Most Homeschool Moms would agree that we are asked about the importance of socialization so many times. You almost know when the
question is coming. "So, what about socialization?" I'm totally amazed at how ignorant people are to the world around them and how it was designed to classify us. Socialization in the public school system simply teaches your child how to group themselves in their particular socieoeconomic statuses early in life.
Family, peers, schools, mass media, community, religious organizations/affiliations, recreational activities, sports & volunteer groups, all play a major role in the socialization of a child, and ultimately their development. With so many ways for my children to develop socially, why on earth would I be worried about them missing out. It is our responsibility as parents to choose carefully from those social avenues listed above, to have our children learn, grow and develop from. The consequences of your choice can be life altering and severe!
Ok, so let's stop and ask ourselves; what is the true meaning of socialization?! Socialization is a method used to prepare children to successfully navigate, communicate, behave & live in the real world. Which means learning to interact and deal with people of all ages, abilities, races, and backgrounds. I'm sorry, but the public schools in my area can't offer my children that. In my opinion, playground/locker room socialization is actually detrimental to our children on so many levels. Children are acquiring the rules of behavior, systems of beliefs and attitudes from other children who "ARE NOT" being reared with the same morals and values we are trying so hard to instill at home and in our Masajid. Please tell me how this is beneficial to my child.
Children also begin to follow groups in school where they are easily accepted by their peers. Sorry, but for me this is tragic! The idea that each child, your children comes into contact with in the school, has the same opportunities that foster good moral conduct and success is an illusion. These children spend most of their waking hours in the care of school personnel; who in fact are not being paid to raise your children and instill value in them. The children in the schoolyard are being deprived. Peer pressure and influence is real! I find that by far the most detrimental stage of this happens in middle school. A good student is often looked down upon for academic achievement. It's not cool to be smart, and particularly for minority children. This is a concept I can't get over. I look at my daughter and some of the things she says and does would simply make her a target for this "social abuse." These are the characteristics of her that bring me great joy. I am so grateful, I can offer her a safe environment to be her true self and not have to try to be accepted by others. Therefore we carefully select activities for our children to attend with other like-minded peers with similar morals as well.
As the primary agents of socialization and the first educators, the parents should assume the essential role and responsibility of setting a foundation that cultivates, teaches and nurtures the child. NOT THE SCHOOL! The role of religion and moral conduct has been diminished by our society and it's popular culture. The socialization process has such an enormous impact on our children and they're overall development. I can not afford to take that chance. We will continue to explore ways to help my children establish healthy and beneficial relationships outside of the home. Structured socialization, is influential in a positive way. This is not to say there won't be any negativity, but I would like to have faith that the good outweighs the bad in these chosen social environments.
Structured Socialization that is beneficial for my children's growth and development are the only kinds of socialization I'm interested in. For example:
Organized spelling bees, debate teams, math leagues, and science clubs give homeschoolers a chance to compete and socialize academically. Sports activities like soccer, field hockey, and track also allow them to interact with their peers. They build esteem, leadership skills and learn cooperation. Religious programs at the Masjid also offer your children a chance to be in a diverse setting and allows them to expound on a different level. Play dates or recreational outings with their peers who have parents with like-minded morals and who you trust are also great ways to establish social bonds. During these activities, they work, play & learn with diverse groups of children and also some children who have similar upbringing and values. At the end of the day, the sole purpose of these activities is constructive and not destructive!
Do not let people fool you into believing that if you homeschool your children, they will lack in some kind of social development. This is hogwash!