Friday, May 24, 2013

Busting the Homeschool Myth #4 - Homeschoolers are not socialized

I think this is the myth that everyone, public schoolers and home schoolers alike, enjoy fighting talking about.  It is the one where you can run rampant in either direction, with nary a thought about the thoughts coming from between your lips.

What about socialization?

Okay, what about it?  The first time I was confronted with this question I had to take great pains to not look at the asker (spell check is telling me "asker" is not a real word, but it works for me and I like it) like they were an alien that had 6 eyes and 3 noses.  I simply did not understand what they were asking.  To ask about socialization implies that they honestly think we are shut up in the house 24/7, not even barely cracking the window in an effort to shield our children from the outside world.  It made no sense to me that this was an honest concern, so of course my answer was, "You're kidding? Right?"

They were not kidding.  They even got all huffy about me thinking they were kidding.

That is when I got it.  They were not asking if my kids ever saw the light of day and the whites of the eyes of other people.  They were really asking, "How are they going to fit into the real world?" and "How are they going to know social niceties."

I just really find it interesting that people really believe that public schools teach our children these things.  I have heard it said and I will repeat it here, putting kids with a bunch of other kids that are their same age and much of their same level of learning, doesn't do anything to further the "fitting in to the real world" agenda.  Seriously, I am 37 - my friends are not all 37.  I have friends from 21 to 78.  I appreciate people and what they have to share of their lives.  I did not learn this in public school.  In public school I learned that being yourself could possibly be detrimental to your popularity.  I learned that you had to be like everyone else in order to be liked by everyone else.  I learned how to be fake.

Why would I want my kids to learn that?  Why would I want them to be socialized in a box like public school when I can allow them to be social with the world?

They are going to fit in with the "real world" because they will have spent so much time in it!

How will they learn social niceties?  Well, because they have to be nice here at home for starters!  I do not, and can not think of any homeschoolers that want their children to treat each barbarically.  I can't think of any public schoolers either!

Children will learn to act in ways that are socially acceptable simply by being social with others, regardless of where those others are found.  They will also learn this because I will teach them.  I try very hard to not act like a neanderthal, and will attempt to pass those traits on, without the help of the public school system.

So far, so good.  :)

I like my house. If I had my choice, I would be a hermit and stay in my house. It is comfortable, it has all the things I like, and I can make a phone call or text someone if I feel like being social.  My kids, however, like the outside world.  They want to be around other people, adults and children.  They want to share ideas and make friends. They like to be away from home.  So, I put my public schooled caboose into the van, and I take them places.  They make friends easily.

They know that the best way to present themselves is to be themselves - and frankly - that is a lesson many adults need to learn.

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