Sunday, September 28, 2008

Homeschooling and Socialization

This is probably the biggest concern friends and family express when I tell them I homeschool. What about friends? they ask. So let's see about friends ...

  • We live in a neighborhood of many friends whom the boys freely play with after the public school gets out. 
  • Once a week they go to Scouts where they play, interact, and serve in a group of ten boys.
  • At least twice a week they go to Karate where they interact with boys and girls in the age range of 8-13.
  • Each Sunday they spend two hours at Church in a group of boys and girls their own age, learning, and doing activities.
  • In between Sunday and Saturday each week, the boys may participate in as few as one or as many as several playgroups, field trips or other 'out' activities.

Do they sound undersocialized to you? Umm, I think not ;)

Dr. Laura wrote an excellent article in May of this year summarizing a study by the Department of Psychology at Bellhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi. In their study these researchers determined that homeschooled university students adjust as well, or even better, than their non-homeschooled counterparts. 

In addition to all that I listed, my boys are also getting time with me, their mom, to feel love, to learn and to grow and to find themselves in the safety and security of a loving home. I don't know about you, but while I spent my school days in the company of hundreds of other children, I only felt further away from who I was, from who loved me. I struggled to find my identity in the halls of my school, between the good girls, the bad girls, the boys, the brainiacks, the jocks ... you name it. 

I think my boys have a tremendous advantage because they can figure out if they are smart, funny, attractive, capable ... in the safety of their home. And the answers they find for themselves will be answers for their life, not just for the moment they are with their friends, but in their hearts, their heads, their lives. 

There is one point about socialization I'd like to make, though. And that's the importance of socialization for MOM. 

Sitting in Tami's backyard last week, I realized that I would be there even if my kids weren't, lol. I need the time to sit with others who are of the same mind as I am. I still talk with my friends from 'before', but they don't really get where I am right now. They don't get why I chose to homeschool, or what unique challenges I face day to day.

However, my homeschooling friends, though they are new, are fast becoming special people in my lives--friends I don't want to go without.

So if you're considering homeschooling, or doing it now, don't forget the importance of friends for yourself as well as for your children. You will get ideas and help from your friends, and the strength and courage to face another day. And your kids will make new friends too!

Now, that's a win/win situation, right?