One of the most common questions I hear about homeschooling is about socializing the student.
It’s a pretty ignorant question, and usually it’s brought up in a manner like “homeschoolers can’t deal with other humans – you aren’t socializing them” rather than the person really wondering if it’s true.
The homeschoolers aren’t socialized issue is old and most homeschoolers laugh at the idea.
It’s amazing how many decades-old perceptions homeschoolers still deal with. Luckily, there is a lot of laughing about how ignorant people are, instead of getting feathers all ruffled up.
Here’s an excellent article on homeschoolers and socialization. Not to be a spoiler, but here are the last two lines (note that not all homeschoolers feel this way):
We’re just opting them out of the strange public school bubble that, in our experience, doesn’t even represent normal, healthy society.
In other words, we’re socializing them for what they’ll actually experience beyond high school.
Note also that this might not be the main reason that people decide to homeschool, but it is a compelling reason to think about it, for sure!
So, what about this socialization thing?
I’ve spent time at camps with homeschoolers. Some of them are overnight camps, some of them are multi-day camps where you leave at night and then come back the next morning.
I can guarantee you that the kids I’ve met are amazing. Typically they are great with little kids, kids their own age, and … get this: adults.
I love seeing how kids who are homeschooled interact with adults. I can sit down with a homeschool kid and have a fantastic conversation. The conversation can usually cross many topics, whether it’s talking about a classic, talking about American/world history, or talking about social stuff.
Here are two things I’ve loved to see:
1. At a recent day camp, called Simulations Week, we had a talent show. I think there were about 60 kids that stayed for the talent show. More than half shared a talent. Some of them were AMAZING. The most impressive, to me, where the talents shared that were NEW. In other words, someone who just started learning the cello played a beginner piece, with plenty of mistakes. But they did it. It was such a “safe place” for them to perform… and the audience was amazingly supportive. I’m really amazed at how talented homeschoolers are.
2. Dancing. My daughter has a “mentor” who teaches some Shakespeare classes. These are vigorous classes where there is a lot of reading, studying, discussing, memorizing and acting. This particular mentor is a dance nut, and has taught the kids a bunch of period dances. It’s so amazing to see the kids dance like they did hundreds of years ago… and guess what? THEY LOVE IT! They have so much fun, and they are very respectful to their partners. It’s fun to watch.
BONUS: Here’s a video that is hilarious: Seven Lies about Homeschoolers