What does socialization mean?

Have you been asked or have you wondered, How do homeschoolers get socialized?

Let’s begin with the actual term:

so·cial·i·za·tion  noun
  1. the activity of mixing socially with others.
    “socialization with students has helped her communication skills”
  2. the process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society.
    “preschool starts the process of socialization”

In the first definition it doesn’t mention mixing socially with others in a healthy way and in the second definition it assumes that from birth a parent isn’t teaching their child how to “start the process of socialization.” For example, my infant can’t bite my nipple while I’m nursing. It’s not polite! I didn’t wait until preschool to begin the socialization process. By the way what does preschool (before school) mean anymore when almost half of infants to three year olds are cared for by someone other than their parent. The theory in the tagged article is parents need to work harder to find “quality child care” not parents should work harder to take care of the child they chose to have in the first place.

Historically socialization began in the home and for half of all children under 3 I’m assuming that still is the process for learning socialization.

Before figuring out how best children should socialize, let’s start with how adults figure out how to socialize. My theory is, as government school indoctrination has grown, healthy adult socialization has declined and become more isolation punctuated by moments of enthusiasm where everyone pretends they’re doing great. Sadly church is no exception. More and more adults feel like they don’t fit in, they don’t understand the game without asking if something is wrong with the game rather than themselves. Add medication?

We occupy the structure of our dead ancestors! Doesn’t that bother you? The government school structure, set up to produce factory workers and cull out the cream of the crop, is still in place when robots are doing the majority of the factory work. Even as we saw this transition coming for decades no change has occurred except for those who pulled their kids out to homeschool. Government school isn’t a broken system in need of repair, it’s a dead system that needs to be buried in the ground so that real learning can begin to grow out of that decaying corpse.

Within the government school model, on any given day, socialization is confined primarily to those people who share your birthday. The next layer is your socioeconomic status, where some schools have excellent resources and teachers while the other schools, even when resources become available, struggle with even the concept of excellence. Imagine a school district where, on the north side kids are being dropped off by their family chauffeur and on the south side 4 year olds are walking blocks to school without any supervision. If school is what’s considered proper socialization does that mean only with people like you?

Next, everyone is told there is an arbitrary “standard” of achievement and if you fall outside that “norm” there is something wrong with you. You’re either stupid or to smart. You can’t just be you. Add some stressful testing for both the teachers and students, testing by the way in Texas means you can get an F by any other grading standard and still pass! Top that off with any problems going on at home and now be good little socialized children 20-30 to a class with one adult! Are you kidding? Adults aren’t good at forced grouping but somehow our culture has decided that kids will do great in this setting. Even at church kids are assigned a graded/aged class and adults are given subjects for various classes they can take. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Recently I was asked, “What do you say when people ask about homeschooled kids socialization?” I responded with, “Columbine.” That seems a bit harsh but it’s a clear example that government school doesn’t properly socialize children when it allows the constant drugging of non compliant children and then the adults ignore any signs. For me the absolute worst thing government school does in the area of socialization is drug children, especially boys, into thinking something is wrong with them rather than this is a tragic, dead system that they’re being forced to participate in.

Wait! Were you aware that there is also a homeschooled shooter on the books? Also medicated and raised in a home where conformity to an unreal standard was expected. So, is it the form of education a child receives that causes healthy or non healthy socialization?

What about a great private school? Even then you’re talking lots of kids to one adult and kids are smart. They learn how to bully quietly and gang up on the person they perceive as the lowest. Then because the parents are paying, sometimes $30,000 or more per year for their K-8th grade perfect child, the teacher’s hands are tied as far as consequences. The worst behaved group I’ve ever seen on a field trip where some 10-13 year olds from a fancy “circle school” out of Austin. At first their behavior had me thinking they were autistic or retarded (I just mean slow) but then I realized this group of about 20 kids where just totally out of control, talking loudly during the play, hitting and kicking each other and the chairs and the “teachers” sat quietly in their seats ignoring the whole thing!

