Thursday, June 24, 2010


One of the Yahoo Groups I'm in is entitled Above Rubies which is an extension of the ministry Above Rubies.

One person recently mentioned she was considering homeschooling and wondered about the whole socialization question.  Many of the ladies shared wonderful thoughts.  I'm going to copy their responses here while attempting to credit the correct individuals.


I think the main answer is that socialization in an age-graded environment, with one or maybe two teachers in charge of a large group of children that are all the same age, is actually an artificial environment. At no other
time in your child's life will he be in that kind of social situation, accept perhaps if he joins the military or gets a job at a factory (and even then, there is usually a variety of ages).

In the Bible, we see the family and the faith community as God's instruments of "socialization" . Home educated children actually do better in the areas of socialization that count most--stable, happy marriages, gainful employment, civic involvement, etc. I could go on, but I already did in this blog post: 

. . . Have you read *When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling* by R.C. Sproul, Jr.? I think it will be of great encouragement to you. He also addresses the socialization issue. More importantly, he stresses that the goal of education is to lead our children to Christ. If we don't do that, we have accomplished nothing.
By Tiana Krenz


First, define "socialization. " One homeschool author found that

non-homeschoolers who ask "What about socialization? " might really be
asking one of SEVEN different questions!

My understanding of the proper definition of socialization means the training of children to behave properly in social situations. For example, using knife, fork and spoon appropriately when in the US, or holding the hand just so while using the hand to scoop food into the mouth in India. Table manners, interaction requirements (eye contact? firm handshake? appropriate volume? refraining from jumping on the furniture?), etc, are usually best taught (imho) by the parents to the children. Training in social norms is not done in a classroom setting, much, instead it's the law of the jungle (among the students), or the law of the teacher there (hopefully that's helpful, but she has other things to deal with -- like academics! -- besides the training in
behavior appropriate to the situation).

Of the aforementioned author's possible SEVEN underlying questions someone might really be asking, two I happen to recall are, "Will they have any friends?" and "Will they ever leave the house?"

The answers to these are: yes, they'll have friends, and yes, they'll leave the house. :)

Btw, my oldest is 20 (now out on her own) and we've been homeschooling ALL the way. Today one young daughter played with the neighbor boy (until she got into trouble with me for breaking our rules -- showing off to them, I think), another daughter had a friend over for about 4 hours, we are consistently the last ones to leave church because we're busy hanging out with friends, youth group, speech club, Sunday School, friends from out of state this past weekend, debate camp in August, tournaments (intense bonding at those!), sleepovers, birthday parties AND MORE.

We have plenty of opportunities to build friendships, get out of the house, ... and I train in social skills at home, too.

Mama to 7 in Utah
AR Moderation Team


Whether or not you choose to homeschool (I'm in the research stage with my 4 year old DD, too), you can't change your child's bent for being social or not. My DD is naturally gregarious and outgoing; some of her cousins are more reserved, and naturally so. I have a feeling that my DD--who tends to try to lead the way and gets into mischief--might not do well in a regular school environment. Even her Sunday School teachers comment on how outgoing
she is compared to some of the other kiddos, and how they sometimes have to reign her in. But that's just *my* DD and her personality. [She's a lot like her parents. ;-) ]

You can't teach your child to be outgoing when he/she is not that way. What
you *can* teach your child are polite manners and acceptable public behavior, and how to love others as Christ did. That can usually give a child the confidence to start saying "Hello!" to unmet friends at church, the grocery store, etc. My DD gets shy around new people sometimes, but very rarely. A friend at our church has a DD the same age who is painfully shy, but her younger siblings are very outgoing. The parents are both fairly laid-back friendly people. All these different personalities in thesame family!

All that being said, I don't believe that forcing your child into what another poster called an 'unnatural environment' is necessarily positive OR negative: it's just what's been done in schools to push as many kids as possible through the system without physically losing track of them. And while I don't think teaching herds of kids how to stand in line, take turns, and share *everything* including school supplies are necessarily *bad* things by themselves, the good old USA is marching toward Socialism at an alarming rate. Doesn't everyone who has to stand in a bread line have to wait, take turns, and share everything? Sorry if I've ruined your morning coffee . . . LOL!! I have a good friend who toes the line at atheism (she won't classify herself) and teaches in a public high school: my conversations with her lead me to believe that that environment is becoming VERY Socialist. Well, I could go on, but I'll just say this: Yikes.

No matter what, we want to teach our children to be Godly, to think independently and ask good questions, and to weigh everything against Scripture. Those are things that are most certainly NOT taught in a public
school environment these days (according to what I've seen in my sibling's
kids, and in my own neighborhood) ; and those skills weren't taught well during my own private parochial education, either. I've had to make poor
decisions and "pay the Piper" so to speak, and I want to make sure that my
kids get a better education than I did.

Just my .02!!
Blessings, Allie


Homeschooling opponents just love to pull out the socialization card, don't they? Our first two children were in ps through fifth grade. They are now 22 and 21 years old. All the others have been homeschooled from birth. In our experience, our younger children have more success socially than our older two. Our 21 yo dd has finally blossomed--but it was really hard for her in school, and it took her many years to overcome the bullying and herd tendencies of ps. When we go to the park, my children make friends with whoever is there--they are not worried about whether the children they meet are cool or popular. My children can converse with adults of all ages. They are as comfortable in a nursing home or watching the church nursery as they are spending time with their friends.

I personally do not want my children socialized the way they are in ps.

Things you can do to be proactive--both for any naysayers, and more importantly, to give yourself the confidence you need:

1. Be active in your church. Let your child make friends there.

2. as already suggested, get to know people one at a time and build a network of friends for you child--just make sure you and their parents are of like mind on the most important issues.

3.Find a good homeschool group. There are many different homeschool groups out there. We couldn't find what we were looking for when we first started our hs journey, so we helped form what we were looking for--a Christian group whose main purpose was to encourage each other as parents. We are likeminded-- for the most part--some of the people who join are not always on the same page, but all leadership IS. We have parent support group meetings about once a quarter--different events--but always for the edification of the parents. The by-product of this is that there are PLENTY of activities and opportunities for our children to play together. WE have park days, swim days, field trips during the school year, co-ops on occasion, special events like spelling bee and science fair. But we started out just to support and pray for each other. Our children have been the beneficiaries. If you can find a group like this, GREAT. If you cannot--then form one yourself. You will not regret it! :-)

Andrea in GA


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