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Posts Tagged ‘socialization’

Don’t. That’s really the only word applicable here.

If you are like me, you will be lucky in that your parents (or, in my case, parent) will support you. My folks never questioned any of my choices, not even the dicier ones like selling all my belongings to travel the U.S. on a Greyhound bus, solo.

You probably won’t be that lucky.

But what about friends? Or your church? They’ll support you, right?

No. Well, let’s classify that: if you attend a church where most of the families homeschool, yes. The church we were attending: no. But they didn’t support us when we brought Chrystal into the family. The senior pastor’s wife pulled me aside and said, in all earnestness, “You don’t have to do this, you know.”

No, I didn’t know. And I will *never* regret the decision to bring my niece into my family and to introduce her as my daughter. Never.

EVERYONE will ask, “WHAT ABOUT SOCIALIZATION?”

You didn’t even know that was a childhood concern until you decided to pull your child out of the indoctrinational halls of public education.

What the hell is ‘socialization” anyway?

Merriam-Webster defines it as: : 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

The Psychology Dictionary defines it as: 1. The process by which we learn social skills. 2. The process that employees adjust to a working environment. 3. The process where people become aware on lifestyles and behaviours.

SOCIALIZATION: “Socialisation is the process by which we learn social skills.”

The first words out of your best friend’s mouth (unless she/he is already a convert to homeschooling) will most likely be these: “I don’t know about this ‘homeschooling’ idea of yours. What about ‘socialization’?”

Now, you could quote The Princess Bride. “I do not thin’ that mens what you thin’ it mens.” (Translation: I do not think that means what you think it means.) And you’d be right, because your best friend doesn’t have a clue about what that word means.

She means: But they won’t know how to stand in line for crappy food in the cafeteria, be embarrassed by the school bully, don cute little cheerleader costumes, and learn about sex by reciting johnny m*f*r behind the gymnasium.

Yeah. Let’s talk about “socialization”.

Unless you are one of those rare (but highly profiled) monsters who is planning to chain your child to a metal bed and hide them in the basement, feeding them the spare moldy bread crumbs, there’s a pretty slim chance that your child will not be properly socialized by the time she/he enters the adult world. She might be naive, but she will know how to fold a dinner napkin and sit down to dinner with people older than her. (And she will know all about s*x because she stole your copy of The Color Purple from your private bookshelf because she didn’t know it was forbidden to her.)

But she’ll miss The Prom!

Big friggin’ deal. Want to know what *I* did for my prom? I designed it, created the dance cards, decorated the school gym. I waited for someone to ask me out. No one did. I spent that night babysitting a wailing infant and a sleeping toddler, trying my hand at chords on my employer’s guitar. It wasn’t the best prom ever, but I made good money and the person who hired me to babysit her children is still a friend of mine.

My husband doesn’t even speak to the person he took out for prom.

Besides, homeschoolers actually have worked out ways for their children to enjoy the same benefits as publicly schooled kids! My son’s first date was to a homeschool dance when he was just 13. I sat in the car outside and read a book, but her father stayed inside and played chaperone. OOOOO fun.

My son developed a lifelong love of dancing which later led to community college courses in swing dance and going out on the town with a core of swing dance friends he made.

But he won’t get to play on the football team!

Back up here. If your goal in life is to raise a professional athlete, and your child has the talent to make it, public school may be your best option. You can still raise a very aware young person by being involved in every step of their education. Still, even *if* you are a homeschooler, most states allow your child access to the athletic programs. Believe me, if your homeschooled athlete has the talent of a Tim Tebow, I’m pretty certain a public school will make all kinds of allowances to allow your child to play – or to please you in the academic portion of their program. That’s not even a valid argument.

Let’s talk about what homeschooled kids can do that might make them more socially acceptable. Private music lessons, sewing lessons, crewing on a hot air balloon. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts. 4-H, FFA, volunteering at an old folks’ home, participating in the Society for Creative Anachronism, Civil War Reenactments, Rendezvous reenactments, local theatre, Civil Air Patrol… Are you getting the idea?

We did: Cub Scouts, 4-H, private riding lessons, hot air balloons, Renaissance Faires, sewing lessons, band (just off the top of my head).

The sky’s the limit. Well, not quite: YOU are the limit. What you say “NO” to and what you say “YES” to will matter. What you are willing to shuttle your child around to/from, will matter. What you can afford will matter. The same as publicly schooled kids, your demographics and personal core beliefs will matter.

Socialization, however. is going to happen no matter what you do. It will happen according to your child’s personality and temperament. Grandparents, neighbors, other parents, and playmates will all have an influence on your child’s socialization – whether you want them to or not.

My children were not allowed to swear, but if we spent a weekend with my husband’s father – well, they learned every swear word in the book by osmosis. It wasn’t my place to correct my f-i-l. If he couldn’t filter his own mouth, then I had to explain the words to my kids. I wasn’t going to stand in the way of their love for their grandfather (or his love for them), so I interpreted. You have the choice to filter your family.

My own father judged children by whether or not they connected with him. He didn’t like children who would not talk to him as if he was their peer. He loved kids who could sit at the table with him and engage in an adult conversation, and kids who showed an interest in what he had to say.

We crossed cultural boundaries. Don’t be afraid! Our children attended a Christian Romani funeral. If you don’t know who (or what) the Romani are, look it up. I still have very good Gypsy friends, but they aren’t on Social Media. If we happen to meet in Portland, we hug and kiss.

Funerals, weddings, folk gatherings, art museums, camping, hiking, skiing, boating – life is limited by your imagination.

If your best friend still thinks your children are not properly socialized… You may need to adjust to the next season in your life and a new best friend. But keep the old one, if you can. Old friends are gold.

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