Monday, November 14, 2011

Myth of Socialization

Before committing to homeschooling my children, I thoroughly researched both the pros and cons of homeschooling.  While there were various "cons" mentioned throughout my research, there was one overriding concern expressed by those who were opposed to homeschooling... (prior to reading the word, I do so hope that you have the proper mental picture and actually hear the sound effects of dun, dun, dun, duh from Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in your mind) "SOCIALIZATION."

For those who are convinced that "socialization" is the preeminent goal and achievement of brick and mortar schooling, nothing will ever sway them from their position.  Which is fine, to each their own.  For me, however, education is my predominant concern and focus.  Actual understanding, obtaining knowledge and truly learning is my uppermost priority.  Socialization is an important part of development, but I do not believe that it is the "end all, be all," nor is there is only one "proper" method to obtain said "socialization."

It is my opinion that homeschooling is as unique to each individual family as our own homes are to each of us.  Who has ever walked into someone's home and found it decorated exactly the same as your own?  What kind of a crazy experience would that be?  Every sofa, throw-pillow, drape, picture, and chotchkies all identical??? It would be very creepy.  What about our individual taste and style?  I could never move into a house completely decorated by someone else and feel as if I was "at home."

So why is it that we not only accept, but expect total conformity and uniformity in education?

"Socialization" is a myth when it comes to homeschooling.  Homeschooling is not an "institution" that can be pegged into neat little categories.  Homeschooling is a choice made by individual parents to treat the education of their own children individually.

Will some people choose in their individualized education plans for their own unique family to isolate their children?  Perhaps.  Might some people choose to overcompensate out of a fear of a lack of socialization and over-schedule their children?  Maybe.  In life, people choose all sorts of different things. How many times have we wandered into the mall or Wal-Mart and wondered how on Earth someone could ever choose to wear that?   Your choice does not have to be mine, or vice versa.  Thank goodness!

I don't worry about socialization.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, "socialization" is the ability to mix socially with others or to behave in a way that is acceptable to their society.  My children are "socialized."  They are not isolated.  They are respectively a Girl Scout and Boy Scout in troops/dens comprised of children who are in traditional schools.  They both play sports.  They are also in a homeschool co-op group.  They play outside with the kids in the neighborhood.  They go to birthday parties and spend the night with friends.  They laugh.  They cry.  They skin their knees.  I would never allow them to become isolated.  It is not my style.  I am personally way too social for that.

The New York Times ran an article the other day inviting kids to comment on whether or not they would want to be homeschooled.  The comments are extremely interesting.  Many children were adamantly opposed to the idea of homeschool for socialization issues and rarely cited any educational concerns.  There were stark contrasts between the writing skills between traditionally schooled children and homeschooled children.  I found them fascinating.  Brick and mortar schools did not fare well when one looked at the child's ability to write a cohesive, grammatically correct comment.

"I think homeschooling is dumb. I think homeschooling doesn’t prepare kids for the real world. they don’t learn how to socialize with other people. Some parents may sugar code the kids. So they might not know everything there suppose to know. no i do not agree."— Leslie R
"Being homeschooled you can miss out on makeing friends and you might not have that well of an education. you would be missing out on alot. you need to be socaila and confident about talking in front of peopl and being around everyone and when your homeschooled it doesnt prepare you for that."
— Chelsea 

I think I will continue to "sugar code" my kids and I won't worry about their being "socaila."  I will, however, continue to worry about the state of education in our country.

1 comment:

  1. I am still giggling at 'sugar code.' LOL And sadly, I have worked for several administrators whose grammar is as bad as that of the students who commented.