Yep! I said it. Socializing is one of my many reasons that I love homeschooling. So if ANYONE asks you “the socialization question” when you mention that you homeschool, just send them to this blog post!
7 years ago, I was a classroom teacher and later appointed the title as a district Reading Coach. I was happily, on my way, to becoming a school principal for the 8th largest school district in this country.
And then my first child was born and God was clearly telling me that my passion for educating children was going to happen within the walls of my own home. And when I mentioned back in 2012 to friends and family that my husband and I were “thinking” about homeschooling, they ALWAYS ask that question.
“How will you socialize them!?”
And believe it or not, I was actually asked this “socializing” question just last month while having dinner with my uncle. He was curious and I started by simply telling him how our week looked. After our discussion, he was amazed at all the social opportunities my children come across each day in our homeschool. I also mentioned this simple definition to him:
“Socialization – the adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture”.
I broke down this definition, in a homeschooler’s world, so that he could see what some of the “behavior patterns” might look like:
*Daily chores, like making the bed, that my 7-year-old teaches to my 2-year-old – socially teaching the behavior pattern of responsibility.
*Coming together with our co-op to practice and perform “The Polar Express”. Keep in mind that EVERYONE participated…even the 2-year-olds! – socially teaching the behavior pattern of equality, acceptance and a love for reading.
*Involving your children as you cook and deliver a dinner to a sick neighbor. – socially teaching the behavior pattern of love and giving to others in need.
*Creating and teaching a weekly Writer’s Club for my struggling 7-years-old so that he can understand that everyone has strengths and weaknesses in a certain subject – socially teaching a multitude of behaviors!
So how socializing enough?
Going back to the definition of socialization…in our homeschool, my children’s “surrounding culture” can be many things. Culture is something that you create. I created a lovely culture as a classroom teacher and I was very proud of. But my classroom culture didn’t extend out into the world like our homeschooling culture does.
As I continued my discussion with my uncle, I made sure to mention these “surrounding culture” experiences that I offer to my children.
*Meeting at the local fire station and assisted living home monthly for our Homeschool Lego Club – socially involving a culture of multiple ages and experiences.
*Meeting up every week at the skate park. (the 2-year-old can totally hang with the big kids and is accepted by all) – socially teaching inclusion and creating a culture of acceptance.
*Taking a break from our morning learning to walk to the park for playtime and a picnic. We always discover new friends there! – socially introducing new experiences and opportunities with others.
*Involving your 7-year-old as the “guest reader” at our neighborhood toddler playdate. – creating a culture of community.
Are homeschool kids socializing enough? What do you think?
I think I have made my point here. Homeschoolers socialize! We socialize so much that I look forward to having a full day at home with JUST my children. As Homeschoolers, we provide unique opportunities for our children to interact with multiple ages which lead to a beautiful way of “creating positive behavior patterns in their surrounding culture”.
But most importantly, as a homeschool parent, I am creating a culture of love, exploration, and experience for my 3 children. They learn each day from each other and I learn from them. Our socialization happens as a unit, as a family and I wouldn’t change anything about it. Thanks to the way we’ve chosen to socialize them, these boys will be ready to conquer their social world when they are grown.