Back in the covered wagon days like my kids think or at least LBK (life before kids), I worked with lawyers as an assistant to prepare for upcoming trials.
I took pride in preparing the lawyers for objections from the opposing side and always tried to think outside of the box for “one liners and comebacks” when they were needed. When it comes to homeschool socialization, I feel the same way because in many ways it is similar to a battle or drama that is always brewing.
Socialization – A Homeschool Hallucination?
You know what I am talking about because maybe you have gotten similar statements – ”homeschoolers are a bunch of holy roly weirdos”, “they’re just weird” or “Mom, those kids are gonna have to get out of the house sometimes”. I’m sure you have some to add.
Looking back at my LBK days, I probably enjoyed the process of preparing for those far-fetched objections just as much as actually assisting in the courtroom because by nature I like to be prepared. Oh sure, once in a while I may have a quick comeback or I might shock astound folks with my quick wit (shock myself too). But most of the time preparation is key to giving a good defense to the dreaded socialization issue that has been facing homeschoolers from the time they mouth the words: “I’m homeschooling”.
First comes the silent strong look from even complete strangers. They might as well just say what is on their mind because it is written all over their face and then comes the blanket statement, which by the way is obvious that they have not researched this topic well.
Each year many new homeschoolers join the ranks with us in homeschooling and because we don’t want to be among the ones that are not well-researched, we need to take time to get a clear cut picture of the meaning or definition of socialization. Too, it’s hard to be prepared for something that we are not clear on.
Getting the full flavor of these words, I chose not to use a free definition found online. Take a glance at these definitions that I took from The New Oxford American Dictionary- Second Edition, which is my dictionary here at my home.
Sociable – willing to talk and engage in activities with other people: friendly
Socialize – 1. mix socially with others 2. make someone behave in a way that is acceptable to their society 3. organize according to the principles of socialism.
See a problem with the definitions? We certainly don’t want to defend something that we are against because we are not using this society’s measure on education or values. However, probably all of us want our children to be willing to engage in friendly activities with other people and be genuine, compassionate and caring.
For the most part, we have to assume too that most people think we hide under rocks and come out only at night time and that normally is the thinking that we are defending.
From “Catty” to Congenial Comments
So in the spirit of preparation and not condemnation and because I always want to say “it looks like a prison to me” which is probably not the most gracious reply to someone in public school, I have created a list of “one liners and comebacks”.
Here is the question/statement: So why do you homeschool and what about socialization? You are sheltering your children.
- I homeschool because I want my kids socialized.
- I want my kids to get along with all kinds of people.
- We choose to participate in activities with others because we want our kids to accept people of varying backgrounds and ages.
- My proof is in the pudding- – would you like to see my lesson plans for the week?
- I am seriously considering cutting back some activities because our week is bulging with social activities and I need time to be at home.
- I want my children to be around people who model respect, are considerate and well-spoken. What is learned from an early age will be emulated when they are older and around others that are not respectful or considerate.
- Yes, you are right. I am sheltering my children. I won’t be able to do it forever, but I can do it as long as I can and help them to become strong in their faith and values. Seems like what any good parent would do.
- Yes, have you heard of the most recent (insert here: bullying charge, teacher misconduct, shooting or drug raid) at public school.
- Sometimes I think we overthink this, what happened to the days when people just got kids together and they played without worrying if they were socialized or not?
- Yes, we homeschool because faith matters and I think of this scripture (insert your favorite one here about “dealings with stupid or foolish people” or “training children”).
- Each family has to decide what is best for them because even within each family, children are very different. I have one child that thrives with friends so I can plan sleep overs and lots of meet ups and parties. And I have one child that does not need his emotional tank filled with tons of friends so I can satisfy his need for quiet time and to be with less people.
- Would you like to come and be a visitor at our school? (Of course this is meant for a well-meaning relative or close friend that you know.)
- I prefer that my children’s learning time not be interrupted because others do not know how to behave.
- We homeschool for medical reasons. (Kudos to one of my readers Lake Lili for this reply and I love it because like she says that reply is normally received with silence)
Do you see a few you can use?
Homeschool Socialization Situations & Opportunities
If you were to ask me before I started homeschooling how much I worried about socialization, my answer would be zero, zip and none. The problem with this scenario is that I am not homeschooling somewhere on paradise island by myself and because we mix and mingle with other people, like you, I get my fair share of second-guessers, naysayers and plain ole negative nellies.
Gradually folks like that can chip away at your armor and doubt can set in about your decision. What you need now is concrete proof that as homeschoolers we come out from under our rock and caves and that our children are actually very socially adapted. Dare I say they are friendly and some of us actually like people.
Look at these opportunities for homeschool socialization and how we learned with others.
Early Years – Fall Activities and Community Helpers
2006/2007 – Native Americans
2007/2008 – Amphibians and Reptiles
2008/2009 – Westward Hoooo
2009/2010 – Amazon Rain Forest
2010/2011 – The European Renaissance
2011/2012 – Early American History
2012/2013 – Ancient Empires/Civilizations
Though I have never lacked for words when asked about our homeschool socialization opportunities, I have not always been proud of my quick temper. I know it stems from a place deep down in my heart because homeschooling is a work of the heart and it is hard work on top of that.
Now, I can revisit this post each year and will be armed with gracious speech. I still miss the drama of the courtroom, but then again I now have homeschooling naysayers, skeptics and Debbie downers to prepare for.
I hope this helps you to be armed for this school year and that others will be astounded at your quick wit and preparation too.
Look at my other articles here and grab yourself some more one-liners, comebacks and gracious sayings.
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Hugs and love ya,