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But What About Socialization?

A common concern for homeschoolers is “socialization”! OMGoodness! This question use to annoy me so much that at one point in my homeschooling journey I would SCREAM back, “WHAT ABOUT SOCIALIZATION?”

To me it was ludicrous that people would ask that question!

Kids are killing kids!

        Kids are raping kids!

              Kids are disrespecting teachers!

                   Kids are playing the choking game with their peers!

Do you think I’m really worried about my kids hanging out with and socializing with them!!!

17 years into homeschooling, I don’t get this “socialization question” anymore. Time has been on my side and has proven me right. My 4 African American sons are different from the culture and yet are very much part of the culture. They like rap music (one is a Christian rapper and has quite a following on YouTube), know the latest dances, can recite lines from any movie out there (where do they get this ability?), and enjoy Facebook, Twitter and texting.

Yet they are ferocious readers, respect authority, feel comfortable talking to adults, love babies and love to hang out with their family. Dad and I can get a hug and a kiss from any of our sons IN PUBLIC and not get treated like a big pimple.

If anything homeschooling provides more opportunities for growing your children into responsible, socially interactive adults; instead of your child sitting behind a desk surrounded by peers for 7hours a day they have a chance get out into the real world and interact with their community.

Here are several ways to make sure that your homeschooled child is “properly socialized”:

  • Local sports groups: little league, soccer, basketball, etc
  • Homeschool sports teams: these events often happen during homeschool hours and can be counted as P.E.
  • Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are popular faith-based groups for children to join and develop lifelong friendships.
  • Hanging out in the neighborhood. They can develop their peer-to-peer social skills by mingling with other kids that live in your neighborhood.
  • Hanging out with cousins & church youth groups.
  • Homeschool playdates: many homeschoool families or associations meet weekly at the park, skating rink, bowling alleys etc so that the kids AND moms can get out of the house.

As you can see socialization happens the same way for non-homeschoolers; they too interact in local sport groups, Boys Scouts, neighborhoods, youth groups and skating rinks.  So when people would ask me, ‘what about socialization?’ I would recite our many activities. But on the inside I would think to myself, “Duh we’re doing the same things that your child is doing minus 7hours of seat time!” Aaargh!

It’s very rare now that I get asked the “socialization” question, thank goodness, because as I type this I can see that I still have some frustration behind the subject. 17 years into homeschooling I see this generation turning a dangerous corner driven by technology. None of our children are immune, homeschooled or not. I still prefer to take my chances on homeschooling my children and have them “socialized” my way.

How do you answer the socialization question? Does this issue concern you?

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To Our Mutual Success, Lady T

  • Brenda C.
    September 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    You have such a funny way of presenting things! My kids never treated me like a big pimple, either, I’m happy to report. lol The socialization question never bothered me because I was used to being questioned about my kids, since you don’t see a lot of white parents with black children. I usually appreciate the chance to educate people on adoption or homeschooling. I can’t remember ever being asked in a snarky way — which of course would make a difference in how I felt about being questioned!

  • heyen
    September 21, 2011 at 9:36 am

    GREATpost! I pretty much agree with all you said in your article, especially at the beggining of your article. Thank you, your post is very useful as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your great blog:) Isabella S.

  • Simocha
    September 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Just the other day a lady stopped my four year old to tell her she was lovely. Her second question after asking her name was, “Do you go to school?
    E said, “No!”
    The lady said, “Are you going next year?”
    I said, “Actually, we home school, so she’s been in school her whole life.”
    The lady said, “But, but, I thought homeschoolers weren’t socialized.”
    I said, “Actually, homeschoolers are better socialized than schooled children.” After being on my soapbox for a sec, I looked down and saw her Riverdale Elementary Teacher’s badge. Yikes! Well she started it!

    • Lady T
      September 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      she started it!

  • Farrah
    September 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Once at a park my son was playing with another little boy and I sat by chatting with his mom. The mom was so excited at how well our sons were playing and asked if we could meet at the park also on some other days….in the mist of our conversation it came out that I homeschool…She gasped…what about socialization….Um he’s playing with your son isn’t he….her response…well I guess he is…LOL Most people who ask this question don’t even think before they ask it. And others (like some uninformed family members) think that if you aren’t bullied a little then you won’t know what to do in the real world. People have a hard time going against the norm. The question annoys me, but depending on what mood i’m in, it is either used as an opportunity to educate them or to just let out some steam! lol

    • Lady T
      September 19, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      That is TOOOO funny!!!

  • nikke
    September 19, 2011 at 3:44 am

    great post Lady T. You are funny! I just started homeschooling and have been asked this question several times. It hasn’t bothered me but you make a great point. Why would someone ask that question with todays proof of homeschool success!

  • Katrina
    September 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I love how you put this. I completely agree. This question never bothered me, not once. Well, maybe early on when I would get the “why aren’t you in school” and I’d feel strange. I did sit back on several occasions and ask myself how to answer this question intelligently. I never did come up with a great reply.

    Now, after 8 years of homeschooling, it is so normal of a life for my family that I cannot imagine life any other way. My thoughts are why would you dare ask that if you only knew what your kids were actually doing and talking about during those hours they are in school. It’s not just public school that is the problem either. All discipline has broken down in all ways it seems.

    I’ve never met a more respectful group of kids than in the homeschooling community. There are so many opportunities and more are coming along all the time. I get the freedom to pick and choose things my children will love. They are exposed to so much in an environment where they are giving a chance to ask questions without being judged. My daughter is able to talk with all ages of children as well as adults on a level that most kids in school are not. She isn’t exposed to that unspoken rule in school where you only hang out with just your own age. She doesn’t know that it isn’t cool to talk with the younger ones or feel uncomfortable around older ones. It is a blessing to be around a homeschooler who doesn’t have those unspoken rules guiding their behavior.

