As a homeschooler, one of the questions I am asked most often is “Aren’t you worried about socialization?” To which I typically respond, “Yes, I am that is why I homeschool.” In all seriousness though, you may be legitimately concerned about the dreaded “S” word. So, I am going to share some of what I have learned with you.
The actual definition of socialization is “the process by which human infants begin to acquire the skills necessary to perform as a functioning member of their society”. For most of us, we learn naturally through our everyday experiences how to “function”. This can come from spending time with family, visiting the grocery store, going to church, or extracurricular activities. To “be socialized” means that one must be able to function in society. One does not have to send their child to public school to achieve this.
Now, everyone knows that “one” homeschooler who was a social misfit right? Think back to public school, did you ever know someone who was a little “different’. I am betting you did. A child’s social make up is not going to change if they are in public school. Some are naturally shy. Or naturally “awkward”, whether or not your child is homeschooled will not play a part in their social demeanor.
Your child can enjoy numerous activities as a homeschooler. Your kids can meet friends through church, scouts, co-ops, on field trips, sports, 4-H or another activity that they choose to participate in. Most homeschoolers I know are actually very active, and in the 5+ years I have been homeschooling I have never met an “unsocial” homeschooler.
Another thing to consider in regards to socialization and your child is that in public school you rarely have the opportunity to get to know your children’s friends. With homeschooling, you become friends with the parents your children are around. You get to know their families, and the values they have. In my opinion, this is an awesome perk!
I remember when I was in public school we were often reprimanded for “socializing”. I doubt very seriously anyone whose kids go to public school will say they send them to school to learn “socialization”. The children are there for an education, as a homeschooler, you are giving your child that education.
Now, there may be times when you second-guess what your child may be “missing” out on by not attending public school. When this happens, remember all the other things they are “missing” out on. Bullies, school violence, common core, bad language, homework…. The list goes on and on. For every “fun” thing (like prom) your child may miss there are others you should be glad they are missing. Don’t let the dreaded “S” word second-guess yourself or the calling to educate your children that God has given you.
Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.