If you even mention homeschool, you hear it.
“I would be afraid to homeschool. My child needs social interaction.”
“Don’t you worry about them learning to socialize?”
“How will they learn to carry themselves in the real world if they’re with you all the time?”
If you have homeschooled for any length of time you’re totally over this question.
If you’re new to homeschooling, or just considering it, or terribly worried about your grandchild who is going to grow up to be a weird unsocialized homeschooler… this is for you.
I’d like to share the experience I had last weekend at the Kerrytown Book Festival in Ann Arbor, MI.
My best friend invited my children and me to attend the festival with her. It sounded like a fabulous way for a car full of readers to spend a cool, sunny afternoon. We grabbed gigantic purses to hold the treasures we knew we would find and headed out into the world.
There were dozens of tables with books of every conceivable type. There were coloring books and antique books, novels of every sort and enough non-fiction to fill a library. Each table was staffed by an author, a publisher, or a representative from a book store. It was a bibliophile’s dream.
We started wandering among the tables, each of us on our own mission. I was excited to find a great fantasy or two. My BFF is a big fan of young adult fiction. T-Rex wanted to find some, “awesome boy books.” Sweet Hippie Daughter was hoping to meet some authors.
As we moved through the crowd, my children were rarely at the same table as me. They stayed close enough that I could keep an eye on them, but they had their own interests, which are different from mine. T-Rex, age four, was looking for bright colorful pictures. He was asking people about their shoes and showing off his new Kobe Bryant sneakers. (He’s a little obsessed with shoes this week.) Sweet Hippie Daughter, age ten, was speaking with fellow writers, asking what inspired them, who their publishers were, and what advice they would offer an aspiring young writer.
She booked a tentative book reading for her homeschool group with an author who’s table I’d not even seen yet.
When we got home, she called one of her girlfriends and invited her to come see her new books and play computer games. They spent the next few hours scaring themselves half to death with Five Nights At Freddie’s videos.
Do you see what I’m getting at?
My child was able to spend a day SOCIALIZING with adults. Then she spend the evening socializing with her peers. People socialize. It’s just a human sort of thing to do.
Forcing a child into a room with thirty other children of the exact same age is not socialization. Not even if you make them play together at recess. Think about it. Have you never met a public school graduate who is socially awkward?
Socialization happens when a child is given the opportunity to spend time being an active member of society.
Homeschooling isn’t something that happens for a specific number of hours each day. It is a lifestyle. The vast majority of homeschool families I know bring their children into “adult” activities at a very young age. Children are encouraged to set up entrepreneurial endeavors, join mixed-age study groups, take the lead on shopping trips, conduct interviews with experts in the fields they are interested in learning about, and take responsibility to help those younger than themselves.
In short, they are encouraged to be social.
I’m curious – what are your thoughts on homeschool kids and “socialization?”
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!
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