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Socialization Troubles

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I have been reading through Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s book  ‘The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook‘.  This is the most straight talking and reassuring book yet that I have read about homeschool.  The book talks very strongly against schooling that burns out parents and kids way to early.  ….and it is very easy to feel behind, inadequate, and burned out quickly in the homeschool experience.

I wanted to share some of their socialization stuff that was really good.

Socialization is often the biggest argument and the biggest worry when it comes to homeschooling but it doesn’t need to be. Really, when it comes down to it, school socialization is not what I want for my kids.  It is an unnatural socialization structure.  Where else do they need to get along with 20 other kids the same age, from the same area, and from a similar economic level?  Not only that they become peer dependent at a young age and become concerned about being accepted and part of the crowd as young as preschool.

From their earliest years children learn manners, habits, language patterns, and actions by observing and then imitating.  Yet they do not clearly establish these values until around ages ten to twelve.  Your consistent example provides the best model, but in its absence children mimic their peers – even at the preschool level.  Young children demand Nike shoes or Jordache jeans because all the kids have them.  In another school it might be Reeboks and Lees.

Instead of learning strong family values where possible, children knuckle under to peer pressures which range from clothes, language, music, and food and on to grosser things.  Remember!  They adopt these values as readily as the measles or any other contagious disease.  This is why Dr. Bronfenbrenner calls it “social contagion.” page 49 bottom

Don’t get me wrong.  In no way do I want to say anything against sending your kids to school.  I am not trying to say anything bad about the school system.  What I am wanting to point out is that socialization is not a benefit of the traditional system and a gap in the homeschool system but actually it could be the other way around.

In my few years of homeschooling and hanging around homeschoolers I have made some observations on this issue:

  1. The odd stereotypical homeschool kids are out there but they aren’t as common as people think but they are there.  Typically they are more normal and socially adjusted than their parents……  Statistically speaking, socially odd people are more likely to homeschool so more of their children fall into this group.  They will probably take over the world and cure cancer.   They are usually super nice.  I don’t think it is homeschool that creates the ‘oddness’… it is more genetic.
  2.  Homeschool kids aren’t usually shy.  My kids have been very shy growing up (so are my husband and I).  I was worried that homeschool would make matters worse, but both are really coming out of their shell all on their own.
  3. Homeschool kids talk the ear off and look in the eyes of adults everywhere.  This is super obvious to me and I have seen it with almost all the other homeschool kids we hang out with.  It isn’t that most kids won’t talk to adults, it is the confidence and the amount of conversation that homeschool kids expect to be involved in.
  4. Homeschool kids play well across gender, age, and cultural barriers.  My kids will make friends with anyone and everyone at the park.  This doesn’t probably work across the board as all kids are different.  Just my observation.
  5. Homeschool kids have more self-confidence and better self-concept.  They seem more open and sharing of themselves in relationship and have less to prove.
  6. ‘Teenage’ likes (music, cloths, actions) come at a much younger level with kids in traditional school.  No kindergarten age child (really anywhere in elementary school) should know who Justin Bieber is or what dating is.  They should still be playing dolls and house  (my opinion).

All these areas (or 2-5), even if homeschool just gives a better chance at learning, are amazing life assets.  Life requires mixing, and having the confidence to mix, with lots of different people in lots of different situations.  The more we can teach them about this the better off they will be no matter what their profession.

The big point: If you are interested in homeschool, but socialization has been holding you back – don’t let it 🙂


  1. we’ve been homeschooling for 3 years (my oldest is 8), & my husband & i often marvel at how confident he is! it’s amazing to see my kids play as easily with a 10-year-old as with a 3-year-old (like their little brother). they don’t care; they just want someone to play with.
    like you said, these assets are so worthwhile, no matter what homeschooling does to their learning. thanks for posting!

    • yes 🙂 I love how my kids walk up and play with anyone and everyone we meet. They are not always very confident in large groups (but neither am I…so probably inherited) but they are really friendly with everyone one-on-one.

  2. My kids have always been in a traditional school and I have observed that their values and those of other kids in their school are reflective of their parents not their peers. The benefit of traditional schooling is you get many teachable moments. I have numerous conversations with my daughter especially about why we don’t buy clothes with logos and how wanting the latest thing is a sign of insecurity etc. She gets it and it doesn’t matter that she is exposed to the opposite.. if anything she gets to see how the negative of pop culture plays out.

