Are My Homeschooled Children "Unsocialized"?

I often hear that folks are pretty worried about my children lacking socialization because they are homeschooled. So, I've devoted a whole post to try to alleviate their worries.

Let's begin by defining "socialization." defines socialization as a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.
Hmm, let's see.

Homeschool and socialization

"An individual acquires a personal identity."  I taught in "real" school before I had children and began homeschooling. I can assure you that no child there wanted to be an individual. They wanted to be just like every other kid so that they didn't stand out. In fact if kids did stand out, they were ostracized by peers. And if they happened to learn in a different way than the other kids, they were labeled with some type of disorder or disability.

On the other hand, my kids can learn the way they learn best. They can climb under the table. They don't have to sit still. They can move slowly or quickly. They can use a curriculum that suits them. Because they are not acting a certain way to make sure they fit in, they can develop that unique personality, that personal identity.

"Learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills." Again, based on my experience in a traditional school, this really doesn't happen. Teachers may try very hard to teach values but in a school setting where one is surrounded by peers much of the day, kids tend to learn those values from their peers, not from the teachers. And if the peers they are around have negative values, what kind of values will they learn?

I want my children to learn certain values. At home, I can impart those values because I'm the one who is around them the most. Values and behaviors are most often "caught not taught."

But I'm pretty sure that this definition isn't what most people mean when they ask the big "socialization" question. What they really mean is, "Do you hide at home under a rock all day or do you ever go out?"  This question is especially humorous because I tend to be at one of the kids' activities when I find myself answering an inquisitive parent. Now really, if I didn't ever let them leave the house, I wouldn't be here to answer your question, now would I?

The fact is, I don't know a single homeschooler who isn't typically TOO busy. We have co-ops, sports, field trips, classes, camps, and play dates. Our problem is usually having too much to choose from.

I hope this post has helped to alleviate some of the worry that others seem to have about the welfare of my children. And if you really are genuinely interested about what we do, rest assured that lack of socialization isn't the problem that some perceive it to be.

This post was originally part of Blogging Through the Alphabet at Ben and Me. You can rest assured that, although this post has been updated, my children are still not lacking socialization. :-)

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