Socialization

I saw this question on Pioneer Woman’s homeschool blog and I wanted to post it here as well as my answer (in case anyone is interested)

“I recently had a discussion with a friend via email about the possibility of homeschooling my boys when the time comes. Her response was something I could not answer. Since this is unfamiliar territory to me, I was left without a response.

What would you say to this??

This is what she said:

‘As far as homeschooling, I’m not a fan. I think it’s important for kids to have their social lives with friends they go to school with, to create bonds and learn how to deal with confrontation on their own when they are with their friends on a regular basis. I’m not saying they can’t “be socialized” with home schooling I just think its not a “true” socialization (my opinion).

In addition, I feel that unless I went to school to become a teacher and even a Phd I can’t give them the true academic experience and support they need. Just like the saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child, well it takes one to educate them as well. To be taught by one person, is to be taught with one view and one method not allowing them the chance to adapt to different learning atmospheres or to hear their peers views.’

The socialization argument is one homeschoolers are all too familiar with, but for someone who has never homeschooled, it can be a bit difficult to answer in a gracious, non-defensive way. How would you respond to a friend with the same question?”

My answer was highly insensitive , but true none the less.  Here it is :)

There is “social interaction” and “socialization”.  They are two very different things and when most people say the latter, they mean the former.
You have to REALLY try hard to avoid appropriate amounts of social interaction.  Most communities have sports teams independent of the school system, there is church, co-ops, neighborhood friends and extended family.
Socialization is an entirely different monster.  It is defined as
– to train for a social environment; “The children must be properly socialized”
– make conform to socialist ideas and philosophies
– the adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture
– under group or government control; “socialized ownership”
And maybe I’m the nutball here, but I say NO to socialization!  I don’t train my kids how to conform.  I teach them right from wrong, I teach them how to be polite and I teach them to respect each other and their elders.  I teach them to lead, but never to follow.
And as far as academics are concerned, forgive me for being rude, but that argument has long since had the kibosh put on it by the evidence.  Sounds like this person is just being argumentative with her pre-concieved notions and doesn’t want to bother actually finding out what is true.  That’s like saying that the most important thing to know about a child that you teach is their date of manufacture ( or birth date).
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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Shauna says:

    We’ve been watching an interesting series at our RS mid-week meetings called Power to Parent by Gordon Neufeld. The one yesterday was on competing attachments and one point that I remember is how since the Second World War, there has been a shift to a separation of child culture and adult culture. It was very thought provoking idea. It seems to me that before everything was a family culture. It is only in this last relatively short period of time that we have become concerned with the social interaction of our children with other children and I think that it is a direct result of creating a separate culture for them. I don’t think that a separate child culture is the best thing for them. Gordon Neufeld talked about the “solar system” of attachment and how children need to revolve around the adults they are attached to and not revolve around each other. That’s what I see happening in society now…too many children revolving around each other. If you get a chance to watch the DVDs, I highly recommend them.

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  2. Mom says:

    I agree with the comments of Shauna in that too much emphasise is place on the child’s “social life”. Children today are so busy socializing that they can’t pay attention in school, they can’t listen to their parents, they can’t do their homework or do their chores. They are so busy comparing their lives with those of their friends, (and their parent are always doing it wrong) that they spend most of their waking moments wrapped in the drama of peer groups and their pecking order and the child’s place in the orbit of their friends. Also Courtney, I don’t believe that you can teach a child to alway lead, never to follow. Some people are not natural leaders. Besides, someone has to be a follower. If everyone were to try to lead, the world would be crazier than it already is.

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    1. Courtney says:

      Sorry, I should have said “blindly follow”. Of course children should follow laws of the land, follow the prophet, follow their parents. But they should never follow something that doesn’t feel right without understanding and feeling like they can ask about it.

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  3. Amy says:

    I hate when people bring up the whole socialization thing. Like you said, they mean social interaction not socialization. It’s not like I’m going to lock them in their room for the next 18 years! I want to say to people that question that, have you been to a public school recently? Do you really want your children to act like that and have to put up with what goes on there?

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  4. Heather B says:

    Excellent. I couldn’t agree more!

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