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.