So, who’s actually responsible for a child’s behavior and that child learning to socialize with others? Some teacher they have for one year? A school district they may be in for a few years? Or their parent who chose to have them and will, in theory, still have them once school is over at 18.

Pathology is rooted in the family and your lack of interest in your child is the number one thing that will cause them pain. Not your interest in your child being your “mini-me.” I seriously hate that phrase! But in you seeing them for who they really are. Your child’s success will be due in large part to your commitment to their growth as an individual and the freedom you give them to find out who that is and not some ideal you want them to be.

There is no perfect system but for all of humanity the family has been and still is the central determining factor in a child’s success or failure. That may mean a variety of things that don’t fall into the idyllic nuclear family that has existed for only a minority of people throughout time. For a child, it takes only one person who truly sees them, who will teach them to negotiate their way through the world, and help them do things badly that they’re interested in until they can go off on their own to master that task.

Homeschooling is the one opportunity that can maximize your child’s freedom to be themselves. Add a few siblings so they have to negotiate and socialize each other or some close friends that you see often. Then pay attention! Watch them, correct their play, and expose them to things that seem to hard or make them anxious a tiny bit at a time so that they can be bold in their journey through life. One of our adopted kiddos was terrified of everything, as stiff as an old man walking into any new building or at the start of any new activity. Just 4 years old and terrified of everything.

Me, “We’re going on a camel ride,”

He says, “that’s scary,”

I say, “You don’t have to ride the camel.”

He says, “No, I want to ride it.” He held on to me so tight.

It’s been the same with everything in the year that we’ve had him. He looks at the new adventure with fear in his eyes, I tell him he doesn’t have to and he responds with I want to! His hands have relaxed and his legs are no longer stiff, just a bit stiff in the shoulders now on our adventures to ride small trains, go tubing down a small rapid or petting a snack. As hard as adopting is and assimilating 3 small boys into our family, it’s so worth the effort so that I can be reminded of the lesson of doing things even when you’re afraid. Watching him assess the new activity, look at me to make sure I’ll be there with him and then step out and touch the world, it’s a miracle for me every time I get to be part of that moment.

Stop worrying so much about Johnny reading by the time he’s 8 and teach them more about the beauty of doing things badly, trying new things and touching the world. Allow your child to hang out with people who share their interest rather than their birth date. Let them be in fourth grade math and twelfth grade reading but struggling with spelling, without being made to feel like something is wrong with them. Free them from the tyranny of being the same as everyone else.

What I love best about homeschooled children is how weird they are. When I was a younger mom, in the early 90s, there weren’t that many homeschool families and the groups were very Christian based (not saying that’s bad) which made for alot of conformity to a perceived standard. Now with the growth in homeschooling there are unique families with unique children and so many reasons that people are homeschooling and it’s a delight to listen to an enthusiastic child’s ONE topic of interest like dinosaurs or insects or history.

Government school is old and willfully blind to the harm it continues to perpetrate on the next generation. In order for you child to live a heroic life they need a hero who will rescue them from the belly of the beast and set them free on a journey of their own making. Stop underestimating the malevolence of the bureaucracy designed to perpetuate itself while gobbling up your children at it’s altar.

 

 

 

 

Forced Seating

We actually had a kid go to government school. 9th grade, one year, one kid once. This broken kid showed up at our home at 10 years old and hated my guts. ALL moms were going to reject him so his main goal was to not get hurt by this new mom. Due to all the moves and trauma learning was of no interest to him for those first 5 years. So, off to indoctrination camp so I could be freed up to enjoy the two younger siblings we adopted with him.

He left the house at 6:15 and didn’t get home until after 4. The 40 minute bus ride on a 17 minute journey was the beginning of a day of sitting. Then sitting in class and sitting in athletics class when he wasn’t cooperating, sitting in his agricultural mechanics class because they were lectured and shown videos instead of making things.

Sitting is the new smoking! At least as far as it’s something you can do something about. I’m guilty for sure, but my kids aren’t.

Some interesting studies are being done on children sitting for long periods of time. BothVascular affects, and  bone formation – these are some starter sites for you to do your own research on how sitting has long term negative impacts.

