Home Schooled Kids Don’t Have Any Friends

15 Oct

What a load of rubbish. Talk to any home schooler and you’ll find that the social experiences of those kids are much richer and healthier than any government schooled child. Think about it… What kind of socialization really happens at schools?

  • The kids are strictly segregated by age group. This is not how life works. There are people of all ages, yet every government schooled child spends twelve years of his/her life interacting solely with their peers. It is rare to have 5th graders interact with 6th graders or freshmen with seniors.
  • There is limited time for kids to acceptably interact with each other. Schools across the nation are cutting back on recess time. Lunch breaks are usually 20 minutes – a full half hour is a luxury. Almost every interaction is strictly regulated by a supervising adult. And times that are not regulated are controlled by a select and exclusive peer group. Yes, kids can make friends, but kids spend more time trying to survive the social structure than they do “socializing”. We remember those times. Playground tauntings, cliques, bullies, gossip. This is not a healthy environment.
  • Labeling. Yes, it happens. And it often starts with the teachers. “Johnny is a bit slow.” “Janie likes to talk.” “Robbie has a learning disorder.” These are common conversations in the teachers’ lounge. Kids are classified into stereotypical groups. The smart ones, the dumb ones, the pretty ones, the poor ones, the smelly ones, the nice ones, the troublemakers. Segregation by age is not enough. And the kids know where they stand in the social order. The labels don’t have to be accurate or relevant, but they are there and they are difficult to overcome. Many students just accept and fulfill the expectations of their label.
  • What about sports? School athletics are not an opportunity for learning and socialization for all – just a select few. These are the “jocks”. I may be generalizing, but for the most part this is the norm. School athletes have a higher status, and many of them take advantage of that status. Instead of being an opportunity for anybody interested in learning a new sport, it becomes a competition and only those that have been properly trained prior to try-outs makes the team. It is not an opportunity to learn a new skill and make new friends with a mutual interest, but an avenue to show off one’s status.

Now, what about home schooled kids?

  • They are able to interact with a diverse age group. From younger siblings to wise and experienced mentors, a home schooled child understands that you can learn something interesting from almost anyone. And let’s face it, socialization is a matter of practice.
  • There is plenty of time. Most home schoolers dine together – an opportunity to learn etiquette. There is time for the family to truly interact with each other. There is also more opportunity for the child to watch the parents interact with other people in society. Most of us do our errands during the day (school hours). Taking your kids with you on these errands gives them the chance to see you communicate with the clerk at the post office, or the cashier at the grocery store. Through observation they can learn basic life skills (like buying groceries), manners, courtesy, and sometimes restraint (like when you encounter someone really rude).
  • Labeling may still happen, depending on the household. But it is rarely permanent and seldom destructive. Most home schooled children are able to find and foster their own interests. You are not the arty one because you don’t fit in anywhere else. Instead you are artistic because you enjoy it and you have the time to investigate that interest and develop that skill. It is a subtle difference, but a difference non the less.
  • There are all sorts of programs and activities for all sorts of interests. Martial arts, dancing, horseback riding, painting, sailing, skating, church groups. Any one can join and learn the skills needed to succeed in any field. And there one can find others with the same interests. This is where real friends are made.

Don’t be fooled. Home schooled kids have a rich and fulfilling social life. I remember when I was in high school. A new girl started who had been home schooled. It was the talk of the school. Everyone was saying how she wouldn’t fit it and how she wouldn’t know how to make friends (well before anyone had even met her). Yes, it was hard for her. But was it because she was a home schooled misfit or was it because the other kids didn’t know how to interact with someone truly socialized? I found her to be a lot of fun and interesting to talk to.

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One Response to “Home Schooled Kids Don’t Have Any Friends”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Home Schooling & Socialization « Parenting & Education - March 5, 2008

    […] Recent Readers View Entire Community Provided by MyBlogLog Home Schooling & Socialization March 5, 2008, 10:13 pm Filed under: Home Schooling, The School System | Tags: education, Home Schooling, school, socializing I’ve written about this before… […]

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