    I usually can spot a homeschooled kid. They actually are nice to their siblings! Maybe they even spend time with them. They hang out with their parents and its not weird. They participate in all sorts of sports, dance, etc. My husband is working with a football league currently of all homeschoolers and they are great examples of playing hard but playing fair. Talk about a joy to be a part of that group!

    I see only unlimited potential. Eventually, as this generation of homeschoolers grow up and have their children, the school system will sit back and wonder how such great well-adjusted citizens come to be. I think they will start asking us for the advice to teach about how to “socialize!” in a positive way.

    • Lady T
      September 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      Yes Katrina!! The schools system will be asking US how to teach socialization skills. LOL! It is sooo easy to spot homeschoolers!! They are the ones with well-behaved children!

  • Donetta
    September 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this!! Thankfully I don’t get this question too much – especially not at this late stage of our homeschooling. But I have been asked this and I have to try very hard to remain calm and nice. 😉 It frustrates me to no end that people ask this. It’s like they think we lock our kids in a closet and never let them out!! Geez!! I try to remember that the question comes out of ignorance of what homeschooling truly is and I try to nicely explain that my kids are socialized very well, thank you very much.

    I couldn’t be happier with the way my kids have turned out (at 16 and almost 19 years old) and I attribute most of that to being homeschooled. 🙂

    • Lady T
      September 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      I love to hear from the parents with older children about how well they turned out! Thanks for commenting!

  • Sarah
    September 16, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I agree with Audrey, we have never really had negative comments about homeschooling but are usually greeted as well with, “I think that’s great. I could never do that!” That would be a great topic to explore…. Homeschooling, I couldn’t do that! LOL How many of us really can without the help of our Lord, Jesus? I have always said that I’d rather my kids not be socialized at all than to be socialized with what I usually see coming out of the public school. You missed 4H on your list of ways to socialize. That has helped our kids by getting up in front of people, showing cows in front of people, having to talk with people they aren’t comfortable, etc. It’s a great experience!! I am a little different in the fact that I don’t think they need all the same experiences as the PS kids though. My kids don’t have a phone (and will not until they drive), don’t know the latest dances, don’t watch the same movies as most kids out there, but I do believe they are still well-rounded [at least we work on that]. 🙂 I think the key to raising “healthy” children is in Christ foremost, then a STRONG family relationship where the dad is the head of the home, very involved in the kids’ lives. Great article. People who say what they do about socialization are really just ignorant because they really do not have any idea what true socialization really is. I remember hearing what socialization was in 1800 or so and the definition is so different than what it is today. It fit homeschooling to a “t.” I don’t remember what it was but something to do with socializing with different age groups and that is NOT the PS.

    • Lady T
      September 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      Sarah I did forget to mention 4H and my kids had a blast for the 4 years that we participated!

  • Tawanna
    September 16, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Great blog! I’m not really bothered much as I used to be. I wrote a paper on this very subject in 2004. This subject is brought up and can be used to educate those that don’t know much about the homeschool world. Many are in the dark about the abundant options we have because public school is “the norm” etc. Use it as a chance to enlighten others. Some will be surprised and some still won’t get it.

    • Lady T
      September 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      It is a chance to enlighten others…I’ll try to “be the light” the next time I’m asked and feel my defenses kicking in. LOL

  • Donalacasa
    September 16, 2011 at 2:29 am

    After 19 years of homeschooling, I’d have to say that yes, the socialization question bothers me, not on behalf of my children but on behalf of the person asking the question. I could see it if homeschooling was still a new phenomenon, but we have watched a whole generation of homeschooled children come up. We’ve seen them win spelling bees at the national level, seen them attempt to sail around the world, seen them own and operate their own businesses. I want to ask the person asking me about homeschool socialization where THEY have been hiding for the past 20 years.

    Of course my standard answer for anyone who asks me about my children’s socialization is to challenge them to keep my gas tank filled for a week and I will show them what all is involved in keeping them “socialized.”

    I feel that the “homeschooling equals lack of socialization” conversation is one of those things in society where if it is repeated often enough people will believe it is true. A relative even once tried to imply that homeschooling would cause my children to become psychotic, until I reminded them that one of the most heinous school shooting incidents in America took place in a public school by public schoolers in their home state. I never heard that argument again.

    Ask me about my likes and dislikes about homeschooling my children; ask me what my children like and dislike about being homeschooled, but please don’t ask me, “but what about socialization?”


    • Lady T
      September 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      LOL! Yes, it’s the ignorance that shocks me and stirs up my defenses the most! There’s too much good going on in the news about homeschoolers for people to walk around asking about socialization!

  • Audrey
    September 16, 2011 at 2:20 am

    The socialization question has never bothered me. I view it as an opportunity to educate those who are interested in knowing about what we do as homeschoolers. I’ve come to learn that those who oppose homeschooling is going to oppose it no matter what, so why expend the energy to explain something they have no intention of accepting anyway. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with people who’ve always thought it was cool that we homeschooled and sang the praises of those of us “brave” enough to do so. Because, of course, they could never do it. LOL They could if they wanted to…another story for another time. 🙂

    • Lady T
      September 16, 2011 at 2:24 am

      I wish I could be as calm as you Audrey, because what you’re saying is SOOOO TRUE!


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