Socialization and the Home Schooled Child

If you are home schooling your child you have no doubt heard the question, “But what about his/her need for socialization?” By this we know they mean, “Will the child be able to interact with a variety of people in a positive way? Will he or she learn the rules and behaviors that are acceptable in his particular society?”

Is this something you really need to worry about? Well, of course it is. But…

Understand this one thing. The public schools are a horrible place for your children learn their social skills. Ever hear of “peer pressure”?

These classrooms are filled with other children who are the same age and often the same socioeconomic backgrounds. They are not taught to get along with those who are different. They learn to bully them. And the victims are told to “just ignore it.”

In a home school situation the bullies would be required to stop their ‘wrong’ behavior. And the victims are taught to ‘forgive.’

If your school has police officers roaming the halls, it is not because the children are learning to love each other. It’s because there is crime going on in the schools. Do you want your children learning their social skills from criminals? Do you really think you cannot do a better job?

Another thing to think about is this: Ever since your child was born you have been developing a bond with him/her. Then he turns five and you send him off to school. You lose precious and valuable time for building a relationship with your child. Homeschooling parents can continue building these bonds for many years.

You may not have thought about it but public schools are a recent development. Not many generations ago, children did not go to public schools and they were socialized just fine. You say things are different now. Not really. The family is still the basic unit of any society. When families fall apart so does the society. Make sure yours remains strong.

So how do you teach your children social skills?

Relax. Your children will learn social skills no matter where they are. The question is what kind? Unlike publicly educated children, home schooled children have mostly adults to teach them their social skills. And since these adults are usually family, they are more concerned that their children learn the right behaviors.

Think about it this way. Would you teach your child table manners by putting them in a school cafeteria with dozens of other kids their own age? Can you say “food fight!”? By the same token, why would you think they’d learn proper socialization skills from their peers? The light finally came on, didn’t it?

Children in public schools are put in classrooms where they are expected to conform. No freedom to be oneself. It is a well known fact that children are influenced by peer pressure. When children are worried about what others think, they are not free to discover their own interest and talents. In the home school environment children can set and pursue their own goals, with a little guidance from the parents.

Studies have shown that home schooled children function socially at or above that of their publicly schooled peers. Why should this be surprising? They have better examples.

And there are many activities they can be involved in to give them exposure to a wide variety of people. Things like Scouting or 4-H groups, music or swimming lessons. Art museums offer classes where they can explore their creativity. Zoos have classes for them to learn about the wildlife in other countries.

Most communities have support groups which offer field trips and park days where children can relate to others their own age. These groups are also good places for parents to share ideas about what works in their homeschool. There are many ways to give your child positive experiences that will help them grow into responsible adults.