“What about socialization?”
If you homeschool for long enough, you are bound to hear the question, “What about socialization?”. In fact, as soon as you announce to friends and family that you are even considering homeschooling, this question is probably among the first you’ll hear!
Since this is such a common question, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the issue from my observations, research and my thirteen years of homeschooling our 7 kids.
Here’s the big homeschool secret that perhaps no one in the non-homeschooling world knows…shhh…
Homeschoolers are socialized.
That’s it. That’s the big secret.
In fact, they are socialized in a more natural way than is typically found in a classroom. After graduation, nowhere else in life will you find a setting in which people are lumped together based solely on geographical location combined with their age. Even in universities, you will find people of all ages and backgrounds who are there because of common interests and strengths. As an adult, your friends will likely be chosen based on common values, interests and goals, not on your birth year.
Homeschoolers get together for learning co-ops, field trips, playdates, park days, library days, track meets, science fairs, science centre or museum homeschool days, lessons, classes, holidays, and just to hang out. They are also involved in community programs, sports teams, Sunday school, youth group, summer camps and family functions. Research confirms that socialization is not a problem for homeschoolers.
“But I met this one homeschooled kid once and he was weird…”
I’ve heard this argument many times. It seems to be the catch-all argument about homeschool socialization. A rising number of parents are choosing to homeschool their special needs children so there’s a fairly decent chance that this homeschooled child had special needs and would have had similar behaviours or perhaps even more pronounced had that particular child been schooled at a brick and mortar location.
“Will your kids have any friends?”
My kids are a friendly lot, especially my younger five. They meet new friends at the playground, swimming lessons, art class, gymnastics drop-in days, track meets, drama class, field trips, camps, in the neighbourhood, and in Sunday School. I find myself turning away more outings and social opportunities than I can accept because otherwise, we’d never be home while we are homeschooling!
Our oldest daughter is being baptized this Sunday and when we were discussing the upcoming ceremony at our church, a man said to her, “it’s really too bad that you’re not in school because then you would have friends that you could invite to come”. I was a bit dumbfounded for a second as I realized that he really didn’t think she had any friends because she’s homeschooled! He will sure be surprised this Sunday when the pews of our small church fill up with her neighbours, homeschool friends and cousins!
I am joining some great iHomeschool Network Bloggers to talk about Homeschooling and the S-word (Socialization). Check out their thoughts and responses to this.