One of the first comments people mention to us when we tell them we are homeschooling involves the social aspect, or rather, the question of us worrying if they will be socially awkward or strange. How will our kids possible be socialized if they aren’t in a classroom all day?
Truth be told, this was a question I asked myself when I first started to feel the yearning to homeschool. I definitely didn’t want my kids to be the weird ones or to not be able to fit in.
The more I thought about it the more I came to a couple of realizations:
01. the most socially awkward kids (and now adults) I know went to public school
This is not a bash against public school at all (I attended from K-4 myself), but just a realization that social awkwardness can occur no matter where kids are taught; public, private or homeschool.
02. after school there is pretty much never a time when you are broken down into age categories
I can’t believe it took me so long to realize this one, but it is actually more beneficial for children to be able to interact with people of all ages than it is for them to get along with a group of kids exactly their age. This age segregation only happens until the end of high school and then it never really happens again. When they go off to college or work they will be working along side people with a range of ages.
“School isn’t really teaching you how to function in society. It’s teaching you how to function in a room with 24 other 9-year-olds (and how to blend in so you don’t get made fun of). That’s not real life.”
An Unschooling Manifesto by Marla Taviano
(Amazon.com | Amazon.ca)
03. the biggest factor in a child’s life is their family
Truly, if our kids end up being awkward or strange it will be because of us and how we raised them, not because of where they went to school.
As a parent you are the biggest influencers in your child’s early life, if you choose to homeschool rather than send your children to school you will be an even bigger influence. So ask yourself this question: “Am I socially awkward?” If your answer is yes, chances are your kids will be too, no matter where they go to school, if your answer is no, then your kids will probably follow in your footsteps. And remember, even the most socialized people have awkward moments at times.
My final point, and this was a big realization for me:
04. while I don’t want my kids to be socially awkward I do want them to be a bit “different” because they challenge the status quo way of living
It is my hope and prayer that our children turn out a little different than the norm. We try to live a life of purpose, and try to not just do things because that is the way they have always been done, we are constantly asking if there is a good reason for doing something. We want our kids to be more global minded than a lot of their peers, to have the freedom to live creative lives, to ask questions, and, most importantly, to look for Christ in all that they do.
So yes, our kids may be a little weird (and that’s okay) but they will know how to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds because of the opportunities given to them, from the neighbors on our street, the people at church, those in homeschooling groups, our network of adoptive friends we have and through other opportunities we give them, like when we billeted a couple of boys (and a chaperone) from a Ugandan children’s choir.
What are your thoughts on socialization and social awkwardness when it comes to homeschooling?
Do you have anything else to add?
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