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HELP! What About Socialization?

O.K...Sit down a minute and let's talk...there...cup of tea? Wait, maybe a double expresso with a shot of dark chocolate?...this is serious stuff here.

Probably the most often asked (and the least thought out) question homeschoolers encounter is this, "How will your kids ever learn to deal with other people?" Many homeschoolers find that their kids are involved in so many activities - study groups, sports, lessons, church, clubs, etc., that they hardly have time to stop and answer the question.

Even if your child is not involved with a lot of 'extra curricular' activity, they are certainly getting a good dose of valuable social skills in learning to be an active member of a family. There is a lot more involvement when you spend most of your time together than when the kids are shipped off for most of the day, most of the week. And then there is the question of how positive the socialization received in the public schools really is.

Recent events, and facts, like in some areas they are considering having teachers take riot control training, are pretty clear evidence that public school and good socialization are not synonymous. Many students in the public schools are faced with dealing with drug availability, sexual activity and violence without the advantage of on site adult guidance. Teachers simply cannot be everywhere at once, and not all children have good guidance even at home.

Having a strong family upbringing, that spans more than just the first 5 years, can give kids a much better base of self esteem and strength of values than kids who are suddenly placed in an overburdened and virtually unmonitored crowd of same aged peers. The latter frequently leads to the child taking one of three positions: bully, victim, bystander...hardly the epitome of good social skills. Then there is the fact that in "real" life, people must learn to deal with others of all ages and descriptions, not just those within a couple of years of their own age.

Probably the best social skill you can give your child is respect for other people - the Golden Rule. The ability to identify with others' feelings will make your child pause and think before they act or judge.

And a comment on the sharper side:

"Isn't it interesting that we, who are taking the responsibility to instill the skills of a loving family life - cooperation, sibling interaction rather than out and out rivalry (not that that doesn't enter in to it, mind you, LOL), living skills (hey, how do you learn to do the laundry?), extended family interaction, etc., are being looked at as depriving our kids of socialization?

Why, our kids don't get as much opportunity to see others slug it out on the playground, witness drug usage and sales in the restrooms, get the benefit of cliques in the lunchroom, or suffer the attitudes of those who think they don't dress, smell, look, have a name that sounds, or otherwise fit whatever the prevailing definition of "right" is. And they are not yet focused on the idea that attention from the opposite sex should be their primary goal in life. What could we be thinking?!?

Ah well... I see my kids standing up for the underdog, helping the elderly, sharing with strangers, calling older friends, extending their friendship to others readily, talking to adults (even their Mom and Dad!) easily on any topic, and I just have to laugh... these kids are hardly un-socialized."

A peek from the other side

Homeschool Eases Teen Transition

Raising Individuals in
a Team Player Society

By John O. Andersen


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