Homeschooling and ‘Socialization’

 

My kids starting homeschooling 30 years ago, when homeschooling really wasn’t much of a thing. A question commonly asked back then, and probably still today, was “how will they be socialized?”

In fact, they all came out pretty well, at least in that regard. (Decades of having me as a dad has left some of them with an … unconventional … sense of humor, but that’s another story.)

I wonder how many of those who fretted about the socialization of homeschooled children — indeed, who worried about every aspect of homeschooling — are similarly concerned about the current government-and-teachers’-union-inspired catastrophe of scores of millions of unschooled children trapped in an unnecessary and counter-productive lockdown.

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  1. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I’m still hopeful that the lockdown results will undo some of the influence wielded by the teachers’ unions and administration on the public education system.

    • #1
  2. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Why did we ever trust them at all?

    • #2
  3. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Why did we ever trust them at all?

    What do you mean “we,” white man?

    • #3
  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Of course, between parents, neighbors, cousins, siblings, other homeschoolers, and church, homeschooled kids will never get the socialization they need–the socialization best provided by leftist indoctrination in a context filled with drugs, cussing, and promiscuity. Never homeschool.

    • #4
  5. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Member
    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    While there has been no interruption in my kids’ schooling due to COVID (we extended “Christmas break” one extra week because our house got hit with the WuFlu), it’s certainly interrupted their homeschool choir group, their church youth group and associated activities, and really made it difficult for them to get together with friends.

    So yeah . . . homeschooled kids are also affected by these ridiculous lockdowns.

    Though I do wonder if all those people who looked skeptically at homeschooling have a completely different view of it now.

    • #5
  6. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    All y’all who are homeschooling your kids are doing a great thing for them and everyone. Thank you.

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Do you call it socialization if you put a bunch of kids of the same age together in a classroom or in after-school activities?  For socialization they need to interact with more of an inter-generational group than that, and have responsibilities for those in other age groups. School life is extremely limited in providing socialization opportunities. There is some socialization done there, but most school settings provide a rather narrow range of social experiences.

    And most home-schooling isn’t done family-hermit style off in the deep woods, away from other families and people. (In extremely rare cases it is done that way, but those cases don’t characterize home schooling.) 

    • #7
  8. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Member
    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Do you call it socialization if you put a bunch of kids of the same age together in a classroom or in after-school activities?  For socialization they need to interact with more of an inter-generational group than that, and have responsibilities for those in other age groups. School life is extremely limited in providing socialization opportunities. There is some socialization done there, but most school settings provide a rather narrow range of social experiences.

    Yes! And I might suggest that this is one reason why we have a few generations of young snowflakes who can’t seem to deal with people who have different perspectives. They spend 13 (or more) years of their lives with people of approximately the same age, who have all been fed the same views, who share all the same life experiences. They do not interact with people outside their narrow peer group.

    Being with only people your same age for 8 hours a day for 9 months of the year stunts development. Yet we’ve been doing that for decades and calling it normal.

    Small families and distant extended families contribute to this as well. Because if you have a lot of siblings or cousins you see regularly, (not to mention aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.) you get that intergenerational interaction that is so necessary for development.

    • #8
  9. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Austen, my grandson, has a best friend, Liam, who is the youngest of four children. At first–the winter before last, that is–the kids were at home, and they communicated via their laptops. Both kids attend a private Waldorf school. The school taught virtually throughout that first winter and spring.

    It was a tough decision for the school because they had been keeping the kids away from “screens” successfully. I fully support the idea of holding off as long as possible in introducing the kids to computers and the Internet. But the school and the parents finally had to give in because of the pandemic. But they’ve used it well, and the kids aren’t sitting around their bedrooms playing on the Internet all day. That has to be a big problem in a lot of families, but the Waldorf school has been working on this problem since the pandemic started. They have been very concerned about the kids having too much unsupervised time on the Internet. I couldn’t agree more.

    At any rate, during that spring, the two families formed a “pod.” So for the past 18 months, Liam and Austen have been able to get together almost every day at one of the two houses, and they sleep over at each other’s houses. The families have also been getting together for outdoor activities since a year ago spring.