    • Diane that is great! You are right with this too. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. Shelly Shelly

    I’ve been taking my 2 preschool aged children (who turn 3 and 5 in the next couple of months) to a play group once a week. Everyone at playgroup is home schooled, and the children’s ages rage from under a year to teens. When the kids mingle outside their age group and it’s always a beautiful thing that inspires sharing, love, and care for others. Such as a teen girl playing dress-up with a younger girl because the younger child will enjoy it (sacrifice and patience)… A teen boys watching out for the toddlers also bouncing on the trampoline (care and concern for others)… Everyone playing a game together and accommodating for the age gaps (community, good sportsmanship, and patience)… Kids helping other kids makes me smile.
    The list seems infinite when I think about all our experiences. I have been inspired to try home schooling as long as it’s working for both me and my children. Play groups are important to me to “keep them normal.” It’s also awakened my awareness of how much learning happens in free environments. And not just learning, but life skills that the kids will need to be successful throughout their lives. I wouldn’t even consider homeschooling if it wasn’t for people (like yourself!) who give light to concerns (both in traditional school and homeschooling) and offer support if I ever need help.
    I have an older son who has been in traditional school for 6 years now. He’s had MUCH trouble “fitting in” and has even been beat up and bullied multiple times… each time not being appropriately dealt with my staff… which furthered his poor self-image. When I talk with him about the situations and what led up to them, it’s often related to his friends falling to peer-pressure to be mean. I’m not into babying my children (very much opposite, really). I want my children to grow up strong and positive so they can all succeed at whatever they want to do as adults.
    Schools are now run by staff who are afraid of being sued, and that affects their response to bullying, responsibility, manners, etc. I’ve got friends who are teachers, and they’re not allowed to encourage very important life skills and moral values because it’s not in their job description and might offend some parents. I really believe this is an important aspect that’s not always considered. Certainly a good example at home will give the child a hand-up in life, but is it enough to counter balance the majority of their day (in school)? I think we all must answer that for ourselves, considering our own situation. Maybe your school is different. We’ve experienced three different schools at this point, and I feel all are lacking enough for me to be concerned.
    Thanks for the post Lorilee. I appreciate hearing everyone’s ideas and experiences.

    • Shelly so sorry 🙁 Bullying is something I have never had any idea what to do with. We have run into some problems with ‘mean’ kids at the park but that is easily remedied because we can ‘have to go’ and we don’t run into them again. I think self-worth is huge to kids and it seems like those with lower self-worth get bullied and then get lower self-worth and it is a downward spiral for them. These things go with kids through their whole life mentally even if nothing physical really happens.

      What are you supposed to say to your son? I have wanted to look for articles on this but haven’t found anything. As far as good moral lessons they aren’t supposed to run away, tattle on the other kids, or fight back. What are they supposed to do then? Every kid in the situation (when there is bullying) is learning terrible life lessons on how to relate to others. I think this is, and always has been, a big issue in school/raising children that needs to be handled well for our world to be a better place. ….I just don’t have any idea the best way to teach my kids to deal with it, especially if they were in a school environment where they had to face it again everyday.

      Let me know if there is anyway I can help you if you choose to homeschool next year 🙂

      • Shelly Shelly

        From one mother to another, I’ve pondered just that very question “what should I say/do when my son is bullied/beat up?”
        What I chose to teach: Choices have consequences, and that mean people get themselves into trouble. My kids know not to act like that, but what do they think of the other kid who repeatedly hits/kicks others when they’re mad, don’t get their way, or just feel like being mean? Beyond disliking it, it teaches them something about the world they live in and largely sponges out all security from my kids.
        This is so simple to me – I say it all the time in our house… “You’ll never get what you want acting like that.” But in school, kids do.
        If a child on the playground bullied or hit my kid, I’d have the opportunity to talk to his/her parents. I could show my child (and they could show theirs) how people talk things out. That other child would also be more likely to get a true consequence. It’s just natural when it’s me with my kids out in public. It just gets political and weird when my kid is at school and school staff become the middle-men between me and the other kid’s parents. And if my kid did that, I’d want to know! I’m not sure the school did ANYTHING when my kid was hurt (came home with bruises, and I didn’t even get a phone call from the school. I left messages, and they didn’t respond). I don’t mean to rant and rave here at all. It’s just a really sad subject, and I wish I didn’t have the personal experiences I’ve had with it.

        • wow, so sorry 🙁 I was just talking to Bryon today about it and school is different than any other social situation. There are people who say that kids need to learn to live and deal with it because they will face people not liking them for the rest of their life. It is true that not everyone will like you and that people will be mean to you all through your life but you can avoid them better as an adult. If work situations aren’t good you can get another job. If neighborhoods are difficult to deal with you can move. If any of the physical stuff you talk about happens to them as an adult it is criminal and they can get restraining orders. With school kids they are stuck in the same situation every day for months or years without a healthy way to deal with it.

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