Homeschoolers are always looking for new outlets to “socialize” their children. In fact, I would say it is nearly universally accepted that children are best socialized at school and that homeschoolers are at a disadvantage. This is a central argument against homeschooling and one that many homeschoolers seem to accept. Instead of refuting the dogmatic assertion that schools are Mecca’s of socialization, homeschoolers are quick to point out all the ways that they have compensated for this natural disadvantage.
They say things like, “Well, we have Johnny in soccer and Sue is in Girl Scouts, and they are both very involved in youth group.” From all we hear of it, we might imagine that before modern schools came into existence in the 1800’s, people were savages! How could they even speak to each other? How could they bare to look at one another, without feeling extremely uneasy. Yes, I suppose a world without public education could be described in two words – socially awkward!
This of course, is not the case. In fact, I feel that it could easily be argued that school creates the “socially awkward.” However, without going into all that, I just want parents to look passed the dogmatic argument and apply reason. So, lets examine the school model.
In school, our children are socialized by other children the exact same age – called age segregated socialization. They are made to sit at a desk all day and are not allowed to talk unless given permission by their teacher, or at recess for elementary students. They are exposed to children from all different backgrounds at an early age when they are still very impressionable. And this, we are told is how to properly prepare children to socialize in the real world.
Homeschool Socialization vs Public School
Now, lets ask the how and why. How does a mob of immature children, encourage our children to socialize in a mature and professional manner? How does the extreme practice of age segregation, (only exposing children to people their own age and maturity), help children socialize in a world that is not age segregated? How does forcing children to sit silently for a greater part of the day, encourage social mingling?
Why should young impressionable children be exposed to children and strangers that have backgrounds and beliefs that are hostile to their own, at an age when they are still learning the difference between right and wrong? Why should children be locked in a classroom with other children that may torment or bully them? Why can’t children learn to socialize from their parents, siblings, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, and church?
These are all important questions that should be sufficiently answered before homeschoolers accept that age segregation and public schooling is the best means of socializing young children. As I will point out in later posts, the socializing that experts claim homeschoolers are missing out on, has little to do with learning how to interact with others.