I haven’t talked a lot about our home schooling journey on this blog but anyone who has met me knows that I am passionate about it. We started home schooling right from the get go. I don’t remember a specific day or our decision to home school. Mark and I both just knew that this is what God was calling our family to. Then I look back at our home schooling start I realize that our thinking of what ‘homeschool’ is has changed a lot since then. Homeschooling to us then was more like bringing school into our home. But now our main priority for homeschooling is equipping our children to love God, follow Him and in doing so being a light to the world. We also see the need of teaching our children the education they need to be able to function in our society. And we also know that God has called us to honor those in authority over us as long as it doesn’t go against how God would have us live. For us that means making an education plan each year and sending in reports twice a year as our government asks us. Not that hard actually.
I would like to break this homeschooling subject into a few posts over the next little while because of the enormity of it. I will try to go through and answer some of the questions that people have asked us over the last few years. And if you have any, leave a comment and I will try to answer them as well.
Question #1 What about socialization?
This is a biggy.
Well let’s start with the definition of socialization: Learning to interact well with others, to be sociable. Guaranteed if someone is going to talk to me about home schooling the question of socialization is going to come up. How are your children going to learn social skills if they aren’t going to a public school? Honestly I guess this question kind of makes me wonder what people think socialization really is. To me learning to socialize would be to learn how to communicate with every age, in every walk of life. So my first question would be, how does public school teach you this? You have 20-30 kids the same age in the same room spending day after day with each other. What do they learn about socialization? They learn how to relate to their peers and their teachers. But what about all the other ages? How does this set up teach public school children how to socialize so much better than home schooled children, as they claim?
From what I have seen, the majority of home schooled kids are well rounded in their socialization. They learn how to relate to many different ages from the toddlers, to children, to adolescents, to teens, to adults, to the elderly. And I don’t think this is because of something that they have been taught to do. I think it is a by-product of the morals that have been instilled in them. The value that is placed on a person no matter what their age, race or religion. The value that it doesn’t matter if you ‘fit in’ but rather loving your neighbor as yourself.
And these are the social skills that I want to teach my children. Social skills that say each person is important to God. Social skills that makes others feel like they matter and that they are worth talking to. From what I have observed our children don’t have a problem socializing. Yes, some of them are shy (we are working on that.) As our children are getting older I am seeing their ability to relate to all ages. And not just to have a polite “Hello, how are you?” conversation, but an engaging conversation. This is important to us as we want people of all ages to enjoy being around our children.
Another part of being social is also being able to listen. How many times have you met someone, a child or otherwise who does nothing but talk about themselves and their life not giving you a chance to get a word in edgewise? Really, is the skill of listening not another part of learning to be social? Do they learn that skill in public school better than home school?
So this is why I really I think that the meaning of socialization is misunderstood. Because the fruit that I have witnessed from many home schooled children (of course there are always exceptions) is that they have no problem interacting or being social with others. In fact, they are usually quite enjoyable to have a conversation with.
And to us, this is a valuable thing. Not because they can fit into society, but rather because they can be a light to the world. After all, that should be is our goal, shouldn’t it?
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6