When people ask homeschoolers, “but what about socialization”, they may mean just about anything. To answer the question, you have to try to determine what they are talking about in the first place… or do you?
Question: I have been asked many times about socialization of my homeschooling students. The problem is, I don’t know exactly what they are asking when they mention socialization. This means I don’t quite know how to answer the question. Can you explain the question, and possible variations.
Answer: You are so right. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked the socialization question, I would have my son’s college career fully funded. Maybe I should ask for a dollar before I answer the question… but I digress.
Socialization can mean many things. Dictionary.com defines it as “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.” The Merram-Webster dictionary defines it as “to make social; especially: to fit or train for a social environment”, “to constitute on a socialistic basis”, and “to organize group participation in: to participate actively in a social group.
That doesn’t help at all does it?
Basically, when someone asks if your child will be properly socialized, they are asking if your child will be normal from not being in a classroom. Oh but then normal means so many different things too, doesn’t it? So how do you answer such a question?
Another school of thought is that without being exposed to difficult teachers, bullies, and failure as a child, they will not be able to deal with difficulties as adults. Some people mean this when they mention socialization.
Alternatively, many people who use the exact words, “what about socialization”, did not come up with that question all on their own. These words come from the educational establishment as the main argument against homeschoolers. Anyone who asks this question has been convinced by schools and educators that homeschoolers will not be normal, and have been given a word to describe and feed into this fear.
Honestly, I don’t believe that homeschoolers should feel forced to answer this question directly. Since so many people ask this question without thinking, it think it would be more fitting to challenge them and get them to think, instead of being forced to deliver an answer that will satisfy someone who likely has no authority to question you.
With that said, I like to respond that the classroom is only one of many places that kids can get together. If I feel like sharing, I might add that homeschooling allows me to make sure my kids have a happy childhood allowing them to avoid many childhood and teen stresses until they are mature enough.
Feel free to ask your own question in the comments section.