What about socialization?
This is perhaps the most common question or objection related to home education. It comes in many forms: What about socialization? How will your kids learn to get along with others? Don’t your kids miss playing with other kids? Are you raising your kids in a box?
It’s true; our kids have learned differently than many others. Instead of learning “socialization skills” by being in a room with one adult and 20 or 30 other kids (who are mostly like them anyway – same age, same styles, etc.), our kids have spent more time in the family setting, mixing with adults and kids of different ages. In addition to our family life, we have participated in many activities through the years that have provided opportunities to interact with a broad range of people.
- family-based sports
- volunteer and ministry activities
- studies with other families
- field trips
- math clubs
Of course, we don’t do all of that all the time. That would be way too much! But my point is that our typical homeschooling family has been involved in many “socializing” activities.
The result? Here’s what we’ve experienced.
- Our kids have friendships with kids of different ages. This summer we’ve often had a group of 14 or more kids in our backyard, happily inventing their own games and having a jolly good time. The youngest was 5, the oldest was 17. All were enjoying themselves.
- Our kids have friendships with kids with different interests. Some are musicians; some are athletes; some are math whizzes; some are future farmers or ranchers; some are ballet dancers. Our kids get along with people that aren’t just like them.
- Our son and daughter, 17 and 14, still play with one another and are involved in each other’s activities. Yes, they have individual interests, but still have interest and concern for each other.
- Our kids are comfortable having conversations with adults, both young and not-so-young.
- Our kids volunteer in our community; as they’ve grown older, they’ve volunteered more.
And, our kids are not unusual for homeschooled kids; many homeschoolers would tell you the same thing about their family.