For most of us who homeschool- this wouldn't even be considered an "issue". However, we still deal with the rest of the world. If there was a world of just homeschooled kids/parents - well then - the "un" socialized issue wouldn't be an issue at all! :) Am I right?
I started this blog with the picture to the left because believe it or not - this is my "Shy Guy"! Yes, this was the 3 year old that clung to my leg the first day of preschool - which was with my neighbor at our neighborhood church! This is my 4 year old (the county pushed me and I did NOT know better at the time) Kindergartener who BEGGED me to stay at home! He couldn't stand it. I KNEW it --- and yet the "socialized" issue of today's standards forced me to go against my inner knowledge. And what is that "inner knowledge" really? To me- it's my own instincts - God - speaking to me - God's gift of maternal instincts -- and yet - I pushed this BABY - because at 4 years old -aren't they really babies???? I hugged him, assured him he would be okay, and pulled out of the parking lot. Then I fell into MY MOTHER'S ARMS and cried and cried. I KNEW BETTER but couldn't stand up to society's idea of "education and socialization".
I saw this question on a yahoo group post recently that generated quite a bit of responses. The post was as follows--
Date: Monday, October 13, 2008, 5:51 PM
"Hello! First, let me apologize for the mass email, but this seemed to be the easiest way to get my question out to the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time. I'm a mom first and seriously contemplating homeschooling my 7 year old daughter come sept for her grade 3 year. I'm also a masters of ed student who currently takes a lot of flak from fellow educators for my support and choice to homeschool my daughter. So, because of this flak, I'm doing my thesis on homeschooling and socialization. So far, ALL the literature within academics so far speaks to the positive aspects of homeschooling. And yet, academics still don't acknoweldge this. So, I'm going one step furthuer and trying to find homeschool articles and personal accounts of what socialization is for those who currently homeschool or have done so in the past. If you can help in anyway (cause this is to also help convince my hubby that this IS the right decision for our daughter) would be greatly appreaciated.
Please email me off line though at dandelionsmom.
Nicole, Dandelions mom, Future homeschool mom
I began typing an email to Nicole about my personal experiences with the socialization of homeschooled children. Of course, the email ended up being QUITE long and so I thought I'd go ahead and share it with you all through the blog. I'm sure it will hit the mark with so many of you! :)
Here was my response to her:
"Your post asked to email you offline so I didn't reply to all. I hope that's okay. I'm going to be blogging about this very same issue soon. I've even thought about doing nothing more than an entirely pictoral blog of my children socializing :) and not have to say a word. I will let you know when its done. In the meantime, I also had my son in public school until last year and socialization was admittedly my husband's and MY largest concern. If you do not homeschool or do not know anyone personally who does - it can be scary.
But once I started, it was like, "what was I worried about?" lol. I began homeschooling my twin girls this year as well and I have no intentions of ever going back to state schools. My son has MORE of a social life now than he ever did in public school. From my own experience - I do not see where they obtain any real socialization skills in state schools. They are stuck at a desk all day long. They lose priveliges if they speak to each other. The state has cut their available recess time to 20 minutes per day - yes folks, 20 minutes- for what was then a 6 year old boy! 20 minutes out of his chair - mostly they just took off running outside to let off their energy and before they could really have enough time to "socialize"- to see who they might connect with- it was time to go back in. Worse yet, the privelige that they lose if they speak in class IS recess time. When can they "socialize"? Not at lunch either! My son's school (and this is not a "bad" public school. It was brand new and in a "great school district") anyway, in his cafeteria they LITERALLY had a stoplight installed. When the stoplight was yellow- the entire cafeteria had to whisper because if the noise level went up at all - the stoplight went to red and guess what? NO TALKING! And can I tell you - anyone who has children knows this- if you take 5 classes of 26 children that ran the ages of 5-7 years and leave them in a desk with "busy work" most of the day because the teacher is dealing (alone mind you) with one of the 3-6 "bad" students and take away the small 20 minutes of recess- the lunchroom is NOT going to be quiet. They can't help it! I truly believe their little bodies can't help it. Each time I was in the cafeteria (which was at least once per week) - that light was on red at a minimum of 10 minutes - out of a 30 minute lunch. I have been in there with my son during times that the light stayed red the ENTIRE time!! Where IS the socialization???
My son had a teacher last year when I pulled him out of public school that actually ENCOURAGED homeschooling. I would never tell the school this and cause problems for her but she was amazing. She was alone in a classroom with 26 1st graders!! 5-6 of which were being reviewed for "emotional" or learning problems or the big state school push on ADHD. She had been teaching for 15 years and said most of her close knit friends that had been teaching as long as she had- had either pulled their children or their grandchildren out of state schools and were homeschooling them! She told me that her husband begged her to retire because teaching wasn't a joy for her anymore - after 15 years she barely made it through her day with her sanity. She said when she first began teaching, the kids had plenty of outdoor time, time to talk on the playground, to make friends, to giggle at lunch --- and they wonder why so many young children -especially boys- are aggressive and frustrated -- or "ADHD".
