Monday 8 August 2011

Do Home ed children socialise enough?

All my fellow home educators, Don't you just hate it when people ask you that question...  How do your children socialise?  I do.  Most of the time I bite my tongue, especially when it's someone who is a really close friend, but come on really?  I know, as my other home educators know, we are not doing what is classed as 'the norm' and this seems such a chocking concept to teach our own children to so many people, however 'socialisation' and 'socialising' are in fact 2 separate things.  The ignorance of this question grates on me from time to time, so here I am having a little rant about it.

I feel before I start this topic of conversation I should point out that in short socialisation does not come from socialising but is something that is taught to someone that teaches them what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.  If done right it should provide an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within their own society.  It should teach the shared norms, customs, values, traditions, social roles, symbols and languages.

Socialising with wrong crowds, without good instruction can actually give someone really bad socialisation skills.  Therefore possibly being detrimental to their 'social growth' and success in their future.

If a child becomes a bit bullish for instance and isn't pulled up properly and told it is wrong.  They may fall into a similar crowd who feel this behaviour is fun and acceptable.  The socialisation skills of that person will not be beneficial to them or others around them.  A school often breeds this type of behaviour in certain individuals, so why would I send my child to school to possibly learn these skills?  Or perhaps my child has learnt enough from home life to know that bullying is wrong and they themselves get 'bullied'.  How exactly will socialising an environment like that teach them scoialisation skills they will need for their future?  No explanation needed.

Ok, ok!  What if these two factors are neither here nor their.  Your child is thriving at school, Mr/Miss popular.  Well how exactly are they learning to socialise properly in a class of 30 or more children all of the same age, all sharing pretty much the same experiences?  That leads me to another question I'm often asked, 'doesn't C miss being with other children her own age?'  Well the simple answer is no.  My children are not learning a heirachy of age.  They're learning socialisation skills that allow them to be able to communicate in a positive way with people of all ages.  That is from babies to the elderly lady in the street.  Also having a parent close by at this stage of their lives they are learning how to politely and assertively speak up for themselves to people of all different ages and to help them through difficult situations.  Life skills that will be beneficial to them in their adult life, no?

The lack of socialising in a school, from what I have learnt from other homeeducators over the years that I have been home educating is that homeschooled children are less anxious during puberty.  I believe this would surely be due to less social pressures and being provided with better socialisation skills.

Another interesting thing about home educators is we do as much or as little 'socialising' as we like.  Some of us socialise more than we sit at a table, some of us sit at a table more than we socialise and some of us learn in a completely different way which means a lesson at a table may never really exist.  Does it matter how or why or when we do it?  No, so long as the child is learning and growing into an individual that will be happy and independant I think it it no one's business to how and why.

So seriously, the answer to, do home educated children socialise enough?  Is yes plenty thanks!

If you've got anything to add to this please feel free to comment.  I love to hear other peoples views!


  1. Couldn't agree more about the feeling of annoyance when asked the inevitable socialising/socialisation question! We now tend to respond along the lines of 'we see all opportunities to socialise as learning experiences and prefer these to be positive interactions'... all too often, when J was in school, social events were negative and non-directed so of little positive value. Now, choices are made, fun is had and a more rich outlook is the result! As adults we aren't forced to only mix with those people in a specific 12month age range and I, for one, see this as a very good thing. Acceptance of others comes with understanding their point of view and this is more easily achieved by actually listening to them.

  2. "We now tend to respond along the lines of 'we see all opportunities to socialise as learning experiences and prefer these to be positive interactions'" What a brilliant way round it! I'll try to remember that for next time x

    I agree that school is such an unnatural environment. As if someone is being persecuted as an adult we move away, find a new job etc. Not sit there and take it year after year! Great point to make!

    Thanks for commenting :)