Homeschooling 101: Socialization

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What about socialization?

“Homeschoolers are just a bit weird.  The one that lives next door to me is odd.  I worry he’s not going to be able to make it in the real world.”

Please stick with me for a minute….thinking back to the good old days when you, the reader, went to high school – was everybody normal?  Can’t think of one single different kid?  Nobody struggled to make friends, relate to other peers, or fit in?  High school was great and fantastic and socially healthy for all involved?  Hmm?

Maybe, the weird homeschooler that lives next door would be that weird public school kid that gets taunted by bullies and whispered about by girls passing by.  Maybe he or she would be the kid eating lunch in the bathroom stall to avoid sitting alone in the corner of the lunchroom.  Maybe, just maybe, he or she is weird no matter where he or she learns.  But either way, I am guessing lunch is a lot more pleasant at his or her own kitchen table, and he or she is probably able to better concentrate on his or her studies since the bullies aren’t in his or her math class.

Now think about our real world.  Is it made up of groups of people all the same age?  At work, do you the reader raise your hand or ask permission to use the restroom?  Do you all go together at certain intervals throughout the day, while one of you monitors the stalls for misbehavior?  Do you eat your lunch in silence at a table full of coworkers, afraid that talking out loud may land you in trouble?  Do you work on your assignments based on a bell?  Do you switch to a new file every fifty five minutes regardless of the progress on the previous file?  Do all of you out there in this real world sit for seven to nine hours in a frenzied schedule of concentration?  See, I am not buying this idea that a public school is true preparation for the real world.  The real world actually looks nothing like public school at all.

But homeschooling, well…..

These students interact with the world around them every day while other students are sitting in classrooms.  Homeschoolers get together for activities and studies and projects all the time.  With over two million students roaming the US during normal school hours, there are no shortage of social opportunities from which to choose.  For example, in my county alone, I can name four different support groups, a teen group, a 4-H chapter with multiple homeschool club offerings, two football teams, a cheerleading squad, a choir, an orchestra, six co-ops, and even a few legal associations, all off the top of my head.  If I were to start a Google search, the opportunities would likely multiply, and this does not even begin to name the activities students seek out on their own, such as club sports, music lessons, and community groups.

More likely than not, homeschoolers have to prioritize their social schedule rather than seek it out.

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