by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
I know the socialization argument can grow tiresome. But it continues to pop up and every now and then I feel the need to address it.
I was browsing around some boards recently, reading conversations between homeschooling moms and a few moms who were homeschooling moms but, for whatever reason, have sent their kids off to public school.
One of the conversations that struck me was about expected behavior at public schools. I was alarmed to find out that in recent years it has become quite common among many schools to enforce a no talking policy during lunch. Children are expected to remain completely silent as they eat. When finished eating they put their heads on the table until dismissed.
In a past life I worked as a substitute teacher and lunchroom monitor. Even back then I felt the rules for lunchtime behavior were a bit harsh but they were nothing compared to what is apparently going on in public schools these days.
My question is, if this is really what is taking place in public schools then why am I admonished by naïve parents who feel my children are not getting enough socialization? It seems to me that public school kids are getting even less if they are required to remain silent during the optimum socializing period of the day.
Today was the first day of a week long space camp that my boys are attending. As we stood in the hall waiting for their class to start I noticed the wide age range of children participating. I also noticed how the kids were clustered in various groups, talking. They were not clustered by age. I marveled at how comfortable these homeschoolers are socializing with kids of all ages. They don’t instantly break off in groups by age.
I noticed this phenomenon last summer when we attended a week long day camp with a large group of homeschoolers. The tweens didn’t instantly run off and congregate together. The boys didn’t instantly separate themselves from the girls. All of the kids just mixed. Age, grade, and gender didn’t seem to matter at all. All of the kids were completely comfortable with the toddlers running around too.
I see that as much more beneficial, in terms of socializing, than grouping children by age and forcing them to spend their day in silence.
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