“Homeschooling 101 – What About Socialization?”
by Homeschool.com’s Rebecca Kochenderfer
Any time homeschooling is brought up, there’s always one question in particular that always creeps its way into the conversation: “What about socialization?” For those who aren’t familiar with homeschooling, this is pretty much the be all-end all as to whether or not homeschooling can work. While most people asking the question have good intentions, their timing (when they ask the questions) is often so ironic! For instance, it’s not unusual to find yourself answering that question while you’re waiting for your daughter to finish her dance class or you’re at your son’s basketball game.
Why Is This So Important?
If you’re new to homeschooling, you may not have been asked this question yet. Don’t worry; it’ll come! In fact, it will happen so often that you’ll start wondering why this is so important to people in the first place. Our best guess is that people are well-meaning and only want to be sure you’ve thought of this (along with everything else they’ll want to be sure you’ve thought about…).
When it comes to homeschooling, there is an underlying assumption that you’ll stay home all the time and won’t have your children out in “the real world” enough. (Of course, since homeschoolers live in the real world every day, you can immediately see how this question is irrelevant.)
How to Answer The Question
Before you can answer the question, always consider the source. This is important because it will help you gauge whether the question is coming from a place of genuine concern or from someone who wants to challenge you. If it’s the latter, remember that you don’t “owe” anyone an explanation about what your family chooses to do. However, if the question comes from true concern, you can reassure the person asking that your children will have plenty of opportunities for socialization between dance lessons, basketball practice and games, your homeschooling co-op (if you’re a part of one), and more. This would also be a great time to point out that you’d prefer for your children to learn their social skills from people of all ages – not from other same-age children all day every day. That is a bit like the blind leading the blind!
If you’re thinking about homeschooling, that’s great! You’re probably expecting some amount of backlash from naysayers, but what you may not have expected was the number of people who will be concerned with your children’s social skills. For those genuinely concerned, you can explain that you’ve got everything covered and offer some reassurances to that effect. In time, those same individuals questioning you will no doubt sing your praises when they see what lovely members of society your children have become!