There's a wonderful conversation about socialization going on over on our Facebook page. I've been chuckling this morning at the various responses people are sharing. A few have made me stop and think, "I wish I'd thought of that when people questioned us about homeschooling our kids!"
As I've had many opportunities to address the whole socialization issue over the years, I've settled on a couple of thoughts that pretty much answer the question for me.
Socialization can be defined in a variety of ways, often dependent on the context of your conversation. One of the responses in our Facebook post said it best ... "We socialize our dogs, we civilize our kids." If you stick with the dictionary definition, socialization is an on-going process (as in, it's not automatically finished at high school graduation), and I'm not entirely certain that expecting my 5 year old to learn appropriate norms, values and behavior in a classroom of other 5 year olds is the best way to go!
The other thought is this ... when it comes to socialization, I want my kids to be able to interact, in real life, with people of all ages, sizes, shapes, and colors. Where else in life will your child be asked to work, live, and socialize, with only people of their same age/grade? One of the best choices my husband and I ever made was to take advantage of the opportunity to have my parents come live with us. What a blessing to give our children the gift of growing up in a multi-generational household. While that is not an option for everyone, there are many possibilities for providing your children the chance to interact with those both older and younger than themselves.
So if you've faced the "big S" question in the past, be sure to leave your comments in our Facebook conversation today. If you're concerned about how you would respond if you did encounter the question, there are some really great responses over on Facebook. Jot down a few to keep handy in case you need them!
Still on the journey,