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Worried about Socialization and homeschooling? Get over it!

We began homeschooling in 1996 and at that time, the one thing above all else that concerned those who heard we were homeschooling was “socialization.” Over the years, this continues to be THE concern most voiced, even though a generation of homeschoolers have proven it is a non-issue.

In an otherwise spot-on article about homeschooling this week, Why Urban, Educated Parents Are Turning to DIY Education, author Linda Perlstein quotes psychologist Wendy Mogel:

Psychologist Wendy Mogel, the author of the bestselling book The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, admires the way homeschoolers manage to “give their children a childhood” in an ultracompetitive world. Yet she wonders how kids who spend so much time within a deliberately crafted community will learn to work with people from backgrounds nothing like theirs. She worries, too, about eventual teenage rebellion in families that are so enmeshed.

“A deliberately crafted community” sounds like public school to me! Our experience was that our homeschooled children learned to interact with people of all ages, all backgrounds, via community sports, theater, and various other classes. And as for teenage rebellion, it is not always “eventual” but even if it does occur, it is certainly not any more worrisome in a homeschooled family than it is in a non-homeschooled family.

What do you think about the article? Do reporters/authors always have to stick in something about socialization just to “balance out” an article?

3 comments to Worried about Socialization and homeschooling? Get over it!

  • I read the article and I think the “deliberately crafted community” describes a school setting to a T.

    We home educate our children and I have noticed that the main difference between them and children that go to school is that they are not afraid of adults. My children will approach any adult to ask a question. They will join in conversations without a care of the age group involved. They will be social with complete strangers or long time acquaintances.

    Someone might say that the reason they are like that is because they are not shy or introverts, but that is not true. Among my children I have a couple who are shy by nature but they have not been conditioned to raise their hands to ask questions, or think that they are mere children with no opinions or the right to say something.

    It’s funny that old timers sometimes have a hard time putting up with their interruptions because they are so used to “children must be seen not heard”. My oldest knows that what she has to say is important but sometimes it’s not appropriate. Now how will she learn that if she is in school? :)

  • Karen,

    Great to see you back :-)

    I have learned on my journey that people define socialization differently. Rather than meaning getting along with others and forming relationships like you might expect, I think some experts are actually talking more about things like following instructions, doing homework on time, standing in lines, and obeying the teacher.

  • April

    I encountered a pediatrician this week who was more than willing to chastise me for my son’s homeschooling. She wanted to know how soon I was going to put him back in public school so that he could be “socialized”. She cared not at all for the fact that I took him out of school not for academic reasons, but because no one was taking the time to help him overcome his inability to function in a social setting. His behavior was inappropriate with peers and adults. We aren’t perfect, but we have come a long way in an area that was clearly a struggle for him. I would much rather my son be “socialized” by a moral, experienced example, than take his cues from kids who are just as lost and inexperienced as he is.

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