    My grandson also studies the violin, so he has lessons at his violin teacher’s home. No masks, just social distancing. And concerts have been over Zoom. My grandson also skis at a local family-owned ski slope in the town next to his. So he has been with those kids without any interruption. And he also goes to horseback riding camp and a violin camp each summer. Those camping sessions went relatively normally.

    I think the idea behind the pod–a small group of people who agree to inform the others if they are in contact with an infected person or become infected themselves–was a fantastic way for families to work with the difficult rules that were set up in so many communities.

    I don’t know if the masks work to prevent the spread of diseases, but they have certainly enabled people to live relatively normally. It may be pure theater, but maybe it has served an important purpose, given how scared people have been. The masks have given people a way to be in the presence of the other people comfortably.

    This event has been so difficult for families. My daughter and her husband and son live in the outskirts of Burlington, Vermont, which, even with the four colleges in that small city, seemed to escape the worst of the virus. It wasn’t like Boston or New York City. I’m sure families who live in the cities have had a really tough time with helping the kids find opportunities to meet with friends.

    • #9
  10. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    Socialization is possibly the most critical reason to homeschool.  Our first exposure to homeschooling was through a resident CHP officer in a small community near where we lived in extreme northern California.  The parents pulled their two sons out of the public school because their sons were being harassed by their classmates.  Those two kids’ learning took off like scalded dogs – at home.  

    When we returned to California after a few years in Las Vegas, NV, we were faced with a dilemma.  At least in those days, Clark County public schools were excellent.  But our daughters attended a Christian school that was better still.  Upon returning to California, we found that our kids were so far ahead, academically, of this state’s public schools, that placing them in that environment was never an option.  

    So.  between church, scouts & 4-H, there was no lack of socialization opportunities, and we had control over those opportunities.  Musicians all, they were welcomed in every youth orchestra around.  Solo contests, honor orchestras, the opportunities were amazing.  Our son got involved in debate.  This led him to attend the university of his choice, on a debate scholarship, and a national championship.  Daughters were accepted everywhere they applied, on music scholarships.  

    Now that they’re grown and married, they are doing great in their chosen fields.   And all seven grandchildren are being homeschooled.  

    Now, what would you like to tell me about socialization?

    • #10
  11. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Quietpi (View Comment):
    Musicians all, they were welcomed in every youth orchestra around.  Solo contests, honor orchestras, the opportunities were amazing.

    I helped out with our local youth orchestra. It was hard to get into the orchestra, and most of the seats went to the handful of homeschooled kids on Cape Cod because they were actually far ahead of all of their public school peers.

    I’m sure there are many reasons for their being so far ahead of their public school peers, but I know it was also partly because the homeschooled kids had more time to practice. It is really shocking how much time public schools suck out of a child’s day in exchange for very little actual skill-building education–foreign languages and science, for example. And there’s almost no one-to-one education for the public school kids. The healthy and balanced relationships that kids have through their middle and high school years actually happen in homeschooling and other out-of-school situations such as part-time jobs and volunteer work. The public school teachers are simply too busy and have too many students to be able to engage in a friendly way with the kids.

    Furthermore, a homeschooled student has instruction tailored to exactly where he or she is on his or her learning arc. It’s the essence of private tutoring. The students aren’t wasting time listening to material they already know.

    My only concern for homeschooled students has always been the SATs. I listen to parents talk about how they develop their own curricula, but in the final analysis, the kids want to go to college, and they will have to do well on the SATs. Well, that’s not true anymore. I am so happy to see the Ivy League schools abandoning these high-stakes tests. That’s really good for kids who are being homeschooled.

    • #11
  12. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Why did we ever trust them at all?

    What do you mean “we,” white man?

    Could I have some lemon juice for that paper cut.

    • #12
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    ‘Socialization’ means that children make up and develop an ethos to function in an artificial school environment and then bring that [redacted] out into the real world and shove it down other people’s throats. 

    • #13
  14. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Do you call it socialization if you put a bunch of kids of the same age together in a classroom or in after-school activities? For socialization they need to interact with more of an inter-generational group than that, and have responsibilities for those in other age groups. School life is extremely limited in providing socialization opportunities. There is some socialization done there, but most school settings provide a rather narrow range of social experiences.

