Friday, April 1, 2011

Why the “Socialization Question” Doesn’t Worry Me

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When this guy was 2-1/2, he decided all on his own to start pottying.

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Our little guy was showing some independence.  He knew what he wanted to do.

Then he started preschool.  It was only a few hours a week, gave him a chance to play with other kiddos his own age (because we really thought that was important at the time), and gave Mama a break.

Within a couple of weeks, he stopped using the potty.

Turned out that the boys at the preschool had decided to go on “potty strike.”

And our son refused to use the potty for almost a year.  He finally totally potty trained the next summer when he was out of preschool.

How’s that for socialization?

From dictionary.com:

so·cial·i·za·tion –noun-

  1. a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.
  2. the act or process of making socialistic: the socialization of industry.

It seems a bit silly to expect a child to learn their social mores from other equally ignorant, socially awkward peers, doesn’t it?  Did God (or the natural scheme that He created) intend for us to go bumbling about rediscovering the skills of getting along in society purely by experiment (and misadventure)?  It took human beings centuries to learn to get along (sort of, we’re actually still working on that), and these lessons were passed on from generation to generation. 

Can you imagine if every generation had to reinvent the wheel?  Or the automobile?  Or the computer?  We’d still be living in the stone age.  And yet we seem to think that kiddos with no real experience can reinvent social etiquette all on their own.

Some of them are never going to learn anything this way, except that the big guy usually wins.  And that it pays to be a bully.

And before you say, “But they have teachers,” in a class of 30 (or even 15, or even 8) with 1 teacher (possibly an assistant), do you think the child will be more influenced by the adult in the room, or the mass of peers?

As for the 2nd definition, I don’t think that’s what most of us have in mind, is it?

Let me stop here a minute and say that I don’t think sending your children to school is inherently a bad idea.  It’s probably the best thing for some families.  And the worst thing for some other families.  And some families fall somewhere between.  One choice doesn’t fit all.

The point I’m making here is not whether school good or bad, but that socialization through peers at school…is probably not ideal.  It’s something to work around, to counteract, not something to actively seek

And so, when someone asks me if I worry about socialization, because I homeschool my kiddos, I say, “Not a bit.”

4 comments:

  1. I really liked this post. I was so sad about the way school changed my boys.

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  2. I'm with you~I don't worry either...;-))

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  3. Your last words were perfect for my family!!!

    We have debated sending my oldest son back to school for the "electives" that both my husband and I loved so much about our high school years, however, I have felt a little anxiety and have just not had words for my feelings (I sometimes struggle with articulation). YOU have given me the words I needed...I would have to "work around" and "counteract" the influences he would face at school.
    And THAT is simply not worth the trade for my family. :)

    Well said and thank you for taking the time to write that out!

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  4. Thank you for visiting, Jill. ;0)

    I'm glad this spoke to you. I agree that electives can be a real attraction for sending your kids to school for high school and I've no doubt we'll be considering the relative pros and cons of doing that with our oldest in a couple of years. What's great, though, is that there are SOOO many opportunities available now that would not have been available to us just a few years ago.

    Of course, we're all limited by available funds, but there are opportunities for studying many things with live online tutors, for instance, there are virtual dissection classes and all manner of great things out there. Many community colleges are offering courses for youth, now (ours offers courses in creative writing and other cool things). All that to say: if your child wants to study it, you can probably find a way. There are things my kiddos are studying right now they wouldn't have time for if they were in school (my oldest wants to start studying ancient Greek next year, we'd have a hard time finding a school locally that could offer that).

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