Monday, June 30, 2008

Socialization At Home

My mother made a comment today that I wasn't supposed to take personally, yet I did.  She said she hoped I wouldn't wait until fifth grade to put Piper into a public school like I did Reagan.  Not wanting to simply be offended at a perceived slight, I asked my mother why she thought Piper needed to go to school.  My mother was quick to explain that while she thought I was an excellent teacher, she thought Piper should have more socialization.  I looked at her in complete surprise and said, "Have you met my daughter?",  for a more social child would be hard to find.

I think socialization persists as one of the great homeschooling myths because it is so hard to quantify, or test.  We don't have children winning National socialization contests, or surpassing their public schooled counterparts in socialization testing.  Still, I thought that my mother, seeing my children as she does, would see quite easily that socialization is not an issue for them.

She assured me that she could see that Piper was quite social and appropriately so.  But she worries about the future.  My mother will acknowledge that my child gets on well with peers, is learning appropriately and is bright.  Yet to her, school is something more than just a place to learn, but it is a place where one begins networking for the future.  And socialization is more than just how people think a child interacts now, but how they think a child will interact later.

I go back repeatedly to the idea that children throughout history have been properly socialized within the context of the family.  Teaching my children how to interact with the rest of the world can be taught quite well in a homeschool setting.  Therefore, the decision of where my children will be educated will be always based on what we believe their current needs to be and where they will best be met.  For the time being, Piper has no need for public school.

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