    And most home-schooling isn’t done family-hermit style off in the deep woods, away from other families and people. (In extremely rare cases it is done that way, but those cases don’t characterize home schooling.)

    We used to learn this in the public schools when Lord of the Flies was on the English curriculum.

    • #14
  15. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I’m sure there are a lot of aspects of socialization. I’m the oldest of seven children; I have six of my own. My parents each had four siblings, and their families were small compared to those of my grandparents, who had 10 and 13 in two cases, and several (not sure how many) in two others.

    The point being, kids used to get lots of opportunities to interact in large, multi-generational settings, often in rural settings, often with a mix of work and play, responsibility and freedom. It’s very different now. I don’t know how well school fits into the general socialization/social skills building framework. I can’t believe that the 4,000 student mega-high schools are good for anyone: that seems like a pack environment that would breed all sorts of bad behavior. On the other hand, the one kid at home on a screen all day wouldn’t be good either.

    I’m sure it’s complicated. But anyone who worried about the lack of socialization among home-schooled kids should be very worried about the current remote/unschooling situation. (I never worried about the former, but I suspect the latter is quite damaging, for a host of reasons if not for the socialization aspect.)

    • #15
  16. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Barfly (View Comment):

    All y’all who are homeschooling your kids are doing a great thing for them and everyone. Thank you.

    I’ll second this comment. 

    • #16
  17. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Furthermore, a homeschooled student has instruction tailored to exactly where he or she is on his or her learning arc. It’s the essence of private tutoring. The students aren’t wasting time listening to material they already know.

    My only concern for homeschooled students has always been the SATs. I listen to parents talk about how they develop their own curricula, but in the final analysis, the kids want to go to college, and they will have to do well on the SATs. Well, that’s not true anymore. I am so happy to see the Ivy League schools abandoning these high-stakes tests. That’s really good for kids who are being homeschooled.

    This is a big part of it.  The parents’ goal is not for the student to pass the next standardized test.  Rather, it’s to have the student actually learn that which s/he has been taught, and demonstrates it.  And if not, then keep working on it rather than pushing on to the next lesson in accordance with the class schedule.  

    Keeping the SAT, etc. in mind is of course a good planning element.  But once again, a well-rounded education will prepare the student for whatever test or task lies ahead of him/her.  Our kids had no problem scoring very well.  I’m concerned about this move away from the SAT, though.  It leaves the admissions process in the hands of clearly prejudiced academics.  That does not give me warm fuzzy feelings.  

    In California, students are eligible to take the “High School Equivalency” test on completion of their sophomore (10th grade) year.  Our kids passed with ease.  I remember a comment from one.  It was not complementary.  

    • #17
  18. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Henry Racette: A question commonly asked back then, and probably still today, was “how will they be socialized?”

    We didn’t homeschool our kids, but whenever I here someone brings the question up, I say, “Socialized, as in going to a school where they can buy drugs, join gangs, get bullied, and harassed into having sex?”

    • #18
  19. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Member
    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I can’t believe that the 4,000 student mega-high schools are good for anyone: that seems like a pack environment that would breed all sorts of bad behavior.

    One way that would fix education in this country is to do away with mega-schools and return to smaller schools and school districts with more local control.

    • #19
  20. Tedley Member
    Tedley
    @Tedley

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: A question commonly asked back then, and probably still today, was “how will they be socialized?”

    We didn’t homeschool our kids, but whenever I here someone brings the question up, I say, “Socialized, as in going to a school where they can buy drugs, join gangs, get bullied, and harassed into having sex?”

    This was my thought following this thread.  Everyone will respond differently, and for people who make friends easily, they may excel at socializing in schools.  I didn’t, and so I preferred college to everything before it, because the garbage going on beforehand wasn’t there.  You were either disciplined enough to complete the work and pass the classes, or you were out.  The bullies and unserious students in high school weren’t disciplined enough to make it through. 

