Socialization: Just a buzzword?

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Calla_Dragon
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Socialization: Just a buzzword?

Postby Calla_Dragon » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:51 pm

I wanted to post this here because I thought this would be a great place to get some input. My DH and I were discussing education earlier today and we both have heard the arguement against homeschooling that surrounds socialization countless times. However, never once did anyone bother to lay out precisely what they consider proper socialization to be or what a properly socialized child functions like in a public setting. My MIL uses this excuse as to why our kids shouldn't be homeschooled - thinking we'll make them into social outcasts if they're not put in public schools.

Has anyone ever heard someone from the anti-homeschool/pro-"socialization" camp explain exactly what they feel socialization is, how it's obtained and what a properly socialized child looks like? Also, has anyone explained why they feel that public is the only way to socialize a child? What is it about public school? What does on during the day there that can't be experienced elsewhere to the same end?

Or is this just a buzzword that people use because they are uninformed about education and how to properly socialize a child and want to instill fear and guilt in parents for choosing what they feel is the best for their child?
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Postby Theodore » Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:58 pm

Well, the public education supporters seem to think socialization consists of sitting in the same room as 30-40 other kids for hours and hours every day, because if you're thrown together with enough kids for enough time, some socialization has to rub off. Problem is, it doesn't work that way - you can't really socialize properly during class time, and there's no guarantee you'll find someone with the same interests as you in the few minutes outside of class either. What really matters in terms of quality socialization is extracurriculars, where you can actually meet people your age who are interested in the same things as you. And homeschoolers have more time for extracurriculars, since their "school" time only lasts for maybe 3-4 hours.

There are many, many people who have switched to homeschooling because their kids have no friends at school and are constantly bullied. Read the various other threads on this board. Public school is definitely not the magic wand of socialization. Neither is homeschooling, for that matter, but the same parents who are motivated enough to teach their children at home are generally also motivated enough to take them to several extracurriculars:

http://www.home-school.com/poll/?id=activities
If you go by this, about 2/3 of homeschoolers participate in 2-4 extracurriculars per child every week.

Of course, you can also have academic "socialization" by the time you hit community college age. College students are generally nicer overall and value education somewhat more, plus the class sizes drop once you get into more difficult subjects, which makes it easier to get to know everyone. I may not have necessarily agreed with everyone I met in the college courses I took, but they were all nice people, and I got along well with everyone who wasn't busy trying to be invisible in the corner. The invisible people were probably the ones who were bullied and made fun of in grade school.

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Postby Calla_Dragon » Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:03 pm

I agree - setting a child in a public school setting is not the magic trick to socialization. My big question is since studies prove that homeschoolers are as or better socialized than their peers (generally speaking, of course), why does this dead horse keep getting beaten by people who have no better opposition to homeschooling than to pull the socialization card? Is it because there aren't any other oppositions that even sound reasonable? Is it because they're misinformed about what homeschoolers do all day? Is it because that's what they were told by the public schools therefore it must be fact? I try to understand their point of view, but honestly, I can't because the arguement holds no water for me.
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Postby Joylane » Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:09 am

so·cial·ize

VERB:
so·cial·ized , so·cial·iz·ing , so·cial·iz·es
VERB:
tr.

To place under government or group ownership or control.
To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
To convert or adapt to the needs of society.
VERB:
intr.

To take part in social activities.

This is how the American Heritage Dictionary defines socialization. So when people ask if I "socialize" my children I say "absolutely not!".

I never want my children to base their decisions (moral, economical, or personal) on "the needs of society". This does not mean that they can't carry on a conversation. This just means that the conversations they have are theirs.

Sure public schools are GREAT for socialization training. If that is what you really want for your children.

Now ask me if my children have positve interaction with others....absolutely! My children have peer interaction with people of all ages. The key word here is POSITIVE. Public school can be positive, but it can also be very negative....from teachers to other students. I will not leave my childrens impressionable, confidence building years to chance.

In reality, if we encounter negative people daily, in our jobs or public places we go, then we can change that. We can pursue having the negative removed or we can remove ourselves from the negative. We have a choice. In public school, children have no choice. They have to face that negative day in and day out. That would crush even the most "social" butterfly.

People will say "well, you can not protect them forever".... to me homeschooling is not about protecting them from negative, but rather building them with so much positive that the negatives don't stand a chance.

I think people use the "socialization" arguement simply because they are socialized "puppets".

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Postby Calla_Dragon » Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:47 am

That's interesting! Under that definition I definately am not socializing my kids nor do I plan to ever.

Now, if we use the definition of socialize from the Random House Unabriged Dictionary:

so·cial·ize

–verb (used with object) 1. to make social; make fit for life in companionship with others.
2. to make socialistic; establish or regulate according to the theories of socialism.
3. Education. to treat as a group activity: to socialize spelling quizzes.
–verb (used without object) 4. to associate or mingle sociably with others: to socialize with one's fellow workers.

That's a definition I can get behind.

How can people have a discussion about socialization when there are vastly different definitions of socialization running about?

I will agree that under the American Heritage definition, homeschool kids likely won't be socialized where public school children are. I don't see this as a bad thing. I don't want my child under government control, I don't want my child to conform his wants and needs to society's standards. I want him to pursue what he wants - not what what society says he should want.
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Postby Theodore » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:09 pm

My big question is since studies prove that homeschoolers are as or better socialized than their peers (generally speaking, of course), why does this dead horse keep getting beaten by people who have no better opposition to homeschooling than to pull the socialization card? Is it because there aren't any other oppositions that even sound reasonable? Is it because they're misinformed about what homeschoolers do all day? Is it because that's what they were told by the public schools therefore it must be fact?

