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But What About Socialization?

Way back in the ice age when I was in school, the teachers used to say things like, "Be quiet—you're not here for socialization, young lady!" and "No more socializing, young man!" But now the number one worry for parents thinking of homeschooling seems to be socialization. I wonder if the teachers today say things like, "Young lady, there will be no more reading in this classroom—you're here to socialize!" and, "Excuse me, young man, but I will take that math book right now so you can socialize!"

Despite the fact that children are supposed to be in school to learn, not socialize, many people think that schools provide socialization that is next to impossible to imitate. I say thank heavens! The more I read the news. the more I am convinced (if I ever wondered) that school is not a place for positive socializing. Recently I read a news article that said only 9 percent of parents believe they see respectful behavior toward adults in public schools. That is not the kind of socialization I want for my children. kids building playhouse

I like what it says in Proverbs about the socialization of children. It's Proverbs 13:20, and it says: "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." This scripture really explains a lot of what is happening in our world today. Instead of spending their time with people who are more wise than themselves, so they can actually learn something, people think children need to spend a lot of time with their peers (the fools).

If a person wants to learn a skill, for example, skiing, everyone realizes that they have to learn from someone who actually has that skill. I want my children to learn social skills from people who actually have them. If children spend most of their time in the company of fools, how can we expect them to turn out any different? We are asking our children to step in to the smoke house without coming out smelling like smoke.

Joyce Kinmont of LDS-HEA suggests anyone who is worried about socialization make a list of the skills they want their child to have (realizing that these skills won't develop overnight). Then go visit a high school and see if those are the skills the students have learned. By high school, you would think they would be experts if public schools were doing a good job of teaching social skills.

School is ideally suited to making many superficial acquaintances, but is that the kind of relationship we want to encourage? So how do we foster positive social interaction? Children learn by example, and the home is the place they learn social skills, whether good or bad. The example set by the parents is the most important ingredient in the recipe for proper social skills. As parents and older siblings model ideal social behavior and proper relationships, children watch and learn and imitate.

That does not mean we become hermits that only associate with our family members! We want our children to have good friends! Most adults today remember close friends they met at school. That is not because school is the best place to meet good people, but because school was the place we spent most of our time. For homeschoolers, they have the world at their doorstep. We make friends at Church, scouts, dance and music classes, on sports teams, at 4-H and YMCA, at homeschool support groups, at local parks and in our neighborhoods. Generally, homeschoolers are not isolated from the real world, but are part of it.




More Information

Paula's Archives on Socialization
Dr. Dobson Answers the Socialization Question
No Thank You, We Don't Believe in Socialization By Lisa Russell
Homeschooling and the Myth of Socialization By Manfred B. Zysk
Social Skills and Homeschooling By Isabel Shaw
Homeschoolers and Socialization By David W. Kirkpatrick
The Social Aspect
The Question of Socialization
Socialization of Homeschoolers By Kyle Williams
On Being Salt and Light By Fred Foote
Socialization: A Great Reason not to go to School By Karl M. Bunday
Home Schooling Can Create Right Kind of Socialization By Dr. James Dobson
Self Concept in Home Schooling Children By John Wesley Taylor V, Ph.D.
Homeschooled Kids: But What About Socialization? By Laura Osborne

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