Friday, February 1, 2008

The Big "S" Word

I've often been asked by others, from friends to teachers to complete strangers when they hear that I'm homeschooling, "What are you doing about socialization?" I find that I have trouble conveniencing them that what I'm doing is actually better than what traditional education does.

First of all, there is a difference between socialization and socializing.

Webster says, socialization is a noun and means: The adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture. Socializing is a noun and means: The act of meeting for social purposes; "there was too much socializing with the enlisted men."

As a former classroom teacher of ten years I know that there isn't as much socializing happening at school as when I was there as a student. Systems have cut all most of the times where students were able to interact with each other in any independant way (no recess, no talking during lunch, no talking in line, etc.) So I would even say that there is little socializing happening in the place others believe it's happening.

For me, my children have more interaction with other homeschoolers, their parents, and the community than any traditionally schooled preschooler. These interactions are less scripted (i.e. planned, timed) and they can play, talk, laugh, sing, dance, or sit quietly for as long as they like (most of the time).

I have also run across a book that I'm reading presently. I highly recommend it to you and anyone who is interested in seeing just how homeschooling promotes socialization. It's titled: The Well-Adjusted Child: the Social Benefits of Homeschooling by Rachel Gathercole. The author takes the time to define what homeschooling is (something other than school-at-home, as most non-homeschooling persons see it), gives a better picture of what homeschooling families actually do, and then looks at the research. I haven't made it to the end yet, but what I've read so far is simply refreshing! It also gives me something else to share with those questioning my decision, as if I'm harming my children in some way.

I hope to add it to my personal library.

So have you experienced questioning from others regarding the socialization issue? What have you shared with those questioning?

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