Thursday, January 06, 2005


The myth of homeschooled children being unsocialized is one of the most annoying and persistant. Some people seem to view all social interaction as equal, and quantity is more important than quality. Playgroups, church activities, etc. don't matter so much as giving your children a certain number of hours a day with other children the same age. I disagree. One of the things I like about homeschooling is the opportunity to pick positive social activities for my children, and be there to guide behaviour and help learn about conflict resolution, etc. in a very hands on way. Even today when my son had an argument with another boy, we moms were able to step in and manage not only to help resolve the problem, but help the boys think of better ways to manage it themselves. Teachers attempt to do this, but in a classroom of 30 children, it's just not possible the way it is when you are a parent with your own kids.

Anyway, another homeschooling mom sent me this some time ago, and I thought I'd post it here to share. It's a different perspective on the socialization question. And I think it's very clever.

Socialization With a Twist

Two women meet at a playground, where their children are swinging and
playing ball. The women are sitting on a bench watching. Eventually,
they begin to talk. ...

W1: Hi. My name is Maggie. My kids are the three in red shirts -- helps
me keep track of them.

W2: (Smiles) I'm Terri. Mine are in the pink and yellow shirts. Do you
come here a lot?

W1: Usually two or three times a week, after we go to the library.

W2: Wow. Where do you find the time?

W1:: We home school, so we do it during the day most of the time.

W2: Some of my neighbors home school, but I send my kids to public

W1:: How do you do it?

W2: It's not easy. I go to all the PTO meetings and work with the kids
every day after school and stay real involved.

W1: But what about socialization? Aren't you worried about them being
cooped up all day with kids their own ages, never getting the
opportunity for natural relationships?

W2: Well, yes. But I work hard to balance that. They have some friends
who're home schooled, and we visit their grandparents almost every

W1: Sounds like you're a very dedicated mom. But don't you worry about
all the opportunities they're missing out on? I mean they're so isolated
from real life -- how will they know what the world is like -- what
people do to make a living -- how to get along with all different kinds
of people?

W2: Oh, we discussed that at PTO, and we started a fund to bring real
people into the classrooms. Last month, we had a policeman and a doctor
come in to talk to every class. And next month, we're having a woman
from Japan and a man from Kenya come to speak.

W1: Oh, we met a man from Japan in the grocery store the other week, and
he got to talking about his childhood in Tokyo. My kids were absolutely
fascinated. We invited him to dinner and got to meet his wife and their
three children.

W2: That's nice. Hmm. Maybe we should plan some Japanese food for the
lunchroom on Multicultural Day.

W1: Maybe your Japanese guest could eat with the children.

W2: Oh, no. She's on a very tight schedule. She has two other schools to
visit that day. It's a system-wide thing we're doing.

W1: Oh, I'm sorry. Well, maybe you'll meet someone interesting in the
grocery store sometime and you'll end up having them over for dinner.

W2: I don't think so. I never talk to people in the store - certainly
not people who might not even speak my language. What if that Japanese
man hadn't spoken English?

W1: To tell you the truth, I never had time to think about it. Before I
even saw him, my six-year-old had asked him what he was going to do with
all the oranges he was buying.

W2: Your child talks to strangers?

W1: I was right there with him. He knows that as long as he's with me,
he can talk to anyone he wishes.

W2: But you're developing dangerous habits in him. My children never
talk to strangers.

W1: Not even when they're with you?

W2: They're never with me, except at home after school. So you see why
it's so important for them to understand that talking to strangers is a
big no-no.

W1: Yes, I do. But if they were with you, they could get to meet
interesting people and still be safe. They'd get a taste of the real
world, in real settings. They'd also get a real feel for how to tell
when a situation is dangerous or suspicious.

W2: They'll get that in the third and fifth grades in their health

W1: Well, I can tell you're a very caring mom. Let me give you my number
if you ever want to talk, give me call. It was good to meet you.


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