Monday, August 24, 2009

Homeschooling and Socialization; GREAT article

My friend sent this article to me. It says what I'd say so I wanted to share. The author deserves all the credit. His name is at the end. Enjoy! It's food for thought....

August 10, 2009
Whenever we tell new acquaintances that we home-school, the same question seems to pop up. As if scripted, they look at us with heads turned to the side in concern and ask, “Don't you worry about socialization?" The implication of the question is that home-schooled families invariably have a vast iron door, behind which the outside world is not allowed. Day in and day out, our little ones are subjected to nothing more and nothing less than the voices of their parents and the dreary monotony of school-work in a classroom where the only children present are siblings.The further implication, though probably not intentional, is that we are in danger of turning the children into odd little things, akin to Uncle Fester on the Addams Family. You know, educated, capable, oddly charming, but entirely unsuited for polite company in the world at large.Well, let me reassure everyone that socialization is progressing nicely in the vast majority of the home-schooled families I know, and that it is equally unsuccessful in many of the families whose children are not home-schooled. Socialization, a rather modern and meaningless word, has far less to do with educational technique than it does with parental direction; or failing that, the guidance of non-parental forces in the world at large.In fact, my children socialize with relatives, with other youth at our church and with adult instructors in music lessons, sports and cooperative classes. They even interact with friends, many of whom are not home-schooled but who hang around with us despite our odd, “Fester-like” ways.I feel very comfortable with the “socialization” my progeny receive, because I see that they are consistently polite, they smile at others, they carry on engaging conversations with adults, and they have hopes and dreams to engage in society at large. They are growing into individuals who are wise, appropriately bold and always kind. I think that's the kind of socialization I want them to undergo.So, I consider myself a little bit of an expert on “socialization.” And as the new school year is rapidly approaching, I want to share my perspectives for the encouragement of other parents, home-schooling and otherwise. Here goes:Children and adolescents do need to spend time with kids their own age. They need friends and allies. But do not be deluded that friends are adequate socialization. All children, and especially all teenagers, are charming morons. No, don't be offended. I love them! They are nuclear reactors of potential. But they need guidance. The very idea that hanging around with other kids will make children into proper adults is madness. It makes as much sense as training a soldier by having him hang around an amusement park (well, he's with people his own age!). It's as rational as training a hunting dog by turning him loose in a dog-park; which makes for a standard-issue dog, but not much of a pointer or retriever.Socialization, as I see it, is the act of teaching our young to be responsible members of society. And it requires intense, well-planned and daily monitored guidance. And no matter how much we may love our children's friends, they are not there to “socialize” our kids; more to the point, it's our job as parents to socialize even our children's friends! I'm forever taking their hats off indoors, reminding them to be polite and questioning their statements and assumptions. It's my job as an adult to help shape all of the kids around me into proper adults. That's socialization!The modern perversion of socialization, from my perspective in a busy emergency department, regularly results in kids committing crimes, using drugs, getting STDs or unwanted pregnancies, and learning to be profane. It further leaves them with no coping skills, no moral, spiritual or intellectual framework, and worst of all, no vision of greatness for themselves!Those are the legacies of what we now call “socialization.” But they don't have to be. The most important factor in the socialization of children is the intense, concerned involvement of their parents. Our kids' friends are not the instruments of change, for they are in need of change themselves.But if we love them all intensely, our own and the ones who visit our homes, socialization will be exactly what we hope for it to be. No, I don't worry about socialization. It's going just fine.Ed Leap is a physician and writer. He lives in Tamassee and can be reached at or


Rick Carpenter said...

What a fantastic article. It makes me wonder about those who are concerned over the socialization of home-schooled children: are they the ones whose children are experiencing all of the 'social norms' of drugs, immorality, depression and academic performance? Yet they pretend to be in a position to question the parents of far more successful children... the beam and the mote come to mind.

Simplify Heart and Home said...

Amen to that!
You and my Dad said almost the same thing! You're both in very good company!!!

People don't seem to question products of public school who are disrespectful, uneducated, rude and immoral. They don't blame it on the fact that they must be wierd because they were 'public-schooled'.

Love you, Rick!!! :)