There I sat with a group of other women, eating lunch, and conversing. Some of the women were very similar to me, and perhaps others were not, but we all had one thing in common. We had made the decision to homeschool our children.
As I sat amongst a group of my peers pushing my salad across my plate I frequently glanced out the window at my daughter who ran around outside in a flurry of energy and excitement. As I watched her playing with about a dozen or so other homeschooled children I couldn’t help but notice how normal they looked. They were socializing, and it didn’t escape me that my kid was doing something so many people worried she wouldn’t be able to do.
It’s true. Over the past year that I publicly began discussing my family’s decision to homeschool I had been met with quite a suprising number of people ready to offer me their reasons for why this wasn’t the best idea. And I was honestly taken aback by the number of people who had no personal involvement with my daughters, but were suddenly very opinionated about the direction of their educational journey. I often times wanted to interupt their strong, vocal stance to ask if they even knew my children’s names.
Other than the concerns that I must be keeping my children in a cage, and only letting them out on Saturdays to help me sell homemade bread and honey to folks in town for supplemental income, there also seemed to be a prevalent worry from my well-meaning friends that my children would be social misfits in today’s world if I kept them chained up at the dining room table for school.
“What about their socialization?!” people would ask.
This very real concern for my daughters’ ability to interact with other humans was on the forefront of everyone’s mind, and as I watched her playing and interacting in a healthy manner with other kids her age I completely understood.
You see, I was concerned about her socialization as well. And that’s why I decided to homeschool.
Although it’s been twenty years ago I still remember what public school was like, and I also have the opportunity of being a stepparent to a child in the public school system. I have seen socialization at work, and it hasn’t changed that much.
Name brand clothing is still given more importance than it should really hold, and somehow your ability to obtain these brands help you achieve a certain status symbol in the silly hierarchy that is popularity. What’s a popular brand has changed, but what it implies to you as a person has not. And if placing importance on what’s on the outside of a person rather the inside is a huge part of being socialized then I’m definitely worried about my kids. Like my own mother I refuse to spend irrational amounts of money on clothing for my children so they can be accepted in society, and if that’s what matters then I have a lot to be worried about for their socialization.
Also from what I can see kids are still mean, and bullies still persist. Some people will say “kids will be kids,” and that children need to be bullied so they can learn to grow a tough skin and learn to stand up for themselves. But as a child who is lucky she didn’t commit suicide in high school related to bullying I’ll have to go ahead and disagree. I don’t think kids need to be forced to confront bullying at an age where they are so fragile and still learning their own self-worth. Rather I think parents need to teach their kids not to be cruel and sadistic, but I have no control over other people. But I do have control over my children’s environment. If being bullied is considered just a part of growing up then I have a major problem with socialization, and I’m worried.
I am privy to youth today on social media, and if socialization means it’s important to gain as many “followers” as I can, and my opinion of my self is based on how many “likes” I receive then I’m beyond worried for what society is telling children is most important in life.
When children are so distracted by trying to get a boyfriend or girlfriend at eleven years old because “all the other kids have one,” that they aren’t learning a thing in class then what’s the point anyway?
If you can’t manage to eat a healthy lunch because you’re worried that you’re not a size zero like the other girls then you have to wonder what false impressions society is giving to young ladies. If dressing sexy for class is on a pre-teen’s mind then how much thought is on class work anyway? With so much pressure to be pretty on the outside, and so little emphasis on being inwardly cool then I’m really worried about the direction socialization is taking for young girls like mine. I want to raise young women who base their worth on their heart, not their thigh gap.
And I’m sure you can still teach young men and women in the public school system morals. I’m not saying you can’t. And some of the best influences I received in my life were from teachers I had in the public school system. But teachers can only do so much. The majority of the responsibility rests with parents, and sadly not all parents will send their children out to face the public like they should. That’s not judgement; it’s sad fact.
Not everyone can homeschool, and not everyone should. Homeschooling is not better; it’s just what’s best for my family. And if there’s going to be a concern for my children’s socialization then my question is are you concerned about the socialization of your own children? You should be. All of us as parents should be.
The world is changing, and the view of what’s important in life is often skewed. It’s negatively impacting the next generation. Am I sheltering my girls against this? You betcha I am! That’s my job. Because I’m worried about their socialization. And that’s why I choose to homeschool. So thank you for your concern, but I’m working on their socialization as we speak.