several times a day, as this was something to do in their spare time and was helpful. They told the manager of the Pro shop that they did not want anything-only to be helpful. This arrangement soon morphed into the boys being paid well for their service, being given added responsibility (like weeding around the water hazards,) and the boys were given firm offers of official employment once they are legally allowed to hold work permits. The manager told me that he was so impressed with the boys’ work ethic, manners, ability to interact with the members and the management, that our family was given special permission to be pedestrians on the golf course path, enjoying the beauty of the course, amid signs every 200 feet that say “Absolutely NO Pedestrian Traffic”! I laugh when I think about the “antisocial” people my children are as compared to their socially well-adjusted peers who spit, swear and are disrespectful. I’ll keep my socially “awkward” kids, thank you very much!”
Great to hear all of these positive experiences with the socialization question. That seems to be the biggest hang up for people who are not a part of the home school world. I think that many of these people's ways of thinking come from their own public school education...like someone commented - they were taught to think that way. We have some friends who can't seem to refrain from making negative comments about the home schooled children they know and yet they know my daughter quite well and are very much impressed with the young woman that she is and how well she fits in with whatever social situation she is involved in with their family. My daughter, who is very polite, got tired of the kids questioning why she was home schooling and so she finally told them that public school was too easy and that she needed a challenge. (Which is true.) Also, I find that most kids in public school actually have very few friends. I know some kids whose parents say they don't have any friends and yet they attend school daily with many kids their own age. At my daughter's 16th birthday party, we had over 20 young people that she knows from co-op and youth symphony (home schooled as well) - all extremely polite and well behaved. The difference between a home schooled teenage boy and a public schooled teenage boy can be extreme. Conversing with the home schooled teenage boy is a pleasure...he is polite and actually interested in conversing with you. The average public school boy will look at you like something is wrong with you or make a brief comment or two and retreat from your presence as quickly as possible. As for what to tell people...I would enjoy hearing some actual ways of politely wording an answer to that question. I usually just end up reassuring people that she is involved in numerous activities and doesn't sit at home all day. This seems inadequate to me and ties into their way of thinking. Any suggestions along this line anyone?
I agree! Many kids from the public school can't imagine having a conversation with an adult (of course their are exceptions) without cringing at the thought. I have answered the "socialization" question in so many ways. Not all of my answers were polite! Most of the time, I turn it back on those who are asking. I ask, "What do your children do during the summer when school is out?" Well, the typical answer is, "They go swimming, they play baseball, they go to youth group..." After listening to this list of non-school-initiated activities, I tell them, "We do the same---all year." My children participate in a theater group, 4H, fencing, youth group, sports and hang out with friends." They usually think differently after I say that. (And feel a bit embarrassed that they didn't think of that!) I also tell them that one of our biggest challenges as homeschoolers is remembering to say "no" to many of the possible social opportunities. There are often too many to keep up with, and we end up feeling overwhelmed.
Assistant to The HomeScholar
I noticed it! When I saw you guys last, your daughter was doing AWESOME! She looked me right in the eye and smiled! You are really doing GREAT with the socialization - and everything else! Your daughter is so blessed to have you as parents. Keep up the good work!
As the mother of a special-needs child, this is a very painful topic. My child is doing far better than other children with similar disabilities. But it's rare for anyone to see that. All many people see is someone who is "defective," and the assumption is a public education is a miracle cure for my child's challenges. Maybe some day there will truly be a miracle cure, but as of today, there is none. There is only moment by moment reminding myself to trust God to give me the strength, patience, and insight I need to make it through the next hour. And He has come through in so many different ways. My child has a sense of wonder. My child's face isn't jaded and hard like others of the same age. My child's heart is filled with compassion. My child is interested in spiritual matters. I wish everyone could see what I see, but they don't. Maybe they haven't been properly socialized...
I usually ask the person who asks me about socialization to "please tell me about all the anti-social homeschoolers you know." 99% of the people answer back, "well, I don't know any homeschoolers except yours." Right when they say it out loud, they realize they have been "taught" to say the socialization thing about homeschoolers! I just laugh and say, "you mean, my homeschooler right there who the coach just made the co-captain of the baseball team?" (and later in the season voted his team's MVP by the players). My son plays baseball with one of our local high schools. Chalk one up for homeschool socialization!
What a surprise to see myself quoted here! I hope I added that the reason I about fell over was not that I thought my girls were not socialized, but that I was surprised at the source of the comment.
Thanks for your great helps here.
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