That Pesky Socialization Question….

My children have never attended public school. My oldest went to preschool 2 half days a week for a year and a half. And looking back, I wish he never went. Not because I thought it was bad for him, but I also didn’t think it was really good, or necessary. But as a “good” parent, I thought that it would help if he was around kids his own age to play, to be socialized. I now know it was unnecessary.unsocialized_homeschooler_lg

Kids will play, just let them. Take them to a park. Take them to the library. Take them to the store, the bank, the post office. If you think it is important to teach them to wait their turn, in line, patiently, take them to the post office 2 weeks before Christmas. My children are not hermits. They are not shy or bashful. One is quieter than the other but he is a thinker. It is his nature. Forcing him into a situation he is not comfortable with will do him no favors. But he will chat your ear off, no matter what your age, when he gets to know you a little, he has compassion for little people as well as older people and he loves to observe and learn.

Now to socialization…What IS socialization? According to Merriam-Webster it is the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status.

So what better place to be socialized than to be with a group of peers, your same age, in the same environment, day after day after day? Really?  Is this a group with with superior accumulated knowledge and with the skills to train you to adult status?

Our children spend time with kids of all ages, gaining and giving knowledge all the time. But they are also around adults, a lot of adults. My 9 year old has been known to help elderly ladies find their rooms in nursing homes when they get lost and play a few rounds of bingo. He also has spent many, many days with his grandpa learning about his life and skills. He is comfortable playing freeze tag and nerf war with kids around his own age as well. He doesn’t see kids as “cooler” than adults and he doesn’t feel the need to fit in. If a kid is mean or bullying him, he can avoid him. Unfortunately in public school that isn’t always easy.

Ideal socialization can easily happen in homeschooling. In children observing the real world, with real people, of all ages. Learning from experienced people. Learning from experience themselves. I see my children relating to people differently than even I did as a kid. They have no problem just going up and asking questions, telling stories, being themselves. I am often amazed at the information people share with my children, good information, about all kinds of things that I wouldn’t even think to ask. I just give them the opportunity to ask, to be involved in their learning and to introduce them to people, lots of different people.

How do you socialize your children you ask? Really?