This is a homeschooling family’s constant lament, “why is everyone so concerned with socialization?”
What is it that the children get in school that is so important that it isn’t seen as possible to achieve elsewhere?
Is it so difficult to see that homeschooling families (by and large) have a social opportunities and experiences that more than make up for the difference?
Yesterday we met our friends for a creek stomp at a nearby park. The boys (mine 8 & 4, and her’s 6 & 3) played for HOURS together. There were very few disagreements, most of which they handled themselves (once or twice my 4yo needed to be reminded how NOT to resolve conflict…)
They built dams, they diverted water, they created this great reservoir by creating a mud volcano and then watching as the water ‘broke through’ and made a mud slide down into the creek.
They had fun and it was educational and it was THEIRS.
Afterwards we all headed back to my house to make and have dinner together and make muffins together (birthday muffins for aforementioned 3yo). The children played, the adults talked, everyone came together as something more than friends, an extended family of sorts.
Today we’ll have families over again to discuss the preschool co-op we’re creating. Again, all children will have the freedom to choose to explore solitary or play in one of many multi-age peer groups.
How can this be inferior to what children get at school?
What my homeschooled children are not doing:
– sitting (much)
– being bored
– waiting for permission to go to the bathroom, or get a drink, or wiggle when the spirit calls them too 😉
– being forced to interact with children who do not treat them well
– being ‘taught’ by a person that doesn’t know them well
– waiting for recess
– forming cliques based on age and gender
– taking ‘high-stakes’ tests, on which the school’s financial security is based… 😦
What they are doing:
– following their interests and passions to logical and educational conclusions
– going potty when their body says to
– getting snacks and drinks when their body says to
– learning because they want to know something
– getting plenty of exercise (body and mind)
– going to museums, zoos, parks, grocery stores and learning about all of life, not life compartmentalized into curricular-nuggets
– having real, deep and hopefully lasting, relationships with their siblings
Obviously I love homeschooling and feel that is the vastly-superior choice for our family.
I don’t quiz children who go to school on what they know, or the quality of their human interactions. I trust that their parents are aware of the life their children are leading and would intervene if necessary. I expect the same from families who encounter our homeschooled children.
Please don’t quiz them on what they know (they are not performing monkeys.)
Please don’t ask them IF they have any friends.
Talk to them, if you like, about their friends, about what they enjoy doing, about what their passion is, about their quality of life. They are charming, engaging and intelligent children who LOVE to meet knew people and experience new things.
Please don’t let unfamiliarity with the homeschooling lifestyle cause hostility or distrust. My children are doing fine and will tell you so themselves. 😉