Thursday, December 5, 2013

Socialization: A Homeschooled Girl's Two Cents

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I think one way of schooling is better or more
right than wrong than the other. I am, however, going to drag out my soapbox and go to town on
addressing a topic that puts my undies in an instant bunch every time I hear someone say:


I have only ever heard the worry and concern directed towards homeschooled children, and I
truly wonder why that is. Maybe I haven't lived long enough or been around the block enough times?
Or perhaps it is because I was the homeschooled girl - trying to NOT act shocked,
appalled, offended when the general public makes the most popular comment:

"You're normal!" as if they were so worried and suddenly relieved.
What do you even say to that?
"Hey! You're normal... too? YEA!"
High fives all around.

There seems to be abnormal anxiety (the skeptic in me is shining), perhaps one that is
purposefully orchestrated from opposing parties, that homeschooled children are somehow
denied or incapable of developing normal social behaviors because they are
privately educated in their homes. Am I wrong?

I'm sorry, but I know plenty of "regular" school kids who have socialization problems.
Who was the socially awkward kid in your class? Right, that's what I'm saying.

Ultimately I think the awkwardness that everyone is so interested in talking about is probably an
issue of nature and nurture rather than an issue of classroom status. Personally (key word here),
I think it's all how parents raise their kids. Whether they are in "regular" school or "home" school -
don't we all run the risk of being a little socially awkward from time to time or for life in some cases?!

Here's the thing:

Homeschooled kids interact all day, every day with at least one parent, sisters, brothers, and
neighbors - all of various ages - tutors, extra-curricular activity instructors, librarians, employees of
the grocery store, post office, coffee shop, etc. - maybe possibly being exposed to more, but definitely
the same amount in "normal" cases, public opportunities to socialize because they are home and
get to spend the day doing school and regular life at the same time.

I'm not saying that "regular" school kids DO NOT get this same attention or opportunity,
but the main difference is that they are in a classroom filled with kids ALL THE SAME AGE.
It's a fact, not really something to argue about.

Socialization comes differently. That's my point. And again, I'm not putting one way of schooling
over another. Each family, child, situation is very different and I'm not claiming to be Jesus with
all the answers. I suppose it is an art, a fine practice held together with love and discernment to
as opposed to the wildly negative idea of
our children in this post-modern world.

I personally believe it is IMPOSSIBLE to be objective when it comes to this topic -
so I think we should all just clap our subjective hands together and pray for our fellow brothers
and sisters who are raising up the next generation! I mean this with the most sincerity though -
we need to pray for each other and our families.

I guess I'm just wanting to put to bed some fears for my general public peers. Rest assured, and quit
buying into the anti-homeschooling propaganda that uses the argument of "socialization" as one of its
favorite, and I'll give them "riveting", arguments.

Homeschooled or not, I've met my fair share of socially awkward people.
In fact, I'm probably one of them. With that, I'll put away my soapbox,
and pray I didn't stir up too much trouble with this interesting topic!

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  1. ha. it is so impossible to be objective about a ton of things and this might be at the very top of the list! I was homeschooled (and in two big homeschool groups that got together a lot, allllll the extracurriculars, had friends my age etc etc etc) and maybe it's not the norm to go back to school but when I did I wasn't socially awkward -- I was socially paralyzed. It was a total nightmare. I still think I'm extremely shy and detrimentally introverted because of those years. So! I don't think it's fair to say wholesale that homeschooling is "bad" for kids socially - it's probably pretty important to take the child's personality and temperament into account before deciding that homeschooling is the best route. I'm not disagreeing - just giving my little bit of experience -- which wasn't bad while I was homeschooling (it was phenom academically -- definitely superior) but it had pretty lasting effects :)

    1. Yes - so interesting, Grace! I experienced something similar when going from homeschool to public community college... but I wouldn't say it was socially paralyzing (for me). More of just a culture shock?! Maybe? Things were just different. All the way around.

