Although it is not as common as in the past, homeschoolers still face the question about socialization. It seems that many non-homeschoolers believe that we hide behind our door within our house every day all day long. They feel we are isolated and our children could never obtain proper social skills. Which leads us to the question of what do people mean when they ask if we are concerned about socialization?
If we look at the definition of socialization, we find a couple of different meanings. Per Yourdictionary.com, the medical definition of socialize (the verb form of socialization) means 1) to make social; adjust to or make fit for co-operate group living, 2) to make adapt or conform to the common needs of a social group, 3) to subject to government ownership and control; nationalize, and/or 4) to cause to become socialist.
Now, if the goal of socialization is to teach children to think as a government entity (public school for example) wishes them to think, to “fit” within a predetermined set of guidelines (even if the parents do not agree), perform the way that entity wishes them to without question, and be under total government control, then yes, homeschoolers would probably have a much more difficult time succeeding in that type of socialization.
If however, the question stems from the concern about children behaving properly within a given social situation, thus really meaning are you concerned about your child having good social skills, than homeschooling actually presents a better forum to promote and teach this skill. Homeschoolers are involved in a variety of activities throughout the school year that gives them the opportunity to observe and then imitate those skills they had observed. They are allowed to interact with all levels of age groups, which is how it is in the “real world”, instead of being restricted to their same aged peers, who may or may not have social skills mastered.
So, it really comes down to who you wish to teach proper social skills to your child: 1) other children who may have inappropriate social skills and a government agency who has their own agendas OR 2) the parent, who can demonstrate social skills and then choose situations (safe environments) to allow the child to practice.
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Written by: Susan Harris
Homeschool.com News Editor