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Monday, January 25, 2010

But What About Socialization?

OK, I admit it, there are times when I wonder if my kiddos were raised in a barn. I think we all have those days when the children seem to have forgotten their manners and rolled around on the street picking up every bad habit or rude word they could find. Then there are other days when I catch a glimmer of what they will be like when they are responsible adults. Like when Mary very politely gives her order to the wait-person or when David gently takes his younger brother by the hand to help him cross the street.

The word socialization means different things to different people.

To some it's a question of whether my children will grow up knowing how to interact with other people and the "outside" world. It's ironic they should question that. While the majority of our "schooling" is done at home, my children are not trapped inside the way children in a public school setting are. My children accompany me to church, the store, the library, the doctor's office, the post office...it won't be long before everyone in town knows me (when they catch sight of my kids). "Visiting" with people is an important part of our family's life together.

To some it means "having a social life." Friends. I admit, this can be a challenge at times, especially after a big, cross-county move. For better or for worse, there may be a quantitative advantage in going to school and meeting 30 kids the same age as you at the same time. Assuming you don't mind all your friends being the same age. But in my experience, strong, long-lasting friendships are not made in big groups, but between individuals. And age doesn't have to be a factor. We are making strides in the friendship department, one individual at a time.

But above and beyond making friends and knowing how to make polite, friendly conversation, I can see skills developing in my children that I don't think would be there if they spent all their time in a classroom with children their own age. Would my younger children have spoken in complete sentences (including definite and indefinite articles) by the age of 2 if their older sib was away at school? Would my 9-year-old be willing to play Legos with his 4-year-old brother if he spent all his time away at school with other 9-year-olds? Would my 6-year-old want to "mother" her baby sister and learn how to wash the dishes if she spent all her time in kindergarten?

No, it's not always perfect, and they are not always respectful of one another. After all, they aren't adults, yet.

It's our job as parents to be their guides on the road to the land of adulthood, over all the speed-bumps and potholes.

I'm not worried about them growing up to be respectful, responsible adults. The seeds are there, they've germinated. I'll do my best to nurture them and protect them from the elements until they've reached maturity. (No, this isn't a mixed metaphor, I'm just using 2 different ones to get across my point:-)

TOS Homeschool Crew on Facebook is featuring a question of the week. This post is my answer to next week's upcoming question: "What about Socialization?" If you have a question about homeschooling, please feel free to ask.

1 comment:

  1. I am thrilled to know I'm not the only mom who wonders if her kids have been raised in a barn!! Great post. :)

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