Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thoughts on socialization and homeschooling

Recently I've had a couple conversations with non-homeschoolers, two of which touched on that tired old bugaboo of "socialization." In three years and change, I've used up my patience with that topic and I let the Sarcasmotron come on. If I think too much about it, I'll fear what I'll be like in a few more years. Maybe I'll just breathe fire. Or laugh uproariously; fewer lawsuits that way.

To the first, I managed to be somewhat polite. "How many times did you hear at school that you're there to learn, not socialize?" As we were chatting online, I couldn't actually hear him chuckle but he admitted I has a point.

The second time was a touch different, though still chatting online. After asking about the possibility of scholarships--a reasonable and valid concern, after all--I was asked, "How do they learn social skills?"
I was more tired. I started a politely worded reply, but scratched it. Out came, "I'm not sure. I'm so busy running them to two different soccer teams, dance class (well, two are in Musical Theater this year), art class, American Heritage Girls, Vacation Bible School, flag football, park days and play dates that I really don't have time to worry about it."
That dropped the topic but I believe he got my point.

Most recently of all, I was talking with another soccer mom about homeschooling. While her kids attend public school, she's very understanding of the idea of homeschooling. I showed her some of the catalogs of materials available and she was very impressed.
"Most parents don't realize that they need to supplement their kids' education. They aren't getting everything they need at school; you HAVE to supplement," she said.
I'm going to ask her how much she's supplementing and doing homework with her kids. If she's already feeling like she needs to do that, why is she sending her kids to school? At least she's not paying twice for their education by sending them to private school, but still. That's one of the reasons I started down this road--I knew there would be things I wanted my kids to know and they wouldn't learn them at school (religion mostly, but there was more).

I'll let you know how this turns out.

UPDATE 8/25/09: A sincere thank you, Amy, for another response. "So appropriate socialization is spending 8 hours or more a day with children within the same year of age doing exactly the same thing, according to the instructions of a lone adult in the room? Sounds... odd."

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At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Gabriella said...

Good for you - great replies!
Being a mother is a tough job, one of the most difficult but full of satisfactions.
How lucky you are that you are able to homeschool - here in Italy it's illegal!

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Amy said...

That, and what about spending 99.9% of a child's school day with children in the same developmental/age range really helps them socialize?

In the real world, they have to socialize with people of all ages and backgrounds - something often not found or clumsily force-fed in schools.

For example, I still think this is why I've come across people who can't handle the idea of having a manager or co-worker who is younger than they are; they don't know how to deal with it and the thing pounded into their heads is that authority is always older...

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Der Tommissar said...

When I get asked how the kids will learn social skills, I just belch, pick my ear, and say, "Huh?"

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I homeschooled my children all the way thru to 12th grade except for my youngest ~ she loved to read & learn before she went to the local high school & now she hates it. My heart is broken about it. It could not be helped, I had serious health issues. But still it weighs on your heart after you've taught them on your own for so long. Don't let people get you down about thee socialization issue. A lot are either misinformed or seriously ill-informed. My second child is now 24, in the Air Force and currently in the toughest Tech School they have due to her initial Air Force entrance exam scores. She is in Air Traffic Contol, in her final two weeks and her instructors love her! Keep them and their hearts at home. They'll do much better than you could have ever imagined.


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