    • #20
  21. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    My daughter home schooled all five.  There were abundant homeschooling parents and they got tougher in a variety of ways.  It wasn’t a problem.  The older girls were able to attend one of the top private religious schools when they moved from Chicago to South Bend,  so went there their last two years.  They moved south after that, and the other three have found private, catholic and public schools not up to snuff in distance and classroom learning.  So she has returned to homeschooling the youngest and the others were already interested in learning so the schools bore them but do less damage than they would had they always attended them.  Our schools, most private, religious and public  just don’t meet basics.  We need to follow New Zealand type parent run independent public schools.   Most parents still care and most teachers do, so the New Zealand model of teacher and parent run independent schools would work for us as well.  Parents choose and teachers compete.  Public but competitive.  

    • #21
  22. CaptainMayotoast Inactive
    CaptainMayotoast
    @CaptainMayotoast

    I was homeschooled and loved it.  When I say, “homeschool”, I mean that my parents selected curricula from a catalog, my father taught math and science, while my mother taught all else.  Once I reached high school grades, I started to take some online courses (including AP courses, like calculus live and online, which was probably one of the most stretching things I had done, intellectually, along side my debate league I was apart of).  I was the oldest of my cousins/siblings, so my extended family were concerned as to how I would turn out.  My homeschooling education was founded on faith in Jesus and the notion that my parents could do better than the public school system.  My parents have been validated in their decision to homeschool.  I think perseverance, care (that naturally, most parents ought to provide), and one on one learning for my formative years constitute keys to success in my home education.

    • #22
  23. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I can’t believe that the 4,000 student mega-high schools are good for anyone: that seems like a pack environment that would breed all sorts of bad behavior.

    One way that would fix education in this country is to do away with mega-schools and return to smaller schools and school districts with more local control.

    a thousand times yes!

    • #23
  24. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Furthermore, a homeschooled student has instruction tailored to exactly where he or she is on his or her learning arc. It’s the essence of private tutoring. The students aren’t wasting time listening to material they already know.

    My only concern for homeschooled students has always been the SATs. I listen to parents talk about how they develop their own curricula, but in the final analysis, the kids want to go to college, and they will have to do well on the SATs. Well, that’s not true anymore. I am so happy to see the Ivy League schools abandoning these high-stakes tests. That’s really good for kids who are being homeschooled.

    This is a big part of it. The parents’ goal is not for the student to pass the next standardized test. Rather, it’s to have the student actually learn that which s/he has been taught, and demonstrates it. And if not, then keep working on it rather than pushing on to the next lesson in accordance with the class schedule.

    Keeping the SAT, etc. in mind is of course a good planning element. But once again, a well-rounded education will prepare the student for whatever test or task lies ahead of him/her. Our kids had no problem scoring very well. I’m concerned about this move away from the SAT, though. It leaves the admissions process in the hands of clearly prejudiced academics. That does not give me warm fuzzy feelings.

    In California, students are eligible to take the “High School Equivalency” test on completion of their sophomore (10th grade) year. Our kids passed with ease. I remember a comment from one. It was not complementary.

    If the test was the equivalent of high school, we could open it up to grade schoolers.  

    But it isn’t. 

    • #24
  25. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I can’t believe that the 4,000 student mega-high schools are good for anyone: that seems like a pack environment that would breed all sorts of bad behavior.

    One way that would fix education in this country is to do away with mega-schools and return to smaller schools and school districts with more local control.

    Any number of old movies have a school marm brought in who teaches the kids things that just don’t set right with the local parents. Soon, though, the teacher is proven to be wiser than the hayseed proletariat and they are grateful to have such a wonderful human being as part of their benighted down.

    Large schools do this wholesale, they don’t bother to prove anything, and the community is expected to keep out of it.

    Teaching ain’t easy. But it’s a lot harder when teachers assume their job is to fix your kids for you.

    Rightly so. That’s not their job. Nor is it their right.

    All of this is to say, yes, we need smaller, more local schools, more parental and local involvement (improvements and repairs don’t have to be state contracts).

    Added: I would like to note that when a child misbehaved in the past, he would ultimately be sent home for the parent(s) to deal with. This became all but impossible with the proliferation of single parents, working moms, and lawsuits against schools. The result is that distractive and destructive children remain in the classroom. There is no simple fix for this.

