I’ve decided to pull together a series of links and make some comments about homeschooling and the ‘Big Questions’ in one place so that I can find them in one place. This is by no means an exhaustive list and is much more the tip of the iceberg that I found today and potentially a net-search several days down the road could lead down a very different bunny trail! Each post will deal with a topic and then I’ll link them to a blog page/tab at the top.
The Question of Socialization:
This is likely the biggest question that is asked of me. Its one of those things that once you start homeschooling you quickly realize is the least of your worries.
One of the biggest comments that I can make on this is that the “what about socialization” question isn’t really a question about “is your child able to be social” but a series of other questions:
“Will your child fit in with other children the same age?”
Truthfully, I never really fit in as a child myself. Did you? I’m not joking here or trying to be flip.
Also, ask yourself, do you want your child to be just like every other child? Or were you hoping to raise a unique individual that lives up to their maximum potential? Is the method of schooling going to be what determines the outcome on this question?
Will the child be socially awkward?
At a Homeschool support meeting and the speaker mentioned how someone told him that he could tell that those children were homeschooled because they were quiet and shy.
I had to laugh because I often get told that you can tell my children are homeschooled because they are gregarious and outgoing and stop and talk to anyone and everyone.
My point here is that homeschooling will not enhance or detract from your child’s personality. Your child is or isn’t shy. They are or aren’t an extrovert.
Generally speaking, extroverts do great in a school setting and introverts don’t.
Homeschooling does offer the potential for you as the parent to help the child understand and appreciate the great qualities of their own personalities.
The bottom line, in my opinion, is that it is a big assumption to state that school at home or away is going to actually determine your child’s personality. Either way, which ever method of schooling you choose, your child will be influenced. Away, more influence by peers and persons that may or may not share your personal values and love of this child. At home, well… you’ll have the greatest influence and will likely be around to help them cope in situations when they deal with peers and other persons.
Will the child have friends?
Short answer, yes. Short of locking your child up for the rest of their lives. People are social creatures.
The key difference is that a homeschooled child is just as likely to make friends with the older neighbour next door, the mail delivery person, the guy at the grocery store *as well as* other children the same age.
This is again personal opinion, but I find it more accurate to how I live life as an adult. It is very rare for me to be with the same group of people day after day that are the same age as me.
Still this is a very valid concern and most area’s have great homeschool networks where families can meet and connect.
What about all the school stuff and memories?
This is what I find is the core question. Yes, homeschooling does mean that they won’t have a lot of the same kinds of school memories that you experienced. Both the good memories and the bad memories. You know what I mean.
That being said, they will have a lot of school-like memories. For example field trips. The same homeschool networks I mentioned earlier are often places where parents get together to organize field trips. The wealth and variety of experiences are, if anything, greater for homeschoolers as we aren’t tied to just curriculum and can pick and choose to our hearts content or, if we don’t like what’s available go and organize one to our choosing!
If anything, I often have to remind myself that we don’t *have* to go on all of the 27 field trips available to me this month!
How about yearbooks and pictures? Well, definitely not like you had in school, but I take my kids pictures frequently and they scrapbook them into memory books themselves. It is different.
What about birthday parties, sleepovers and all the fun stuff? Still happens. How cool is it when you *can* have a sleepover on a school night and stay up late! lol… Just kidding but seriously not related to school.
Bully? Well, my kids say I’m a bully sometimes…
And so on. Basically all the good stuff you remember from school is not exactly related to education and something you can make sure your child will experience.
Can you kind of see why I say that for homeschoolers the question of socialization becomes something that sometimes causes us to want to groan when asked about it?
Here are some links that I found that I think do an excellent job exploring this issue *and* provide facts and numbers and such! [note to HS-ing readers, if you know of better articles, link them in your comments. I’ll have to approve them first, but will let them be posted to this blog post]
Social Skills and Homeschooling
Socialization of Homeschooled Children
Big article, scroll down to Socialization of Children
Socialization, How to deal with it [other HS-ing parents responses]
CBN news article, Christian comments on HS-ing and socialization