Monday, January 25, 2010

What About Socialization?

Yes, let's talk about that. Probably some of you who drop in wonder if my kids get enough socialization, and if you rely on the world for your answers, you can pat yourself on the back for letting your child attend "regular" school, whether it is private or public.

However, let's take a moment to talk about what "socialization" actually is.

The most basic definition of socialization is "to interact with others." Okay, so unless you homeschool so your child can sit in her room all day and you can have a life, i can't see how a homeschooled child is not getting socialization (especially if there are siblings in the home!).

A more profound definition of socialization is "the process of being raised within a culture and acquiring the characteristics of the given group." Hmm. That sort of sums it up for me. So, in essence, socialization under this definition is to allow a person to be enmeshed in a certain way of living so as to become a person capable of living in that manner. Does that mean if my child is socialized by her peers in public school that she will acquire those characteristics and believe in that culture? As a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened.

See, we started out in the public school system - and one of the best in the state, mind you. However, in kindergarten we faced "you can't be her friend if you are going to be my friend" and "no talking unless asked a question" rules of socialization. In first grade we learned that there were cool kids and not-cool kids, and you wanted the cool kids to like you, and we learned that you can get in trouble just because you are sitting beside someone who gets in trouble because adults don't care about the truth, they care about control. By second grade, we had become snotty, nasty, kids-know-and-adults-don't emotional basket cases with grades that continued to drop.

Yeah, we gave up that culture in favor of one that would encourage, enable, prosper, and equip our children rather than demean, neglect, bully, and derail them from a bigger purpose: adulthood. We tend to lose sight of the fact that these little people are to someday become functional adults. Especially when we let the government instruct them however they choose, with whatever information they choose, and in the manner of their choosing. No, the state does not know your child better than you do.

My children are well-mannered, polite, knowledgeable, kind, compassionate, loving, and aware of their place in the world. Everyone who spends any amount of time with them compliments me on my parenting. One lady even said she'd gladly take any advice i wanted to give about parenting because my children were so great. Surely talking to Mom, Dad, brother, sister, neighbors, friends after school and on weekends, grandparents, aunts, and anyone in the city that happens to talk to them when we are out counts as socialization. And since it seems to be working, i see no reason to doubt it. (and i have spent enough time with kids who are being raised in public schools to know the difference)

By the way, socialization can also be defined as "to take into collective or governmental ownership." Yep, that about sums up the issue for me. I'll keep my rights as a parent to educate and raise my children, thank you very much.

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