Monday, September 6, 2010

Concerning Socialization: Let's Change the Conversation

Arby's recent socialization posts got me thinking about how ridiculous this argument really is. If you're a homeschooler, you know. You've been there. Conversations with non-homeschoolers inevitably come down to one question.

The conversations usually go something like this:

"Oh, wow. You homeschool? Really? Isn't that hard?"
"No, it's really great! I love it!"
"Well, I could never do that!"
"Sure you could...there are LOTS of resources available to help you."
"But don't you worry about socialization?"

I think its time for homeschoolers to approach this question differently. In my recent post, Defending Homeschooling, I challenged myself and others to think about really listening to the answers we give to the questions we are so often asked.

So do I worry about socialization? Honestly?  No...not for one single second! And why not?

First, because I know my kids ARE being effectively socialized...they really don't need school for that. They are living in and amongst family, friends, and neighbors. They are learning from mature, responsible adults how to be mature, responsible members of society. But there's another more important reason I don't worry about the socialization my kids are "missing" by not attending public school.  It's simple. In terms of socialization, my children have not missed anything of value.  Rather, what they have missed socially actually has negative value.  In other words, I'm glad they missed it!

After pondering this for a few minutes, I had a thought. And I got out my dictionary.
an·ti·so·cial (ân'tç-sô'shəl, ân'tî-) Pronunciation Key
  1. Shunning the society of others; not sociable.
  2. Hostile to or disruptive of the established social order; marked by or engaging in behavior that violates accepted mores
  3. Antagonistic toward or disrespectful of others; rude.
Doesn't that sound a bit familiar?  It seems to me that the conduct and behavior most often displayed in today's American public schools would be more accurately defined as "anti-social" than "social". Doesn't it seem just a little strange that WE are the ones being questioned about our childrens' socialization?  I've come to the conclusion that the wrong people are being asked the wrong question.

So the next time someone asks a homeschooler,
"Aren't you worried about socialization?," 
I propose a different reply:
"No. Aren't you worried about anti-socialization?"


  1. "Aren't you worried about socialization?"

    "Why yes I am! That's why I'm homeschooling."

  2. I concur. As a group, homeschoolers need to flip the conversation from being on the defensive to being gracefully on the offensive. We need to reject the very basic assumptions that are behind questions such as, “Aren't you worried about socialization?" I’m hoping that readers of this blog will write in and share their results when they turn tables on the homeschooling skeptics with whom they converse. I certainly will!

  3. A quote from a newspaper article today regarding homeschoolers that enter public school: "Naturally, the transition can bring jitters and a bit of a culture shock. But before long, Ashlee was giving speeches before more than 100 peers, hitting the school stage and busting myths about socially inept home-schoolers."

    I like that: "Busting myths"

  4. Ooooooo, Arby! "Busting Myths"....a GREAT post title!! :-)

  5. I can't wait for that next post - "Busting Myths". Great post today, Linda.

    I probably look at people with a "Duh" look on my face when they ask about socialization. "Are you kidding me, we homeschool! They get the best all around socialization there is with people of all ages, not just a classroom of misfits their own age. Why parents would think a classroom of sixth graders is the best environment for a loved one to be in is beyond me.

  6. I love how your mind works, Linda!!! :)

  7. AMEN!! And I like Brownie's answer too!