Homeschool socialization. For most veteran homeschoolers, hearing those two words together churns the stomach bile and sends the eyes a rollin'!
If you have been homeschooling for some time, perhaps you can add your two cents at the end of my response, to a young, website visitor's inquiry.
Just the other day, I received a very nice email from a teen who wants her mother to homeschool her.
Her mother's main concern is none other than... drum roll, please... homeschool socialization!
Below is my reply to this inquisitive young teen.
(Please feel free to leave your comments and/or stories to encourage her or provide additional information for her mother.)
"Before I answer your question, I want to applaud you for even wanting your mom to homeschool you!
Many kids today wouldn't want to give up the social life that comes with going to a public or private school. (Putting your education before your private life shows maturity.) However, as a homeschool student you will find many ways that you can socialize with other people – both students your own age and different ages.
Although it may not seem like its true, homeschool students tend to be somewhat more socialized because they spend time with lots of different-aged people.
A great way to meet other homeschooled students would be through a homeschool group.
So the first tip I would give you and your mother is to find a local support group – one that provides activities and/or classes for students, not just support for parents.
A homeschool co-op is a group of families that meet together so their kids can take educational/enrichment classes. Usually the parents teach the classes and everyone helps out in some way... setting-up, cleaning-up and working at whatever needs to be done.
Homeschool co-ops provide a great way to enrich your education and enjoy a little homeschool socialization! :)
At our homeschool co-op it's not uncommon to see homeschool teens of all ages or grades, talking together, while watching their younger brothers or sisters play, or holding a baby. Many teens actually enjoy playing with the younger children and take time to do so, without prompting by their parents.
Surprisingly, you will find the homeschool socialization issue doesn’t come up much in homeschooling circles, if at all.
Personally, I have been homeschooling for almost twelve years and can’t ever remember the topic surfacing among my friends, except of course, when confronted by those who don't homeschool.
Homeschool socialization seems to be a hot topic with non-homeschoolers or certain professionals. They do a good job of scaring even the most competent parent.
Your mom will be happy to know that homeschool kids do lots of things like other public/private school students. From homeschool proms and sports teams to field trips or just hanging out together, you can enjoy many of the same activities like you did before.
Many homeschoolers are involved in their communities. Community service projects, church functions and boy or girl scouts provide additional ways for homeschool socialization.
According to the Webster Dictionary... "the definition of socialization is the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status."
Here's another interesting definition of socialization from Dictionary.com: "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."
For centuries, it was the norm for children to grow up and only learn within the context of family. Institutionalized education became popular and a necessity as our world changed and became more industrialized.
An impressive list of homeschoolers consists of famous people like:
Presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson
Inventors: Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright
Army Generals: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee
Artists: Claude Monet, Leonardo Da Vinci
and hundreds of others, including:
Stanford University president Fredrick Terman and John Witherspoon, president of Princeton.
Once parents realize that socialization happens in many ways other than through institutionalized education, the worry about homeschool socialization disappears.
I think this will be true with your mom as well.
Thanks for your email. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Many blessings to you and your mom.
Do you have a great homeschool socialization story, a timely tip or word of encouragement? Share it!
Maybe you are considering homeschooling, but are afraid your kids will miss out if they don't go to school, or they won't develop properly. Share your questions/fears... we'll try to help! :)
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