Saturday, April 28, 2007

My Kids Need to Be Around Other Kids. A Socialization Ramble.

It's amazing how much conversation can be made by just mentioning that you are homeschooling your kids. Since Marco is getting older, people frequently ask me why he isn't at school. Actually, they ask him! "Shouldn't you be in school? What grade are you in?" At first, Marco never knew what to say, but now it seems like he's getting used to the questions. He always answers "I do school at home." Of course, that always opens a new bag of questions, mainly geared towards me.

Since we've made the decision to homeschool and since I've come to meet more and more moms, the whole socialization thing keeps coming up. What a myth and wrong use of vocabulary! My latest common comment is, "I couldn't homeschool. My kids need to be around other kids. He needs that socialization." Ackk! Does that mean that that my kids don't need to be around other kids or socialize with others? Of course they do! And they do!

I don't ask people for reasons why they don't homeschool, yet it seems like they are very adamant about defending their choice about sending their kids to school. It's OK...really. I don't want a list of why you send your kids to school. Yes, I understand that you could never do that. Fine, you want your kids around lots of other kids all the time. OK, you don't have the patience. You really don't have to convince me because I know that every family makes the choices that are right for them.

Sometimes I wonder if they carry on these conversations because they think I'm making the wrong choice. It really doesn't matter either way. The point is that yes, my kids love being around other kids and just because I homeschool them doesn't mean that they are being isolated at home. And socialized? Well, socialization by definition is simply a process of learning interpersonal and interactional skills that are in conformity to the value's of society. Do I think my kids actually need to go to school to learn this? Of course not! What could another 5 year old possibly teach my kid about being socialized? If you ask me, it's the adults in the child's life that really teach these values to their kids.

"Yes, but you are keeping them from learning how to handle things in the real world." I'm afraid to say that in the real world, you don't interact with people that are solely your age. I am really not interested in having my kids mold into what a big group of kids thinks is right. For now, I just want them to be "socialized" enough to be around all kinds of people...not just other kids their age. I want them to learn the real values of a society...not the values found within the culture of young kids and teens.

So please...don't assume that because I keep my kids at home, they are completely unaware of how to behave, follow rules, listen, and even conform to the norm. Don't assume that because I keep them at home they don't need to be around other kids. And please, spare me the list of why you don't homeschool. It really is OK (and come to think about it...I don't care)!

**This ramble is brought to you thanks to the recent outpour of similar comments made to me by strangers.

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