Thursday, March 6, 2008

Socialization Issue

When I would hear about people having decided to home school their kids the thing I immediately thought about was socialization. "How are their children going to learn to get along with people?" "How are those kids going to make friends?" "Will those poor babies ever learn to carry on a conversation with anyone other than their parents?" "What about things like class parties and PROM?!?!" Well, now that I have heard God's call for our family and decided to give homeschooling a try, I have read SO much on the socialization issue and it all makes sense!!

First of all let me say that my oldest daughter has always been involved in different playgroups and the like and when it was time to send her to school in Kindergarten I thought she would be little social butterfly. But what I learned is that she is actually very shy when it comes to meeting new people when her mom isn't there. Even through 2nd grade when I would ask her who she played with on the play ground she would tell me that she often played alone. Now, do I believe that EVERY DAY she played alone? No, but in her mind she wasn't making friends. Then in KINDERGARTEN I got an idea of what it was like to have her "socializing" with other kids. Here's a story I think you will like:

There is a girl that lives down the street from us who happened to come over to play a couple times. She lives 13 houses down and around the corner and her mom NEVER came down to meet us but yet allowed her daughter to play down here. Whatever...I'm not a perfect mom but it seemed odd to me. I wouldn't even let my daughter walk down the street 3 doors down without standing at the end of the road and watching her get to the door and get inside before I went into my house. Anyway, this little girl ended up in Sissy's class. I thought that was a good thing so that she would get to know someone else in the neighborhood to play with. (We live in a predominately older sub with few children). Well, one day Sissy and I were walking together from the bus stop and she innocently asked, "Mom, do I have a p**nis?" I nearly choked in the road! Obviously we hadn't discussed "THEM" before if the poor girl didn't know if she had one! So I said, "No honey you don't. Where did you hear that word?" It turns out the girl who lives down the road was sharing it with her. So, I went down to the house later and wanted to let the mom know that her precious 5 year old was talking about this stuff. Mom wasn't home but step dad was. He wasn't interested and just said "I'll have her mom call you when she gets home." When mom did call I explained the situation and told her that I would want to know if my dd was talking about stuff like that and this is why I contacted her. She laughed and said "Oh yes, that sounds like my dd. The first day of school I got a call from the principal because she was talking about sex at the block table." All the while giggling. I was mortified that mom would think that was funny! Kindergarten this was my first glimpse into what it meant to "socialize" with other kids. I later found out that this same child was talking about oral sex in 1st grade. Thankfully my requests to keep her and my dd out of the same class were heard during 1st and 2nd grade, unfortunately she is now in my dd class this year.

Other important socialization issue: In "real life" will we work only with people who are our same age? Before staying home to raise my kids I worked with people who were teenagers to near retirement age. What a blessing that was! In class rooms kids are placed with 29 other kids based solely on their age and nothing else is taken into account.

For my kids, we attend our church every Sunday and most Wednesdays. On Sunday they are in 2 different classrooms with kids their age and a year older (or younger depending on my kids grade in school) and the same is true on Wednesday. They get plenty of time to work in groups and meet other kids. In addition to that, there are AMAZING home school groups out there that afford your kids experiences they couldn't get in traditional school and they are with other kids their age. It is the best of both worlds! And did you know that some of these groups (specifically one near me) gives their high school students a commencement ceremony and a PROM!!!

1 comment:

Amy said...

Hi Crystal!
I'm enjoying reading your thoughts about homeschooling and socialization. It definitely seems to be the number one concern of non-homeschoolers, and the least concern of people who are actually homeschooling. lol

It's been nice chatting with you over email too.