      Ok... and I read your blog on the regular and you seem about as cool as they come! Hip and with it - funny as heck - so maybe you outgrew the homeschool mold?!

      I'm so glad you shared!!! Totally interesting and I love what it brings to the table here!!! XO

  2. I went to public school and I'm probably the most socially awkward person ever lol. Highland Academy (the little school I was telling you about) follows the seaton program. Is that one familiar to you? I need to read up on it all before my little man is ready for school! I always wanted to be homeschooled we didn't have anything around her like that school at that time. Now more and more people around her are doing homeschooling groups. I think its fantastic!

    1. Haha I think it is so funny what we think of OURSELVES! I would never label you has socially awkward, Caroline! But I suppose it is what we FEEL that matters most :-) Yes, I remember you mentioning that Academy before - sounds whimsical really! Straight out of Anne of Green Gables!!! You should totally look into all the options - homeschooling CAN BE such a rich experience!!!

  3. You are talking to me! "Socialization" is always my possible/potential con to homeschooling. I don't think it's a bad thing to consider it. I liken it to my work environment - after ten years of going to an office every day, surrounded by coworkers and clients, I just took a job working from home. I talk on the phone during the day, I email tons, and I even duck out to the post office and a coffee shop now and then where I spy friendly employees and neighbors - and I'll be the first to say, it's straight-up isolating. I don't hear the news the same way, I don't have a fun conversation over a show that was on last night, and I don't have anyone to generally shoot the breeze with. Maybe it is not meant as an insult to homeschooling but just an acknowledgement of the difference?

    1. Oh I hear ya! Definitely something to consider, like you are saying, which is why I'm not saying one way or another is better here. There are pros and cons to both sides and I've seen kids from all different/same schools come out so differently in the end.

      I think some of thrive on being social - which is maybe why you are feeling isolated in your current job situation? I wish I could offer ways to help :-) If you bumped into me in public you'd be sure to hear the latest gossip or my delight over the current Parenthood season!!! Lol. Wishing you many happy encounters with social butterflies and peace in your current situation, friend XO

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  5. I went to public school the whole way and DEFINITELY know what you mean about that "awkward kid in the class". It always baffled me when people used that argument, too. I know some pretty rad people who were homeschooled. As a sweeping generalization, I'd say that they are more disciplined, self-starters, who have a LOVE of learning. It's inspiring. I would definitely not want to deprive my children of meaningful friendships, but it is possible to learn at home and still have friends and be part of co-ops and groups. As you can maybe tell, after my public school education (which I can't say I was all that thrilled with, even in a good district), we're heavily leaning toward homeschooling our boys also. :-)

    1. And there you have it! A public school girl's perspective! Thanks for sharing that, Lindsy!!! I like how you put it all too - not wanting to deprive your children of meaningful friendships, but working towards BOTH - a solid education and a social life. It is all in the approach. YEA!!! Can't wait to see what you guys decide for your family <3 XO

  6. Many of my friends homeschool and both of my brother's families do too. I think it is a wonderful calling but I don't think it is for every family. My kids need a high amount of structure and that something I can't give them at home. I enjoy connecting with families, both believing and unbelieving, through school. Thought provoking friend!

    1. Yea for sure, Julia! Definitely something to discern for every family. So glad that you guys have found a "way" that works for the best of your kids and your family structure!!! It's such a gift. The peace that is found in that! XO

  7. Love this! I saw this, bc Kerrie Williams recommended your blog:)
    We're about to start homeschooling our daughter who will be kindergarten age this next year and I've been seeing so many more positives than negatives to homeschooling in all the research I've been doing. It's was great to hear your perspective having been homeschooled yourself. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Ashley! Aw Kerrie Williams is the best :-) Love me some KW!

      That's awesome you're going to homeschool. I wish you the best in the journey! Seriously, if you ever want to chat about it all or anything don't hesitate to reach out! You can e-mail me or catch me on Facebook, Twitter, etc. //

      So glad we could connect!!! XO

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