Sunday, July 13, 2014

Homeschoolers Discuss Socialization

socialization Atheist parenting, homeschool secular
I am still Homeschool Atheist Momma!
I am a part of a secular homeschooling group on Facebook that recently had a conversation about socialization and homeschooling. Since it was "just us" we all felt comfortable in speaking freely about the topic, rather than feeling the need to speak for the potential judgers with preconceived notions in the room. In private, homeschooling parents are far less concerned about how people tend to stereotype us and we're far more frank about the issues in our lives.

So please let me share with you some of the comments made by homeschooling parents on the issue of SOCIALIZATION:
  • Amy from Pennsylvania had this to say about socialization and homeschooling: Unless you lock your children in the basement, there is nothing to worry about.
  • Jennifer from FloridaPersonally, I think people use it (the topic of socialization) because whenever you do something different than the mainstream, some people take an offense to it. I've met people that were pretty defensive about my choice to homeschool as if I was saying, "hey, I'm better than you. I homeschool." So to make themselves feel better I think they'd launch into the only thing they've ever really heard in regards to homeschooling and that's the "socialization" thing which is a lame argument but it's all they have. Anyone that is familiar with homeschooling, even if they don't do it themselves, won't say that BS because they know it's not true. The other argument is, "you can't teach your child". Yeah, I can. I did. She's pretty damned smart too. Can I teach 30 children, of varying learning styles and I don't pretend to do the job of a public school teacher but can I teach my child? Absolutely.
  • Jennifer goes on to add: Some PSers are rude because you know what..THEY'RE not used to people being different than them and when they are introduced to someone different they can sometimes fall into bully, AKA mob mentality.  Over the years my daughter has been friends with homeschooled kids and public schooled kids. Her current best friend is a public schooled kid and honestly, she can be a bit of an asshole at times (she still will pop quiz Anissa) but I can say that Anissa handles her really well. You do have to teach your kids that there are fuckheads in this world because there ARE fuckheads in this world but you also have to teach them to be who they are. My daughter is 17 and I know many, many homeschoolers that are young and adults and they seem quite capable of dealing with the world and changing it if need be and that's what I love about them. She's also made some good friends with public schooled kids that have been "shunned" in school for being different, for being interesting, or even for being respectful of the person educating them.
  • Chris from Washington state says:   I would post a picture of my poor, awkward, socialized, homeschool.......but she's at work right now....working customer service.....the same job she receives stellar reviews at because of her outstanding "people skills." Lol! . Kills me when people insist that homeschooled kids have poor social skills. My experience has been decidedly the opposite. 
  • Laura from North Carolina says: So that's what was wrong with our ancestors who were home educated. That's a pile of manure. Propaganda at it's finest. If you know how to read, go here: and read about the purpose of modern schooling. I'm not so sure I want my child relating to ... brainwashed public school graduates. I plan on teaching her that she doesn't have to play their silly games. I'm pretty certain that the home educated of today will be the movers and shakers of the future. Schools are for molding followers, not leaders. That statement is from someone who doesn't understand the purpose of schooling.  
  • Christene from Florida says:  My son attended Kindergarten. He started a huge uproar when he took on the lunch staff wanting to know what was GMO and pesticide ridden on his plate and he was pissed he couldnt have the salad bar. He was equally pissed all the kids in the school were being served slop. LMAOOO My son at 6 stood up on the cafeteria table and was ready to start a revolution. Addressing an auditorium and secuity officers was not an issue for him. That was a definite proud mommy moment. The school was furious when they couldnt bust my happy mommy bubble when they tried to convince me he was out of line. Then they learned about where my son got it from when I questioned their idea of ''food''. lol So, whats the definition of socially awkward? Being able to fit in the box of perfectly cut cookies or being able to tackle anything like a champ without fear or others opinions?
  • Anne in Ohio states: The only problem we've had with socialization (and I'm not sure who this problem belongs to) is that since my daughter is homeschooled and didn't go to school in middle school she doesn't really know when kids are being catty, especially other girls. Recently some girls were telling her that a guy was interested in her when he already has a girlfriend. The guy and two girls were in on the joke. It was so hurtful. On one hand I think I'm just glad she doesn't deal with this every day but if she did she would probably be more wise to this type of stuff.
  • Megan from Mississippi says: I think my favorite "ah ha" moment about this comes from my sister. She was contemplating HS but recognized the value of PS's brand of socialization because if her daughter had a job where she worked in a cubical and had to deal with petty office BS and a manager that wanted people to blend, homeschooling wasn't really going to prepare her for that. She kept my niece in PS for an extra year using this rationalization. Then she thought "is that really the life I want for my kid? To be in a cubical and deal with other people's petty issues??" Because of the freedom of homeschool, kids can follow their passions and many end up running their own businesses or going into fields where their talents are much more important than their ability to sit at a desk and navigate the shark-infested waters of cliques. So maybe they will be at a disadvantage in jobs like that, but I think very few people think "gosh, I really want to work in middle management for a huge corporation some day." The ones that succeed in that type of field are the people that fit in that world naturally, regardless of where they went to school.
  • Lindsey from Michigan says:  I think that it is a bit disingenuous to say that homeschoolers as a group are more social than PSers. There is a fair sized section of homeschoolers made up of highly exclusive (and thus unsocial) religious zealots that home school, and another portion of children who are homeschooled due to problems associated with them being socially awkward to begin with. Those groups don't have a large presence here, but they are a fair portion of homeschoolers. Either way, I tend to think that just because socially awkward people are more likely to homeschool/ be homeschooled, that by no means is the same as homeschooling contributing to a lack of social skills. It is the classic correlation vs. causation. I think it does us no good to deny that there are a fair number of socially awkward homeschoolers. I think it is important that we outline what is actually making those children awkward (be it social inept parents, an inborn personality trait, or an exclusive religious dogma at home), so that people can recognize and assess homeschooling on it's own merits, instead of by its most fringe practitioners.
  • Britt from Canada said: Here's a thought: If you were educated in a public school growing up, how many times do you recall some uptight teacher giving you trouble and saying "you're not here to socialize" or some other comment.....

