When folks say they desire that process for their kids via public or private school, they’re saying essentially that they want kiddos to take on the norms, values, behavior and social skills of the people around them every day. That means, of course, that the parents want the kids to “fit in” where they are “placed”.
“I would homeschool my kids, but I really want them to get the socialization at the local school.”
I understand that impulse.
Hey, I used to think that way, too.
Most of us parents don’t want our progeny to be square pegs in the round holes of society. Yet every so often I encounter a parent who ruled out homeschooling entirely as an option because of “socialization concerns”–and is now rattled that his or her darling public school child is trying to “fit in” and the behavior is unattractive.
“He’s 8 and already he’s not living up to his full potential. He is worried about what other kids in the classroom will think, if he shows how smart he really is.”
“She’s afraid to reveal how good she is at science and math. She doesn’t want the boys to think she’s brainy.”
Here’s how I’d like to reply:
“If you opted to place a child into an academic setting largely because of ‘socialization’ worries and now she IS trying to ‘fit in,’ isn’t she fulfilling your ‘socialization goal’ for her?”
That sounds rant-y on my part, but it’s a genuine, heartfelt question.
Look, I’m the first to admit that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Unlike some homeschool bloggers who try to insist otherwise, it’s just not. You’ve got to want to do it. You’ve got to be able to do it.
Yet we also need to pack away the lingering notion that socialization is always best when pursued within an institution. Yes, there are a lot of good schools who do it well. And there are great teachers in great classrooms in otherwise crappy schools that do it well, too. But there’s no guarantee that you’re going to like what you get out of school-based socialization, especially if socialization is your primary motivation for opting out of homeschooling altogether.
So if you are considering homeschooling your kids, go ahead and cross “school= optimal socialization” off the list of reasons not to pursue it.
(There are, of course, plenty of other reasons to opt into or out of the homeschool experience.)