What About Socialization?

When Scott and I first started discussing the possibility of homeschooling, socialization was a concern. We didn’t want to sequester our children away from the world. We wanted them to learn to stand up for themselves and to also be able to get along well with other kids. We were nervous that they might be missing out on important interactions if they were not in a traditional school.

I’ve since realized we were not the first people to think of this concern. “What about socialization?” is quite easily the most common question I am asked when people realize that we are one of those crazy homeschooling families.

I used to feel defensive and immediately start justifying our life. I’d list the kids current activities and detail the extent of their friendships. Today, I might just tell you the truth: I’m fighting to un-socialize them.

Although even more honestly, that’s only half true. I am actively un-socializing my children. But I am also actively socializing them. Because socialization is one of those words that sounds concrete but is actually grey and slippery.

I cannot deny that my kids will never receive the same socialization as traditionally schooled children. They do not spend the majority of weekdays in a classroom with other kids their age. They are not being shaped to the same degree by peer pressure.

Only time will tell what kind of adults they become. Or whether they will achieve success. Of course, I’m hoping they won’t measure success by the same standard most of their peers will use.

I hope they won’t realize that they should be annoyed with the small child standing in their path, twirling, instead of smiling and patting the child’s head. Or that some kids aren’t worth playing with.

I hope when they are embarrassed by too much recognition that they won’t cave to peer pressure and apologize for exceeding expectations. Or try to be less than they are simply to fit in more easily.

I hope that as teenagers, they won’t be obsessed with boys/girls, but will have good friends representing both genders.

I don’t want them to ever believe that conversing with adults is boring, or that old people are too slow and out of touch.

I want them to understand that education is not just preparation for the workforce and that success is not defined by their possessions or the size of their paycheck.

My kids don’t have recesses every day, but I hope they’ll always enjoy playing games with kids around them while still enjoying the value of silence and curling up in a corner with a good book.

I hope they will grow into servant-leaders who allow their faith to shape their world view. I want them to always know that they are no better than anyone else. But they are meant for something better than what this materialistic, self-centered society throws at them.

What about socialization? They have plenty, thanks.

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About Sarah

I love being wife to my sweetie, mama and teacher to my three wonderful children, and friend to people near and far. I love to express myself through words. I blog to connect with others and so that someday, hopefully, my kiddos will understand who their mama was...way back when.
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7 Responses to What About Socialization?

  1. Dad & Mom says:

    Well Said. Carry on . . .
    Love

  2. Jenn Box says:

    I love and hate that question I got/get (they are now at a UMS school-half time Christian school, half time homeschool). Because who do we want “socializing” our children-us, and those who share our values, or their peers, especially if those peers are those who don’t share our values. I agree that I am glad my children are not “socialized” as the world would see it, and I am glad I am “sheltering” my children, as we equip them to “go out into the world”. They will have plenty “socializing” later, when they are firm in their faith and are ready to “give an answer”. Thanks so much for sharing Sarah!

    • Sarah says:

      I’ve heard a few people talking about UMS. How are you liking it?
      You bring up good thoughts, Jenn. Socialization occurs throughout our entire lifetime, not just during primary education years. It’s an issue that I believe should be considered deeply and thoroughly. I wish it was thought of as a life process rather than just an aspect of school.

      • Jenn Box says:

        We LOVE the UMS school! It’s a Christ-Centered, Classical, University Model School that is just in it’s third year. Last year I strictly homeschooled Caden and loved it, but I knew he wanted more. So, he is just finishing up 1st grade. He’s so excited to go back for 2nd grade next year, Caleb will be there for Kindergarten, and I will be teaching 3rd grade there. So, you can see how much I love it, and how much I am invested in it, on both sides. They really seek God’s direction in all they do and how they teach. They seek such excellence in the education, and work to equip the students to “go into the world” as I said before. And I love that they have PE, Art (the artwork Caden has done is AMAZING!), Music twice a week (we just hired a new music teacher how is the director of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony!), and formal Latin starting in 3rd grade (with a Latin instructor) with informal, sing-song Latin starting in K. Check out the website, http://www.oakgroveclassical.com, and let me know what you think.
        Hang in there, follow your heart, and seek God in this whole “socialization” thing-it’s tough, I know!

  3. Brittney says:

    As parents who have not yet started homeschooling, but plan on homeschooling this is obviously a huge topic for us. And honestly, like you, one reason we want to home school is because we want to be able to know who our kids are socializing with. Who is influencing them? The people in our church or the kids at school that we have never met! We want to be involved with our kids lives, we want to know their friends and not be dismissed every day with a “nothing” that happened at school. I love this post and it is so well said! Jon and I would much rather have our kids only have few close friends than gobs of friends that never encourage them in their walk with Christ, those aren’t the right kind of friends. You are such an encouragement to us as we start to research our homeschooling options and choices! Your kids are such great kids and accomplishing so much!

    • Sarah says:

      I’m glad you found encouragement in these words, Britt!

      It’s funny because Scott and I worried about socialization when we started homeschooling and now we have to keep having discussions to make sure we are not over-scheduling the kids with outside activities. We end up letting them be involved in more “social” stuff, even just playing with friends, because we don’t feel like our only time with them is in the evenings and weekends. 🙂

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