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.