Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wish List Item #2

2. " Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts."

Oh, God help me. The surest sign of some one's ignorance with regard to homeschooling is the dreaded socialization question. We have given up trying to explain ourselves in this area, as doing so would generally be akin to talking quantum physics with a donkey. However, since you are reading this, I am going to assume you have either some knowledge of homeschooling or at least a genuine interest in learning.

First, let's address the issue of private schools. Our oldest daughter went to a private school for K- part of 2nd grade. Every child in her class was white, and all professed to be of Christian faith. Additionally, with each passing year the class got smaller and smaller. Had we kept her in that school she would be in a class with 8 students, only one of whom entered after 1st grade. That is 8 students in a combined 5th/6th grade classroom. Now tell me, what kind of socialization skills are being learned by interacting with the same half dozen, white, Christian children for 6 years? Please.

Now public school... again, schools are divided according to geography. The kids you see at Phillips Avenue (34% White) and Roanoke School (45% White) are quite different from the children you see at Riley (84% White) and Aquebogue (64% White). Granted, the distribution is not quite as divided as in our private schools, but there is certainly a difference. St. Isidore for example is 95% White. In any case, back on track. So, you take kids from elementary schools, where they have spent the last 4 years with kids who are basically just like themselves. Then you throw them into Middle School with all the other kids who they have never seen before, and ask them to get on nicely. How's that for realistic socialization?
* will help you find data for your district.

My kids get plenty of socialization: church activities, home school swimming lessons, town and private sports, Community Theatre productions, neighborhood kids, visits to the library, aquarium, museums, 4-H... this is all in addition to the activities and field trips we take with our regular home school group. What percentage of your kids' friends are from their class at school? I am guessing it is rather high. What is the level of diversity in their peer group? If their friends are all from school them we know the answer to that question.

Without the constraints of a school calendar we are free to travel at will. Our children have been to many different states and witnessed many different regional and cultural events as a result. I believe this makes them much more sensitive and accepting of differences. They interact with children and adults, seniors and babies, and are equally comfortable with all.

Phew! I feel a little better now. Truth be told, my children have much better socialization skills than their mother. If you're looking for pleasant conversation, you'll have a much better shot at it with one of them!


jean-marie said...

Very nicely put.

Nan Patience said...

Of course, socializing in public school is no guarantee of being well socialized, either. Perhaps you said that.

MamaCole said...

Hmm. I thought I'd left a comment on this post. Did you get it?