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Monday, August 3, 2009

In Which I Say a Bad Word.

So I know you all tuned in today because you want to hear me say a bad word. I will not disappoint. I will not actually say it, nor will you actually hear it. I will type it and you will read it. I may even type it more than once.

So, you may be wondering, what's got into his sock drawer, that would cause him to say (type) a bad word? Well nothing has really got into my sock drawer, so to speak. There are just a couple of bad words out there that I use from time to time because I like the meaning and the impact of them. This review calls for one of them.

I was recently straightening out my book shelf when I came across a book that I had read about 3-5 years ago. I remembered reading it during a point in my life when I was taking the bus to and from work. As I looked over the book, it seemed I was using the bus ticket as a bookmark. The name of the book is The Socialization Trap by Rick Boyer. It might as well be called (here comes the bad word) The Socialization Crap. Not that the book is crap, it is actually quite good. It's just the whole concept that the book refutes (Home School children are going to suffer ill effects because they have no socialization is a whole bunch (don't have the energy to use it thrice) of rubbish.

This misconception is not an idea that is going away any time soon. Just last month Sylvia Biu used the myth of socialization as one of her main reasons "Homeschooling is a bad idea." I will not spend this article refuting her silly piece of drivel (I didn't much care for her article), As Alasandra of Alasandra's Homeschool Blog did a fantastic job of tearing the work apart in "Homeschoolings advantages far outweigh any preconceived shortcomings."

I mention it here because as homeschoolers we have all heard people say "but what about socialization?"

Boyer points out that many homeschooling families fall into the socialization trap by buying into the idea that children need some sort of age segregated activities and often become even busier than public or private schooling families trying to remove this "deficiency."

Boyer does acknowledge that Home school moms (He doesn't mention dads, but hey I'm a maverick) do need support groups of other like minded parents, that often these groups disintegrate into centering around entertaining the kids rather than supporting the parents.

You know what conversation, I'd like to hear? I'd just like to hear this conversation of two parents whose oldest children are about to enter Kindergarten:

Parent 1: So Johnny is about to start kindergarten an the public school.

Parent 2: Aren't you concerned about socialization?

Parent 1: What do you mean?

Parent 2: Aren't you concerned that Johnny will soon begin spending more time with his peer group and his teachers than he will with you and your husband? That his ideas about morality and civility are going to be shaped not by you but in a large part by other children his own age?

Could you imagine the look that Parent 1 would have on his or her face? No one really questions age segregation because it is how the majority of adults today were brought up. The majority of adults my age also watched The Partridge Family every Friday night when they were a kid. That does not mean it was a good show!!

And now a personal moment, when Amy and I were just starting homeschooling we had many discussions with friends and relatives and naturally they would all wonder "What about socialization"?We would answer the question best we could. The odd thing during each one of these conversations are children weren't at home. They were either on play dates with other homeschooling families, playing with neighbor kids or out on field trips with Amy or I. In short while our friends and relatives were worrying about socialization our children were socializing.

While I don't agree with everything in Boyer's book, I highly recommend it as an excellent resource to homeschooling Parents. Boyer's book comes from a Christian perspective, I come from the same perspective. If you do not, there may be more that you disagree with the book about. I still think it makes some fine points regardless of your spiritual bent.

Thanks to Beverly at About Homeschooling for including this in the Carnival of Homeschooling # 188: Game Day Edition. To see my previous Carnival of Homeschooling submissions click here.

Next Time: The Home School Convention


  1. This post is right-on, and hysterically funny.

  2. Amen. What more is there. I will have to check that book out. Thank you.

  3. I'd love to hear that conversation, too!

    The best socialization comment we got was from our non-homeschooling neighbors during our first homeschooling years in Chicago. As our kids played together up & down the sidewalk, we described to them how many people (read: family members) worried that our kids would not get adequate social interaction with peers if we did not send them to public or private school.

    The neighbor looked at us and said, "You mean that 'Lord of the Flies' socialization?"

    Which we thought summed up our perspective pretty well...

  4. Interesting. But if that's a bad word, then I'm in deep deep doo doo as I use it frequently. I also did a book review on my blog yesterday ;-)

  5. Great article! But don't be hatin' on the Partridge Family! They did have some groovy clothes and music! ;)

  6. I attended a few of the Boyer's convention seminars 4 or 5 years ago. They were great. I didn't agree with everything they said/did, but much of it was right on.

    I actually DO bring up that conversation with parents whose children are just starting school (outside the home). I come right out and ask them if their children are ready for many of the alienating behaviors, manipulation from other kids (and teachers) and early exposure to inappropriate vocabulary, sex, and drugs. The other parent is usually shocked that such things are on my mind and say they'll cross that bridge when they get to it. They think it's too soon to think about it. What they don't realize is that their kids will be exposed to it within weeks.

    It's not that I want to isolate my kids (ok, I do, but I don't do it), but rather I will hold off until they are emotionally mature enough to handle a situation before I knowingly put them in it. With schooling outside the home, so many kids are pushed into those situations unknowingly - they just find themselves face to face with it without even realizing how they got there. My conversation with these parents is just to give them a heads up to what is right around the corner.

  7. Thanks for that. I just had this conversation with a family member. She was worried about how my kids would find friends houses' to go to, etc. I couldn't respond, the questions seemed so ridiculous to me. She apparently has forgotten all of the negatives of being in a large group of same age peers for many hours of every day...


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