    • #25
  26. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Tedley (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: A question commonly asked back then, and probably still today, was “how will they be socialized?”

    We didn’t homeschool our kids, but whenever I here someone brings the question up, I say, “Socialized, as in going to a school where they can buy drugs, join gangs, get bullied, and harassed into having sex?”

    This was my thought following this thread. Everyone will respond differently, and for people who make friends easily, they may excel at socializing in schools. I didn’t, and so I preferred college to everything before it, because the garbage going on beforehand wasn’t there. You were either disciplined enough to complete the work and pass the classes, or you were out. The bullies and unserious students in high school weren’t disciplined enough to make it through.

    Children are savages and only some of them are ever truly civilized. 

    • #26
  27. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    TBA (View Comment):

    Tedley (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: A question commonly asked back then, and probably still today, was “how will they be socialized?”

    We didn’t homeschool our kids, but whenever I here someone brings the question up, I say, “Socialized, as in going to a school where they can buy drugs, join gangs, get bullied, and harassed into having sex?”

    This was my thought following this thread. Everyone will respond differently, and for people who make friends easily, they may excel at socializing in schools. I didn’t, and so I preferred college to everything before it, because the garbage going on beforehand wasn’t there. You were either disciplined enough to complete the work and pass the classes, or you were out. The bullies and unserious students in high school weren’t disciplined enough to make it through.

    Children are savages and only some of them are ever truly civilized.

    “Bring back the Trivium,” I said in my first post, citing this observation as well.

    • #27
  28. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    TBA (View Comment):

    In California, students are eligible to take the “High School Equivalency” test on completion of their sophomore (10th grade) year. Our kids passed with ease. I remember a comment from one. It was not complementary.

    If the test was the equivalent of high school, we could open it up to grade schoolers.  

    But it isn’t. 

    We tested our own kids while they were in 7th or 8th grade (equivalent, age – wise).  The test was a Stanford something.  We were disappointed in the results.  That was because if somebody scored in any category over the 12th grade, that category was simply listed as”PHS” (post high school).  Well, we knew that before we gave them the test.  So it was largely a waste of money.  But it did produce objective evidence of their standings.  They were well into high school level in all subjects.

    I didn’t mention – they all took the Equivalency exam at first opportunity once they were eligible.  

    • #28
  29. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Tedley (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: A question commonly asked back then, and probably still today, was “how will they be socialized?”

    We didn’t homeschool our kids, but whenever I here someone brings the question up, I say, “Socialized, as in going to a school where they can buy drugs, join gangs, get bullied, and harassed into having sex?”

    This was my thought following this thread. Everyone will respond differently, and for people who make friends easily, they may excel at socializing in schools. I didn’t, and so I preferred college to everything before it, because the garbage going on beforehand wasn’t there. You were either disciplined enough to complete the work and pass the classes, or you were out. The bullies and unserious students in high school weren’t disciplined enough to make it through.

    Yeah, the anti-homeschoolers think if kids are homeschooled, they won’t have any friends to socialize with.  They don’t realize most neighborhoods are packed with school-aged children who know and play with each other . . .

    • #29
  30. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Stad (View Comment):

    Tedley (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: A question commonly asked back then, and probably still today, was “how will they be socialized?”

    We didn’t homeschool our kids, but whenever I here someone brings the question up, I say, “Socialized, as in going to a school where they can buy drugs, join gangs, get bullied, and harassed into having sex?”

    This was my thought following this thread. Everyone will respond differently, and for people who make friends easily, they may excel at socializing in schools. I didn’t, and so I preferred college to everything before it, because the garbage going on beforehand wasn’t there. You were either disciplined enough to complete the work and pass the classes, or you were out. The bullies and unserious students in high school weren’t disciplined enough to make it through.

    Yeah, the anti-homeschoolers think if kids are homeschooled, they won’t have any friends to socialize with. They don’t realize most neighborhoods are packed with school-aged children who know and play with each other . . .

    My sense is that children are much less likelt likely to ‘go out and play’ than they have been in the past. But I don’t have actual evidence to back me up.

    • #30
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