So, your kid is sitting on the bus, at school on the bus and what do they want to do when they get home? Play video games! Help! Sitting is a struggle for homeschool parents also.

ADHD is the victim, not the culprit of  the sitting crisis. Humans are designed to move and children need as much movement as possible to fully develop. What the system calls a disorder (ADHD) in children is actually a disorder in the system not the children.

So, last year out of the blue our adoption agency called and said they had three brothers 2, 3, and 4 who’d been in 9 placements in two years and they needed that forever home. Being older I was sure when I called my husband at work he’d say no BUT he said, “Of course we’ll take them.” These little brothers came with a long list of therapists including a physical therapist who saw the 3 and 4 year old twice a week. After a few weeks she asked me what we were doing different. I asked her what do you mean? She said they are so much better, the three year old can now ride his bike jump and climb on the play structure in the yard. His label is “low muscle tone” but when I looked it up it said gymnastics was a good sport for this issue. Is that a disability? This kid is also amazingly flexible! It’s simple really, we went outside and played without any special therapy except what the therapist had assigned for us to practice.

The sweet therapist had been with the boys almost 2 years after the bio family broke some bones and they got removed. She really loved the boys and did everything she could but if the daily life didn’t include playing outside her ability to help the boys was limited to 1 hour twice a week. These little guys were so weak when we got them and unable to help themselves climb, swing, jump etc but just 3 months in they were doing great.

However, being weak wasn’t considered the problem with these tiny brothers or the reason they were moved constantly, it was their loud, angry and destructive behavior that was considered the problem. Guess what went away with outdoor play?

Why can’t these kids just sit still and behave?!!! Because they’re kids you moron!

As we approach the one year anniversary of our “Gotcha Day” what adopters refer to as the day they got the kids, I’m amazed at the difference in these boys. Our now 4 and 5 year old are swimming and the 3 year old would be swimming but he has to wear his float until he’s fully potty trained 🙂

So, what’s the solution? If you’re like us you get wrapped up in your day, doing math, listening to kids read or doing flashcards, all the things that need to get done in a homeschool day. We literally set the timer and put our stuff aside and play OR if someone is getting antsy they can go play. Everyone doesn’t have to learn to read at 4 years old, everyone doesn’t have to do everything in the curriculum you bought. Everyone does need time to play, run and climb.

Our outdoor activities have to fluctuate with the seasons. When it’s cold we take afternoon walks when it’s hot we go swimming or to a splashpad. The beauty of homeschooling is we can play outside in the morning when we know the day will be scorching hot and do seat work during the heat of the day. At school if your class has recess at 11am that’s great in the winter but in the summer are the kids really going to run around and play? That’s if the ADHD labeled kid isn’t left in the classroom because he wasn’t behaving while being forced to sit for hours. Now that’s a stupid solution to a problem.

The main point I’d like to make is that movement is the answer to most of the childhood learning and behavior issues not medication.

Our oldest adopted kid was labeled and medicated to sit still and medicated to help him sleep at night. Why doesn’t that seem like a stupid idea to doctors, teachers and parents? Maybe because there’s very little money in healthy habits?

I’m at a seating by choice stage, not forced and I can feel the negative impact. I’m always feeding people, sitting to listen to them read, do flash cards etc. So, now I have to get moving myself because at 55 I’m going to need to be in better shape to raise a 3 year old 🙂

 

 

 

What Grade Are You In?

Why is this a question that people assume homeschooled kids should have an answer for? Aside from government education camp this question is irrelevant to an individual’s life and actually even in that system, grade level doesn’t correlate to age for all students. It’s a sorting and tagging question that has more to do with funding than age or ability.

If you’re 8 and in the third grade but you can’t read, have ADHD, autism or any of the other “disabilities” you bring in extra funding to your indoctrination center. If you’re 8 and in third grade but are reading at a college level you get to go to the “gifted and talented” class which also brings in more funding for your center because these two groups need specialized teachers. Really? I can’t google that and teach my kid or show them how to learn something on their own? We live in an age where 90% of what we want to learn is available free online.