Anyway- from my own PERSONAL experience - I can vouch for the completely reversed socialization question. Most every homeschool child I have met since we began this amazing journey has been far more socialized than any public school child I had to work with. I'm sure since you've mentioned the statistics you've read, that you are aware of the positives. I sat at a park with my new "homeschool mom" friends when we first began homeschooling and marveled at the "social" skills of these children!! To them, it was normal--- kids speaking to adults with ease, no nervousness or shyness. Older kids and younger kids all playing together. Older kids helping the younger kids. No bullying or mean spiritedness. Sharing!!! Sharing without being told to share more importantly!! Laughing and just plain having fun! Families together - sharing the same circle of friends and enjoyment. Moms talking to other moms' children - not in a fake way but KNOWING them and having REAL conversations! I was so blown away that I knew in my heart that it was right for us.
I didn't touch upon the bullying and violence and lack of morals in state schools today. That is another "socialization" issue - I will mention one thing, "If the peer pressure, violence, degredation of morals, lack of self control, lack of manners, lack of plain, old kindness, every child on Ritalin, every child having to share in the same history or beliefs no matter what their own thoughts, sexuality of children, loss of morals, I could go on- anyway - if this is what the state schools and general society consider socialization - they can have it! I'd rather my children be hermits!!
My son was shy, not one to necessarily start the conversation but so easy to get along with and laid back once he did. I honestly worried that he may become more withdrawn if I homeschooled him. That was one of my biggest concerns. What I have experienced is a now a confident, moral, friendly, strong young man. Homeschooling was the BEST thing I ever did for his social life! He's active in tae kwon do (3 days per week minimum) - even to the point of sparring every friday night in front of a room full of peers and older children and adults. Competing in martial arts tournaments and jumping up in front of a panel and room full of people for belt testing. He takes Spanish, PE, and Science classes once a week with a homeschool coop group. He heads over to an "open gym" every friday for the afternoon and I barely get a quick "bye mom!" before he's run off looking for someone to play with! Of course, they also have friends at church and other activities just like any other child that attends public schools. We go on field trips, bowling with other homeschoolers, BINGOs, play dates, birthday parties, park days weekly when the weather is nice. We go to other children's homes and have their friends over our home for play. When he was in public school - outside of a birthday party once or twice a year - there wasnt any socializing outside of school. We attend shows, plays, special events. My twin 5 year old daughters and I recently attended a CYT play of "Snow White" that one of our coop friends was performing in. Most of the girls from our coop were there and they had so much fun!
There are, of course, so many studies and books that promote the positive roles that homeschooling plays in healthy socialization. There is certainly the moral factor - largely due the omission of the Bible and God in our schools - but that is another subject. I'm not sure why there is still the "socialization stigma" on homeschooling other than lack of knowledge. People are afraid of what they don't know - or things that are outside society's "norms" or they don't want to feel guilty that they choose not to give their life to their own children and homeschool them. They don't want to think about having to give up some of the material things that come with two working parents or their own ambitions and goals to stay home and do what the Lord calls us to do in home education. I have pulled up lists of famous and "important" American figures that were homeschooled - obviously capable of socializing. There are quotes from competent and intelligent Americans and World leaders concerning the lack of christianity and moral education in our schools. You can find it with a simple google search. I'm currently reading an amazing book by R.C. Sproul Jr. titled, "When You Rise Up". His passion and case for parents being the children's educators is moving. Of course, there are so many books and studies with positive homeschooling results. There's James Dobson, Greg Harris, James McDonald. Phil Lancaster, Douglas Phillips - and two of the "pioneers" Raymond Moore and John Holt. Raymond Moore being a former employee of the US Department of Education and Holt, an ivy league graduate and teacher.
Here is a link to a 2003 study conducted on the "first generation" of homeschoolers who are now adults and the impact of homeschooling on their lives. This study specifically targets socialization questions and results of formerly homeschooled students in comparison with adults of the same age group from the general US population. The study provides critics with the proof that "...homeschooling produces successful adults who are actively involved in their communities and who continue to value education for themselves and for their children." ~conclusion taken from the study. The link to study results and a pdf of the full study is http://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003/default.asp
I'm certain you will find all of the answers you are looking for in statistics, studies, books, and the Internet but I wanted to give you a personal experience to think about. Please feel free to email me with any questions. :) I'd love to help in any way that I can. :)
Now that I've written so much :) I'm going to post this to my blog along with the pictures I told you about. You can find it (it might be especially helpful to show your hubby) at
I'm sure so many of you come across this "issue" and I hope this helps you feel supported in knowing what you are doing is THE BEST thing for your children! If my experience can ease even one homeschooling mom's mind ~ then its worth the post!
|Happy & Socialized|