    Just some food for thought

    We socialize through daily life all day long, be it with your parents or the taxi driver or bus driver or other passengers on the bus, ay play groups and parks, store clerks etc etc etc etc. Personally, I would rather my daughter not be influenced by negative things that I would have no control and likely even no knowledge of if she were in someone else's "care" most of the time.

  • HS teen's POV
    One of the mom's daughters chimed in with this: I'm sixteen years old have been home/unschooled since second grade. I have lots of friends. We learn and grow from each other. Your children will learn much more from people of many different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, locations, etc. In public school, you get segregated by age, special needs, gender, location, and other factors. Why would you want your child to be like everyone else? Why not have them learn from others and develop who they are instead of being forced into the status quo? I have many friends, am social (even to the point of hijacking my mother's facebook ), have a job that I wouldn't have had otherwise, know who I am, and got accepted to an Ivy League college two years earlier than my public school peers. I can't find a downside to homeschooling

  • Naomi in Alberta responds to the question "What about socializatin?" in this way:  I think I hear a lot of "Where do I even begin?" out there. Since socialization is such a complex issue, if you have a case in mind, you'll get more specific answers to your concern if you outline it for us. But in general, our brains didn't evolve in in an environment where our main environment during the day was 30 other children and a state employee. I think my kids have a better shot at "normal socialization" at home where we can interact with family and community outside of a bureaucratic institution. 
  • Heather in Virginia said:  A homeschooled child that has a hard time fitting into a clique with traditionally-schooled kids might be labeled as socially awkward because they don't understand that type of social interaction. However, in a situation like that, it's the clique-y kids that have the behavior problems, not the homeschooled kid. She also says: If everyone is sending their kids to learn social skills, who is doing the teaching? Some of the "social skills" learned from other kids is exactly what my kids don't need to learn. Homeschooled kids are amongst other children but they learn many of their social skills from being exposed to people of all ages, not just their own. 
  • Heather also said: If everyone is sending their kids to learn social skills, who is doing the teaching? Some of the "social skills" learned from other kids is exactly what my kids don't need to learn. Homeschooled kids are amongst other children but they learn many of their social skills from being exposed to people of all ages, not just their own. Heather, I know we'd be great friends In Real Life!
  • Maria in Washington state says: The only thing that was removed from the social aspect of public school vs homeschool has been the bullying my children are alot more outgoing now . We're still trying to over come the damaging affect if the stressed out over worked judge mental teachers but I'm confinement with time well over come that was well.
  •  Cathy from California reminds us that one reason for the assumption that homeschooling makes kids weird ("weird" is not a bad thing, of course!) is because a lot of parents of weird kids decide not to put them in school because either (1) they think their kids will be bullied mercilessly, or (2) they think (correctly) that they can create a tailor-made educational program that will better suit their unusual kid, or (3) they think their kid will conform because of peer pressure, if he or she goes to school, and they don't want their kid to lose his or her wonderful weirdness. 
  • And finally, as Linda from BC says:  When people ask me What about socialization? I'd say, RIGHT! That's one of the best reasons to homeschool!

This econversation about homeschooling socialization experiences went on for several days on Facebook and I just picked up a few quotes, with permission of the authors of the quotes, and placed them here. I did not pick-and-choose any comments to give a slant of positive for homeschool socialization. These comments truly represent the range of people who do know about homeschooling and socialization. I sure wish we could all meet IRL, it would be a blast!

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  1. Great post! Exactly how I feel and I'm a public school teacher. I see the effects of this so-called necessary socialization. I want to HS and I have a few years to figure it out, but I'm stuck at how I earn a living if I'm at home. Currently we are a one-income home and I'm afraid that if we decide to HS, I will not have a steady income, health insurance, etc. I currently work for a school district that is convenient for health insurance, retirement, income... I'd like to know how you and other parents figure that part out?

    1. Steffany, I am FAR TOO SPOILED to answer this question. I am in the position where my husband's single income supports us quite adequately.
      But I can put the question out there and see what others have to say. :)


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