Friday, November 1, 2013

What About Socialization? {Part 2}: Reasons Why I'd Never Homeschool!

I'm spending the next few Fridays, on the blog, debunking a few myths about homeschooling from my new-found perspective. It will not be an exhaustive list. You can get that from a more experienced homeschool family. However, there are a few that stand out like a sore thumb to me, that I thought worth addressing.
He stood there, about three-and-a-half feet tall, in front of his six-foot, sixteen-year-old cousin and declared that they needed to play in the morning before he left.

We were visiting Casper, on a field trip to the Planetarium, and stayed overnight with my sister and her family.

We stood there huddled in the kitchen, Drew, myself, my sister, Sarah and her son, Gavin. Drew reinforced his statement by turning to his Aunt Sarah ordering, "Now, you have to wake him up, so he can wake me up, so we can play." Sarah smiled back at Gavin, understanding the priority. 

More significant than the cross fit he would be going to at 6:00 AM and more significant than the presentation he had to give for his Rhetoric class at 8:30 AM, was the opportunity he was presented with.

"You have a mission, son." She exhorted.

"I know." he obliged matter-of-factly.

The next morning, around 7:30 AM, the two played playmobil Knights and battled for about fifteen minutes before Gavin prepared for his class.


There is a lot of concern about children getting the necessary socialization by attending school.

We seem to think that unless our children are in school and around lots of other children their own age, they won't be around people at all, therefore will not be socialized. And Unless our children are in school and around lots of other children, they won't know how to handle conflict or the problems of the real world.

This couldn't be further from the truth.

Socialization can be argued both ways and I think it comes down to a few critical questions:

1) How do we define socialization?

2) Is age-segregated socialization really the better kind of socialization for our children?

3) Is our culturally-obessessed idea of socialization actually hindering our ability to raise great thinkers?

Last week, I addressed, "How Do We Define Socialization," here. Please take a look if you have not read Part 1. Today I am addressing the second question:

Is Age-Segregated Socialization Really the Better Kind of Socialization for Our Children?

Never again will our children be segregated according to age. Never again will they be forced to live and interact in an isolated setting with their own age group, segregated from real life experiences. Never again will they have the intense amount of social pressures as they have had in their years of compulsory schooling. 

Age-segregated socialization is actually the furthest from the real world, in which they will be entering after high school and college.

Clay Clarkson, author of, Educating the Whole Hearted Child, offers, "There is no credible evidence or argument that children are better off socially being in an age-segregated, over-stimulative, unsupervised social setting up to eight hours per day."

On the other hand, with home education, parents can give children the opportunity to socialize across the spectrum of age. The real world of home, family, work, ministry and community give them the experience interacting with all ages, in which they will experience as adults. They have the ability to travel more and spend more time within their community and other communities, to help enrich their education. Therefore, they are taught in the context of community and real life.

"Children who have the opportunity to be around people of various ages learn social skills from those who are older and more experienced than they are. They practice those skills in a very wide variety of settings, while supervised and while unsupervised. Thus they learn the skills to get along with a variety of people in our diverse culture by participating in the culture. Mimi Davis, So Why Do You Homeschool?
In addition, parents become acute to resources and learning opportunities for their children and often find those around the dinner table in thought-provoking discussion among child, adolescent and adult. My children are yet a little young for the in-depth discussions, but I've heard about this, engaged in it (with my sister's family, who home schools five, ages 2 to 16), and we personally have had more opportunity to connect, through the continuity of our day; relate, laugh and engage.

I hear so often mothers say, "The conversations we've had...We never would have had." Close intimate conversations. The older engaging the younger. Solid, intimate relationships shaping our children.

Finally, on friendship. It's important. It's necessary. It's intended. Yet, our children need good friends, not tons of friends. As adults, we know the reality of how few and far between precious friendships are. I treat my children's need for friendships like I have treated my own. I pray for their friendships.

Because being around a lot of kids all of the time is not the indication of a healthy environment. 

To the contrary, in Educating the Whole Hearted Child, Clarkson states that the models for our children in a traditional school setting are primarily other foolish, immature children where there is too little supervision and intervention by mature adults. 

When we think about our children getting proper socialization, we must be willing to see through the cluster of children to one child's character. Our own child's character.

Which brings me to my third question.

Is our culturally-obssessed idea of socialization actually hindering our ability to raise great thinkers?

I will address this point in Part 3 of "What About Socialization?" next Friday. I hope you'll join the conversation!

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

You can read previous posts on this series, Reasons Why I'd Never Homeschool, below:
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Stay with me on this journey by subscribing or join Heavenly Glimpses Facebook page

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