Advantage of Homeschooling: Socialization

Homeschooling is an education option that is widely debated by comparing and contrasting it to public school. There are always two sides to every story, and there are many topics that always seem to come up in these discussions. This article will focus on one of the popular questions: socialization, by sharing our family’s experience as it relates to this discussion.

Homeschool Kids Don’t Have Socialization

This one pops up a lot. I find it hard to understand what people mean when they say this, or why it is usually the first thing they think of when the topic of homeschooling comes up. If they mean that sending your child to spend 8 hours a day with a bunch of kids their age in relatively unsupervised conditions is going to help develop their socialization skills, I am baffled even more.

Kids need much attention. When they are in a public setting, especially on their own, they feel the need for attention, but learn to seek it the way their peers do by example: whining, screaming, manipulation, hitting, etc. I'm not saying that my kids never whine, scream or hit, but we make it unfruitful for them to do so - they don't get what they want. To be consistent with denying their whining or screaming until they ask in a normal tone of voice or accept that no is your final answer may take 5 or even 15 minutes – for the immediate battle and a weeks to win the war. This requires a flexible environment that is rarely available in a public setting. Our experience is that being consistent in denying whining and screaming is that they quickly learn not to do it. Reinforcing this over time it then becomes a way of life.

In the public school setting kids are relatively unsupervised during activities such as lunch, recess, changing classes, gym class, bus trips, assemblies, etc. Anything goes to get what they want. They quickly learn that manipulation of various forms works to get the attention they seek. However, if they aren’t one of the “group” they may suffer verbal and sometimes physical abuse that causes them to withdraw and not want to seek communication or relationship with anyone. It only brings pain. Kids can be so cruel to one another.

If you wanted your child to learn how to bowl would you send them to a group of kids their age, or would you seek a mentor who knew how to bowl? The skill of socialization is the same as any skill. They stand to learn a skill quicker and more complete when mentored by a few that are more mature in that skill. Kids learn more how to “survive” than how to properly socialize in a public school setting. They are more likely to get more loving, supportive attention at home than in a public setting. If you communicate with your kids in a truthful mature manner they will learn to get and receive attention the same way. There are plenty of opportunities to socialize with other kids at home, in church, with homeschool groups, or in your neighbohood.

My wife and I both attended public schools growing up, and we have been enjoying the advantages of homeschooling our children for over 10 years. We understand that homeschooling is a choice, and that it is may not be for everyone. Hopefully this helped you see both sides more clearly. We hope to address some more of the debated questions in future articles.

Randall & Karen Webster have been homeschooling their 5 children for over 10 years. They offer advice and encouragement through a Free 5-part Mini-Course at Frustration Free Homeschool.

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