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Last week I shared the first homeschool myth and while that is the one people (non-homeschoolers) mention to me the most, this one is probably the hottest topic in regards to homeschool myths.
Today’s myth is on the topic of socialization.
Generally when I’ve had people ask me about this they usually say something to the effect of:
“But aren’t you worried about socialization?”
My regret is that I have not asked these people to clarify what they mean by socialization.
Though I think they are getting at the fact that they think that homeschool kids won’t be able to function in social settings, especially ones where they are with a group of kids their same age.
It was about two years into our homeschool journey before I first had this question asked of me and I almost had to laugh out loud. It was asked at a birthday party and my kids were off playing with the birthday child and the questioner’s child was clutching to her and refusing to play. Um, whose kids are you worried about being socially awkward?
The truth is that I have a child who is on the shy side and takes a little while to warm up (but once she is, good luck trying to stop her!). And then I have another child who has never met a stranger in his life.
Funnily my shy-ish child went to preschool and kindergarten and my other one has only ever been homeschooled.
I don’t think homeschooling is a good indicator of a child’s future social skills.
Yes, some homeschool parents shelter their kids and never teach them to interact with the public, but that is a very small portion of homeschoolers.
Also, the most socially awkward family I’ve ever known went to public school.
School isn’t the best indicator of social adeptness.
I usually find that kids turn out as socially awkward (or not) as their parents, no matter what their school background has been.
The general idea in the world is that school is the only place children can learn socialization skills but have you ever been in a school classroom yourself? Have you ever heard a teacher tell the students they aren’t there to socialize?
My kindergarten report card actually said “Chantel talks too much.”
Hmm, I guess I didn’t get the memo.
Also, if there is an environment I want my kids to learn socializing skills in it’s not one where they are surrounded by 20 children the same age as them. No matter how well socialized those children are they are still children, not the best example for the skills I want my children to learn.
I love that as homeschoolers when we get together with another homeschooling family or group the kids aren’t worried about what grade the kids are all in and only willing to play with those in the same grade as them.
I love that my six year old son’s best friends are eight and almost ten and they don’t look down on him because he is only in grade one.
As I am typing this my oldest two both have friends over and they are all playing together and they are including the (almost) two year old in their play.
We do not homeschool because we want to shelter our children but I do like the fact that I can have a say on which friends my kids spend time with. We’ve hung around some poor influences before (homeschooled and not) but because we do need to make more of an effort to have play dates than those who just go to school and play with the kids around them, I can limit the time they spend with kids that are a negative influence and increase the time they spend with those who are a positive influence.
Really, it’s the same thing I do with my own life.
When some people talk about socialization I think they assume homeschoolers just stay locked inside their houses all day and never venture out. While some homeschoolers may do this we often have the opposite problem.
There are so many different play date, field trip, learning opportunities, etc out there some weeks we hardly have enough time at home to do any sit down school work!
What are your thoughts on homeschooling and socialization?
Any homeschool myths you want me to address in the future?