seekingmyLord wrote:And yet you stated: "I really think people worry far too much about this issue."
Seems to me that you keep pretty close tabs on your children, particularly when you take "a leadership position in organizations they join." What you have described is really not what a "typical" parent of children in public school do. I am sure that there are other parents that do the same, but the majority do not.
I would like to add--although this always is a delicate subject--after working for years with youth within churches, that most every parent I have met believed he/she knew pretty much what was going on with his/her child at school and with friends up to the point when he/she was shocked by the realization that he/she had been blind-sided.
I do think the whole socialization issue is no more valid in home schooling than it is in Public or Private school. I do think people worry too much about it. I didn't take on the positions I did specifically to keep tabs on their socialization at all. It did so happen, to give me the opportunity to do so however.
As a child I was always being moved. I was therefore always the new kid with the strange religion, who was skinny, had an unfortunate last name and such strange habits as being a vegetarian when it was considered much more bizarre that it is now.
Did I have problems with socialization? Yes. I tended to be teased and bullied. In tenth grade I was so shy it was painful but I found a way to become more open and more social with others. My parents either didn't know or didn't care.
They were very caught up in themselves and their own little worlds. I figured it out by myself and worked on it diligently. Today no one would believe I was shy. I was never home schooled. I went to mostly public schools. I believe had I been home schooled I would have done better in a number of areas.
Therefore, due to my experiences, I was pretty aware with my kids about what was, and was not, going on socially. I was determined they would not have the red flags to wave before their peers. It was my wish to give them a "normal" childhood. In that I wanted them to start and finish school with the same people, feeling part of a community.
They have always done very well socially whether in public school or home school. Incidentally, I do think it's important to hang out with kids in their general age group but not ONLY to hang out with people who are their age and grade peers as school tends to push. Greater socialization is with all ages and types of people IMO.
At my house kids know the rules. Those were simple, treat everyone and everything with respect regardless of age or any other differences. Expect to be treated with respect as well. Therefore, many of their friends tend to behave better at my house than in their own homes. Kids like to know where the lines are drawn, it makes them feel more secure. Too many parents don't draw them at all or are too strict.
I keep a certain level of awareness of what they are up to but only step in if a situation called for it. They have a lot of freedom at my house. Kids these days are far too over scheduled and their environments are too structured leaving them little room to imagine and come up with their own games, stories and so on.
At school they are told not to talk during lunch, while standing in line, in the classroom and while waiting for a ride home. Playground time was phased out in about third grade. PE time was also not for talking but for listening to the coach. There really isn't a whole lot of time for socialization at all in such a school.
I took involved roles in the schools because it was practically required by the schools in this community. I've heard many a parent complain about what seems to be the unwritten rules demanding our involvement but I never minded. As I said, that was the only way you or your children would be seen as even nominally important to the school. Which means if you had concerns they would be discounted unless you were valuable to the school.
Yes, I have kept close tabs on my kids although that has become less and less true as they have grown and matured. It is an important loving work, being a parent in my view and it takes that kind of effort to do a good job. There is nothing wrong, and a lot right, with this sort of tab keeping IMO.
When my kids were young, boy scout scandals were rife and it was expected that an adult caregiver would be at each troop meeting for each child. That was the very least that was expected. There was no way I'd have left my son in any potential danger until I felt he had the tools to deal with it. Even then, I would not prefer to do so.
At this age, I believe teens especially, need to know their parents are there for them. I do not believe it's a good idea to let them get all of their views from their friends, media or school alone.
It seems to me a lot of parents pull away from their kids during this time, thinking they are grown and don't need them. I disagree with that. This is a critical time for the teen. They still need a lot from their parents, in terms of a sounding board and guidance as well as other roles.
I took leadership roles in organizations partly to keep an eye on the kids and the organizations, but also because the kids wanted me too and the organizations needed leadership positions filled. I'm glad I did. I learned a great deal from doing so. I do not tend to trust organizations with my kids until I know how they operate and sometimes, of course, especially not then.
Kids can always surprise you. Human beings can always surprise you. My kids know they can be quite open and honest with me about anything they like. They don't need to sneak around nor do they have the opportunity.
There are many, far too many, oblivious parents out there who, among other things, see school as a babysitting service for them. I can see them getting easily blindsided.
Yes, many people do set up an ideal view in their own minds and not know reality. It's sad. It leads to a skewed life for them and even more skewed for their kids until the kids win free of them.
I don't expect the world to conform to my needs or wishes like these people do. I'm more moderate than that. I accept the reality of what the world is, not what I want it to be. Sometimes I work to change things as well.
Then too are the ultra restrictive parents who severely limit what they kids can do. I know what that is like because I was raised that way. Around my parents I was nearly perfect in behavior because that was the best way to survive in harmony with them.
Without them I would do what I wanted in a very rebellious way. My philosophy was that they were unreasonable and did not even follow their own rules themselves.
I was determined to explore who I was and many other things. I figured what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. Sometimes, yes, they were blindsided. Then they were indeed hurt.
I believe you must allow your kids the freedom to explore when and as they are mature enough to do so. If you hold the reigns too tight they will break your hold and are likely to get away from you, then into danger.
We've been homeschooling for over four years now. There is nothing they can't discuss with me. There are very few things I wouldn't let them explore if they were curious about it. I let them hang out without me at times but I do often take a leadership position in many organizations. I'm not the sort to say, I'll sit back and let someone else do it. Or to whine that there is no club for this or that but rather to start one.
For instance, I am starting a teen book, language and art club for my daughter because she is passionate about that. I am also thinking of starting a teen tennis club for my son because he is into that. My kids would also be leaders as they almost alway are, in most groups they participate in.
I am not perfect. My kids are not perfect. Human beings are not perfect. We do pretty well in this area though. I feel I do know this and not just "think" I do. I wouldn't vouch for most parents though, only the ones I know well what they practice and how it affect their kids.