Home Education; Socialisation.

Like just about all home educators we have been asked the socialisation question over and over by various people in various ways. To be honest, in the beginning I think it’s a fair question. I remember wondering how I would handle various aspects of socialisation and social skills in my children outside of school – that is, me having to it, not someone else.  🙂

I have less sympathy with those who keep asking the question in a myriad of formats, despite all the clear answers they receive both verbally and through..well…socialising with the home educating family.

This article  is interesting in that it is one more piece of evidence on the massive pile that shows homeschooled children in America are outstripping their schooled peers in all walks of life. Is it the same for home educated children in the UK? I have no idea; although I do know from  what research has been done here that home educated children do better or as well as schooled children academically. It seems that the sheer size of the homeschooling community in America is helping to produce more reliable evidence on outcomes, and those outcomes are good.

In her article Mrs Armstrong makes three very important points (imho); the first is at the end of her article when she reminds (Catholic) home educators that the whole process is sandwiched and founded on a proper prayer life. I concur that prayer is vitally important. It is the battery top up – the powerhouse, that enables us to keep going every day. It is the way we know which way to move in education and then it automatically leads to the second very important point she makes – that we want our children to grow with a formed conscience and good morals. This works best where peer pressure is limited, and where adults with questionable morals do not have free reign over our children’s time.

The finalimportant  point Mrs Armstrong makes, is about how homeschooled children are comforable in their own skin. They are not bothered about what “the culture” says they should be bothered about.They don’t get hung up over the latest trainers, ipod or how they are supposed to look, talk or behave. I am not saying this is true of all homeschooled children. I am quite sure there will be those who spend so much time being “socialised” that they do absorb the culture; but I have to say, I haven’t met many. Nearly all the children we have contact with are just happy in their own skin, and are therefore comfortable around a mixed group of people.

Having said that I have met a few home educated children at the beginning of their life in HE who are in a terrible state. Distressed parents insist that this mute, unable to make eye contact, frightened child is not the child they sent to school. Having been so badly socialised in school, the parents are faced with re-teaching their child to be with other people, and re-teach them how to learn. It can be a tough process- but from what I have heard and seen, it is one that generally works.


4 responses to “Home Education; Socialisation.

  1. Before Tom started school, he and Amelia had a really lovely relationship. They were always called the two babies by the older children. I noticed when Tom started that he started being a bit nasty to Amelia and telling her to go away and calling her a stupid girl. I had never heard these things from him before. I didn’t really know what was the cause of it but I suspected that he was copying other children at school. I had seen brothers and sisters speaking rudely to each other in the school yard and I am sure he saw it too.

    Since the Two of them have been home together, their bond is stronger but it isn’t as strong as it was when they were both pre schoolers.

    I think true socialisation is learnt in the family anyway. Children learn this in watching their parents interact with others.

  2. That’s a very important point Therese. I think the strong relationships between siblings that HE nurtures is very important indeed. In the end the people they are going to have around them all their lives are their siblings. Friends come and go and some stay a long time – but most people need family.

    I have heard a lot of mums say that HE really improved sibling relationships; while school did a lot of damage, thanks to the insistance on splitting them.
    In fact when I worked in a three form intake primary school they quite deliberately put twins in separate classes- at the age of 4!

  3. You have to wonder about a ‘socialization’ that insists on breaking a family up, such as you mention with separating twins at age 4. That isn’t socialization, but social engineering or social restructuring. “Family” is the primary social unit, and picking it apart and putting barriers between them and their siblings and parents isn’t doing us any good at all, but making of the family nothing but a house full of strangers.

    We can clearly see the damage that it has done to Western culture in general, and everyone throws up hands in dismay and lets it continue, or worse, embrace the next new theory or trend. It is sad how quickly we will surrender and even help to damage our first and most important relationships simply because someone who claims to be an ‘expert’ or worse, a politician, says so.

    • It is odd how those of us who sent our children to school -just accepted the fall out as though that is “normal”.
      Working in a primary school really opened my eyes to just how destructive school is. I remember asking why the twins had been split and been given some vague answer about how that was always done otherwise they would stick together. So, siblings sticking together was bad.
      I had thought of doing a PGCE at one point so that I could teach part time- but working in that school put me off completely.

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