Open Letter to the Socialization Boogie Man
Dear Mr. Socialization Boogie Man,
I know you are a lot nicer than your brother, Mr. Academic Boogie Man, because you never hide in trees and bushes to scare us. I've already told him how I feel about his scary tactics. You are suave, cool, even respectful. But please stop gossiping behind our backs.
This whispering about us when our children are "different" due, inevitability, to their lack of socialization has got to stop! I want to ask you who decides what proper socialization entails?
Homeschoolers often can socialize well with multi-age groups. They aren't locked in a classroom six plus hours a day with kids all the same age. Since when did this practice become normal? Family units dwelling together have been, historically, much more common- even from the beginning of time!
So what if my homeschool kids don't know the latest music, movies and expressions? These fads will be gone in a year with new ones to replace them. And what is their value? They are often filled with messages and subtleties that good parents don't like anyway. If that is what makes your kids socialized and mine not, then I'm more than ok with missing that!
Additionally, my kids are finding their place in society on their own terms. With their parents as a launching pad, they are looking at lifestyles and career choices with their eyes wide open. They SEE their father's office job and the hours it takes. They FEEL the responsibility and freedom their Uncle has in running his own business. They KNOW what life as a stay-at-home mom is like and appreciate her sacrifices more than your kids ever can. Why? Because they are experiencing our day-to-day life. By not being gone all week and too busy to slow down, they notice people.
The definition of socialization is "lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs, values and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within their own society." My kids are participating in ALL of society, not a made-up school day routine that will be gone in adulthood. They are learning to adjust, and even stretch, themselves to enjoy people of all ages, genders and educational levels.
So please stop talking behind our backs. We can take it if you want to talk face-to-face. But first, look for the good in our way of life and think about long-term goals for our children. Even if we don't agree on the best way to socialize our kids, you can surely agree that there are advantages both ways.