Here’s an actual conversation with my 11 and 12 year old.

Man, “What grade are you in?” (he knows we homeschool)

Kids – blank stare

Me asking the man, “Grades are a false construct to sort children for funding in government schools. What grade are you in?”

Man – blank stare – then, “I guess I’d be in 43rd grade.” he subtracted 5 from his age 🙂 “I never thought of it like that.”

From kindergarten to 12th grade you’re tucked into a system that has no relevance outside that system. Maybe something is wrong with that type of system?

Should children be sorted by ages? This isn’t just how government schools decide kids should be placed neatly by born on date but churches and ironically even homeschool co-ops. How old are you? Eight? Okay you are assigned to group three.

How do adults organize themselves when they have the freedom to choose who they associate with? By ability, interest,  jobs, projects etc. Go into a gun store or a quilt shop and spend the day. You’ll see people of all age groups wandering in and having discussions about a topic they love. Some to impart what they’ve learned to those interested in learning and the people new to the activity get to learn from people who actually love their topic. This is true learning and teaching, when both sides are interested. The rest is force and yes I force my kids to learn certain things.

Why can’t we allow children the same freedom? If children had the freedom to associate with the people who lined up with their interests the severe bullying epidemic would decrease dramatically. “School environment” is currently the number one reason to pull your kids out of school.

When a person of any age is forced to participate in a group and they have no skill they’re going to get harassed. It’s part of our evil nature to pick on the outsider to make ourselves feel better. When 30 kids are in this situation with one adult the harassment can be brutal. Especially when those “kids” in highschool are 19 or older.  One teacher can’t watch all of those kids and see each harassment that for some kids builds into years of psychological terror about going to school. For which their parents say, “You have to learn how to get on in the world with other people.”

In San Antonio we have “post highschool, highschool” for kids over 19 that haven’t graduated. It’s a self paced, flexible time schedule for working students and they help them “recover credits” so they can graduate. Hmm, if that works why don’t all highschools offer a self paced learning option starting at 9th grade? After dropping out of highschool a number of times for various reasons (mostly boredom) I finished 2 years of highschool in about 3 months, primarily through testing out of subjects I already knew. Like two years of highschool history done in a week based on multiple choice, true/false tests that I only needed to get an 80% on to pass. At 18 this further ingrained the stupidity of the government school system.

Maybe ask yourself if you would enjoy the day you’ve subjected your child to? Would you like to ride on a bus full of people who ignore each other while on their head phones? Would you enjoy being told when you can and can’t go to the bathroom? Would you enjoy being seated next to someone who harasses you? Would you enjoy being terrible at math everyday because you’ve been forced into the “age/grade” category? Would you enjoy being in a reading group where you’re super excellent but all you hear is you’re bad at math? And then if you complain that must mean something is wrong with you, you’re not fitting in, now you get labeled and medicated!

Children desire freedom just as much as adults do. They want to be with people who enjoy what they enjoy. Just like you. Don’t rob them of that by forcing them to get stressed out in their born on group!

The joy of homeschooling is watching happy homeschool kids play. On a given co-op day at our house kids will be swimming, playing legos, tinker toys, riding bikes, chatting, running around being goofy and it fluctuates during the day not based on age but based on interest. While there is some age separation its based on interest and ability. For poetry memorization all ages gather to listen, unless you’re 2 and aren’t interested in being quiet 🙂 For latin challenges it’s divided by ability, so if you want to be with the “older” kids you have to study harder. Older kids could be one 8 year old who’s really good at memorizing up to 16.

What grade are you in isn’t just a challenge for government schools but also for homeschoolers who are so indoctrinated we think that’s a must! How do we turn this tide away from grade stamps to initiative, ability and interest groups?

Yes, there are things your children need to learn about life and educationally speaking like math and writing but can you design a better process for them so they can learn the basics for the things they have no talent for and excel in the areas they enjoy?

Remember you decided to have your kids, live like you actually wanted them.