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Regarding The "Socialization" Canard

Homeschool isolation is a myth

ONE OF THE MOST PERSISTENT and frequently-flogged myths about homeschooling is that the students miss out on "socialization"-- the process of learning how to interact with others. It is a myth.

The fact is, unless you live in so remote a location that your kids wouldn't have friends/peers no matter what their other circumstances, and there wouldn't even be a conventional school population with which they could interact, whatever your preferences, your kids are going to have no problem with socialization.

Frankly, kids can't be stopped from socializing unless you lock them up. And locking your kids away from the world is the exact opposite of homeschooling, which is, after all, the imparting of the best education possible by parents so loving as to make enormous sacrifices to accomplish just that goal.*

WHEN DOREEN AND I began homeschooling our kids (Katie was 9, and had had a few years at a charter school and one at a Montessori school; TJ had nothing but homeschooling), one of the first things we did was seek out other homeschooling families in our area. We quickly became involved with a coalition of what was ultimately (by the time our kids had their "high school" graduation ceremonies) about 150 families all working cooperatively to maximize the social and educational experiences of the kids.

Parents in the group who had special skills taught group lessons every Friday on a regular semester-organized basis to the children interested (usually at their parents direction) in those subjects. Group field trips for education and just for fun were regular features of this 14 years of interaction, along with dances, theatrical productions, proms, and one year, a second prom on the river cruiser 'The Detroit Princess'.

 

Katie (she's the prettiest one) with friends at senior prom

...and this time on the cruise ship

...which was a little crowded, but nobody minded.

The capstones of our homeschooling experience were seriously-moving and memorable graduation ceremonies the like of which have never been seen at any public or private school of the conventional variety.

Parents graduating a daughter from Katie's cohort

TJ's graduating cohort

ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH our homeschooling years, Doreen and I added another group to our resource pool, in which around 150 OTHER families-- from other directions but still in our area-- had joined together to focus on the musical education of their age 5-18 kids, with both Katie and TJ participating in choir, and TJ taking guitar lessons, and performing on that instrument in the regular concert performances organized by the group.

 

Our homeschool senior choir members behaving themselves at Festival in 2010...

 

...and then cutting up a bit.

ALL THE HOMSCHOOLING FAMILIES IN THE REGION had access to organized athletics-- both our kids played extremely competitive soccer on a junior varsity and varsity level with the homeschool athletics organization, and both also played for conventional area organizations on the premier level. (Generally the homeschool teams were the better of the two varieties, although practice locations were a lot less convenient than those for the conventional teams.)

TJ playing in the 2012 Homeschool Nationals in Ft. Wayne, Indiana

 

Katie's 2008 team at Nationals

Preliminaries of the 2012 Nationals Awards Ceremony

TJ's 2012 team awards ceremony

Here's the thing about real homeschoolers-- they organize themselves into free-form but functional educational and social organizations. Homeschoolers do everything government schools try to do or purport to do, just far more productively and efficiently, and without the coercion or cost.

IN ADDITION TO THE FOREGOING INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES, our kids got plenty of socialization in purely conventional non-school activities. Both kids were in scouting. As mentioned earlier, both played soccer from ages 5 through 18 for area soccer organizations as well as during their "high school years" for the homeschool leagues. Both took gymnastics, with Katie also playing basketball (shortest kid on the team, but "A" for effort...) and taking dance at local studios for many years.

Both Katie and TJ performed with local youth theater troupes through most of their childhood years; and both, of course, had many non-homeschool friends from the neighborhood.

ALL-IN-ALL, AS SHOWN BY THE EXPERIENCES OF MY OWN CHILDREN AND THEIR MANY, MANY FRIENDS, homeschooling suffers not in the least from any dearth of "socialization". The only thing that can be legitimately said about homeschooled kids in that regard is that their social skills can be disconcerting, because they are raised and educated in a fashion that ensures a far greater degree of maturity and self-confidence at an early age than conventionally-schooled kids.

The reality is that homeschooled children are extraordinarily socialized-- in the sense of healthily socialized. Homeschooled children interact comfortably with adults as well as other kids, and are not trained into deference to authority as a reflex, or the fears of non-conformity that plague and emotionally-cripple far too many "conventionally-schooled" children.

***

*Parents who lock their kids away from others are not homeschooling them. Rather, they are engaging in some form of indoctrination-- a completely different thing.

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