If you say something often enough and loud enough, people will believe it regardless of the truth. That's the basic principle behind propaganda. So while homeschoolers may actually adapt far better to society overall than public schoolers, very few people realize this because the school system and the leftist media have lied about it so many times. Also, a lot of people seem to confuse ability to socialize with kids with ability to socialize with adults, which in fact is not the same thing at all, given that if left totally unchecked by adults, kids turn into cruel, shallow little monsters who you wouldn't want to spend time with. How do you socialize with a school full of kids that has nothing in common with you? Answer: You can't, but you get blamed for this rather than them simply because they outnumber you. At least in college and the adult world, the percentage of mature people is significantly higher, plus adults have had time to pick a specialty, so the adults you spend time with will be closer to your own interests. For instance, a boy who likes to cook will undoubtedly be made fun of in grade school, but he won't be made fun of while training to be a chef or working in a restaurant.

Bottom line, only kids who fit the average have a good time in public school. Everyone else either conforms or is rejected, and it's the people who aren't willing to conform who predominately homeschool. Plus, homeschooling gives a much better education, which again translates to more success in college and the business world.

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Postby Calla_Dragon » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:20 pm

I couldn't agree with that more!
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Re: Socialization: Just a buzzword?

Postby Ramona » Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:39 pm

Calla_Dragon wrote:Has anyone ever heard someone from the anti-homeschool/pro-"socialization" camp explain exactly what they feel socialization is, how it's obtained and what a properly socialized child looks like? Also, has anyone explained why they feel that public is the only way to socialize a child? What is it about public school? What does on during the day there that can't be experienced elsewhere to the same end?

Or is this just a buzzword that people use because they are uninformed about education and how to properly socialize a child and want to instill fear and guilt in parents for choosing what they feel is the best for their child?


I've actually heard lots of things from lots of different people. Some people believe kids can only learn to behave properly in mixed company if they spend all day every day with other kids of their age group. Some people had tons of fun playing school sports and being in band, choir and musical and they think homeschooled kids are deprived of the high school experience. Some people think kids need to hear the opinions of a multitude of teachers instead of being taught everything by their parental unit. Some people think homeschooled kids are "sheltered" from ever even finding out that things their parents disagree with exist out there in the world--like, say, Darwin.

I read something recently that said the buzzword "socialization" was coined back when public schools were trying to become mandatory and people asked how kids would learn life lessons if they didn't have time around Grandpa and Aunt Jessie. The schools started advertising that they would do this extra thing beyond readin', writin', and 'rithmetic to compensate for taking the kids away for so many hours a day, so many days a year, for so many years. "Socialization" has always been the poor second choice compared to normal family life!

Ramona

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Postby Joylane » Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:56 pm

What I find really amusing is that my mom must have told me at least once a week when I was in school "I am not sending you to school to socialize!". :lol:

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Postby Calla_Dragon » Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:05 pm

I was yelled at all the time for the same "we are not here to socialize" when I would try to talk to a neighbor or pass a note. Of course, me being the sarcastic little bugger I am immediately said "then what are we here for because you're certainly doing a crappy job of teaching".


Yeah......I recommend not doing that :lol:
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Postby WAHMBrenda » Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:46 am

Calla Dragon, I really think that you're on to something here. In fact, the next time someone says something about socialization to me I plan on asking them to define the word. I look forward to seeing what will happen.
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Postby Calla_Dragon » Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:35 am

I plan to do the same. SO many misunderstandings are due to definitions. To say that homeschoolers are not socialized or won't be socialized due to homeschooling is one thing, but I'll be interested to see if they actually have an opinion on it or if it's regurgitation of something they've heard. I highly, highly doubt most people we run into that oppose our homeschooling have put enough thought into their point of view and are just spewing out stuff they've heard back at us. At that point, they're not having a conversation, they're just doing an impressive impersation of a parrot.
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Postby Cally » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:32 am

I've wondered about the way its always talked about also. Everytime you try to read up on others experiences you see it.

I read a book called: Teenagers Guide to the Real World that explains this so well. He says that teenagers get the illusion that the world is filled with teenagers because they sit with them all day in the classroom. But in reality they aren't who you should be worried about because adults are 70% of the population and rule the world. He says you can ignore your peers because they don't matter in the grand scheme of things. You need to know how to get along with adults in the real world. (Of course this is all in my own words not his!!) He has about 20 chapters including parts of the chapters I'm talking about online. Chapters 3 and 4. I don't know if I can put the link here or not though. Oh and it shows a graph on population distribution by age to back up his words. Which truthfully really made my eyes pop open and look at the world in a whole new light!

Cally

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Postby Calla_Dragon » Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:28 pm

That's interesting! I'll have to check out that book...even though I'm well past my teens :P

I think it's critical that people of all ages learn how to get along with people of all ages. It's important for kids and teens to know how to interact with adults, but it's also important for adults to know how to interact with kids and teens. Sequestering kids by age all day isn't fostering that ability, IMO.
To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

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socializaition red herring

Postby rafismom » Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:24 pm

My kids who were homeschoooled early have all become leaders, even the two who were very shy. Must be because they weren't socialized to believe they could not be.


Jane in MN


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