The homeschooling community is wide and diverse, yet there is one question that almost every parent has been asked during the years they school their children at home. “What about socialization?”
We are led to believe that if we don’t put our children in public school, they will be missing out. They will become social misfits. Homeschooling means they will be stuck inside all day, having no opportunity for socialization.
I decided to see exactly what my children were missing by being taught at home. What is the definition of socialization? I actually found quite a few different definitions!
In general, most refer to the modification of an individual’s behavior to conform to the demands of the surrounding culture. To convert or adapt to the needs of society.
This is NOT what I want for my children. I want them to be well rounded, free thinkers who are leaders, not followers. I don’t want them to spend hours every day in an artificial environment, learning about the world from people who have the same life experience as them.
In our family, social skills like having respect for others and the ability to communicate with people of all ages, are more important than being socialized.
How have my children developed their social skills?
It happens as we regularly engage in the world together. Every day we spend time outside of our home, interacting with people. We go on field trips, take TaeKwonDo, visit the library, learn at Disney, go to the gym and eat out at restaurants.
Through these types of interfaces, my kids have learned how to talk to people. They are comfortable in a wide variety of circumstances because they have learned in real life situations, not in an artificial environment.
Many of their interactions happen within my proximity, so I’m able to quickly praise my children when I see them modeling behaviors well or when they fall a little short, I have real examples that I can use to help them improve.
Another important social skill is making friends with others. I love that I am able to give my children the time and opportunities they need to build and maintain lasting friendships.
Because they are not weighed down by peer pressure and the need to fit in, they are able to seek out friends that bring them joy instead of having to chase relationships just to be popular. They are free to be themselves, without trying to fit into someone else’s mold. Because they are given the time and space to figure out who they are, they are able to build deeper bonds with others.
The ability to develop relationships with people of all ages and both genders will serve my children well throughout their lives.
Read more about Homeschooling & the S-Word from iHomeschoolNetwork.
Socialization is not the same as having social skills. I will do what I can to make sure my children have well developed social skills, without the help of socialization.